HR Tech Weekly : People Oriented Communication Makes You a Leader
Today our guest is Alexey Mitkin who runs The HR Tech Weekly® and #HRTechOnline media projects. We have conducted an interview with him.
How long have you been in C-level corporate in Human Capital Management?
I spent 15 years in the C-suite in leading multinational and local companies. My managerial career began when I came back to Moscow from New York in 1999. In 2002 I became HR Director of Schindler Group’s Russian operations and it was a kind of first significant milestone for me. Schindler had very ambitious plans to expand its’ business in Russia. This project was curated by Alfred Nicholas Schindler himself the fourth descendant of the company’s founder. It was special story for him as Schindler owned the factory in St. Petersburg before 1917 and his grandmother had Russian roots. He paid a lot of attention to the local management team and even conducted some project meetings. I was privileged to have personal meetings with him. Our local team was deeply integrated into the multinational corporate environment and educated a lot. Schindler called his best of retired managers to coach us as new comers. I personally feel gratitude to monsieur Claude Legendre ex-CEO Schindler France. After Schindler I joined Ritzio Entertainment Group Ltd. (Cyprus) as Chief Human Resources Officer where I got another benefit of great mentorship. Ritzio operated in 16 countries on three continents and employed 25,000 people. I was in charge for all of them, and their families as well as I felt. We started up our new operations in Europe and Latin America and prepared company for IPO in London. I have taken a sit in the Management Board of the managing company and in the Supervisory Boards of the operational companies along with shareholders. It was a great time when I was implementing all the best-demonstrated practices I brought from Schindler to Ritzio companies in Russia, CIS, Germany, Italy, Romania, Peru, Bolivia, Mexico and other countries. Ritzio Alumni Worldwide remains with me forever.
Another great company was Sodrugestvo Group S.A. one of the leading multinational company in soft commodities business headquartered in Luxembourg. Sodrugestvo built the biggest plant in the world on processing of oil-bearing crops in Kaliningrad Region and expanded its’ operations in 12 countries incl. Russia, CIS, Lithuania, Denmark, Brazil, Paraguay, Tunisia and USA. I was in charge for delivering state-of-the-art Human Resources solutions for the Group’s international business development and Greenfield project of building the plant and deep-sea port facilities in Kaliningrad.
The last but not least was Electron, Co. from St. Petersburg the leading local producer of x-ray equipment and IT solutions for the medical industry. I was inspired by the great examples of the number of new companies from Silicon Valley that passed a way from unknown startups to the best employers ranked by Glassdoor. In just one year Electron made dramatic progress from the zero point to best-in-class standards with disruptive HR Technologies and became a nominee of the WhatWorks Award® 2014 in category Transforming HR as driven by Bersin by Deloitte worldwide to recognize organizations that have developed and implemented groundbreaking approaches to HR resulting in significant business improvement.
What is one vital skill or outcome that you've master in this industry after all these years?
In Schindler I was told one bold thing: “HR is tailor made”. I did not believe and was trying to find some universal HR solutions in order to make them multiple. I failed continuously. Now I am convinced that HR should be hand made, at least pret-a-porte for bigger companies. There are a lot of tools you can use to master your suite but it is a tailor job still. And this is people oriented work. If a Human Resources Manager is not people oriented there are no HR-technologies to help him or her to pass through. Human Resources turned face to people when started to speak about them as talents not resources. Now it’s time to revert from talent management to people oriented solutions as it always been before management was invented.
Another crucial thing is communication. I am about to deliver HR Tech to business and I say: Communication Is a King and It Beats Technologies. When you deliver a solution your success 80% belongs to effective communications and only 20% to technologies. The last 20% we should split by Pareto principle again and give 80% for technologies of implementation means communications and 20% to the entire technology itself means some percent from initial size. Here it goes and this is it.
You have asked me about the vital skill or outcome and now I can answer: People Oriented Communication Makes You a Leader.
Which other projects are you undertaking?
When I still was on the corporate side I have launched my own business during transition time. It was the executive search and management consulting’ boutique under the loudly speaking name International Executive Search Associates Ltd.® I started up right before recent economical crisis in 2008 and had doing pretty well before it came. Business was booming but unexpectedly failed. That was the real challenge not to close it completely and I re-launched it as so-called second edition after temporary freeze and run until the end of 2014.
In 2013 I was kicked-off to the number of great international HR conferences after a certain break. That was the right time to come back. HR Tech was promptly escaped forward from the rear guard to the avant-garde of IT business. People spoke about disruptive technologies and everybody was excited of new HR Tech startups. It was the love from the first sting and I was lost and addicted forever. I met in person with a lot of great people form either corporate and startup side and global opinion leaders.
Finally it leads me to my own HR Tech startup in the beginning of 2015. It was project of developing highly loaded search engine for recruiters combined with ATS and Social Media based on SaaS model. My previous business was very simple but the new one became different. I was inventing and assembling the plane when jumped from the rock. I was in charges for very new things for me but was absolutely happy and inspired of what I am doing. It was the new world with coding, budgeting, fundraising, venture capitalists and business angels, pitches and invest memos, and so on so forth. Searching for co-founders and team building activities. No smoothies and free Wi-Fi in co-working as a lot of people think about what startup life is. Unfortunately we failed as a team but I have nothing to regret as I’ve got a great experience and new self-confidence. New business opportunities as like buses as Richard Branson said and in October 2015 the new one had arrived.
It is absolutely axiomatic story when one guy got some hysteria and did an app during one night. In my case it was web based digest aggregator of the niche content.
Now it’s my new love and passion, which is true and proud.
The HR Tech Weekly® now is the rapidly growing niche online media and full-fledged digital ecosystem incl. paid, owned and earned media marketing clusters worldwide.
We publish selective content from Social Media within HR Tech, Recruitment, Startups, and beyond and pay our special attention on the Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, Virtual and Augmented Reality and all the new technologies that are shaping the fourth industrial revolution and the Future of Work.
HR Tech Weekly (@HRTechWeekly) was ranked among Top 10 HR Tech Influencers on Twitter. Our content was reached by 10,5M readers by the end of the year 2015.
Just recently I have launched the new media project HR Tech Online® | #HRTechOnline. This is the global initiative of providing ongoing access to all the digital citizens and nomads to the industry news and updates on 24/7/365 basis which is becoming a new popular and already dismissed The HR Tech Weekly® in the rank from the 3rd place to 4th.
Why did you choose them?
It gives me the opportunity to combine all my new interests in one place. This is about HR Tech, startup, social media, digital marketing and growth hacking. I learn a lot of new things every day. The best of them I implement immediately. Sometime it is not perfect but I believe when it is perfect it is too late. I am connected to thousands of people from more than 80 countries all over the world. My audience simultaneously grows and I am really happy to make them engaged. People give me the new energy and share it back. It’s my business! And which is ultimately important my family fully supports me in what I am doing.
Don’t be afraid to try something new and change your life. Paul Gauguin for example was successful Parisian stockbroker when he decided to pursue painting full-time and finally moved to Tahiti. Despite that fact he became recognized artist only after his death he was rewarded with his passion and lifework.
It does not mean that everyone should follow his example literally. It means that if you truly desire something to achieve the whole Universe will be in help with you.
What are the upcoming challenges for you?
I am in the very beginning of the new challenging journey in my life and looking forward for the fascinating adventure. To be successful in the Social Media business you have to run through three mazes that are Interest, Attention and Trust of the audience. I just moved to the second level.
I strongly believe that both The HR Tech Weekly® and HR Tech Online® make the world better through ongoing sharing the best-demonstrated practices and disruptive updates from global opinion leaders within hot areas of mind.
Elon Musk said that to be successful it is necessary to work 100 hours per week. I am not sure to agree with him completely. Where are other 20 hours? Who knows maybe he does not work during weekends already.
What is one recommendation that you would give to hiring managers who have trouble finding and retaining Millennials?
What’s all this fancy about? All succeeding generations are different to the previous but not that much different as it seems to be. The differences are always about the technologies we use to do things.
Millennials are different because they grew up in the digital era and became native digital citizens. As R Ray Wang said to Bill Kutik at his Firing Line there are two types of digital citizens now that are native digital citizens and digital emigrants.
I would recommend to hiring managers to immigrate to the new digital world as soon as possible. The world is changing and if you don’t feel this it does not mean it doesn’t.
All this talks that we have to do this and that different with Millennials mean two things. First is about recruiters still speak different languages with Millennials. Second, we have to be better recruiters and better HR managers for Millennials.
The question is do we really have to be better recruiters and better HR managers to one of the generations and what should we do with others? I applaud to the new generations when they don’t want to be engaged with the old ways. They are brave enough to do this and we have to admire it. And again, the world is changing. The recruitment methods of 20th Century’ 30-s was dramatically different to those we used in 90-s. Now we have to do it different to 90-s and even to 2000-s as the world is changing faster.
This is not about Millennials only. This is about all of us moving to the new digital era, which is changing the way we do business, search, hire, engage and retain people.
The new world and consequently the new business are Social, Mobile and Cloud based. And if you do not follow in the waterway of mega tendencies you fail. This is it.
In this new era, which is one powerful approach to be used as a cost effective recruitment solution?
It is compelled to disappoint you. There is now one universal approach still. It is about most effective and convenient combination of the existing tools. You definitely have to be on Mobile. This is must. Use special extensions for recruiters on the major platforms like LinkedIn Recruiter and Facebook Graph Search. Study Boolean Search language. There is the huge number of new disruptive tools for recruiters. Stay up to date. Keep your eyes open on the new screening technologies, video interview and online assessment. They will definitely make your recruitment process more cost effective. Be visible on Social and grow your network. One is oldie but goodie stuff is to make relevant job descriptions. Yes, it still works. Use metrics because what is countable is manageable. Choose effective (not necessarily most expensive) ATS that supports parsing technologies, Social Media and main communication apps in order to be well connected with your candidates. Treat them as Clients because Recruitment is Sales. The last is crucial.
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