Biomechanical robot or partner?

Human Resources Magazin invited our colleague, Zsuzsanna Suto to the monthly organized round table discussion, called “4DHR”. This time the professionals talked   over the questions that “What is the HR's position within the organization?” and “Does every company have a HR budget?”


dr. Szabo Timea, General Manager, Folprint Kft.
Suto Zsuzsanna, Financial & Outsourcing Director, VT-SOFT Kft.
Csaszar Andrea, HR Manager, Tensi Tours Kft.
dr. Fritz Zsuzsanna, Sales Director, Helmond Kft.
Fulop Zsuzsa, Division Leader of Adecco Hungary
Boross David, PR & Marketing Director of, Oazis Kerteszeti Kft.
Szabo Antal, CEO, Poli-Farbe Vegyipari Kft.
Pozvai Szilvia, HR director, Forest Hungary Kft.

Koos Dora (editor in chief, HRM): Please introduce the situation of HR at your company. Do you have an HR director or HR budget? What is the HR'position within the organization?

Szabo Timea: We have 40 employees and we gain 700 million HUF as annual revenue. In this case we don't think so that we need a HR associate. Our problem with the HR is that we just get theoretical help in general. In our company the directors choose their employees during the recruitment process, but the final decision is mine.

Suto Zsuzsanna: When I joined VT-SOFT I was responsible for the financial field of the company, and the HR was its subordinate. In 2008 a bigger company bought  VT-SOFT and the firm started to operate as a big company. This was the time when it's occurred to give more support to HR and take it more seriously. Now we try to create the institutional form to hold discussions between the directors and the employees at least in every half a year and after the conversation we would like to evaluate those. Moreover we would like to use up the vocational training allowances as efficiently as possible. We have 80 employees in Budapest and at our countryside subsidiary we have nearly 50.

Csaszar Andrea: I'm working for 2 years at my company. I'm a “constructive person”. We have 70 employees in Budapest and we have 7 offices at the countryside. We have a HR strategy, and we evaluate it in every half year and we measure up the satisfaction of our employees in every half year. We don't practice career management and the competence measuring or the separate budget is just a dream for us this time.

Fritz Zsuzsa: I'm aJolly Joker at my firm as every manager. We have around 60-70 tour-operator partners and we are selling their products in our internet database. We have 30-40 employees. We have to hold together a company which has 8 sites and there is another problem in our sector which is the seasonality. We don1t have any HR associates or a separate budget. We use min-SAP so we can follow what's happening on the countryside offices. Formerly I also joined to the recruitment process but nowadays the office leaders select their workers independently.

Fulop Zsuzsanna: Adecco’s profile is very wide: we provide temporary staffing, permanent placement, outsourcing, consulting and outplacement solutions. We are pioneers in the Hungarian market on several fields. Last year our organization's structure renewed. We have a noticeable HR budget.

Boross David: The main activity of Oazis is to operate a horticultural franchise chain. We have 100 employees and nearly 150 franchise partners. We are the responsible for a lot of HR activities of the whole chain for example recruitments and trainings. We have 8-10 million HR budget annually which can be extended with won tender resources. We have a HR associate for 4 years and Porche Hungarias former HR manager built up our system. At the selection of our HR associate we chose a workmate who had multinational experience.

Szabo Antal: In my opinion the leader of the company has to be adept in HR as well. Our company grew from single person company to 200 headcount firm which produce nowadays 36.000 tons of paint. I develop HR for more than 20 years. We don't have a HR budget, but we are building the organization and spent a lot on HR.

Pozvai Szilvia: We have 118 workers, and we have subsidiaries in Zagreb, Romania and Belgrad. We take HR really seriously because it's indispensable to create a good atmosphere at the workplace and to allure and bring in the good workers. We have HR budget for around 10 years and we review it in every quarter. It was around 3 years ago when it became obvious to employ an HR associate. We created an HR strategy and compared to the last year we planned for 3 years instead of 1.

Koos Dora: What kind of circumstances generating the claim to have an own HR associate and HR budget? Usually the HR supports the aims created on the level of the managers, or the company enrolls an active and highly qualified HR specialist who arranges everything?

Szabo Antal: This also depends on the political changes in Hungary. We changed our strategy 12 years after the change from the old political system to democracy because this was the time when the labor efficiency reduced regarding to the work attitude chop. This is how HR was born in our company. We had to work with agricultural mechanics till we decided in 2003 that we are going to prime our own experts. After 2 years education from 36 people, 32 or 33 person got a skilled workman cert.

Pozvai Szilvia: In our company just two people worked in the management and they handled every specialty. We had to switch to another training system. We started an education program called “The leader of the future”. This is a 3-4 years mentoring program. Who takes part in this could be a director after 8-9 years. In the past 3 years our goal was to involve HR in the strategy planning.

Szabo Timea: When the leadership claims the HR to be an own department and a colleague also has the affinity to work in this field, that is the time to employ an own HR associate. We have 40 employees which doesn't obligate to have an own HR associate but the fluctuation is increased. In this case we had driven the sentence “Everything for the people” home (beside “Everything for the client”).

Suto Zsuzsanna: We develop HR software so our employees need special expertise because they have to be adept in the fields of IT, payroll calculation and HR. This is why we make a strong effort on keeping our workforce.

Boross David: In my opinion the decision of employing a HR expert should be based on simple mathematics. The leader of the company has to think it over how much time did he or she waste on HR duties. If it's too much then it's time to employ somebody in part time to fulfill this tasks. If it's in a good order after one year than they should employ this HR associate in full time and create a budget for HR activities. In my opinion it's really important to do this step by step.

Szabo Antal: I also think this is simple mathematics. The biggest question in the second year of the great debt is “How to motivate people?”. When everything goes wrong the HR colleague has to find and develop extra resources in the employees. The performance can be defined by a product of abilities and motivation. The inside PR is also important because appreciation is the best motivation.

Koos Dora: If you could give an advice to other small and middle sized companies regarding HR what would it be?

Fritz Zsuzsanna: They have to take HR seriously from the foundation of the company. It's really important to reach everybody to drive the sentence “Everything for the client” home. We are a supplying company. We provide through our employees.

Fulop Zsuzsanna: The point is to create a good team. At an 80 headcount firm the face to face contact are also important factors. At a big company it's this setback which is a disadvantage compared to the small and midsized firms.

Koos Dora: Is this sight of view typical today in Hungary? Can we be satisfied?

Szabo Antal: This is a good question. A lot of people regard HR associates as almighty workmates. But in effect a real HR sight of view it is necessary to be successful. In the real life there are HR departments where there's no real HR approach.

Suto Zsuzsanna: A company can't grow if the employees aren't satisfied personally, professionally and last but not least financially. If there's no HR associate at the firm but there are some managers who fix out this tasks then the requisite plus exist which is necessary for the employees satisfaction.

Pozvai Szilvia: If HR isn't a partner for the management then it is just a formality even if it's a 4.000 Headcount firm. The question is that the company regards the employees as biomechanical robots or partners.

Koos Dora: So it seems we can be optimistic. A final question: If you gaze in your crystal what do you see about the future in the next 3-5 years?

Pozvai Szilvia: Language education all year in various language groups. With this the differences between the countries disappears and the regions can learn from each others. You have to always learn and have to be open for new initiations.

Szabo Timea: I would like to see the same colleagues working in our office after 3 years from now. And moreover I would like to increase the number of workers. Unique performance measuring would be also great and a complete performance rating system.

Suto Zsuzsanna: We would like to build up a project based sight of view which also means to learn how to work as a team. I would like to improve the communication between the departments.

Csaszar Andrea: I can’t predict what's going to be the role of HR. Nobody is born with a committed heart. We have to achieve this. Everybody has to believe in the cohesion inside the team. I expect much from the CRM system which is basically is a sales tool but it will help HR as well and can operate as an intranet too.

Fritz Zsuzsanna: In my opinion the best workforce observer is the hit. Our company is successful since autumn and we don't have any fluctuation. Our strategy is to transform the structure from two levels to three. The number of our staff is increasing continuously, the mid-management for example the HR. I hope we will be able to employ an HR manager in full time in a 3 years' time.

Fulop Zsuzsanna: At our company the most important task is to develop HR. We are opening new offices continuously and our squad is growing constantly.

Boross David: Seasonality is our big problem. In spring and at Christmas time there is a big rush at the cashiers. We solve this problem with a rotation system. Our employees work 2 days at the cashier and after they do something else for 3 days. Performance rating is really problematic. It's really hard to motivate people to increase sales because most of the time they don't even meet with the costumers. We copied a good idea from Mc'Donalds. We also choose an item – the red mug – which sales our workmates have to regard as a primary thing. It isn't important on sales side but in effect it's good to break monotony because there is a thing they have to concentrate on.

Pozvai Szilvia: We are a trading company with 70 storages where all the employees are storekeepers or carpenters. We motivate them with special tasks. We take seriously learning from mistakes and listening to the ideas and advices of our staff.

Szabo Antal: It's really important to create an efficient motivation system. In my opinion the main motivation factors are the self-realization, the respect and the safety needs. Also the results, structure and responsibilities can be motivating. The inside PR can be motivating if the associates depend on each other -like the organs in the human body-, motivate each other and rate each other.

Source: VT-Soft

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