As of May 10th, employers in both the public and private sectors should no longer prioritize remote work. For the time being, however, a sudden mass-scale return to the offices is not likely: many Hungarian corporations are planning to get back to the office gradually and continue to their operations in a hybrid model – a combination of working from home and at the workplace. In addition, according to experts, companies not flexible enough could find themselves in a serious competitive disadvantage. How do players in the Hungarian financial and energy sector think about the future of work? Do they plan any incentives to encourage employees getting vaccinated? WHC Group sought answers to these questions with the help of leading experts at the latest HR Fest online conference.
Over the past year, widespread home office has not only created new opportunities, but also brought challenges for both employees and employers. Professionals attending HR Fest agreed that employers had to make serious efforts to maintain the culture of cooperation, foster collegial relationships and meet social needs of employees, as exclusively virtual work can be alienating. According to Zsuzsa Tóth, HR director of CIB Bank, although working from home was a functional and effective solution during the pandemic, colleagues need personal relationships and community experience. Therefore, companies developed and implemented various programs to strengthen team cohesion and informal relationships in the home office as well.
How do companies plan the future of work after the remission of the virus situation? HR executives in the financial and energy sector are planning a cautious return. It seems likely that working from home will remain with us in the long run. According to Balázs Fertig, Recruitment Manager of MOL Group, companies not showing flexibility find themselves with a serious competitive disadvantage. Besides that, Ildikó Ráczné Szőke, Head of HR Management of EKB argued that companies that can use pandemic best practices and incorporate them into their everyday operation in a sustainable way, can gain straightforward competitive advantage. In addition to this, it is important to successfully harmonize business needs and different personal needs of employees when designing work schedules.
HR executives attending HR Fest, without exception, agreed that home office would remain with us to some degree in the future. Most likely, companies will maintain a type of hybrid work model with a certain combination of remote and on-site work.
Krisztina Mikók, HR director of Erste Bank opined that office space will therefore take up a completely different function in the future: it is expected to be the scene of personal encounters, social interactions, rather than the site of focused, in-depth work. Ensuring smooth cooperation between colleagues, organizing tasks and work, and securing efficiency will all be serious challenges in a permanent hybrid work environment – especially for managers. Companies should therefore put special emphasis on preparing their managers to operate in such a system.
HR managers of Hungarian financial and energy companies agreed that returning to office work as a general way is only possible with an adequate level of vaccination. Hungarian employers try to encourage colleagues to take the coronavirus vaccine in different ways: there are companies which guarantee an extra day-off for those who get vaccinated, while others set up their own vaccination program or even create a vaccination point.
For the time being, employers are cautious regarding the vaccination certificate, as managers attending HR Fest generally reported that they do not plan to check if employees have it or not. However, many also think that the system of different rights attached to being vaccinated will sooner or later somehow enter the world of work as well.
Recruitment has also undergone several transformations due to the pandemic. The interview process shifted into the online space. Several companies intend to take advantage of its benefits, and will continue to interview candidates online in the future as well. “We could experience a dual effect on the labour market. During the pandemic, there were an increased number of candidates for less complex roles – mainly due to the workforce surplus coming from the tourism and hospitality industry. While jobs requiring special experience and expertise were more difficult to fill, which is due to the fact that stability and security have become more important and employees were less willing to change jobs in these positions” stated Viktor Göltl, CEO of WHC Group at HR Fest.
The domestic energy sector has undergone significant development in recent years, and Hungarian energy companies are building a growing presence on the international markets as well. Unfortunately, the industry faces the challenge of an aging workforce, and finds addressing younger generations difficult.
To overcome this obstacle, MVM has established a sectoral training centre, which will allow them to participate in dual secondary vocational training more intensively in the future, furthermore, the company has updated and places more emphasis on its internship program as part of its long-term strategy for youth labour supply. MOL is also facing the problem of aging. The company has recently announced its new strategy, thanks to which the Hungarian multi is taking significant steps towards sustainability and carbon neutrality. As a result of the operational transformation, the oil industry giant will become a completely different company in ten years. At the same time its employer brand will also transform, which will enable enables the company to offer an attractive alternative for young employees as well.
Source: Press Release