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HomeCAREERSTalking to Ema Capitanescu, Before SMART HR

Talking to Ema Capitanescu, Before SMART HR

Ema Capitanescu brings a revolutionary perspective to HR, highlighting the importance of authentic connection, emotional recognition, and personal development. Through Ema’s eyes, workplace well-being in today’s hybrid context is a delicate art, comparable to juggling oranges and lit torches – challenging, but perfectly feasible with the right skills. She shares with us the keys to success: flexibility, which is essential to match each employee’s unique style; technology and connectivity, which are fundamental in keeping the team moving; mental health, a pillar for a healthy work environment; continuous development, essential for individual and collective growth; and last but not least, recognition and rewards, which boost morale and motivation.

Ema is appreciated not only for her professional expertise but also for her ability to cultivate a work environment where authenticity, emotion, and personal development are as important as performance and productivity. Ema Capitanescu is redefining the HR landscape, demonstrating that the center of the work universe is, and should always be, profoundly human.

C&B: How did you come to the conclusion that an authentic connection is essential in HR, and what strategies would you apply to cultivate this connection within teams?

Ema Capitanescu: When we aim to create a perfect product, we look at its specifications: which market segment does it cater to? What profit does it bring? But how often do we look at the people who create this perfect product? People are the engine of any company. A good idea remains just a good idea without someone capable of executing it flawlessly. These people who do fabulous things need to be able to communicate with each other, understand each other, and be creative. All these things need to be done together. The power of “together” is often overlooked on the grounds that the product is the most important thing. Saying that the business is more important than the people is like saying that the omelet is more important than the eggs. Good luck making an omelet without eggs. Strategically, team connection is formed through organizing actions where people can be themselves and solve problems together. Put them in a boat to raise a sail together. Take them on a hike, to learn to collaborate when it starts raining, and they have no signal. Give them power and trust and watch how they manage it. This is how you also discover your leaders.

C&B: Describing workplace well-being as juggling oranges and lit torches, what concrete approaches do you recommend to maintain a balance between flexibility, technology, and mental health in a hybrid work environment?

Ema Capitanescu: I advocate for fairness, but from both sides. I’ve been an employee in a corporation, and today I have employees, or rather, colleagues. In my dealings with clients and my colleagues, I always give 110%. However, being excellent comes with stress and overtime. There’s no way around it. Anyone who says they’re a perfectionist and also has time is lying. But, at the same time, without giving breaks to your brain and body, your creativity and problem-solving ability decreases. That’s why breaks are mandatory. But breaks need to be meaningful: walks in the park, running, socializing with nice people. If I take breaks that harm me, I’m just sabotaging myself. Implementing this at work, I encourage the idea of creating team buildings, but not over the weekend, or outings with the team in various ways that also help with CSR: for example, planting trees, helping an NGO, organizing creative workshops, or encouraging employees’ passions. Some companies organize photography contests, marathon entries, etc.

C&B: What are the biggest challenges you see in HR’s transition from core competencies to the integration of emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and remote work? How should these challenges be addressed?

Ema Capitanescu: Being a marketing person for as long as I can remember, I encourage remote work. Remote work offers freedom, and freedom fosters creativity. I believe that as long as you have clear objectives that you meet impeccably, the employer shouldn’t be concerned about the place from which you implement these tasks. Of course, if it’s an industry where physical presence is mandatory, the discussion changes.

C&B: You compared adopting technology in HR to the leap from a pedal car to a Formula 1 race car. What advice do you have for HR professionals preparing to make this ‘leap’, especially in the context of continuous development?

Ema Capitanescu: It’s necessary to automate and use tools to make room for creativity. The rapid adaptation has already become a normality today and is inherent to the current business situation.

C&B: What specific strategies would you use to foster a work environment where authenticity, emotion, and personal development are valued? Do you have concrete examples from your experience that illustrate the success of these strategies?

Ema Capitanescu: My favorite Employer Branding strategy is to form Brand Ambassadors among the most active and enthusiastic people in the company. These are a kind of intrapreneurs who can create a plethora of events and activations within their teams. Usually, these ambassadors are managers or directors, who, supported by the company, carry out trainings, outings, team buildings, communication sessions, leadership dialogues, and the like, and then are encouraged to post on LinkedIn.

C&B: You will be giving a presentation at the SMART HR event. Can you tell us why you believe people should attend this event?

Ema Capitanescu: Participating in the SMART HR event is an exceptional opportunity for human resources professionals, as well as for leaders and managers of organizations who wish to improve their HR practices and adapt to the constantly changing labor market dynamics. High-quality networking tops off the fresh information gained here, so you leave the event with new strategies ready to be implemented, in addition to the possibility of developing long-lasting relationships. With ROI, of course.

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