ANNA POLICHRONIDOU (APOLLONION BAKERY): “Respect for the consumer and the product quality”!

In an exclusive conversation with Anna Polichronidou, HR Training and Development Manager of APOLLONION BAKERY, one of the largest Bakery Businesses in Greece, revealed various aspects of her key role in company growth. Anna had gathered more than 15 years of extensive experience in large organizations and had thrilled in developing business and building strong client relationships.

What are the main Responsibilities of a Training and Development Manager?

The HR Manager is responsible for the development of the employees, both personally and within a team, in order to meet the goals, set by the company and also in order to excel in their specific role. In this respect, they put emphasis on enhancing the hard and soft skills of each employee. More specifically, they create the pertinent programs, revise the courses’ materials, draft the training plans and then they assess the performance of each employee and direct them properly.

Are there any areas that require to be given extra caution?

The HR Manager is the interface between the company and the employees. Thus, he should be extremely meticulous and open-minded at the same time. He needs to understand in depth the available human resources and be able to analyze them and direct them in the most creative way. When the employee feels that the HR Manager is working actively to ensure that he/she develops him/her into a better professional, it is more likely for the employees to reciprocate with hard work.

What are the main requirements in the selection process for hiring the right employee?

During the interview process, the recruiter is looking for applicants with hard and soft skills that could meet the job requirements. In many cases, a job offer is addressed to candidates that put both skill sets on display, but in our company, we focus on the soft ones. What is of most importance is how an employee is able to fit and develop in a workplace, as hard skills can be easily apprehended while working. Among other things, being honest and keeping one’s integrity are also very important, as we appreciate the ability of personal growth and development.

What sort of skills and competencies HR professionals should have to succeed in their roles?

In my opinion, a successful HR professional is the one with soft skills set who can successfully parse through emotions. The most important ones are empathy, critical thinking, adaptability, problem-solving, resilience, and the ability to communicate effectively. Simultaneously, HR professionals should be strategic thinkers and great servants of human factors.

Soft Skills development is essential for business longevity, does this apply to your company also?

As advised previously, a soft skill set and development is the most important factor in choosing an employee over another. It’s been commonly accepted that employees with strong soft skills such as emotional intelligence, for instance, perform better, and organizations that foster soft skills (collaboration, empathy, etc) are outperforming those that don’t. Developing soft skills can be an uncomfortable process, sometimes, because they should reflect on which ones, they need specific training. This can be tough but rewarding ultimately. Our company is an Equal Opportunity Employer that values its people, and we always seek to support and empower each individual by encouraging creativity and self-reflection, providing opportunities for practice and growth, providing feedback, and expanding knowledge.  Employees are fundamental for achieving the business goals and that’s why we respect and seek to enhance diverse skills.

What are the benefits from investing in development and training employees to the Organizations?

In recent years, companies acknowledge that attracting and retaining top talent is important to enhance an environment where people are given opportunities to learn and build new skills and take on responsibilities and challenges. In the pressure of everyday work, employee development is left αside, but as stated above, employees are the most valuable resource and organizations thrive when investing in their personnel development. When an organization invests time and money in employee development, it keeps him/her engaged at workload and company values, enhancing his/her motivation and passion. I truly believe that by giving opportunities for personal growth and enforcing employees becoming the professionals they want to be, that increases employees’ future performance. This process is the keystone that makes organizations flourish and distinguishes them from other employers.

What are the forthcoming plans for your company?

We aim to maintain continuous growth and the ability to offer products of high quality to our customers. As the customers’ satisfaction is the most crucial factor in the decision-making process of our business, we believe that the best approach is to create a working environment where each employee feels happy, engaged, motivated, and appreciated. We also strongly believe that an inclusive and diverse workforce meets better the current challenges of our times.

What would be your best advice for a young person who just started their career?

One of the most important decisions anyone should make at the beginning of his professional career is finding the path that he/she has a strong passion for. In order to make the right decision, you should start by exploring yourself and identify your values, your interests, your strengths, and most of all what makes you happy. There are plenty of self-assessment tools and career tests that you can use in order to discover your strengths and weaknesses. For this purpose, I would recommend to a young person to be willing to work as an intern for a company he admires.

How can someone contact you should he/she require more information about your company?

Whoever is interested can visit our website or contact me directly by email at [email protected] or my LinkedIn account Αnna Polichronidou .

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