Press release: Lessons on driving change in Romanian companies & multinationals | HR Executive Learning Breakfast

At some point, every organization will face the need for change. The ability to drive these shifts has become one of the most critical factors of modern leadership. In Romania, many locally – owned companies try to change towards becoming more corporate – and often fail, whereas in other instances, process owners are not skilled enough to drive change and won’t admit it. 

Florin Tătaru, Group HR Director at Help Net Farma & Farmexim and Radu Panait, Group HR Director – E-INFRA Family talked about driving change in organizations, at the HR Executive Learning Breakfast organized on February 6 by and Ideograf. The two speakers shared their experience in implementing changes in the teams they worked with along the years. 

The event was supported by Stein & Partner – which also hosted this session and CBRE Romania, while Maastricht School of Management in Bucharest was academic partner and Sweeteria, breakfast partner. Over 25 HR directors, general managers and entrepreneurs joined in the discussion which was moderated by Sandra Jitianu, Management Consultant & Trainer, Ideograf. This was the 7th event of the HR Executive Learning Breakfast series. 

Being part of the “new team” that had to implement changes, Florin Tătaru Group HR Director at Help Net Farma & Farmexim, part of PHOENIX Pharmahandel GmbH & Co KG, faced many challenges in the companies he worked in. “When you start a new assignment you come with the mindset to change. Even if you have set up for change, with a new code of ethics, compliance procedure, new vision, everything by the book, still you won’t be able to implement anything if you do not have the people on board”, said Florin Tătaru.

“What I discovered is that the process owners sometimes are willing to do the change, but are not skilled enough to do it – and they are afraid to admit it. Coupled with the Romanian mindset of “the boss knows everything” it leads to a freeze. If you want to drive the change you need to engage with middle managers, teach them the necessary skills and find a way to help them save face”, added Florin.

The change starts from the top, and middle managers need to be more involved in the organizational changing process. A company needs to create “pockets of change” at all levels in the organization, and radiate from there. In order to create a more trusting environment, Florin recommends thinking through the plan and then performing the necessary changes quickly, involving people and communicating properly. This way the period of uncertainty is kept to a minimum and focus can then shift back to business.

Radu Panait, Group HR Director – E-INFRA Family (Electrogrup, directOne, Netcity, NOVA Power & Gas, WESEE), talked about his experience of managing change in Romanian-owned companies, as compared to multinationals. His observations showed that while typically Romanian companies strive to become more corporate, it often happens that their plans fail. Radu shared a number of insights that once understood, clear the way for change initiatives to become successful. 

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