Shortage of the vocational professions representatives and their “turnover” at the production enterprises is a common problem of Ukrainian business. This situation is caused both by labour outflows and stereotype about the fact that the vocational professions are non-prestigious.
However, there are the examples of Ukrainian enterprises which meet this challenge successfully. One of them is “UDK”, the member of the "Alef" corporation which succeeded in almost complete stop of the staff turnover.
Tetiana Viktorivna Fazlych, HR director of the plant tells in the interview how they achieved these results.
UDK LLC is the largest manufacturer of autoclaved aerated concrete products in the Eastern Ukraine. Many residents of the region want to join the ranks of the company employees due to the fact that the plant is known for its state-of-the-art equipment and socially conscious professional team. The industrial behemoth not only offers the high-quality products to the consumers, but also values each employee like a member of big family.
“UDK” PRODUCTION INVOLVES ONE LINE, SO THE RESULTS OF THE ENTIRE ENTERPRISE DEPEND UPON EACH EMPLOYEE
– Tell about the fact how the special aspects of the production processes at the plant have an effect on the requirements to each employee?
– “UDK” has the closed process cycle. The enterprise production involves one line, and there is the raw materials entry point and finished products exit point. The line is divided into sections controlled by the operators.
Why did I mention the line? The closed process cycle at the production provides for team work. The incident at one section has an effect on the entire production process. This is why we select the “team
players” and always tell them about the importance of each operation and each section for “UDK” production. So, the understanding of the importance of personal contribution to common goal, production of autoclaved aerated concrete block is formed from every person as early as at the initial stage.
Moreover, “UDK” is also characterized by the state-of-the-art process equipment and high level of production processes automation. This is why it is important that our intending employees shall be thinking and progressively-minded people and this will enable them to develop in the company and to build their career in the future.
THE EMPLOYEE WILL FEEL GOOD AT THE PRODUCTION AND FIT IN WITH THE REST OF THE STAFF PROVIDED THAT WE WILL FIT TOGETHER LIKE THE KEY AND LOCK
– Which criteria do you apply during selection of the candidates for the posts?
– We size up the candidate for any post according to 3 basic types of competences in the course of selection:
Professional – what the applicant knows, is able to do, which are his/her skills and employment history;
Personal – which are his personal qualities, character traits, motivation etc.;
Corporate – to what extent the applicant meets the company corporate culture.
The employee will feel good at the production and fit in with the rest of the staff provided that we will fit together like the key and lock.
“UDK” is a team work, professional approach to solution of any problems, friendly climate and actually
advanced company which welcomes pursuance of career progress and professional development. If person endorses these values, we are going the same way, he will feel comfortable in our team, and he will want to work here.
FROM OPERATOR TO DEPUTY SHOP FOREMAN: WE GROW OUR STAFF BY OURSELVES AT “UDK”
– Is there any certain HR policy at the enterprise and according to which principle you hire the employees? Do you observe staff turnover?
– One of the principles of HR policy of “UDK” may be defined as follows: “We grow our staff by ourselves”. We always analyze our internal employee pool first of all during work upon any vacancy, and then we review the candidates from the other companies.
We have many examples of success stories of our employees in the company. All our shift managers were the operators; deputy shop foreman and shop foreman "grew" in the company. The great number of the operators started their work at “UDK” as the auxiliary workers. And those are just a few examples.
If the candidate meets our requirements, we inform him/her of the prospects for advancement and professional development in the company as early as at the stage of interview. This attracts people and enables us to carry out higher-quality selection.
In particular, we pay special attention to the process of staff on-boarding in order to prevent staff turnover. The mentor shall be assigned on the first working day of new employee, and HR department shall conduct the information training. This is specifically developed presentation which tells about company history, special aspects of manufacturing process and products of "UDK”, our values, regulations and rules, interesting projects and opportunities of career progression. We talk certainly about the fact that work of each employee has an effect on the enterprise performance results in total. And the company success does not mean the abstract words; this is our common goal, steady operation and salary of each employee.
When the newcomers hear of UDK history, how it all began, how successful are we today, and how many efforts were put into this success, they start to enter into the corporate spirit actually. The company commitment is formed in such a way. Therefore, the information training is useful and necessary.
Consistency of UDK staff is caused surely by the correct approach of the production management to personnel administration. Heads of the business units of our company are the professionals of their craft who are able to work with people. They arrange the processes in such a way that each employee at his/her workplace could perform actions required from him, and feel comfortable doing this.
NEW EMPLOYEES ALWAYS FEEL THAT THEY ARE OF INTEREST AND THE STAFF CARES ABOUT THEM
– What else do you think helps new employees to get used to new work during the on-boarding period?
– We adjusted communication between the manager, mentor and newcomer. This enables the new employee to feel that he is of interest and the staff cares about him/her.
Moreover, we implemented such on-boarding system which supposes the intermediate results control. For example, the standard on-boarding period for vocational professions is equal to one month. HR department asks the head of the business unit about newcomer two weeks after start of his/her work. This enables to adjust the on-boarding process provided that there are some subtle aspects. We keep an eye on the office workers regularly at all. We see whether the person smiles or he/she knits his/her brows (he laughs). Maybe, it is necessary to talk to him and to help with something.
– How many people work at the company now?
– On average, about 165-170 people work at UDK in total: 25 office workers and the others are the production staff.
THEY WENT TO EUROPE BUT THEY WANTED TO COME BACK TO UDK ON THEIR RETURN TO UKRAINE
– Have you observed staff drift from the enterprise?
– We have various periods, including hard times. There was a period after borders opening when people started to go for work in the European Union. The expected income was crucial when the employees made such decisions.
However, in many cases it appeared to be that “there is no place like home”. Our former colleagues wanted to come back to UDK on their return from work in other countries, even though their new post was ranked lower than the post occupied by them before dismissal.
One of the operators said on his return to UDK: “I’m home”. This short phrase reflects the high assessment of the corporate culture and climate in the company.
UDK IMPLEMENTS THE INITIATIVES OF THE AVERAGE EMPLOYEES
– Did you have the situations when one of the employees presented some initiative or improvement, and the company management invested into this project?
– I can say that the initiatives of our employees turn out to be very useful and important. For еxample, the gas boiler house was provided in the project and built at the enterprise. Then the head of the enterprise technical support department advanced the initiative of construction of another boiler house for solid fuel combustion appliance. The company management approved this suggestion and invested
into this project.
The construction process was completed even before outbreak of the conflict in the East of Ukraine and gas problems. Thereby, firstly we proved to be energy self-sufficient, and secondly, this is economically feasible. So yes, people advance certain initiatives, and we consider and implement them for our part.
IT IS NECESSARY TO FORM AND TO DEVELOP THE INTEREST OF THE SOCIETY AND YOUNG PEOPLE TO THE VOCATIONAL PROFESSIONS
– There is a perception that modern youth does not work at one and the same enterprise for a long time and is in constant search of something new in the pursuit of quick success achievement. Is there any use in dealing with this trend and how can we do it?
– It’s been my observation that modern youth chooses to work remotely with no fixed hours with ever increasing frequency. Needless to say that distance work is not our history due to the fact that our company is the manufacturer. There was a time when everyone wanted to become the lawyer or economist, and currently everyone wants to become the software developer. However, we need blue collar employees.
How can we deal with these trends? It is necessary to form and to develop the interest of the society and young people to the vocational professions and production in itself.
We work towards this. We have the scholarship program for the students of the higher educational establishments according to which we cooperate with the Ukrainian State University of Chemical Technology and Prydniprovska State Academy of Civil Engineering and Architecture. “UDK” is fully engaged into the university events; we are glad to speak at the fairs of employers; we arrange the tours to our enterprise for students. We want everyone to know about us and our enterprise supporting young people who want to work in the chemical and construction industry.
Reference: “Alef” corporation incorporates cross-sectional businesses operating in the sector of development, manufacturing of construction materials and the agrarian field. Vadym Iermolaiev is a chairman of “Alef” corporation council. Stanislav Vilenskyi is a deputy chairman of the corporation council. The activity oriented to constant improvement of the processes and implementation of the innovations is a strategy of “Alef” business association.