Galina Akhmerova: ‘The dialogue won’t go far without proactivity’

Galina Akhmerova: ‘The dialogue won’t go far without proactivity’
Photo: courtesy of Galina Akhmerova for

Now businesses and the state in Russia are operating like two different worlds, working at the same time and aren’t coming across. The interactional is isolated, there aren’t common sites and regulators, claims Director General of Round platform, founder of Darwin Modern Education Accessibility Development Fund, member of the Eurasian Women’s Association — Regional Leaders, member of the Interregional Association of Women’s Business Galina Akhmerova. In her op-ed column for Realnoe Vremya, the expert explains how entrepreneurs and authorities can establish a mutually beneficial dialogue, how to motivate the youth and what businesses will achieved greater results.

Subsidies in HR or youth cooperation

Two big events for HR managers and representatives of large businesses and the state took place last week: Kazan Digital Week (Kazan) and Big Fish HR forum (Yekaterinburg). These are two big activities located at exhibition centres in different countries where common problems were discussed: demography, process digitalisation, human resources, the state’s role and businesses’ performance in permanent turbulence. We were lucky to attend both forums: a part of the team stayed in Tatarstan, the other went to Sverdlovsk Oblast to talk with representatives of the industry and share our experience in working with youth and retaining employees. The results are similar:

  • career guidance is still crude,
  • digitalisation members refuse new products on the site,
  • businesses are turning their face towards human-oriented approach.

Let’s start with re-qualification. During a round-table talk Cast-Iron Character in Yekaterinburg, the opinions split: some factories want to receive subsidies to work with staff — like subsidies or investments for technological development, others work with youth by inviting them to excursions, holding classes and even talking with parents!

Team Round at Kazan Digital Week. courtesy of Galina Akhmerova for

There is no data on results of kids’ career guidance and interests

Of course, the proactive standpoint is closer to me: it is necessary to start doing something to get motivation for something.

It is a pity to hear formulations “speak the same language with the youth.” There is only one language — Russia: it is just necessary to imagine a company’s capabilities, share experience from the point of view “I respect you and I am ready to listen to your opinion as equals,” add those promised salaries to job announcements. One shouldn’t get younger. We will anyway not catch up with them.

We have just got used to zoomers: everybody wants to help and give them recommendations. But if only we look around, zoomers already know about their career, work in companies (including in mine), got married and take out mortgages. It is time to work with them in corporate kindergartens and study the specifics of the alpha generation at the same time by launching a long-term campaign to work considering some requests.

The dialogue between businesses and the state won’t go far without proactivity. We can see even in these two forums how the two worlds operate at the same time and don’t come across. Now the company-state interaction is isolated, there aren’t yet any common sites and regulators — a business that found resources to work deeply achieves big results, others are unaware of general current changes, for instance, the introduction of career guidance at school since 1 September.

Other issues are already raised. During KDW, Minister of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media Maksut Shadayev was presented a work of 45 experts of the sector (educational and IT agencies, IT developers and integrators) developing regional education. For instance, problems of existing solutions and challenges in digitalisation of power agencies’ activity: now there is no integrated data on results of career guidance in the interests of a child. There are regional and federal systems doing tasks of career guidance, while there aren’t any criteria to assess the quality of professional activity screening. Neither is there a solution to invite students to master professions further on. And, as I think, an eco-system digital instrument should be a solution for our big country.

From left to right: Director of Darwin Modern Education Accessibility Development Fund Elvina Yanysheva, head of PROinteres marketing festival Renata Mingalimova. courtesy of Galina Akhmerova for

People with their interests and desires at the heart of everything

Another problem waits for us here — the unpreparedness for digital transformation. Moreover, not from a perspective of technical and technological equipment (these issues can be resolved) but from a perspective of human resources: work with people accounts for 80% of digital transformation.

I will put an example of Kazan Digital Week: what’s the difference between CIO and CTO? Both terms come from IT, CIO is literally chief information officer, whereas CTO is chief technological officer. Since the first specialist is, first of all, an economist, a person who knows how to work with information and convert it into money. In other words, this is not even an IT process in its classic interpretation but a work with data and vision of the company’s development vector.

Even though digitalisation helps to develop efficacy and productivity not only world research but also Russian colleagues’ experience shows, scepticism about this topic is quite a widespread reaction. While we face scepticism, the poor knowledge is seen. And here we can start with simply things: it is not necessary to introduce wow solutions top-down to become suddenly technologically sophisticated. Approaches to communication, paradigms of work with an employee can change: people with their interests and desires are at the heart of everything, while the company helps them to develop, share knowledge, and only then we create something together.

Perhaps, this sounds utopic, however, this already exists. The team brought a case from Yekaterinburg: a teal company making solutions and equipment for the construction of oil and gas wells — Oil Energy. Employees themselves choose new colleagues going by a code they created and they say that they haven’t had a manager for a long time. It is a total horizontal management pattern in a factory. And zoomers will appreciate it, you know.

courtesy of Galina Akhmerova for

This is what I talked about at Kazan Digital Week at Staff Training for Digital Transformation of Industrial Enterprises: in production tasks informal communications are considered more important, they are known for their flexibility and the speed of distribution, they cannot be ignored. Companies that are in the process of transformation, focus on “data plus technologies,” while those who will successfully add people to this chain will win.

Galina Akhmerova

The author’s opinion does not necessarily coincide with the position of Realnoe Vremya’s editorial board.