Astarta’s HRD Svitlana Mozgova discusses the principles of working with human capital.

The basis of Astarta’s approach to working with talent is a person at the centre of transformations, values, consistency, continuity, team development, and adaptability. We implemented the current HR strategy on the eve of the full-scale invasion. Therefore, it considers our previous experience during the pandemic and contains a section on dealing with potential risks to ensure employee safety and business continuity. The existing action plan for different scenarios and the company’s value system united the team and helped quickly adapt to the new realities of a full-scale war. 

The critical challenges for companies in working with people are security, high levels of stress, and finding and attracting quality staff. Recognising the importance of maintaining employees’ and their families’ physical and mental health, in early 2023, we launched the Healthy and Unbreakable programme, which includes scheduled check-ups, physical activities, lectures, and individual work with a psychologist. The goal is to create a culture of healthy lifestyles and a conscious attitude to one’s health.

Most Ukrainian companies are currently experiencing the effects of the staff shortage caused by the war. Experts say one way to overcome it is to replace ‘male’ positions with women. It is not a way to seem to be a massive solution because every business and profession has its peculiarities. Although we have cases of women successfully replacing mobilised men, this is the kind of ‘replacement therapy’ that is practised sporadically. 

I see much greater potential among young people – students, young professionals and people of retirement age, those who have recently completed their careers and are approaching retirement age. At Astarta, we actively engage students in our work. We cooperate with universities and agricultural colleges, offering dual education. In 2023, 60 students completed their internships, and 80% stayed with the company.

Young people are very motivated to study and work. Like professionals’ retirement and pre-retirement age, Astarta also has positive experiences and best practices. Among other things, we offer a mentoring programme called Successors and Mentors. One of its approaches is as follows: after retirement, a specialist continues to work as an advisor to their successor, passing on invaluable knowledge and experience. It ensures the continuity of processes and allows Astarta to develop a high-quality management reserve.

Another way to compensate for the talent shortage is to reintegrate veterans. Of course, Astarta retains monthly payments to those mobilised in their monthly salaries and jobs. After demobilisation, they can return to their positions or transition after training – we are flexible here and meet the wishes and goals of our employees.

We take a comprehensive approach to veteran reintegration. We are currently developing a reintegration strategy. One of its elements is a digital platform that will help veterans find the information they need about recovery, training, and employment in agriculture. We will implement it at the holding level, and then we will be able to scale it to the country’s agricultural sector. 

Why agriculture? Our experience in implementing grant projects (Brave, Course for Independence, Wings) shows that most veterans apply to start their own business in agriculture, so this is where they see huge potential for their realisation. 

Working with veterans is more than just a matter of their professional development. The other side is psychosocial support for both them and their families. We will address these issues through networking with the Resilience Centres that we, together with the Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine, are already opening in communities. These are barrier-free and accessible spaces where people can go for free psychosocial support or information about the necessary service or services in the community. 

Working with veterans requires resources, emotional involvement, and a willingness to change. That is why companies should be ready to change with them. They should create opportunities for their professional development and use their experience to achieve the best results.

The source: Forbes Ukraine