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HomeCAREERSTalking with Ana Calugaru, Before SMART HR

Talking with Ana Calugaru, Before SMART HR

Ana Calugaru, with an impressive career spanning over 15 years in communication, public relations, and journalism, has become an iconic figure in the industry, shaping its future through innovation and strategic adaptation. Ana insightfully addresses the challenges and changes imposed by technological development, particularly artificial intelligence, transforming potential threats into remarkable opportunities for HR. Ana envisions a future where AI not only automates manual and repetitive tasks but also redefines the role of HR professionals, encouraging them to focus on more strategic areas such as organizational development, data analysis, and talent management. In this new landscape, HR leaders must embrace change, invest in education and training, and collaborate closely with AI experts to ensure a smooth and efficient transition towards a data and technology-oriented future.

For Ana, managing talent in the digital age involves not just attracting and retaining the next generation of leaders but also creating an environment that promotes continuous learning, curiosity, and innovation. She emphasizes the importance of organizational cultures that value diversity and inclusion, as well as the smart use of AI to enhance talent management strategies, thus providing organizations with the tools necessary to successfully navigate the changing labor market landscape.

Through her work, Ana Calugaru demonstrates an innovative vision and an ability to turn challenges into opportunities, shaping a future where technology and humanity harmoniously collaborate to create a dynamic, inclusive, and development-friendly work environment. With her passion and dedication to making a direct impact on business through strategic communication, Ana Calugaru stands out as a role model for future generations of HR professionals.

C&B: How would you describe the challenges posed by technological development, particularly artificial intelligence, in the HR field? What would be the first steps you would take to turn these challenges into opportunities?

Ana Calugaru: The rapid development of technology, especially artificial intelligence, brings with it significant challenges for all sectors, including HR. Although it seems we are just beginning to unravel the threads of AI, we are already seeing concrete implementations of artificial intelligence mechanisms in the daily activities of HR specialists. It is not yet very clear whether artificial intelligence is more of an enemy or a friend, especially since AI systems can be difficult to understand, which can lead to mistrust among employees and difficulties in identifying and correcting errors. However, for the time being, we can take advantage of the benefits that are practically available to anyone. Thus, AI has already begun to automate many repetitive tasks, such as data entry, scheduling, and sending emails, freeing up time for HR professionals to focus on more strategic tasks. This means, on the other hand, that employees need to adapt their skills and acquire new knowledge to remain relevant. Some experts fear that AI will lead to significant job losses, especially in fields with repetitive tasks. Another advantage brought by AI is related to managing large volumes of data. Thus, it can analyze large amounts of data to identify trends and provide valuable insights for strategic decision-making in HR. In a context where there is an increasing emphasis on inclusion and diversity, artificial intelligence can be used to eliminate biases from HR processes, ensuring fair treatment of all employees.

C&B: In your view, how are emerging technologies, such as AI, redefining the role of HR professionals? What advice do you have for HR professionals who wish to steer their careers towards more strategic areas?

Ana Calugaru: Thanks to AI, HR professionals can reinforce their strategic position within a company, now being able to outsource all those repetitive, yet extremely time-consuming tasks to artificial intelligence. As AI automates repetitive tasks, HR professionals will need to develop skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, communication, and emotional intelligence. Currently, HR professionals must invest in developing digital skills, including knowledge about AI, data analysis, and digital tools, and must be able to communicate coherently with AI tools to truly benefit from them.

C&B: You emphasized the importance of closely collaborating with AI experts to ensure a smooth transition to a data and technology-oriented future. What specific approaches do you recommend to facilitate this collaboration?

Ana Calugaru: There are things that we, at eJobs, are doing. Firstly, a dedicated AI team should be created, which is not only up-to-date with what’s happening in the field but also masters all the “intricacies” of AI and can further mentor other people in the company and facilitate the transfer of knowledge in this direction. Participating in conferences, workshops, webinars on AI-related topics is also useful, providing a good opportunity to connect with experts in the field, learn about the latest AI trends and solutions, and participate in discussions on the ethical implications of AI in the HR field.

C&B: What are the most effective strategies you have implemented or observed for managing talent in the digital age, especially for attracting and retaining the next generation of leaders?

Ana Calugaru: The secret to managing talent in the digital age lies in leveraging the power of technology to attract, develop, and retain top talent. One of the resources that HR professionals already use and have easy access to is the use of online recruitment platforms, social networks, and other digital channels to reach a broader audience of candidates in the most relevant way for each. Another important concern is creating, strengthening, and maintaining a strong employer brand, which reflects the culture and values of the organization and attracts talented candidates. Customizing the candidate experience process falls into the same sphere. More and more candidates say they pay close attention to this aspect and are more tempted to apply for a company with a strong employer brand than one that does not make efforts in this regard. What do they want to hear from an employer? That it offers opportunities for learning and development, that they will receive feedback, and that they have a clear career plan, which will help them grow.

C&B: Reflecting on your career and passion for strategic communication, how do you think the relationship between technology, communication, and HR will change in the coming years? What advice do you have for new generations of HR professionals who want to make a real difference in the field?

Ana Calugaru: Clearly, the reality of the past five years has shown us that shelf lives are increasingly short for everything we know. The speed at which technology is developing tells us one thing: it can be our best friend, but only if we keep up with it. So my recommendation would be to always keep our minds open to learning, to make the transition from repetitive activities to strategic thinking as much as possible, and to develop all those skills that AI still does not have.

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

Ana Calugaru: I believe that any opportunity where we can exchange experiences is a step forward in the learning process. Detaching, for a short period, from the area we know best and entering the universes of other specialists can only be a good opportunity to receive another set of eyes through which to look at things. They may not necessarily fit us, but only by multiplying experiences and perspectives can we broaden our horizons. And broadening horizons is, I believe, one of the main skills we need to practice now and for a long time to come.

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