New business realities. How to run a business and adapt a team

Yulia Lapko, HR director of Cosmolot, told us how the company and the team managed to reorganize its work during the wartime, what difficulties arose, the situation with the employees, and how long it took to return to stable operation.

New business realities. How to run a business and adapt a team

Valentyn Ihnatiev

23.05.2022 | 01:11

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Did the company's staff decrease significantly after the war started?

We were giving a presentation to employees about the company's market position during the war. According to our data, 53% of the working population have lost their jobs, 22% work as usual, and only 2% have found a job. All the rest are in limbo. The IT market feels calmer, but only foreign companies have fully resumed their work. Ukrainian business is still unstable.

Our competitors tried to cut costs at the expense of personnel. Gambling has undergone major layoffs; more than 20% of employees in the industry have been laid off. Some companies wholly abandoned benefits or reduced salaries by 20-30% for the war period.

Cosmolot went the other way. We have not fired a single employee or reduced wage payments. Literally, they refused bonuses for a month but returned them as soon as they began to resume work. The only thing that has not returned in full is training. First, the market for educational services has not recovered enough yet. Secondly, many courses are best taken offline, which is not available at the moment.

Is Cosmolot currently hiring new employees?

On April, 17 new employees came to work. Some of them took positions that we did not have before the war, and the rest were roles that were open before the war but put on hold after it started. We continue to strengthen the team, looking for new specialists and developing different business areas.

Have salaries changed in the company after February 24?

No, we didn't cut the salaries. At the beginning of the war, we fixed the salary for the entire team. In April, an annual evaluation was planned for those working in the company for more than a year - we have shifted it to the summer. We will not reduce payments based on the results of the review, but we will allow employees to increase their financial income.

What percentage of employees went abroad? Do they plan to return?

20% of employees went abroad, and almost 80% of the company's personnel became internally displaced. Most of them moved from Kyiv to the west or relatives throughout the country.

The company developed a relocation package and offered employees to move to one of the European countries. Those who did not have a personal plan to travel abroad took advantage of this opportunity.

We conduct weekly surveys, record the location and speak individually with each employee. Almost the entire team wants to return to Ukraine and work in Kyiv.

New business realities. How to run a business and adapt a team

Photo: Vladimir Gerasimov

Did the relocated employees quit or work remotely?

During this time, two of our employees quit. Among those who went abroad, not a single person quit. When Cosmolot returns to the Kyiv office after the war, our employees will be able to stay abroad and work remotely.

Quarantine has made us flexible and prepared for remote work. Some work in other time zones, but this does not affect the efficiency and results. The company has set up all processes, regardless of whether the team works in the office, at home, or abroad.

Has the level of responsibility of employees changed?

In the first week of the war, people dealt with matters of personal security. We closed tasks with the help of those who were already in a safe city and could work. The team itself got in touch, offered their help instead of others, and returned to work at the first opportunity. Two weeks later, the company returned to business as usual so that each employee knew their tasks.

What was the first thing you paid attention to when interacting with employees?

First of all, we pay attention to the safety of our employees. We held one-on-one meetings, found out if help was needed, and only then returned to work processes.

At one of the rallies, managers noted that not everyone could come to terms with the events and tune in to work psychologically. This inspired the involvement of psychologists in work. Now employees can contact one of the four specialists for free, resolve internal issues and return to work. Those who tried to contact psychologists said that it was very effective and helpful.

How long did it take you to restore all working processes after February 24?

Cosmolot resumed operations after a week and a half. In April, it returned to pre-war levels. But we take into account the market's mood, the state of the country, and our team. This dramatically affects our work.

What is new in the company's direction, and what are your plans for the future?

The new direction of Cosmolot's work is charity. Previously, we did not help in such a volume, but now we are trying to transfer funds as much as possible for humanitarian and military needs. For assisting the front, the company received gratitude from the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine.

We have many plans for the development of the company. We will gladly tell you about them as soon as they come true.

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