Interview with the creators of HR-Breakfast

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In everyday life, HR-Breakfast founders Anastasia Gurinovich, People & talent Specialist at Hypernova; Daria Bartashevich, Lead HRM at HQSoftware and Anastasia Tarasova, Head of HR at Akveo work in IT companies. We met and learned what is the purpose of this community, and what are the trends in the IT labor market.

– How and when did you get the idea to create such an innovative community for our country?

About 2.5 years ago, we, Nastya Gurinovich and Nastya Tarasova, agreed that in the HR sphere there is somehow little movement. We lacked warm meetings, useful knowledge, new acquaintances. And we decided to try to get together with those who are not indifferent like us, at breakfasts before work, in order to get an opportunity to ask questions, discuss, argue with colleagues. Then from lamp meetings in a cafe in Minsk it grew into a full-fledged event. Registrations started pouring in … and everyone’s favorite EventSpace came to our aid. Then we came up with our logo, taking a fox as a character as an image of a recruiter cunning and nimble ( smiling ). Then Dasha Bartashevich came to the organizing committee and there were three of us.

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– What are the main ideas behind the community, and how can it be useful for our readers, HR managers? span>

The main idea of ​​our community is to create an open platform for communication and knowledge exchange for HRs in Belarus, where everyone can find an answer to their question, get support, new knowledge, learn from the experience of colleagues, expand their networking and much more. For us, this project is also about something warm and cozy. We want to create an environment in Minsk for comfortable communication both on work and personal issues.

– Which site is currently hosting “breakfasts for HRs”, what topics are discussed there, and how you can be found HR for managers?

– During the pandemic, we host our breakfasts on the ZOOM or Youtube platform. We usually meet at meetups at EventSpace.

We discuss various topics related to all aspects of HR work: Performance review, work with conflict situations, effective team management. There you can also get information about software tools for automating HR processes, statistics and indicators of recruiting, HRPR activity, aspects of HR personal development and combating burnout, and much more. It is very easy to find us: just add to our Telegram -channel “HR Breakfast Belarus” and subscribe to our profile on Instagram and Facebook.

For more than two years, we have gathered an audience of 1745 people. Our telegram chat is always lively. It contains specialists from various fields, mostly from IT), levels and positions. Business owners, managers and technicians also visit us.

Y reading that 2020 has become the year of distance, we managed to try different formats of interaction with the audience: these were classic webinars, as well as live broadcasts on Instagram. Famous people and eichars from Belarus were guests at our sites active community members.

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Is it difficult to make decisions when are you three? How do you resolve controversial issues? Do you have a “boss” among you, or do you have balanced positions?

– We have absolutely balanced positions, we support each other, share ideas and bring them to life, working together for a common cause. Each of us shares the ideas of the community and its development, we hear each other and respect the opinion of colleagues. We have a similar vision on many issues, in controversial issues we argue our point of view, weighing the pros and cons, and jointly make a decision. It is part of our job to be able to negotiate and resolve issues in a civilized manner.

– Now is a difficult, I would say, critical time. You all work for IT companies. Please tell our readers how the labor market in this industry has changed over the past year, and what is its specificity now?

Daria Bartashevich (D.B.) The market has slowed down, job offers exceed demand. Finding a qualified programmer with the right skills for the right money has become even more difficult. Often, candidates are not ready to consider proposals in connection with the current situation in the country: they lose confidence in the future, changing jobs, since they already have a certainty with a previous employer, a contract, in the end. And in the new place it is not known what awaits him. Also, more and more often there are situations when candidates are ready to consider the company’s proposals only if it can transport them from the Republic of Belarus. Both sides have become more selective in their choice.

– Did the pandemic and crisis have an impact on wage changes in the IT sector? How much does a middle-level Belarusian programmer, the so-called middle developer, earn on average now?

– The pandemic had a rather ambiguous impact. On the one hand, qualified specialists have risen in price, since in the conditions of uncertainty in the country it has become more difficult to lure them away from their current place, which means that competition among employers has intensified. Some of them do not consider job offers in Belarus at all. People are waiting for the best moment to change jobs and do not move to another company as easily as it used to be.

On the other hand, specialists with a lower qualification do not feel such high competition, since employers are not ready to raise their wages and are easier to part with them. And as a result of interviews in a new place, they are not offered the desired rewards. It is clear that the employer is trying to save money, since in the current situation it has greater risks.

The average middle developer currently earns in the region of $ 2000 – $ 2500 depending on their qualifications.

– How do you think: now there are a lot of redundancies in the IT sector, and do they have any problems finding a new job ?

– On the contrary, there is an acute shortage of them associated with the relocation of many businesses and IT teams to other countries. If earlier you had to compete with other companies for great specialists only within the country, now you have to puzzle over how to attract them if the company cannot offer a move.

– What are the main HR trends over the past year? Can you make any predictions for the year that has just begun?

– Anastasia Gurinovich (A.G.) In my opinion, the main HR trends over the past year means remote work, interviews and even online recruitment, as well as search for specialists not only in Belarus, but also in European markets.

It is difficult to make forecasts, given the unpredictability of the spread of the virus and its strains. But it seems to me that the main HR trend of the year that has begun is to go to a psychologist and have tremendous support from the people around you, so as not to waste your resource and energy. We work with people, and in order to be useful to business in such difficult times, you must first of all treat yourself with care.

– D.B. I think there are clearly visible trends in the transition of the office to a “free format” and the expansion of recruiting markets. The first trend stems from the fact that companies have already established a process of effective remote work, and communications now see no reason to maintain huge offices. Organizations can offer employees a choice: “remote” or “office”, retaining only a part of the constantly used places, the rest leave “free”.

The second trend follows from the same “remote location”. Companies now do not care which city or country an employee is from, if he meets the requirements and does his job effectively. Previously, employers were more wary of candidates from other countries.

– Recently, there has been a tendency when choosing candidates to be inclined in favor of personal skills. What competencies of candidates are currently most in demand as soft skills?

– A.G. Unfortunately, not all companies pay attention to this. Some even sacrifice them for the sake of delivering a quality product on a tight schedule. But, as my personal experience has shown me, this cannot be sacrificed, since the consequences for a business can be unpredictable and can even lead to its collapse.

According to my observations, such soft skills as the desire and ability to learn, collaboration and the ability to communicate are now most in demand. Without them, teamwork and a successful business may simply not work, even if all hired employees have great hard skills.

– The concept of employer brand is becoming more and more popular in the field of personnel management. How would you suggest developing an HR brand in your company? Maybe your companies have interesting examples?

– A.G. I can give an example from one company in which I previously worked. By the way, I want to introduce this feature in my new job. (smiles). I managed to implement the Social Money program, the main idea of ​​which is to provide the largest possible infrastructure for the social package to employees. At the same time, they themselves choose a set of services. Social Money reimburses the costs of education, sports, health insurance and parking. The package is limited to a specific budget per month.

– А.Т. As an example, I want to tell you about what increased the loyalty and engagement of Akveo employees in 2020. With the onset of the global pandemic, many businesses have been affected. The IT sector was no exception. I watched companies in panic fire guys from probationary periods and benches (in an outsourcing business model, the state when an employee does not work on a project, and the client does not pay for his hours of work). Many have frozen social benefits and salary increases. This added anxiety to our staff that they might be treated the same.

Therefore, we introduced the practice of monthly reports, where we talked about the financial condition of the company (income, expenses, reserves) and the progress of projects. In addition, we made a promise that we do not plan to fire anyone in the next 2 months. And if the situation worsens, we will inform you in advance, adding time to find a new job.

We have kept this practice to this day, which was positively noted by the employees. During that difficult time, they were able to rely on the concern of the company and soothe anxiety.

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– Due to the remoteness, almost all IT companies switched to interviewing candidates online. What is the best way to conduct a virtual interview? Doesn’t such a recruiting format harm the company, given that non-verbal signals are lost, and the applicant is less disclosed?

– To effectively conduct a virtual interview of candidates, you need to describe in detail the selection process, including the interview stages, a list of questions from interviewers and decision-making managers. It is imperative to collect feedback on the candidate from past jobs, agreeing this with the applicant.

Interviews must be recorded. If you have the opportunity to buy a paid version of Zoom and make a cloud recording of each interview, it will be generally convenient: you will not forget anything and you will be able to return to the interview in the process of processing it, as well as writing a feedback on the candidate. In addition, it is advisable to conduct 3-4 stages of the interview with one candidate.

– Do you personally like the remote or office format of working with staff more? Are there any other advantages of remote control besides home comfort?

– A.G. After a year of work in the “remote-first” status, I personally like the office format more for the reason that the “soul of the company” is lost at a remote location: the attitude towards employees becomes, in the main, consumer, and it is quite easy to part with them with such necessity. Against the background of remote work, I felt a sense of anxiety that I or my colleagues could be fired at any time simply because the founders of the company wanted it so. There was a feeling that business owners do not share their plans and thoughts, but simply put before the fact about their decision.

– А.Т. I had difficulties adapting to the new format of life and work. To be honest, I went to the office almost all the time, at least a couple of days a week. I really missed the usual office routine. As an HR, the office format definitely helps me in my work. It is difficult to obtain information and monitor the overall “temperature” remotely.

– As they say, “friends are known in trouble.” Tell us how your companies are caring for employees during a pandemic? Are you taking any measures to prevent the spread of diseases among those who, for some reason, preferred to work in the office to the comfort of their home?

– D.B. Firstly, our companies work in quarantine from home so that employees are not in public places every day, and also do not infect colleagues. Those who do not have the opportunity to work comfortably from home and come to the office use masks and antiseptics in the office. We also carry out cleaning with antiseptic agents.

Secondly, so that the guys do not miss their colleagues so much, we conduct various corporate activities: online quizzes, daily coffeeroom, corporate technical meetups, online games. Do not forget to please employees with gifts on holidays.

Thirdly, so that the guys continue to feel like a full-fledged part of the company, we constantly talk about company news, new projects, achievements, introduce newcomers .

– Thanks for the interview. Further development and prosperity to your community! And what would you wish the readers of the magazine in such a difficult time for all of us?

– We wish to treat ourselves with care, first of all. It is not for nothing that they say on airplanes that you must first put on an oxygen mask on yourself, and then on your child. Also at work: first we take care of ourselves, and only then about colleagues and business. (smile).

Interviewer: Tatiana Alexandrova

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