Dora Postonjski from Omio: "My path to HR was a bit unconventional and I would argue an "HR chose me" kind of path."
📌 Read the interview with Dora Postonjski to find out how the company Dora works for changed her and what various traditions companies can have.
Firstly, some interesting facts. According to MorganMckinley, the best time of the day to be interviewed is at the beginning or the end of the day.
Interviewers tend to remember the first and last people they meet during the day. If you’ve been scheduled for lunchtime or mid-day, you will have to work extra hard to make a strong and lasting impression.
More fascinating facts you will find out in our new interview.
Today, our guest is Dora Postonjski, Learning & Development Specialist at Omio, a travel tech company in Berlin.
She has always enjoyed watching people succeed, from her student clubs to working in non-profits, the legal industry, and currently the travel industry.
Here it grew from "just watching" to working in Learning & Development to enable and empower people to grow, develop, and achieve.
At Omio, Dora started in a generalist position with high levels of responsibility covering areas of employee experience, employee engagement, internal communications, and learning & development.
GoEuro Travel GmbH, doing business as Omio, formerly known as GoEuro, is a German online travel comparison and booking website based in Berlin, Germany. Omio employs more than 300 people and is active in 15 European countries.
AO: Hello Dora and welcome! Let's start our interview with our traditional question.
Did you work somewhere before becoming an HR professional, why did you decide to become an HR professional?
D: My path to HR was a bit unconventional and I would argue an "HR chose me" kind of path. I wanted to go to law school so my first job off college was as a legal assistant and that’s when I realized that I would not enjoy practicing law. Like most of my generation, I am a value-driven consumer and tech products that inspire, move and make an impact on people's lives have always been attractive to me.
Knowing the grassroots modus operandi of start-ups and the ability to learn at a fast pace and craft my career path was what attracted me to Omio, the place where I currently work as an L&D Specialist.
I started in a more generalist role, that of an HR Project Coordinator where I supported the team with everything from Internal Communications, Employee Engagement, Learning & Development, General Project Management. As the team kept growing and we started hiring for different functions within HR, I decided to focus on L&D, as I find it motivating, inspiring and full of potential.
AO: Can you share your thoughts on why HR is an important function in any organization?
D: HR is often seen as the boring, backend, operational, bureaucratic area with no direct added value to the products/services of a company. That has been rapidly changing as organizations are realizing that the key to being successful and ahead of the game, your people need to be set up for success. And that’s exactly why HR is a vital function in any organization. HR provides frameworks and resources to enable the people to deliver the strategic goals while ensuring they feel safe & healthy.
Breathehr provided a great example that shows what role HR plays in a company's life:
Take Uber as an example; plagued by a string of HR catastrophes from sexual harassment cases to ignoring employee complaints, the resulting bad publicity has undoubtedly deterred many from working there or from using their ride-sharing services. Bad HR has destroyed Uber’s employer brand.
AO: Dora, can you look into the crystal ball and tell us where do you see the HR industry in the next 5 years?
D: I believe the impact of automation and artificial intelligence will speed up the operational side of HR even more, which will leave space to focus and grow areas related to critical thinking/design and more strategic/future-focused HR. With the tech impact on HR, I also see a lot of growth in HR Analytics using data to empower HR strategy & decision making.
AO: According to Personnel Today, 38% of enterprises are already using AI in their workplace with 62% expecting to start using it as early as this year. According to Bersin by Deloitte, 33% of employees expect that their jobs will become augmented by AI in the near future.
What difficulties do you usually face working as an HR specialist?
D: To work in HR you have to put people first and build the work around the people while aligning with the business strategy. It’s a challenge as at the same time certain processes are not really in tune with the “people-focused” approach. However, I try to see these difficulties as growing pains and opportunities to learn and proactively work on solutions.
AO: Can you name three areas that you feel need the most improvement, based on your understanding of common HR practices?
D: I think even better automation of the recruitment process as well as the whole spectrum of HR Operations. And even more importantly, truly lived diversity and inclusion practices.
AO: Dora, Can you name one (or several) HR experts whose work do you highly appreciate or take as an example?
D: Over the years, I keep going back to the work of Josh Bersin. I also enjoy the work of Adam Grant and Brene Brown, who are not necessarily HR experts, but their work applies to the way people behave and function within the organizations.
AO: Let's move to the essential part of HR performance. How does the onboarding of new employees go into your company?
D: At the moment, we switched to a simple remote MVP and functional onboarding stays with the manager and the team. We created supporting resources and guidelines, but we believe that employees should be in the driver’s seat.
AO: Dora, are you a traditions lover? What traditions your company has and what is your favorite one?
D: Before Covid, we socialized a lot, whether it was some sort of celebratory moment (anniversary breakfast) or just casual Friday drinks. We also did a company run in May as well as we have had a Datathon (even last year we did it all remote) and a Learning Day. These events allow us to get together, get to know each other and learn from each other.
AO: Wow, your company carries out so many different fascinating activities. According to Forbes, positive culture is a vital aspect of running a business – more than 50% of executives say corporate culture influences productivity, creativity, profitability, firm value, and growth rates.
What is the most valuable professional development advice you have ever gotten?
“You are running a marathon but there are moments when you need to sprint, sometimes even with hurdles on your way.”
D: I think it sums up the idea that career development for some of us is not a linear path where we are just ticking off the boxes and reaching the next level. It’s about challenges and adapting to change. It is important to have goals and key values driving these goals, but it also important to know that we will most likely have to adapt along the way.
AO: Dora, what types of tools do you think every HR should be using in 2021?
D: A good employee survey tool and an HR Analytics tool.
AO: And what HR trends do you think will emerge in 2021?
D: In my opinion, the pandemic transferred home into the new office which means there has to be a great deal of work on reinventing the whole employee experience. Additionally, adapting analytics more than ever into the HR work, as well as focusing on employee learning as a business success enabler.
AO: Dora, our next question is a bit extraordinary.
If the company you work on now were a person, what kind of person would it be?
D: An ever-curious traveler.
AO: What was the funniest/most unusual incident during your HR practice?
D: I was delivering a workshop and I was so focused on talking that I spent the first few minutes talking to myself as my mic was muted. :)
AO: Hah, today, in our remote world is a very common situation. Thanks a lot, Dora, for such an inspiring interview. We wish you good luck and amazing career growth.
That's all for today, friends. See you at the next interview!
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