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HR lessons learned during the war in Ukraine

| By iGB Editorial Team | Reading Time: 3 minutes
On the Independence Day of Ukraine, Tatiana Davydova, chief talent officer at Parimatch Tech, shares her thoughts on the transformation of HR in the face of war and uncertainty.
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The war in Ukraine has changed the world for Ukraine-based businesses such as Parimatch Tech. Unlike other crises, in this case it was the first time the HR department had to take the brunt of the crash. While the war continues, we have already learned a number of important lessons that can apply to any business in a time of crisis. Some may be counter-intuitive, but all have played a key role in helping to keep Parimatch Tech running through 2022.

While the war continues, we have already learned a number of important lessons that can apply to any business in a time of crisis. Some may be counter-intuitive, but all have played a key role in helping to keep Parimatch Tech running through 2022.

Tatiana Davydova
Tatiana Davydova

HR went “back to basics”, and that’s OK

Meeting basic needs becomes a priority because of a high level of uncertainty. Therefore, we need to ensure that everything is stable at work — the company operates efficiently, employees have both current tasks and tasks for the future and payments are made on time, despite all the difficulties related to banking. 

It is vital to ensure that the underlying processes are clear, transparent and work accurately and in coordination. When you go back to the basics, you have three main tasks:

  • make sure the basics are working;
  • communicate with clear messages. And do it daily because every day brings many changes;
  • constantly analyse the current situation and plan for future actions.

Keep making decisions – right or wrong

Making any decision is extremely difficult at times like these when you are in shock. At some point, you realise that the key is to keep making decisions – whether right or wrong.

A wrong decision is already a good thing because you know for sure that it is bad, and you do not feel paralysed, wasting your energy trying to decide whether to make this decision or not. After all, the critical thing is to act. 

Do not wait, do not sit tight in anticipation that something will change. If you have enough information and some ideas, make decisions and act on them.

Corporate values ​​are your engine

Two of my colleagues participated in an ESG hub meeting recently, looking at how companies can support Ukraine.

Speaking about Parimatch Tech and the Parimatch Foundation, colleagues mentioned the financial assistance and charitable projects related to supporting and rehabilitating the victims of the war.

But I would like to note another vital aspect – the importance of developing a corporate social culture (CSR), which helps mobilise resources. This was also evident from other participants’ cases.

As a company that promotes caring for the employees at every step, we did not need to explain to people that caring for each other in hard times is the most important thing. We just have to provide people with the opportunity to implement what is needed at the moment.

Such an approach resulted in us launching many volunteer initiatives and projects. We not only helped Ukraine, but also created internal streams of support for our employees and their loved ones.

A vibrant corporate culture opens up additional opportunities for support not only in the event of hostilities but also in other emergencies, such as natural disasters or pandemics.

Optimism can be harmful sometimes

Optimism in our work processes had always been our strength, but became our weakness under new circumstances. 

We had plans in place for various events, but a scenario like this one was unexpected for all of us, so we had to build internal processes aimed at helping the employees and their families from scratch. At times, a more realistic approach can help a business prepare for the worst.

Don’t show pity

I recently heard an interesting story: the centres providing help to refugees prohibited volunteers from showing pity, or hugging and reassuring people. 

These actions worsened the inner state of refugees, and they began to complain, feel sorry for themselves, and as a result burned out. 

Instead, volunteers were asked to provide people with activities, simple ones at least, like sorting through items. Using these straightforward functional tasks diverted hands and minds away from an overwhelming “bigger picture”. I liked this approach. 

After all, the purpose of HR is to give a boost and inspiriration so that people get themselves together and start doing something. It’s crucial to do everything possible for people to get back to normal and begin to restore their lives as far as possible.

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