Jolanta Gantkowska is Director of Operations Poland at Alexander Mann Solutions, with responsibility for its Service Centre in Gdańsk, Poland – which she helped to set up in 2015 – and for developing the company’s further Service Centre strategy across mainland Europe. We talk to her about the challenges and benefits of owning a process end-to-end, the importance of authenticity and passion in a career and how the role of talent acquisition and HR is responding to changing demands and new technologies…
What skills and strengths have you used most in your career to advance it?
The key skills that have enabled me to progress and succeed as an individual – and also as a leader – are authenticity and passion. I have always brought myself to work and ensured that everything I do is in line with my own values. This has allowed me to earn the trust of my teams and work with them to advance their careers. I passionately believe that if we give the best we have in us, the success will come.
What advice would you give on the challenges of meeting the needs of multiple stakeholders?
The biggest challenge is juggling everyone’s interests and priorities, and in order to overcome or minimise this I look for common goals or interests to start getting people on ‘one bus’. We will all still have different bus stops to get off at, but if we are heading in the same direction it always helps – and enables us to focus on reaching everyone’s goals. I often use the phrase, “One team, one AMS” (Alexander Mann Solutions) – and somehow it works magic.
What challenges and opportunities did setting up the Solutions Centre in Gdańsk present?
Owning a process like this, end-to-end, gives you a different perspective on your decisions. You’re making key decisions and recommending things to your boss, so you feel personally accountable. In Gdańsk, it was essential to build a strong brand for future employees, but also to make new networks and connections. In my previous role, running the Alexander Mann Solutions’ Service Centre in Kraków, we already had a good position in the marketplace and as a manager it was my job to keep that going. Here, though, I was helping to build something up from scratch, which was interesting and enriching.
Has the recruitment process changed in HR or talent acquisition over the past decade?
I remember being a recruiter 12 years ago, when it was a matter of putting a good job description in a newspaper – and later on online portals – and then selecting the talent from the applications. Today, we talk about the fact that the ‘war for talent’ is over and the talent has won – which means we are in a candidate-driven market. We also have a shortage of talent in certain areas and different tools to work with now – such as the growth of artificial intelligence – and I'm always trying to understand the future and how this will affect HR. Some things don’t change, though, and you've still got to have a good understanding of people in order to be an effective partner in HR or talent acquisition. You also have to have flexibility in how you work with people because everyone is different and know that if you listen and observe people’s motivations and behaviour, you can provide a far better solution.
What advice would you give to women coming up behind you in talent acquisition?
Don’t force yourself to have a rigid plan for your career advancement, as this is where you start losing sight of the unique person you are. Do the best you can but keep a balance, follow your values and passions and use your intuition to follow opportunities. The more you remain yourself in your career, the better the success will taste.