Aurelia Luca, Executive Vice President Operations Hungary and Romania for Skanska’s commercial development division in CEE.
- Tell us a few words about your company, services provided and type of roles you accommodate.
We are one of the world’s leading project development and construction groups with expertise in construction, development of commercial and residential properties, committed to building for a better society.
In Romania, we started our operations in 2011 and we cover two business streams – commercial property development and construction.
What are actually responsible for: we manage the entire process – from designing the initial concept of an office complex, to construction, leasing and finally selling the projects to the investors.
Our aim with each and every office project is, on one hand to develop timeless, sustainable and inspiring office spaces for our residents and on the other hand to give something back to the surrounding communities, being it green landscaped areas, places to relax and have fun or simply connect to friends. Shortly said, we always think how our developments can best bring value to people and communities.
- What makes your company a great place to work for?
It might sound like a “buzz word” but for us as an organization and in the same time for each team member is the essence – our values. Which are not nicely written on a website, but we practically live and do business by them. And working in a company where all colleagues are sharing similar principles makes the daily work smoother and connections stronger. Some examples, from our journey to being one of the most sustainable companies, besides the usual recycling paper, plastic etc. in our office we ditched plastic bottles, we encourage our colleagues to use glass casseroles when they are going to the restaurant in the building to grab their lunch, we replaced all cleaning products with green and eco-friendly ones. More than that, we provide our colleagues with healthy snacks and fruits in order to encourage healthy choices.
We care a lot about our people and their developments, therefor in Skanska we have a lot of growth opportunities, development programs and trainings, aiming to enhance the skills and make us become even better together. We work a lot cross countries and this helps us to share the knowledge, best practices but also learn from each other’s challenges.
Our culture is based on openness and teamwork, so when it comes to the workspaces that we create for our teams, we focus a lot on seamless floor plans, collaboration areas and homelike feeling, all these under a Scandinavian design umbrella, with natural materials and balanced colors.
- Give us more details about the company’s culture and working vibe/atmosphere.
Our organizational culture is defined by three powerful pillars: strong health and safety principles, care for the environment and well-being of the teams
Our vision for Safety is that all of our workplaces – being them construction sites or headquarters – should be injury free and beside the methods, procedures and measurement tools that we have developed and implemented, each team member knows that safety is everybody’s responsibility. Therefore, the committed leadership is key to create the right mindset.
There is not a news anymore that until 2045 Skanska aim to become carbon neutral. This means that each of us in the company can drive the change and have a huge impact in reaching this ambitious goal. Here I am talking about a broader perspective than how we build our products. It is even about how we live our lives and what healthy habits we have adopted. We proudly share these among us in the team, let us inspired by each other and steal with pride ideas that we can apply also in our working lives.
Wellbeing is high on Skanska agenda for some time and the pandemics even accelerated the processes in the company related to developing a consistent health & wellbeing program across the CEE Business Unit.
- Do you ensure career paths to your employees?
At Skanska, there are many different career paths to take depending on each individual’s career preferences, interests and skills. The opportunities to learn and grow are countless through exciting projects, demanding customers and highly competent colleagues. People bring their experience and perspective and learn from the pool of knowledge their colleagues have built up.
We invest in people because we believe that their skills guarantee our shared success. We encourage them to take care of their own development as well as we supervise their progress so we can help them reach their best.
Skanska uses a learning and development model called 70-20-10 which states that 70% of a new skill is built by experience, 20% by learning from others, and only 10% by formal learning. We also encourage our people to explore different opportunities which are not necessarily similar to their previous roles. This way they will broaden their experience even further.
- What trainings do you offer?
To learn more about development opportunities we have a library of development ideas for great inspirations that can be used in our employees everyday job, a Development Path to better understand development planning process and a training offer customized to each employee development needs.
Being a part of an international company gives us a chance to use Skanska global experience in this matter, as well. Our global development plans include international programs dedicated for learning, development and networking between employees from different streams and parts of the world. This international programs are dedicated for high performers and managers in order to broaden their leadership skills.
- You know how dynamic the market place is – so what is your strategy to keep your employees engaged, motivated and boost their creativity so they can innovate?
We are focusing on building an environment where people can freely express their opinions and worries, strongly believing that such an environment can foster innovation and creativity. We have managed to build such a safe environment and this is stated in the latest result of our internal survey, where more than 80% of our Romanian colleagues responded that they can freely express their concerns without fear of negative consequences (e.g. safety, discrimination, ethical matters, etc).
From the same survey we can see that 100% of our colleagues consider that our workplace is free from bulling and harassment and, at worldwide level, almost 80% of respondents would recommend Skanska as a good place to work and almost 85% say their job makes good use of their skills and abilities. Both metrics surpass industry benchmarks. And this great result is a consequence of Skanska’s strategic initiatives to ensure an organization of great people, now and into the future.
- We’re all unique, so how do you succeed to answer to different needs that your employees might have?
We foster an inclusive culture where we are open and fair, showing trust and respect for each other. Diversity opens a rich potential for new ways of thinking, helping us to build successful and winning teams, in a working environment where everyone can speak their mind.
- Tell us more about your diversity and inclusion strategy.
Each of us individually felt how much the pandemic affected our well-being and psychological safety. Something that is linked to diversity (D) and inclusion (I). Understanding other people’s perspectives and experiences have perhaps never been more critical. That’s why we considered the perfect timing to organize diversity trainings. The goal of all our D&I efforts is that we all could say to ourselves with a smile on our faces that we are welcomed and appreciated, regardless of our individual characteristics.
Our goal was ambitious – to present our organization with the broadest and most sincere diversity training possible, which would not only enrich our employees with theoretical knowledge and competencies but also provide first-hand examples by inviting experts who are not only excellent facilitators but also representatives of the groups involved to moderate each training module.
The extensive scope of training was divided into 6 thematic modules, which were then implemented through interactive workshops. We trained empathy and knowledge in the following areas:
Module 1 – Why good people do bad things? Unconscious biases & microaggressions.
Module 2 – Diversity deep dive: Sexual orientation and gender identity expression.
Module 3 – Diversity deep dive: Racial and ethnic origin.
Module 4 – Mental health awareness training (intro).
Module 5 – Diversity deep dive: Physical abilities.
Module 6 – Diversity deep dive: Gender equality.
More than that, with the launch of the Skanska CDE Employees’ LGBTQ+ network, we are starting a new tradition – Pride Month goodies that will remind us of the importance of diversity and equality. This year, celebrating Pride Month for the first time, we offered a small gift for our LGBTQ+ community and allies. An item that will not only be a fashionable addition to your outfits, but also an amazing expression of understanding and support.
International Women in Engineering Day is an international awareness day hosted each year to raise the profile of women in engineering and focus attention on the amazing career opportunities available to girls in an exciting industry.
Skanska tracks D&I performance both on Group and Business Unit level. Inclusion is primarily tracked via engagement survey results. There are three questions with an explicit focus inclusion. Over the last couple of years, the positive share of responses has increased significantly indicating that the inclusive culture has become even stronger. In addition to tracking total result and development over time (trend) Skanska tracks gaps between different groups, as well as comparing the overall result with general industry norm (benchmark).
- We are well known for the employee’s benefits. Tell us more about the ones that you are offering (maybe something rare or unique).
Our aspiration is to be one of the most attractive employer in our industry and we know that our business is created by people.
In our company, a high performance culture, supported by differentiated compensation and development is key to the delivery of individual and business objectives. We have implemented a short-term incentives policy, which is related to employee’s salary, and derives from the group compensation standard.
Beside the financial benefits, we constantly do our best to bring novelties into the wider benefits package – customized medical package, birthdays celebration and work anniversaries, additional days off, allowance for eye glasses, Bookster subscription and a dedicated monthly budget in Benefit platform, where employees can choose whatever they need.
What is also worth to be mentioned is that we encourage the new dads to take paternity leave to spend time with their little new born and this is similar in case of adopting a child.
- What did your employees appreciated in your offices and how do you think the working (from the office) environment will change post pandemic? What are the new top features?
When it comes to a broader perspective than Skanska employees, according to a recent survey conducted by the research and analytical company Zymetria on behalf of Skanska shows that among the first three indicators of an ideal office for Romanians are: high quality IT equipment (39%), green spaces, open for work and relaxation (33%) and cafes, canteens or restaurants that offer tasty and healthy food. Other crucial aspects include a quiet space that allows concentration (32%), professional lighting of the space that does not tire the eyes (27%), separate or individual work space (18%) and special places for socializing with the team and for creative sessions (18%).
- Some of the employees appreciate WFH and also the flexibility it comes when choosing their location and program. Besides that, it’s a huge opportunity for companies to access new talent pools. Did your company consider working from anywhere? This includes anywhere in Romania or also abroad?
Part of our wellbeing program, work from home was introduced even before the pandemic, in order to support our employees in having a better work-life balance. However, many of our colleagues continue to come to the office, because they consider it provides them with clear boundaries between private and working life, where they can be much more focused and efficient in a cozy, comfortable and ergonomic office space.
What more can be noticed from the results of the study done with Zymetria is that the “home office” is not the ideal solution in the eyes of employees in CEE, respectively in Romania – the share of those who prefer to work only from the office is higher compared to those who prefer to work only from home.
Specifically for the respondents from Romania, 27% of the respondents would opt for office work of at least 3-4 days a week as the ideal working model, while 22% of them would like to work exclusively from the office and 19% would prefer to work only from home.
- Do you intend to have specific benefits for the ones that choose one way of working or another?
We don’t have specific benefits for one way of working or another. Any way of working should have equally balanced benefits.
- Is there a channel/web page where people can learn more about your company and career opportunities?
People can learn more about our company and career opportunities by simply accessing our website, https://www.skanska.com/. In the „Careers” section you can search and apply for jobs at Skanska worldwide and learn more about us. The „Working at Skanska” section provides information about the plenty of opportunities and the exciting challenges our company offers. The ”Job Areas” section can help you find the position that is right for you.