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    «We create a nurturing environment within the company that leads to results»

    Maria Bolkunova, HR Director at MONOPOLY Group of Companies, was included in the «Top 1000 Russian Managers» rating published by the Managers Association and Kommersant Publishing House. We found out from Maria how the HR-direction is developing during transformation of MONOPOLY Group of Companies, what difficulties the team and employees face, and what is necessary for everyone in the company to feel their importance.

    Maria, what tasks were put for you when you had just come to MONOPOLY Group of Companies? What have you managed to implement, and what objectives do you accomplish today?

    I joined the company in April 2020. My goal was to help the company to go through organizational transformation, which, in its turn, would facilitate and support transformation of the business model.

    First, I studied the current processes and outlined two main tasks — to create a new organizational structure based on a clear company strategy and to implement a management system which would facilitate internal changes.

    At the moment the strategic initiatives are already formulated: shareholders and top managers understand current goals, priorities and means to achieve these goals. Now we are creating a system in the HR Department which will help involve every employee in the transformation process. In such a way we will begin to effectively change from within.  

    What does a company need to have in order to build such a system?

    First, to assess the current state of the system and to begin to look at employees as the company’s core capital: organizational, intellectual and cultural.

    Second, to emphasize organizational development of the company. This is what helps to understand the main processes, what departments should function in the company to implement these processes effectively, what roles we perform, what functions and tasks we have, how we interact, etc.

    Third, to build the cultural capital. It consists of our values and peculiarities of internal communication.

    Finally, there is intellectual capital. It is our competitive advantage: skills and competences which we already possess and the ones we are shaping and developing within the framework of the company’s strategy. 

    All these attributes should appear in the company, so that each employee clearly understands our goals and feels his/her contribution on the way towards their achievement.

    How does the company structure its system for hiring new employees? How do you conduct the search and interview process in the light of the company’s transformation?

    Successful hiring is a series of successful decisions. First, we formulate the problem we want to solve. Then we ask the question, «What are we lacking to accomplish it?». These can be resources or competency, or both. The main thing is that this need should be clearly understood by each customer, namely by a manager who is looking for a specialist to join his team.

    Only then he/she evaluates the labor market and chooses the most suitable candidate, who becomes an employee in the future. Each step is a certain decision. The more successful he/she is in making these decisions, being guided, among other things, by business needs of his/her department and the company’s strategy, the more successful the hiring process is.

    In this case, the task of HR is to create a value proposition and provide it to those who may be interested, attract talented candidates with right competencies to the company, help each manager to assess them during the selection.

    How does adaptation of new employees of the company, their further growth and development happen?

    We create a system in which all new employees go through a soft adaptation process. In their first days we hold a mini-welcome time for them, where we introduce them to the company, its departments and divisions. New colleagues receive memos and instructions containing key rules, the most common questions, and induction plans.  They clearly outline procedures which will help specialists to quickly integrate into the team and reach their productive level.

    We regularly conduct employee surveys. We ask them to assess effectiveness of processes and we develop measures and implement new tools on the basis of feedback. By the way, more than 100 new employees join us every month.

    As for skills growth, we are just beginning to implement individual development plans. Currently, we are testing them in the corporate communications department, and later we will implement them in each subdivision along with building of career tracks, process of goal-setting and performance evaluation.

    What conditions do you think should be created so that specialists want to work for MONOPOLY Group of Companies and feel comfortable?

    First of all, we try to create a developing environment within the company, which leads to achievement of results. It is the environment, where people trust each other, unite and can realize themselves completely: use their skills, get new knowledge, create something.

    When it is okay to work in the company? When the purposes of an employee are reached through implementation of the purposes of the whole company. He/she feels comfortable, if he/she is appreciated, he/she involved and wants to implement the strategy and tasks, he/she is developing, and he/she has all the tools to do it. I think that we are succeeding in this field.

    Often large companies are characterized by a gap between employees and top team. How do you solve this problem at MONOPOLY Group of Companies?

    Well-established communication between the top team and employees, full involvement and absence of barriers — these are our strongest advantages. The top team is available practically 24/7 in any meeting room, their doors are always opened. Every employee can come in with any idea or suggestion and will not remain unnoticed. In addition, it is important for the top team to know what employees think, it is important for them to see what is going on inside. That’s why they are always involved in discussions and the development of solid projects.

    Moreover, we are developing this liaison. For example, at the end of September MONOPOLY Group of Companies held the first quarterly meeting of employees and the top team, where we were able to discuss results of work for the first half of 2021 and goals for the next period. This conference was attended by 575 employees — that’s practically our whole office.

    At the meeting, we provided information about key events of the company, shared results, noted successes and achievements, thanked everyone for effective work and said the words everyone required. It is important for us to prioritize and indicate which subdivisions influence this or that result, figure, metric or indicator. I think this is what engages, raises interest and inspires.

    I am grateful to everyone that this meeting took place. The preparation process was not easy, but we made it. Now we plan to make it a quarterly event, so that employees can check results of their efforts at once, be flexible and take the right action faster. After all, the more small victories you face, the faster you move toward your goal.

    10. 01. 2022

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