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HomeCAREERSHR Ambassador Nominations (SMART HR Event) – Today, Bogdan Cana

HR Ambassador Nominations (SMART HR Event) – Today, Bogdan Cana

Bogdan Cana is one of the six finalists nominated in the HR Ambassador contest, supported by the SMART HR Event. The voting session will take place “live” during the 9th Edition of the SMART HR Event, scheduled for May 23 and 24.

C&B: Tell us about your career path. What drew you to the field of human resources?

Bogdan Cana: My current position in HR was purely by chance. My path was initially directed towards the arts. I studied music (piano and guitar) in grades I-VIII, and later, in high school, I joined the theater class. Naturally, I applied to the University of Theater and Film Arts (UNATC), but I didn’t get in, so I turned to my backup solution – the Faculty of Sociology, specializing in Human Resources Management. I didn’t know what HR entailed, but I can say I was very lucky. It fit me like a glove, I liked it, and from being a fee-paying student in my first year, I ended up on a scholarship.

In my first year of college, I joined the student association ASSAS, part of a larger organization, ANOSR. By the second year, I managed to take over the mandate of HR Coordinator, handling recruitment campaigns and many other student projects.

Also, in the second year of college, I enrolled in my first internship program at Metro Cash & Carry, three months in the HR department, unpaid (those were the times).
Immediately after finishing those three months, I joined Medicover, also in an unpaid three-month internship, this time in the Recruitment team. I was fortunate to stay on with them afterwards, of course, as an employee. And here my more serious HR adventure began.
Later, I worked at Regina Maria, and since 2018 I have been part of the Kaufland team.

C&B: How do you think the role of HR has changed in recent years and what impact have these changes had on your profession?
Bogdan Cana: In Romania, I believe people’s perception of HR has changed quite a bit over the past few years. If ten years ago HR was seen more as the “ladies from personnel” who handle our salaries and help with recruitment, today, the impact of HR is somewhat greater. Businesses have realized that more is required from HR to keep up with an increasingly dynamic labor market with high expectations. With this realization, the necessary resources have been allocated, and their approach has broadened. New roles and functions have emerged, with Employer Branding being a prime example. Who would have thought ten years ago that there would be specialists dedicated to employer branding in Romania?

C&B: Is there an HR initiative or project you are particularly proud of? What challenges did you face, and what have you learned from this experience?
Bogdan Cana: I think the project I am most proud of is the ACCESS program – Employment of Candidates with Special Requirements and Developments. This is a program that my colleagues and I launched in 2019, and it has been growing year by year. The program includes three essential action directions: Creating recruitment channels dedicated to people with disabilities and promoting these channels to interested individuals, potential beneficiaries, or institutions dedicated to people with disabilities; Transforming Kaufland into an inclusive employer by addressing the physical and psychological needs of people with disabilities; Communication and internal training programs to support the integration of new colleagues into the Kaufland team. Main challenges encountered: Adapting Kaufland’s workspaces to increase the inclusion capacity for people with disabilities; Internal trainings for educating colleagues and department managers on efficiently integrating new colleagues with disabilities. What I learned from this experience is that the intention to do a good deed brings a lot of work. It’s easy to say, “Starting tomorrow, I want to hire 500 people with disabilities.” Okay, great. But where do you hire them? Is the work environment adapted for them? Are the people in the teams where you are about to bring them prepared? Do you know what their needs are? These are just a few of the questions we had to answer. Even five years after launching the program, we still have many things to sort out. We seek to identify elements that still need work and improve them. Currently, we have over 450 colleagues with disabilities and hope to identify even more colleagues.

C&B: How do you handle diversity and inclusion management within the organization? Could you give us a concrete example?
Bogdan Cana: We have many actions to promote diversity within the organization I am part of, and the ACCESS Program is just one of our programs. My colleagues and I are fortunate to have such a wide pool of candidates that we can recruit within the organization. I say this because we have over 170 stores in all counties, two very large logistics warehouses (Ploiesti and Turda), and HQ. In total, over 17,000 colleagues. Our teams include colleagues ranging from 16-year-olds to retirees who wanted a part-time job at Kaufland. We truly are a beautiful mix; you can find all generations and social categories with us. Among the team I coordinate is also Delia, whom I am very proud of. Despite being visually impaired, she is an excellent recruiter! And we learn from each other every day. Technology helps us a lot, and her skills are her strong point. Regarding gender equality, I can say that at the last official census, 73% of my colleagues are actually female colleagues. 😊 Moreover, more than half of the managerial positions are held by women.

C&B: What are the main qualities you consider essential for an HR specialist today?
Bogdan Cana: There are many people working in HR, but this field is not for everyone (as some might think). Some examples of such qualities would be: Communication skills: being like a “fish in water” when it comes to all types of human interaction. If you are involved in recruitment, L&D, or other areas that require interaction with people both inside and outside the company, you must be able to communicate effectively and make your voice heard; At the same time, you must have listening skills, be empathetic, and be able to adapt to any situation or human typology you interact with; Strong Project Management and Time Management skills; Another important thing is that HR professionals, regardless of the subdomain they work in, must have a theoretical foundation—because sometimes, things don’t go as well as we want if we do them purely based on feeling or guesswork.

C&B: How do you see the future of work and what role does HR play in shaping this future?
Bogdan Cana: I look forward to the future of work with hope, and I believe that HR professionals bear a very large responsibility, perhaps even growing year by year. All the social changes and external phenomena we have gone through in recent years and will go through in the coming period make us increasingly strong. The value and contribution of HR professionals to organizations have increased in recent years. And I believe it is our responsibility to continue to be involved and to discover new tools to adapt organizations to the people who are part of them and vice versa. Actions should always be viewed in both directions. Adaptability I think is a defining element today, both in terms of organizations and employees. And we are the key people who need to link these two elements. Innovation, technology, and the labor market, whether we like it or not, will evolve together. We have no choice but to welcome them with open arms, because they depend on each other. And no, I don’t believe that AI and technological progress are going to steal our jobs. On the contrary, I believe new jobs will be created, and we will learn to use AI to make our lives easier.

C&B: What advice do you have for companies regarding adapting to the new challenges in the world of work?
Bogdan Cana: I believe one of the best strategies a company can adopt is to look more within its own backyard. Especially when it comes to large organizations, we are clearly talking about a lot of internal resources. People who probably can and want more but don’t have the room to grow. Specifically, I’m referring to the internal recruitment and development of employees. Employers should invest more and more in their people, so that they acquire new skills, desired both by them and necessary for the organization. I’d like to see more internal upskilling or reskilling programs that cover both a potential recruitment need and give employees a chance to evolve. Such programs will automatically increase the motivation of people within the organization. And the best Employer Branding strategy comes from within the company, as the employees are the voices of the employer.

C&B: If you had unlimited resources, what program or initiative would you implement to improve employee wellbeing?
Bogdan Cana: If I were to think about short-term, achievable wellbeing actions that would have a huge impact among people in organizations, I’d say: Access to hobby-related courses (photography, drawing, cooking, etc.); since many employees still work remotely/hybrid – vouchers for setting up an ideal, ergonomic workspace (and for those who work from the office, vouchers for clothes); subscriptions to streaming services; gym memberships fully reimbursed; access to the products/services sold by the employer, for free; free sessions with a psychologist, dentist, etc.; reimbursement for prescription glasses/contact lenses; free plane tickets; extra paid leave days. And if I were to think about more complex actions, I would offer people in the organization the chance to work from a working teambuilding. For example, small teams could go work together in Barcelona for a week. 😊 I think it would have a tremendous impact especially among those who work remotely. Another benefit that I believe would greatly help the category of employee-parents would be free access to kindergartens and after-school programs.

C&B: Why did you apply to this contest and why do you think you should win?
Bogdan Cana: I applied at the urging of my colleagues, and now I feel responsible to win for them. 😊 Just kidding! I am proud of all my projects and those of my colleagues, without whom nothing would be possible. I don’t feel it’s just about me, but rather that I am their representative. We have many impactful projects and I believe we do a lot of good, on all fronts. If we win, it will be a confirmation that others also appreciate our projects.



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