As part of our new series of stories, #ScalarrTeams, we will be shedding light on how our team members are coping and supporting each other during challenging times to collectively achieve the company’s goals and overall success. Today, we are sharing the stories of Scalarr’s HR department consisting of Natalia, Kateryna, and Alona, where they expand on how they constantly care for and amplify the talents of all Scalarr employees to meet productivity goals.
As the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues to play out on the world stage, HR managers everywhere must think about how it will affect their employees, no matter where they are.
Today, geopolitical crises that affect how a business runs are more likely than ever. HR leaders and personnel rarely have to lead their organizations directly through these kinds of events, but at Scalarr, this was the reality for the HR department as they played a number of important supporting roles that help employees. Among these are making sure employees were safe physically, mentally, and emotionally, keeping an eye on and reducing risks related to talent, and helping with crisis management and communication.
Next, we’re going to go in detail about the personal stories of the three ladies that make up the HR department at Scalarr, Natalia, Kateryna, and Alone, seeing how they cope and help others cope with the reality of the war.
I am the head of the HR department at Scalarr where I oversee all matters related to Scalarr employees and their overall role at the company. Each of us in the HR department have unique goals and our own areas of responsibility, helping us be in good shape and complete all tasks without letting each other or others down.
The most important thing at Scalarr is its people. As such, our work focuses on timely closing vacancies, ensuring the wellbeing of each employee, and ensuring employees deliver the expected outputs in terms of productivity and performance.
I work as a Talent Sourcer and I help search for and attract new candidates to our job openings in our company. Nowadays, we are working remotely, making it more challenging to engage in effective communication, yet I believe we’ve done a pretty outstanding job in the face of war.
I am Scalarr’s HR manager helping across various key areas of human resources tasks to help employees stay engaged, supported, and productive. Overall, our department’s goal is the well-being of our employees, always ensuring they are front and center of our strategies. I can happily attest to the fact that these are not empty, loud words, this is a reality that exists in each of us.
On February 24, 2022, and every day since then, has been a genuine challenge for us in the HR department, especially given the fact that we didn’t have the “luxury” of worrying or feeling sad; instead, we immediately jumped into action, keeping a pulse on each of our employees to communicate effectively and regularly.
A couple of years ago, when COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, many employees decided of their own free will to continue to work from the office. Taking extreme measures and precautions, we made the decision to continue working under this format as many of our team members were not quite ready for the remote lifestyle.
In the early days of the war, I must admit it was difficult to perform work tasks at home. Even more difficult was the fact that, for many of us, it wasn’t even our home as we evacuated. Today, I can say that time and planning helped us put everything in its place and our workforce is thriving in the remote format.
As of today, the entire Scalarr workforce is working remotely. Our HR team was in touch from day one of the war, making sure to know from where and under what circumstances each of us was adapting to war.
Under the direction of our CEO, Inna Ushakova, we ensured the timely and seamless salary deposit of one full month in advance to our employees as a means to help with evacuation costs or any other cost associated with staying safe during the war. All employees were given as much time as they needed to relocate to a safe location. Gradually, work tasks were carried out normally, with no stressful demands or deadlines.
For our team, it was imperative that we supported each other and ensured everyone could rely on us, which naturally encouraged employees to deliver positive results toward a common goal.
On February 24, 2022, I must admit, we worked very little. Our eyes glued to the horrors of the war, we still had pressing issues that needed to be solved, and we did. I extend my personal gratitude to our manager, Natalia, who, having a small child, did not leave her duties and was at work every day, leading by example.
Kate, my peer, who was in one of the most dangerous areas being attacked by Russian aggressors, sat in a basement without communication. Once she set foot back again in her apartment, she was able to grab her laptop and handle some work-related tasks.
There were different moments, especially during the first days of the war, where we simply couldn’t hold back the tears of the reality we were experiencing.
For me, helping the team gave me purpose. I remember one team call where I simply couldn’t hold back and shed a few tears to express my emotions about the situation. In overcoming the harsh reality of the war, I found it necessary to be honest and real about what was happening, talking from our own experience, mistakes, and even the lack of motivation we felt to do something…at the end of the day, we are all human beings.
Right now, I am very motivated by the prospect of further developing and growing our new cybersecurity product. Working on exciting, new projects helps me cope with the difficult situation we’re all living through, especially as it keeps me productive. We are now focused on finding alternatives and innovative approaches to help reduce the negative effects of the war on a psychological and emotional level. We’ve held meetings with psychologists, as well as one-on-one meetings, and we will continue to pursue initiatives aimed at overcoming moments of anxiety, stress, or helplessness that can affect our employees.
I believe each department adds its unique grain of salt to collectively achieve goals effectively. By being involved and interested, each employee is motivated to perform at their best, always interested in learning more, working on new ideas, and following the latest trends.
I’m passionate about finding different and unique ways to raise the team’s morale. What I’ve found to be most effective includes:
Frankly speaking, I can’t genuinely say I’ve fully adapted to the new situation since my relatives and my life in general, remain in Kharkiv. I live glued to the news via Telegram, much like everyone else. My husband, who is currently by my side, and constant communication with my family and work, have given me the strength to continue pushing through.
I feel grateful to have a team that fully supports each other and is there to help. For example, when my brother, who is currently serving in one of the most severely attacked areas, needed help for his squad, everyone in our team pitched in to help. It goes without saying that it’s essential to find time for yourself. I started drawing and it has helped me cope with the helplessness I feel as a result of the war.
I believe in Ukraine’s armed forces and know victory is ours. Glory to Ukraine!
I consider myself to be one of the few who “suffered” the least from our team. I count myself lucky for always having friends nearby to lend a helping hand and support. During the war, after leaving Kharkiv, my friends and I lived in Poltava and Ternopil for a while, but then, we were all scattered.
It was a bit depressing but we try to regularly organize online get-togethers to share news, war impressions, and the dreams we all have about reuniting in Kharkiv again. I often remember how in the first weeks of the war, there were many small children in the underground parking space where we were hiding and I was reading Lina Kostenko to them as a means to distract them. For some reason, the strange and even scary atmosphere inspires me to live life to the fullest.