Achieving to be the best under increasingly competitive conditions… Of course, it is difficult but not impossible! So, where do you think the secret of a company’s success begins? The answer to this question is definitely; “There should be a right strategy, good planning and workers who feel powerful.”
Melis Aslanağı, Regional Human Resources Director Turkey, Middle East & Africa at İbrahim Etem – Menarini, talked about their practices, the differences of rival brands and their future targets for our readers on behalf of the company…
I completed my high school education at Izmir American College, my undergraduate education at Boğaziçi University, Department of Psychology, and my master’s degree in Organizational Psychology Department of New York University. Since 1996, when I started my professional life, I worked in human resources management, leadership development, coaching, organizational structuring, change management, system building, talent management, employee engagement and inter-functional internal communication management in different sectors such as consumer durables, services, telecoms, pharmaceuticals and financial services. I have held many middle and high-level positions in their fields.
In addition, as a professional coach, I took part in leading development projects of different companies between 2014-2017. I completed Eurasian Gestalt Coaching Program (Individual Coaching Certification Program), Gestalt Groupworks (Team and Group Coaching Certification Program), Master and Leadership Coaching (Understanding Institutions and Coaching Their Leaders Certification Program), Organization and Relationship Systems in the areas of leader development, system understanding and coaching and the Coaching Program (ORSC Certification Program).
I joined the İbrahim Etem – Menarini family in 2017 as Human Resources Director. As of September 2020, I was appointed to Regional Human Resources Director Turkey, Middle East & Africa at İbrahim Etem – Menarini. I am married and have a daughter.
As Human Resources Division, we are responsible for the management of human resources and administrative affairs. As 18 teammates who support a high-performance culture, have a success-oriented and innovative perspective, we improve our business processes and continue our work by adhering to our values.
How has your company been affected by the coronavirus pandemic? What kind of actions did you take as the Human Resources Team?
As İbrahim Etem – Menarini, we have worked to continue to make our employees and their families feel that we are with them in this unexpected period all over the world, to adapt all our processes to digital platforms for the needs that come with the pandemic and to spend this period as efficiently and effectively as possible.
Conducted by Human Resources; We continued the entire functioning of our Performance Management, Compensation and Benefits Management, Talent Management and Recruitment processes without any disruption by using our digital tools. Again, we took all necessary precautions to protect our employees from the pandemic at all locations specific to this period by working with our OHS Unit.
In order to make us feel that we are with the İbrahim Etem – Menarini family in these difficult times and to provide the support that may be needed, we have brought our well-being program “Good Will to Us” (Bize İyi Gelecek in Turkish) earlier than our plan and implemented an online launch in April. With this program, we have provided a service that our employees and their families can access if they need psychological support and healthy nutrition support in this different process. This program has been an important practice to support our colleagues working at the factory location where our operations continue.
In addition, in order to strengthen the communication of our friends from different locations within the company and to be side by side in this period when we cannot meet face to face very often, we have colored our lives a little by using the activity applications included in the program.
During the period when we needed to stay in our homes as the Field and Head Office, we organized informative and instructive webinars on many different topics, using our internal and external resources. We had the opportunity to get to know each other more closely by including hobbies of our colleagues or topics they want to share with us in our webinars.
You have been recently commissioned to new Regional Human Resources Director Turkey, Middle East & Africa at İbrahim Etem – Menarini. To what do you attribute your success?
The success belongs to Menarini Turkey. As the entire İbrahim Etem – Menarini family, we are steadily advancing our company performance with the works we carry out together with under the leadership of our General Manager Mr. Uğur Bingöl. In addition, our innovative practices that we have implemented as human resources and our projects where we have developed our corporate culture also support this success.
What lies at the heart of your Human Resources strategies? What are the features that distinguish İbrahim Etem – Menarini from other companies in the pharmaceutical industry?
We keep the value we give to people at the center of all our processes and act with the awareness of this responsibility. In this way, as the Human Resources team, we focus on developing strategies that will create added value for the organization.
Strengthening employee loyalty and advancing together with our happy and successful employees are at the center of all our business. We support our employees with creative and developmental approaches in all topics that affect this. The feature that makes us the most preferred company is that our point of view that always values people is the basis of our culture and is felt by all our employees.
In this direction, we have many applications that we come into contact with our employees. For example, at the vision meeting we organize at the end of each year, attended by all our teammates, including white and blue collar, our plans and strategies for the next year are conveyed by our General Manager, and we celebrate our successes throughout the year together. In addition, we come together with all our teams and listen to them face to face with our “HR Listens to You” initiative. One-to-one contact is an approach that we attach great importance to. We attach great importance to joint development and cooperation and we implement programs that support this. One of the examples I can give to this is our Advanced and Reverse Mentoring programs.
I can easily say that our most important distinguishing feature is our people-oriented approach.
What is the level of employee engagement in your company? What kind of activities are you conducting to increase employee engagement?
In order to monitor our employee engagement, we apply an Employee Engagement Survey with a consulting firm that has worldwide expertise and we find ourselves strong in this field. In addition, we are constantly working to improve our practices to support employee engagement. Last year was a year in which we implemented many new applications in human resources. The “HR Listens to You” project, which has made a noticeable impact on our organization under the theme of “Employee Engagement”, is one of those innovations I mentioned above. Under this project we come together all employees operating in Turkey and listen to them in the meetings I personally attended in teams. We consider many topics we listened to from them as an investment in the future and implement them with action plans.
Another important work I can mention is our “Talent is Your Future” (Yeteneğin Senin Geleceğin in Turkish) practices, where we transform our perspective with an innovative approach. With this approach, which supports transparency throughout the organization and turns personal development into the personal responsibility of the employee, we ensure that people own their own development.
We aim to implement innovations by evaluating the support we offer to our employees in topics such as health, social relations, cultural activities and sports, with a holistic perspective.
We know the impact of working together with happy and successful results on commitment. In addition to the professional development that will ensure this balance, we also realize the organizations we have fun together at different periods throughout the year. All these practices evolve and transform with the pandemic. Our employee loyalty is one of the most important factors in our success.
How does İbrahim Etem – Menarini approach the issue of equal opportunity? What is the proportion of women in your number of employees?
The importance we attach to equality of opportunity and diversity is at the center of our corporate culture and values. Our values such as “Multicultural Identity”, “Human Orientation” and “Ethics and Transparency” guide all our approaches.
64% of our management team is women. In our head office, we have an equal ratio of men to women, and we mainly have male employees due to warehouse operations and similar tasks due to the nature of the work done in our production facilities. In our other management roles, our ratio of men to women is again distributed evenly.
What kind of work do you do for new graduates in your company? What about your internship programs?
We have extensive work for university students. In line with our “Long Term Internship Program”, we offer paid internship opportunities to 12 students throughout the year. After a very detailed selection and placement process, we applied a comprehensive orientation program at the beginning of the internship program to the students we determined, and then they started work in their departments. The main achievements we aim for students in this program can be grouped under the main headings of teamwork, professional experience and project planning. At the end of the internship program, students will be able to work full-time for 1 year as a result of the evaluation we will make among the participants. 60% of our interns in 2020 continue to work full-time with us and our new term practice started in October.
In addition, regardless of this program, we also offer internship opportunities to more than 20 university students every summer within the scope of their mandatory internships.
In addition to these studies, we provide internship opportunities to approximately 40 vocational high school students between September and June in order to support our factory operations in our organization every year. Thus, we meet young people who can work in production departments while still continuing their vocational education and contribute to their development, and we can make a job offer to them when they graduate from high school.
Do you offer career opportunities abroad for company employees?
We have a performance evaluation process every year within the scope of the Talent Management System. After the evaluation process, we carry out our talent review and backup plan process with our entire management team and we review each of our employees one by one. Afterwards, we share the outputs of this study with Menarini Central Corporate HR in Florence, Italy to be evaluated for opportunities that may occur globally.
In addition, when global opportunities arise by the Menarini Group, we share it with all group companies, share the role of our internal communication resources with our employees and encourage them on this path. Our management team is completely flexible and supportive in this regard. In line with these processes, we have friends who are currently transferred abroad.
Could you inform us your future plans for the Turkey, the Middle East and the African Region as Human Resources team?
Our Turkey structuring and our practice will be a guide for the Middle East and Africa Region. First of all, the development of our regional organization and the generalization of human resources practices in the region will be our priority. In addition, mainly due to the development of the pandemic, including Turkey will continue to be our priority in digitization. We will continue to implement our planned projects in this direction. Effective regulation of different ways of doing business brought to us by the pandemic, renewal of human resources approaches based on different working patterns and effective management of performance with new approaches will also be among our important topics.