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Marianna Hadjiandoniou on the evolution of HR and Employee Wellbeing

Established back in 2019 by the European Association for People Management, every year on the 20th of May companies and organisations celebrate International HR Day.

This day is dedicated to the heroes of HR departments that work hard to create healthy workplaces, positive employee experience, and to attract and retain top talent and drive strategic initiatives that propel the organisation forward. With the theme “Shaping the New Future” and the sub-themes: Championing Ethical Tech and AI Integration, Redefining Future Workplaces, Excellence in People Leadership, and Continuous investment in skills and education. This year’s International HR day is focused on the Innovative future of workplaces.

Taking this opportunity, we asked a successful HR leader Marianna Hadjiandoniou Executive Vice President of Energame and Founder and Director of PERHA Group, about her opinion on the evolution of HR and Employee Wellbeing. With over two decades of experience in HR across diverse industries, Marianna embodies a deep passion for people and an expert grasp of HR strategies.

How has the role of HR evolved over the years, particularly with the rise of remote work and digital transformation?

Remote work and digital transformation have significantly changed the role of HR. The integration of technology in HR processes, such as recruitment, onboarding, performance management, and employee engagement, is one of the most important changes. Data analytics has become crucial, offering insights into employee performance, turnover rates, and workforce planning for better decision-making. Moreover, managing a distributed workforce has required new strategies to maintain productivity, communication, and engagement. Employees nowadays prefer virtual trainings and remote meetings that take place through cloud-based team communication platforms and video telephony software.

Additionally, employee well-being and mental health are now central to HR practices. There's an extensive focus on wellness programs, mental health resources, and initiatives to support employees' well-being, along with promoting work-life balance through flexible work hours and remote options. Diversity, equity, and inclusion have also gained significant importance, with HR professionals implementing DEI policies to create more inclusive workplaces, helping to attract and retain diverse talent.

It is clear that HR's role has shifted from administrative tasks to becoming a strategic partner in organisations, involved in shaping business strategy and workforce planning. Also the evolution includes addressing new compliance challenges, like data security and privacy in remote work environments. Furthermore, the evolution of HR reflects a shift towards a more strategic, technology-driven, and employee-centric approach, better supporting the changing needs of the workforce and contributing to organisational success.

How do you balance the needs of the organisation with the well-being and professional growth of employees?

Balancing the needs of the organisation with the well-being and professional growth of employees requires a thoughtful approach. Firstly, it's important to align organisational goals with employees' personal and professional aspirations, ensuring everyone understands their role in the bigger picture. This alignment promotes motivation and a sense of purpose. Flexible work arrangements, such as remote work options and flexible hours, are crucial for helping employees manage their work-life balance while maintaining productivity. Investing in continuous learning opportunities, like training programs and workshops, allows employees to enhance their skills and advance their careers, which benefits both the individual and the organisation.

Moreover, prioritising employee well-being through wellness programs that address physical, mental, and emotional health can significantly improve productivity and job satisfaction. Open and transparent communication accompanied by regular check-ins and feedback sessions help HR understand and address employee concerns, ensuring they feel valued. In addition, recognition and reward programs boost morale by acknowledging employees' hard work and achievements.

At Energame, our culture is built on inclusivity, trust, and recognition. We strive to create an environment where employee well-being is a priority, everyone feels a sense of belonging, and all voices are heard. From salary increases and lunch allowances to employee clubs and flexible work arrangements, we ensure our team members are content while achieving our organisational goals. Additionally, we go a step further with our benefits. Employees can use an amount for their personal needs, choosing from a list including sports, relaxation, automotive services, and personal wellbeing. Recently we launched a new educational programme - gENERation programme - that supports the education of employees’ children, further demonstrating our commitment to our employees' overall well-being and success.

In light of International HR Day, what message would you like to share with HR professionals worldwide?

On this International HR Day, I want to express my sincere gratitude to HR professionals around the globe. Your commitment to host positive, diverse, and efficient workplaces is immeasurable. It's important to recognise that your efforts not only contribute to the success of your companies but also enhance the lives of numerous employees. Continue to advocate for growth, development, and fairness. Your influence is significant and beneficial

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