NATALIA PETKOVA: THE ART OF BUILDING AN EFFECTIVE TEAM


The HR Director of Eviden Bulgaria on managing talents in a big international IT organization

Natalia Petkova Eviden.jpg

Managing people and teams to outperform on a regular basis in a fast developing and challenging field such as IT is a hard task that requires the right combination of professionalism, strive for constant learning and perfection, and genuine care for the wellbeing of the employees. Natalia Petkova knows this well. As the HR Director of Eviden Bulgaria, a part of the Atos Group and a leader in technology transformation, she is responsible for the effectiveness and satisfaction of the largest team of such professionals in the field.

What is the greatest challenge in working for an international organization of such a scale for you, as an HR director?

In Bulgaria, the Atos Group has three companies: Atos IT Solutions and Services, Eviden Bulgaria and Eviden Global Delivery Center. I manage the HR processes of the two Eviden companies, which employ about 1,000 people. The main challenge is the significant transformation that the group is going through both globally and locally.

In the past year my main focus was on change management and proper coordination between all managerial levels, by constantly improving and widening our local communication channels.

Another important aspect is finding the balance between our colleagues and business's needs, and our financial goals. Sometimes we have to take and communicate hard decisions.

I also constantly seek new ways to show our employees how highly they are valued within the company.

Which are your main tasks as the HR director?

They are connected to the employees' engagement, change management and improving the quality of services that our HR team offers to our colleagues. Everything starts from this – the small everyday interactions, the human approach towards our colleagues' different circumstances and how we help. Then, we build trust, and focus on fast reaction, patience and positive attitude.

Strategic tasks are my next priority; change management is one of them. Proper change management starts with having extensive information on the change in question: who and how it will affect, how it will be implemented locally and how it will be communicated to the affected employees. I find most of the answers together with the local management. We strive towards transparency and address on time the employees' questions and worries.

Another key element are programmes for recognition and upgrading of achievements and positive examples. One of the tools we use is the Accolade programme that distinguishes employees for significant achievements and commendable attitudes. The awards are material ones and are given in a public ceremony. We also have non-material tools, such as a sports award programme, use of professional social networks, have a "wall of fame" at the office, etc. We aim at creating pleasant experience for the employees.

How do you manage to build an effective team?

When I became the HR Director of Eviden Bulgaria three years ago, I joined a team of great professionals. Together, we assessed the situation in the company and started the gradual transformation of processes that needed improvement. We combined perfectly the good, working practices with my vision for building effective and successful practices in process management.

A year ago, I also took the challenge of becoming HR Director for the newly created Eviden Global Delivery Center. Since then, we as a team grew not only as members, but as experts as well.

Both Eviden companies in Bulgaria have their own spirit and history. Eviden Bulgaria gathers some of the best and most experienced SAP consultants, AI specialists, architects, trainers and support agents there are. Eviden is the only company in Bulgaria that offers end-to-end service in the field of digital solutions for large businesses and industries. On the other hand, our colleagues in the GDS are among the best HR, finance, and cybersecurity experts not only in Bulgaria, but in Europe. They support critical operations and processes remotely for different Eviden geographics and our global structure. What the colleagues do in both companies is simply amazing. We are also quite a multinational organization locally – in Eviden GDC we have colleagues coming from more than 10 different nationalities and 3 continents.

Hence, we as HR team need to be incredibly flexible and inclusive. Luckily, I work with exceptional people and professionals. I appreciate all their efforts and always try to understand and support them in our everyday challenges. Our success is a shared achievement.

What is the more important quality when you select professionals for Eviden Bulgaria – hard or soft skills?

We evaluate both, but the soft skills are crucial for the final choice as they are key for the successful integration and long-term success of new colleagues. In the dynamic and international environment in which Eviden Bulgaria operates skills such as communication, teamwork, adaptivity, emotional intelligence and problem solving are crucial, our projects often require cross-functional partnership and interaction with different cultures.

We believe that the balance between hard and soft skills is the key towards building effective and successful teams.

Which task from your work as HR Director in Eviden Bulgaria you will always remember?

The last year at Eviden Bulgaria was the most challenging year in my entire career. We, as a team, had the rare opportunity to build a new brand and company. It was a very intense period of adaptation, braving unknown waters and lots of decisions that had to be taken quickly and, if possible, correctly from the first try. I am grateful for this chance.

What distinguishes a good HR manager in an IT company?

The capability to balance between the strategic and tactical aspects of HR management. In the dynamic world of the IT industry, the HR manager should possess and develop the following skills: strategic thinking, adaptability and flexibility, communication skills, emotional intelligence, focus on people, problem solving and change management skills.

I try to nurture these skills in myself on a daily basis. Some days are better than others, but I focus on learning from every success and failure. Being better at my job is what would bring value for our people and organization – this is what drives me and motivates me every day.

eviden.com

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