Oana Manuceanu, Managing Director OMV Petrom Global Solutions
- What was the most challenging thing your company, people, and you, personally, had to face in 2020?
2020 can be described in many ways, but for me it will remain as the year full of unexpected, in the already happening VUCA reality. This says a lot J
Thus, it’s difficult to name the most challenging thing, as a whole list comes up; I would rather say the big challenge was to do most of the activities in a completely new way and find this new way to adapt in a very short time.
As any business services company, OMV Petrom Global Solutions had as priority the safety of the employees, as well as stable efficient operations and reliable support for our customers. In addition, we are a service center dedicated to the oil and gas industry, industry that was highly impacted last year, and which is a critical sector for the economy. In this context, all our business units contributed heavily to deliver in the new reality and, for our entire OPGS team, all solutions meant higher effort than in a regular period: IT ensuring the infrastructure and tools for thousands of colleagues to work safely, for example almost overnight IT had to expand Citrix licenses up to some thousands or to virtualize applications so that the employees in the group get their work done remotely. In Finance or Employee Services the month-end closing activities and payroll were performed fully remote and we turned a difficult moment into an opportunity for digitization adopting paperless solutions at an accelerated peace impossible to imagine at the beginning of 2020. As for the Facility and Asset Management, the teams made huge efforts to ensure the necessary protective materials arrived fast and safely around the country where OMV Petrom has employees, to identify the best transport conditions or accommodation to those commuting to work or to adapt the workplaces in the offices to the new safety needs.
Without any doubt, 2020 was a tough year with highs and lows along the way, that challenged us in so many ways, privately or professionally. Managing its many complexities demanded not only a hard work but also commitment, resilience, creativity and teamwork.
- What pleasantly surprised you last year? / What are you grateful for?
I was positively surprised that all previous concerns about implementing some major changes in the way we work were removed. I do believe that this unfortunate pandemic crises situation accelerated the implementation of new initiatives, and I am very proud of how fast we understood to concentrate on what are the new priorities, to be flexible and to take advantage of any opportunities. Thus, we no longer brainstorm about the feasibility of working from home or flexi desk, we just adopted them.
And I am grateful that we have such a strong and committed team in OPGS that proved once again to be a trustworthy partner for its customers; and equally I am grateful that we are part of a strong Group: in difficult moments like these it’s like an anchor that keeps you grounded.
- What are your plans and expectations for 2021? What do you foresee it will be different this year and what impact it will have on our industry/Romania/your company/your people?
We are ready to embrace 2021…as all in one, last year set a new pace for implementing new ways of working (mobile, remote), for paperless (digitization) and embedding technology (smart automation) in our activities to support and reduce our effort and to improve the users experience. I think that the focus for 2021 should be on speed, flexibility, adaptability as we could consider 2020 as a tough stress test year for what is laying ahead.
In the same time we need to acknowledge that everything that we succeeded to do in 2020 required higher effort, as we were all taken out of the comfort zone and had to react to numerous changes. In 2021, the leaders have to stay alert to protect the mental energy of their teams. I heard the concept of mental energy from Gartner, and it comprises three areas: be positive, manage stress and avoid burnout. So, when it comes to people, I see a couple of new priorities such as keeping an eye and providing full support to the teams in these three areas, together with managing remote teams and speeding up the digital dexterity adoption.
As a conclusion on looking back to 2020 while stepping in 2021, my message is that behind any success and difficulty overcome are always the people. And collaboration between people makes strong teams, that find a way to perform together and stay close, even when physically apart.