Axiance chief HR on the future of work, finding the right talent, and redefining relationships with employees

Author: Forex Live | Category: Education

A conversation with Axiance chief HR, Aliki Karmotou

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Newly-launched brokerage Axiance is already making waves with a new approach to doing business in the online trading industry. Based on strong values like transparency and fairness, Axiance has quickly capitalised on its socially responsible operations and ESG integration.

With the goal to become a financial powerhouse, Axiance relies on tech, innovation, but most importantly, on its own people. In a conversation with its head HR Aliki Karmiotou, we find out how the company builds tight bonds from within.

What is your Group's approach in managing employees/people?

We rely on a culture of leadership, diversity and inclusiveness. As a global group, we aim to employ the world's brightest minds to help us create a limitless source of ideas and opportunities.

We are committed to providing our employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth. So it's a strategic priority for us to make sure we have the right frameworks within the company to foster such growth.

Is there an aspect in your approach you are prioritising?

New beginnings spell change that makes physical, emotional and psychological well-being a key priority for us. Leading with empathy and fostering purpose-driven culture will be the cornerstones of deepening employee confidence through evolving HR policies and a focus on data privacy and security.

As the definitions of workspace and workforce broaden, we focus on employee empowerment on new dimensions with greater engagement and trust through active listening, continuous feedback and transparent communications, diversity and inclusion of talent, ideas and approaches through responsiveness and through distributed decision-making. Through this, we can discover the true power of the talent cloud, as mobility, learning and policies shift focus from work enablement to employee empowerment.

How do you identify the talents you're looking for?

It takes a lot of luck to spot and hire talent without a clear image of the ideal candidate and of what you are looking for. While hiring, you must look for the right candidate, the one who ticks all the boxes and reflects the job description and organisational culture.

But it's not only about the technical skills, we also value the soft skills.

One of the things I personally look for in people and try to identify is emotional intelligence. An emotional intelligent person is much more than just a good employee, it's a good person, someone who always takes a human approach when circumstances require it: they put out fires instead of fanning the flames, and they lift the spirits of the people around them by staying level-headed during difficult situations.

This is how we define talent here at Axiance and this is what we aim to find.

With such critical change around the world today, how do you see the future of work?

Organisations' first priority has been crisis response. Now, as they begin to emerge from this response phase, leaders are focusing on the next set of workforce challenges as they plan for recovery.

Working from home, once discussed as a possibility, is now practiced as reality every day.

Therefore, we now have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to rethink our workplaces, work models and workflows from the ground up. Let's not waste it. And let's not forget what's at stake. We're reinventing the future of work every day and it's time to be more intentional about it - whether employees are working at home, remotely, in reimagined on-site locations or some combination of the three.

So companies have both an opportunity and a mandate to be in the driver seat of this transformation, given that upskilling and reskilling at scale can enhance the economic dynamism of their businesses, at the same time as it can create an ecosystem that ensures all workers are employable and productive in the new world of work.

Our company explores the mindset required to build psychologically safe communities that will challenge the way they work and design new ways of collaborating effectively.

For example, we look at best practices for meetings; when virtual meetings are needed and when they could be replaced with other forms of communicating. Learning how to communicate with quality rather than quantity by utilising the latest technology we have available to us. We will also be looking at useful ways to ensure we balance well-being with productivity, driving our careers whilst honouring our home lives, encouraging social contact regardless of physical distance, designing work weeks to include onsite work when the situation allows and finding purpose in new ways of working.

How does Axiance engage and motivate its people?

First of all, higher engagement leads to greater productivity, customer loyalty, employee retention, and profits. Employees don't work for companies. They work for people. Which means employee engagement begins and ends with the leader. The leadership style directly impacts engagement in the organization. This is why our leaders undergo constant training.

Besides the benefits which every company offers and a good salary for an employee to be engaged, what motivates one to work hard is a common goal that is in line with the company's vision. They will be committed to the values their organisation represents. We as Axiance engage employees to have a clear view and understanding of the objectives of the work they are doing. So we communicate clearly the vision and the strategy of the company. Transparency is the most crucial element here.

You advocate a more human approach to doing things, how would you describe that?

We created a work environment where well-being and flexibility are positively correlated with performance.

When managers and supervisors get personal with their employees, they build relationships that make their people feel significant and valued. Although these connections might challenge traditional views of employer-employee relations, they will serve to build loyalty and enthusiasm that will last even when the company goes through difficult times. We listen, we care and we handle each case as unique. We provide feedback and recognition.

When, let's say, employees do a good job, they should receive prompt, simple recognition, and appreciation. This allows employees to know when they make tangible contributions to company achievements, and in turn this develops a sense of pride and enthusiasm about their job.

We also encourage cooperation, we believe that by sharing responsibilities, decision-making and tasks will create a spirit of interdependence and equality that will engage workers and help them thrive.

What has been your biggest challenge as Group Chief HR?

Embracing change with grace and ease.

Change is a shapeshifter, influencing our environment, competitors, customers, and workplace. But whether managerial, structural, procedural or technological, it's well-known that humans are afraid of change. The unknown brings about feelings of uncertainty and anxiety.

It gives us the heavy responsibility of adapting employees for change, one of the most recurring challenges and we, as Human resources, are tasked not only with managing employee morale, happiness, and cooperation through change but also with constantly upskilling employees to meet the changing needs of the business.

By communicating clearly and at every time, and providing training on the hard and soft skills they'll need to cope with the change, I can rest assured that at least employees will feel more secure and capable, and be more likely to embrace change.

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