46 (141) 2020
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Editorial note

Editorial Note

by Michael Dembinski, chief advisor, and Dorota Kierbiedź, membership director
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You’d think that four issues of Contact Magazine Online on from the start of the pandemic, there would be little more to say on the matter – but not a bit of it! With each passing month, the business experience collectively gained, the insights acquired, are all adding up to a huge learning experience that will be of value to executives for the rest of their careers.

This issue focuses on human resources. How to manage people at these times of extreme uncertainty, how to maintain productivity, creativity and morale, how to keep going.

There are three interviews, with Yannick Coulange, head of recruitment firm Michael Page in Poland, Sue Hill, the new principal of the British School in Warsaw, and Aleksandra Babicka, head of HR at HL Tech, the Warsaw tech-hub of the UK’s largest online financial supermarket, Hargreaves Lansdowne.

As well as the interviews, there’s plenty more valuable content to offer useful insight. How is the Polish recruitment market shaping up after nine months of pandemic? Marc Burrage, managing director at Hays Poland, considers how employers’ and recruits’ attitudes to change have shifted.

How are HR managers coping? Anna Trochim, country HR manager at Cushman and Wakefield, Poland, considers the skillset that employers will be looking for in a post-pandemic labour market, and how leadership skills have evolved during lockdown. And at Tesco, employee wellbeing – mental as well as physical – became even more important than ever as the pandemic surged across Poland. Daria Kulińska, head of communications, Tesco Poland, explains the steps taken by the supermarket chain to create a supportive work environment for its workforce.

Deloitte Poland’s John Guziak looks at the characteristics necessary for a leader that’s taking a company through the stages of response and recovery and back to thriving. Resilience and courage key, he says.

Temp vs permanent – the balance between the two has shifted, and will remain tilted towards the temporary employee as the economy recovers at an uncertain and uneven pace. Dariusz Ronka from KS Service considers the advantages of a flexible workforce.

The legal aspects of HR work at a time of pandemic are particularly interesting and need to be taken note of. How does one lay off an employee (or employees) when you – and they – are locked down? Can mobbing and discrimination happen in a workforce where people are working remotely? How do you ensure compliance with GDPR when your firm’s databases are distributed on laptops situated in your employees’ homes? Does ‘home office’ still count as a perk or benefit in these days of compulsory lockdown? How do you change terms and conditions of employment – for example, when a company car is no longer justifiable?

We have the answers for you, from by Karolina Kanclerz and Julita Kołodziejska at PCS Paruch Chruściel Schiffter, Littler Global (remote termination), Aleksandra Hajdukiewicz, Oliwia Kruczyńska, Justyna Tofil from Kołecka Law Firm (GDPR). And Monika Krzyszkowska-Dąbrowska and Agnieszka Kornecka, from Linklaters, assess the legal risks of having your employees working from home, while Agnieszka Szczodra-Hajduk, from Hogan Lovells Warsaw, gives advice on amending employment contracts during the pandemic. Paula Koczara, from Bird & Bird in Warsaw, explains that the law on mobbing and discrimination also applies during lockdown – and what employers should watch out for.

How do employment protection measures introduced by the Polish government compare to those deployed by other countries? Anna Gwiazda, head of labour practice at Kochański & Partners looks at the winners and losers. And finally in our legal section, how foreigners can set up businesses in Poland, deal with taxes, and a healthcare and education, by Łukasz Śliwiński, Daria Goliszewska, Joanna Goryca, and Aleksandra Wójcik from Wardyński & Partners.

What should you as an employer need to know when one of your employees is infected with coronavirus? Katarzyna Błażejewska, Mazars in Poland, offers step-by-step guidance.

Now is the time to get training your workforce for the new business environment that will emerge post-Covid. Andrew Perkins from Kaplan Professional says you need to get training programmes in place now so that you can hit the ground running as normality returns.

Senior managers also need to up their game. Business trainer Lucyna Baca-Lönn explains the benefits of leadership coaching, and how competence diagnostics can identify improvement potential.

Next year will see Poland implementing the EU’s Whistleblower Directive into national law. What do firms need to do to be ready? Katarzyna Saganowska from TMF looks at the Directive and what it will mean in practice for businesses operating in Poland.

The treatment of workers posted to other member states across the EU has changed this year; the tax and social-security implications of the new Directive are explained by Ewa Guerri, from Accreo. Important if you send employees to work abroad.

Employee branding is a critical aspect of recruiting and retaining the skilled people your business needs. Freightliner PL has just won a prestigious award, coming at the end of a two-year turnaround process. Board member Krzysztof Wróbel looks back at how the rail-freight operator became a Great Place to Work.

Lukasz Chodkowski from Déhora Poland mentions some highlights from research about HR during the pandemic. An amazing 60% of firms do not monitor working time of their employees working from home! And a similar proportion of respondents will be reviewing their work regulations in the light of their Covid-19 experience.

How important is the workplace to the youngest generation that’s now entering the labour force? And how will the experience of the pandemic change that? Real estate consultancy Cushman & Wakefield have commissioned new research.

Changing preferences among workers – and householders – are influencing the direction of developers. Kraków-based Mix Group is building today the homes and offices that will be most sought after tomorrow.

Kinnarps was an initiator of a report on a home-office conditions during the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, from March to June. There are some interesting conclusions, not least that technologically, Poles proved to be up for the challenge, but for working-from-home to become a standard feature of some future hybrid model, home working conditions need to improve.

Finally, human longevity is subject to increasing scientific scrutiny as the causes of human ageing are unravelled. What this will mean to our health-span, and how this will effect society and the economy, was discussed at an online conference last month. Joanna Bensz of the Longevity Institute provides coverage of an event that is relevant to everyone.

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