<strong>„Workers market” is doing well and employers for that reason should be happy! An interview with Agnieszka Surowiec, Brand & Comms Director Market Poland at Intrum</strong>

„Workers market” is doing well and employers for that reason should be happy! An interview with Agnieszka Surowiec, Brand & Comms Director Market Poland at Intrum

From the start of the Covid-19 pandemic we have on our hands, the workers market, which ties in with a lot of challenges for employers. Don’t they have enough of this already?

Of course not, at least they should not. What does the term “workers market” really mean? A whole multitude of people, who know what they want from their place of employment, they know how to communicate their demands in respect to the employer and they are aware of their competences, their values. At least this is how we look at this situation at Intrum. The problem with the workers market could lay with companies that until now did not have to put their HR department on a pedestal. It appears that corona-crisis made it abundantly clear about the old truth regarding employer branding – a company’s strength, about the position of a given brand on the market being determined by its employees, so they have to be well taken care of. Our team has always held this value.

There has to be something to that, because Intrum is regularly awarded for implemented approach to employees, such as; received awards such are attest to that,  i.e. “World’s Most Attractive Employers 2021” according to Antala or “Exemplary Employer 2022” handed out by Business Forum at the Daily Legal Newspaper. What is the secret to success of Intrum?

In this case there is no secret. The key to success and is the right strategy, which is consistent with the company’s vision. Our employees are indispensable for us to realize our mission, which is showing the way to a healthy economy. They are the ones communicating with thousands of debtors, whom they are trying to free of financial problems, and help companies prosper. Therefore it is no surprise that our employees are most important to us. Intrum also follows according to the sustainable growth philosophy, which mentions also caring for employees and creating a friendly work environment – without these principles no company can function properly on the market.

So this is not about employer branding sporadically, but about regular actions in this field?

Yes, persistent work in realizing of actions in the field of employer branding is important, this is also about caring for employees, which means, making sure they feel good in their place of employment, developing their competences, etc., as result of strategy, company mission, and not as a second thought to daily activities at HR. It’s also important to carefully listen to employee’s needs. Good, or effective employer branding, is tailor-made branding.

Sounds mysterious. What’s the meaning behind this?

Unfortunately, many employers think that employer branding are benefits and make employees miserable. Yet another gym membership or themed days at the office will not make anything better, if the teams wants let’s say English lessons. Chill out rooms at the office is will not solve any problems that employees have with their superiors or will not be the answer if the team feels underappreciated. You have to know what your employees need from the company, you have to ask questions. Regular questionnaires or studies, which help determine employees moods. A good example is studying employee satisfaction through MyVoice. We have been organizing them at Intrum for years. Helps us answer questions like, how do our workers rate us, how they feel here, what do they need. Results allow us not only to implement properly tailored employer branding actions, also to eventually fix what doesn’t work. We believe in constant progress and that Intrum can be a better place to work at, despite fact, year to year we register higher scores in particular study indices than the previous years. This is another important topic – constant evaluation. It is not enough to provide benefits one time or implement specific actions. You have to regularly check how it checks out in practice and how workers react to them. What worked great even less than years ago, could today be passé, or even create distaste amongst workers.

What about recruitment? Obviously, first you have to pull candidates into the firm.

Yes, that is right, but successful, quick recruitment doesn’t necessarily mean employers success. It is important what happens after you hire somebody. Then comes the hiring process and usually its value is under-estimated.

Why do you think so?

You often come across completed hiring processes in a company that conform themselves to sending an e-mail to an employee after a company presentation and that’s that. That’s not the correct way. Nearly everyone in their life has personally experienced how important first impression is. First day at work happens only once and the employer should use it wisely, to create a good impression on the employee.

How do you make a first good impression when hiring?

A worker on his first day should meet his direct supervisor – this appears to be obvious, but in practice, unfortunately doesn’t always happen. The new person should be introduced not only with their responsibilities, but with regulations that are In place in the company, so the new person feels “at home”. Issues like supplying the employee with necessary tools to work with, walk and meet around the office, show where the break room is, where one can eat lunch, or who you can turn to if the printer runs out of paper, also carry significance.

How does hiring look like at Intrum?

First of all, when we are in process of hiring somebody, a few departments in the company get involved. HR departments job is to relay all crucial employee information. People responsible for communication present the company mission, vision, regulations upon which Intrum works. Every employee coming to work for us on their first day learns the meaning of four words: Empathy, Ethics, Dedication and Solutions – our values which are our guidelines for everything that we do. We need them to be important to new employees as well. Every new person that joins our team, first learns their responsibilities  – the direct superior takes care of this. They learn in detail what their responsibilities in practice will be at their position (they get introductory training to their responsibilities on the first day), but also how their responsibilities will take shape in half a year or five years, because they will be informed about possible career paths. The IT department makes sure they are supplied with necessary tools for work, grants access to given areas, so the newbie can begin work immediately. Their immediate department team make sure they have a warm welcome and good atmosphere on their first day of work. To summarize – after hiring process is complete, the new employee will be able to reflect: I really got into a cool company with a clearly defined mission and clear regulations, at which employees look out for one another, I can perform my job, which has meaning, at which I will feel good and I have an opportunity to push my career forward. Our recipe for hiring has been proven in practice time and time again.

Nothing indicates that the worker market will give way in the coming months to a new trend, and what’s going to be most important in the field of employer branding?

I think this will continue to be an important trend, which we are observing for some time now. It certainly has gained value during the pandemic. It’s about wellbeing. I like to repeat that caring about workers happiness is a kind of employer branding 2.0. companies that already know how to effectively take care of worker’s needs, implemented appropriate benefits, communication and other HR-related solutions, they should go a step further and control the employees welfare. You can always take care that they will feel even better at the company (through which they will become better workers, so it’s a win-win situation). Besides, bosses can always try to be even better employers.

Agnieszka Surowiec – Brand & Communications Director Market Poland at Intrum

Graduate from University of Technology and Humanities in Radom (specialized in Economy). Has 22 years of working experience in the banking and vindication industry. At Intrum she started as a consultant at the call centre and successfully grew her professional career, right up to her current position as Brand & Communications Director Market Poland. Has rich experience in directing large teams of people, overseeing important business projects, implementing initiatives of optimizing costs and business growth.

Her current work related duties include: HR, Employer Branding, Public Relations – internal and external communication, social responsibility in business, and marketing, or solutions that support sales and business & marketing strategy.

She is open to new ideas, very optimistic, loves listening to people and talking with them. Past 20 years has been living in Warsaw. Travels a lot – to this day, she has been to 33 countries. She also likes her house out in the country and tending her garden – where she always regenerates and rests.

Last Updated on September 6, 2022 by Anastazja Lach