Ostap Malaniuk works as HR Director at Perfectial. In IT companies HR Managers are responsible for recruiting, onboarding of new employees, developing motivational programs, conducting performance reviews, etc. In Ukraine mostly women work in the industry, so it was very interesting for Lviv IT Cluster to talk about the profession of HR specifically with Ostap. In the interview Ostap Malaniuk talks about career choices, working with people and what a perfect HR-manager is.
For now, my team consists of HR specialists, recruiters and office managers. There are 16 people altogether. That’s true, according to the statistics, there are more women in HR then men, but I know few guys that work as heads of HR departments or lead the teams. There’s a myth that men are more successful because it’s easier for them to reach the success. If you invest a lot of time in your job, you will have less time for everything else. If you want to be successful at work and family-wise, you need to balance between the two. If you will try to devote 50% to work and 50% to the family, you will not have a good carrier and in the same time, you will not be happy with home and family. It won’t know the names of your son’s friends or the favorite cartoon of your daughter. According to the stereotypes, a woman is responsible for the family and men are concentrated on a career, that’s why they are more successful.
Another stereotype is that only people with a degree in Psychology or Linguistics can work in HR. That would be women most of the time. The Soviet system gave births to the stereotypes about professions suitable for women and men, so all these things in a way are influencing how HR is perceived today.
How to become an HR Manager by accident?
I started to work in HR accidentally. I believe in chances in life. Every choice is changing our future. After finishing the school, I studied at the college in the UK for two years, then I studied at university in Lviv, and after the first year, I decided to get a job. But there was not much work for students in Lviv in the 90s. However, thanks to my improved English, I have started a position of an office manager at the Ukrainian-American consulting company. The company was into investment consulting and HR.
I prefer to work with people, so after a few months of office management, I’ve chosen the HR. For me, it’s very interesting to work in the industry. A “human” part brings a lot of problems, but working with people satisfies me the most. When I see how employees are motivated after corporate training, it’s very inspiring. Most of all, I like developing competencies and teaching employees in the company.
Everyone in the company receives benefits from HR: clients, top management, project managers, owners of the company, employees of every level. HR-specialists are needed by everyone because they are responsible for many business processes.
It’s not necessary for HR to be a psychologist
I think that the most important in our job is to understand the business. I am not a fan of the popular thought that HR should be a psychologist. HR is more like a therapist. Understanding of the business essence, how the company earns money, how to grow the efficiency of the company, what are external demands of the business and tendencies of business – this is what makes the main HR knowledge and it’s actually not connected to psychology.
HR Manager should also be flexible. Being an HR is different at every company, every company has their own special conditions. When I started to work at Perfectial, I did a small survey, I asked every employee two questions: tell me about 3 things you like in the company the most and another 3 things you want to change. This information gave me the whole picture and understanding of the company, its values and in the same time, I’ve learned what I have to do to make Perfectial a better place.
It’s better to be an extrovert in this profession, to like people, to understand business and employees too. The client of HR Managers is the company and the employees, so we need to balance between the needs of both sides. These two sides don’t understand each other quite often, so we need to work on it.
Management in IT
Being an HR in IT or other industries is quite similar; the structure is the only difference. Usually, outside of the IT industry HR team consists of four managers and one recruiter, in IT, it’s vice versa: more recruiters in a team.
Every day I have a lot of meetings, a big part of my job is to communicate with people, with my team. We are launching new projects, processes, programs or training. Usually, I spend a lot of time answering questions of employees too.
There is only one concept that is defined at the level of legislation and is part of HR profession: HR document control and labor legislation. You really need to learn by yourself, read books about management, human resources, teamwork etc. to be able to comply with demands of the profession. We already have many HR schools and courses in Ukraine, which exist because there is a high demand for such professionals. Of course, to be a good HR Manager you will have to constantly cherish self-development.
I can recommend a book, which has really impressed me. It’s a book of Jack Welch, General Electric’s manager called “Jack: Straight from the Gut”. He writes about his job as a manager with 20 years of experience. You can find here the information about building the company’s strategy, how to manage business processes, what is leadership and how actually management works in everyday practice.