ECONOMY

Three companies receive people management awards

Athenaeum Inter-Continental Athens, Coco-Mat and Druckfarben Hellas were the three winners of the annual People Management Awards, organized for the fourth year in succession by the Greek branch of international consultancy firm KPMG last week, in the context of the 9th People Management Symposium. This institution has become an added incentive for companies to develop their human resources policies with initiatives, since such an award would also operate as an attraction for higher-level staff to join them and be able to develop themselves further. The first of the three awards was in the category of «Training and Development of Human Resources» and went to Athenaeum Inter-Continental Athens, whose training and development director is Dimitris Zimbopoulos. The hotel company won thanks to its «Bimonthly review of Training and Development activities of departments» system. The aims of that system are to encourage training, strengthen the profile and the significance of training, encourage all staff to participate actively in training activities and to ensure that every such activity enjoys the support of each hierarchy level. This system serves to record to what extent training and development activities are actually realized according to predetermined standards and whether the desired results have been achieved. The system involves the heads of each department who, in cooperation with the training and development director, choose the training coordinator of the department. The latter will undertake this duty only after completing special seminars. Every two months a meeting of coordinators takes place for the evaluation of results in every department. «Everyone involved in the operation of this system, regardless of their position in the hierarchy, knows the way and the criteria of evaluation based on a specific analysis given to them at the start of each year.» Training coordinators in every department with an annual average rate that is equal to or higher than the predetermined standard are rewarded at an event in the presence of all employees. The results of this system are proving significant and, crucially, they are countable. For instance, in a department that began applying this system in 2002 when the annual average was 55 percent, in 2003 it took its average to 66.1 percent, in 2004 to 75.4 percent and last year to 84.43 percent. The system has now been in continual operation and there is a total of 24 training coordinators, one in every department. This vindicates the hotel’s statement that «with this activity we prove that we consider the training of human resources as an investment and not as cost.» The well-known mattress company Coco-Mat was rewarded in the «Selection and Maintenance of Staff» category. It operates as a truly multicultural family, because 70 percent of its staff are immigrants and 12 percent are people with special abilities. It concentrates a total of 13 nationalities and nine religions, at a time when racism and religious fanaticism are spreading. In a company where the participation of staff in decision making reaches 90 percent, difference and freedom of expression are used as engines for development, and the staff’s familiarity and contact with the management are systematically cultivated, the «maintenance of staff» for which it has just been rewarded is obvious. Additionally, Coco-Mat tries to apply original training programs with the establishment of a «creative team» in the company. One of its recent hits was the creation of a usefully informative CD-ROM which has strengthened the interest of staff in training. Druckfarben Hellas earned its award in the «New Human Resources Department Category.» The company actively responded to the challenge of moving on from the traditional to the modern management approaches and has proceeded to the creation of a human resources department that includes a total of 318 people; 266 in Greece and the rest in Bulgaria, Romania and Serbia. The challenges of the new department, whose director is Tasos Doskas, include the different labor and national culture, the need for the application and maintenance of new policies and the development of internal communication, among other things.