Meet Dan Mihnea Badiu

VP EMEA as well as Executive Search Consultant in Romania

Romania has a population of ca 20 million inhabitants. Most of the people live in the South and the Eastern part, but also in the North West. Most people speak Romanian which is a romance language. Biggest city is the capital Bucharest with more than 2 million inhabitants. The Carpathian Mountains is in the center off the country with mountains as high as 2,544 meters and surrounded by good agricultural land.

Romania biggest export markets are Germany, Italy, France and their neighbors Hungary, Poland and Bulgaria. Romania is the number 39th export market for Sweden and Sweden is number 23rd import market for Romania. Romania export from and import to Sweden is about 5 billion SEK. Most big Swedish companies are established in Romania and about 13,000 people are employed in Swedish owned companies.

What is your background and what attracted you to make a career change into becoming an Executive Search Consultant?

Actually I got in this industry by chance, right after graduating from university, back in 1999. The local economical landscape was completely different – you have to keep in mind that Romania was still struggling towards a normal, open economy, as at that point we were freed from the communist regime for just 10 years. From that point on, with a break of 3 years (when I worked as an internal HR), my entire career was in Executive Search, which I really love!

What are your own focus areas as Executive Search Consultant?

The market conditions in Romania did not allow so far to focus on a certain industry or Job functions so I can say that after many years, I am a generalist – I had the opportunity of completing successfully hundreds of searches in Automotive, IT&C, FMCG, Constructions, Chemicals on basically all job functions.

What can you tell us about AIMS International in Romania?

We started our journey in 1992, being one of the first Recruitment companies established in Romania. The first office was opened in Bucharest and soon after, the Timisoara office followed, allowing us to cover the entire territory in a more consistent manner. We helped more and more international clients and 2002 we became AIMS International Romania.

In time, the two offices (Bucharest and Timisoara) start to specialize, according to better served our local market; while in Bucharest our teams main services are Executive Search and Talent Management, the team at the office in Timisoara is well-known for its salary surveys (targeted especially on the Automotive, SSC/BPO and IT&C industries), training and coaching business.

What is Romania’s economy like?

After the rough period of the 90’s, the Romanian economy was on a constant rise, being one of the countries with the highest increase rates in the European Union (current ranking is 12th by nominal GDP and 7th largest when adjusted by purchasing power parity).  In 2020, Romania’s GDP per capita in purchasing power standards reached 72% of the European Union average, up from 44% in 2007, the highest growth rate in the EU27.

If we are to name only a few of the most developed industries, I would point out to the Automotive Industry (with 2 producers, Renault / Dacia and Ford, followed by hundreds of automotive spare parts producers), IT&C (with hundreds of software development firms) or SSC/BPO’s (many of the large, multinational companies decided to open their Shared Service Centers here, due to the highly skilled labour force combined with very good foreign language skills). And I believe that, besides the industries already mentioned, the list of industries well developed here is quite impressive!

How would you describe the Executive Search market in Romania?

I would describe it as an overcrowded and highly competitive one – many competitors fighting over a relatively small market (as per the information I have, it does not exceed 5 million euros/year). To make matters more complicated, many decision makers still do not make a clear distinction between Executive Search services and general Recruitment ones, so in many instances the decisions are made mainly based on the fees and not on the seniority and expertise of the consultants.

What is the most important advice for a foreign company who wish to invest, establish or increase their presence in Romania?

I believe that the market still offers good opportunities and we are not yet in a crisis of resources when it comes to Top and Mid Management candidates.

What I think is of the utmost importance is to make a proper due diligence of the market before entering it, in order to align the expectations with local realities.

We had the opportunity of supporting some new comers from the moment they were just considering Romania as a good country to invest in – we were able to offer information regarding the labor market but not only (offering support in finding offices, legal services, accounting services, through our local network and partners).

Like many of our Eastern European colleagues in AIMS International we can see a trend after de pandemic, that international companies are moving production back to Europe to the set up new sites. See previous interviews with Judit Simonyi Managing Partner at AIMS International Romania and Šarūnas Dyburis Managing Partner at AIMS International Lithuania.

You are the VP EMEA – AIMS International – what are the challenges in this region and what are the strongest trends you see moving forward when it comes to finding and keeping top talent?

My area of coverage as VP EMEA covers mainly the Central and Southeast part of Europe. What I found interesting is that, although we are basically neighboring countries and we face some common challenges, each country has its own, specific challenges (market development speed, types of business opportunities, etc).

Nevertheless, I like to see this area as a united one with much potential for the future – after all, many of us have the same background (with quite fresh free markets after decades of communism), sharing the same kind of dynamics and transformation. In addition, many of the international hubs of our customers are located here and I believe we could do an even better job in cross-country development. Dan Mihnea Badiu

Daniel Minhea Badiu

Map of Romania in Europe


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2023 Internationella kvinnodagen – Har du bestämt dig i jämställdhetsfrågan?

Så här när internationella kvinnodagen snart står inför dörren vill vi lyfta frågan kring jämställdhet. Mångfald och jämställdhet blir allt viktigare för många företag, vilket är glädjande. När Allbright släppte sin rapport för 2022 kände vi att det var ganska nedslående – utvecklingen mot jämställdhet var exakt noll! De svenska storbolagen hade de senaste fyra åren ökat andelen chefskvinnor med mindre än en procentenhet per år. Endast Polen utvecklas långsammare än Sverige, i en jämförelse mellan sex starka industriländer.

Nu visar även PwC:s årliga studie om styrelsearbete att andelen ordförande som är kvinnor minskar bland börsens större bolag. På Large Cap-bolagens lista har andelen minskat från tolv procent till nio procent på ett år och på Mid Cap är könsfördelningen oförändrad. Glädjande nog kan man se en viss ökning av kvinnor på Small Cap.

Vi lever i en samtid som är utsatt för påtryckningar från olika håll, låt oss även i dessa utmanande tider våga satsa på initiativ som gör att utvecklingen går framåt. Så vad kan vi som Executive Search konsulter göra för att bidra till att utvecklingen går åt rätt håll? Vi som arbetar med ledarrekrytering har en viktig roll att fylla när det gäller mångfald. Vi kan påverka och arbetar för att alla perspektiv kommer med och här är vår roll att utmana de företag som vi arbetar med. Det råder inte brist på kompetenta kvinnor men trots det ser vi dagens negativa utveckling. Vad är det som gör detta? Är det hierarkier, värderingar, kultur och gamla normer som är de största hindren?

Vi tror att det är bra att börja att bli medveten. Att medvetet och nyfiket utforska sin position och de värderingar som styr. Vi ser att det är när VD och ledning har bestämt sig på riktigt och är beredda att göra vad som krävs för att uppnå verklig jämställdhet och mångfald som det händer saker. Vi gör vårt yttersta för att bidra till ett näringsliv med mångfald i varje process genom att ta dialogen.

Vi är stolta över att de flesta bolag vi samarbetar med är företag som har bestämt sig i mångfaldsfrågan och är beredda på att göra allt för att nå rätt ledarkompetenser. Ibland krävs det att vi gemensamt fattar beslut att rucka på kravprofiler och gör avkall för att verkligen nå målet med mångfald.

Låt 2023 bli ett år där vi tar positiva kliv framåt i jämställdhetsfrågan.

Internationella kvinnodagen 2023

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Coaching tips to boost employee engagement

In my previous article I discussed the reasons behind quiet quitting and how, in generic terms, you can tackle the challenges related to employees who perform “but just the minimum”.  Link to the article

I am thankful for the great feedback I got from the article, and it inspired me to continue on the theme. I will shortly share some coaching questions and advice how to meet the employee who show signs of frustration, lack of commitment and dissatisfaction. In many organizations the annual performance reviews and discussions are performed during Q1 and I hope the thoughts below will be useful.

The lack of engagement or frustration can be a blend of many things as mentioned in my previous article. It is usually never a question of one parameter and this is why coaching questions work so well in these circumstances. It gives the employee the chance to transform the negative feelings to something positive, constructive and engaging.

My recommendation is always start by thinking about your own way of managing the dialogue.  Before making up your own analysis it is always good to:

  • Listen carefully what the employee is saying and be emphatic by trying to understand what he or she is saying and, even more importantly what he/she is not saying. This will help you and your employee reframing the issue in a better way.
  • When understanding the issue you can also be certain that you provide the employee with the support he or she needs to overcome the frustration.

The common mistake is that the managers draw conclusions, build solutions and aim to solve the issue too fast, without really understanding the problem. Some questions to ask your employee and make sure you have understood correctly the situation could look like this:

  • What would success look like for you in this situation?
  • What resources or support would you need to feel more positive and motivated in your work?
  • Can you describe this situation to see it in a more positive light?Reflecting around the past experiences can be a source of additional insight. It might be that the employee has experienced negative emotions before and overcome those. These questions can widen the perspective to addition above:
  • Can you think of a time when you overcame a similar challenge? What did you do differently that worked well?
  • Have you tried any strategies to address your frustration? If so, what were they? Did they work?

In coaching practice, we always aim to some concrete improvement actions which are defined by the client. Elaborating the different ways to meet the feeling of frustration can be formulated also in following questions:

  • How can we work together to find a solution to this frustration?
  • How can you use your strenghts to overcome this frustration?
  • What can we do to ensure that your work aligns with your values and interests?
  • What kind of feedback do you find most helpful and motivating?
  • What is the one thing that you can do today to make a positive difference and reduce your frustration?
  • What can we do to celebrate your progress and achievements along the way?

I strongly believe that negative feelings can be processed in a positive way and above questions can sserve as a starting point to more in-depth dialogue on motivation, accountability and workplace satisfaction. When investing time and effort to coach your employee. One discussion will most likely not be enough and sometimes you might need to engage an external coach to support employee.

International Coaching Federations Global Coaching Client Study shows most clients reported improved work performance, better business management, more efficient time management, increased team effectiveness, and more growth and opportunities. The same study found that coaching clients noted greater self-confidence, enhanced relationships, more effective communications skills, better work-and-life balance, and an improvement in wellness. Nearly 70 percent of individuals indicated they had at least made back their initial investment.

We at AIMS International Sweden are specialized to support companies broadly when working with Talent Management issues including building new way-of-working and providing Executive Coaching, Leadership Assessments and Executive Search. Please contact us in AIMS International Sweden in case you want to hear more from the solutions we can provide.

Mikko Taipale works as Partner and Executive Search and Talent Management Consultant in AIMS International Sweden. He is also a Certified Coach by International Coaching Federation (ACC).  Before starting in AIMS International Sweden he worked close to 20 years in large corporates as a HR leader with a focus on Talent Management practices.


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Nytt år, nya möjligheter – nå mål på rätt sätt

Vi har nu precis sparkat igång 2023 och en känsla av ett nytt år med möjlighet till förändring känns härlig. Vi tittar bakåt och reflekterar kring året och vill nu sätta nya mål. Gymmen har högsäsong, många nyårslöften skall infrias men om ett par månader finns det återigen utrymme och tid på gymmen och träningsklasserna. Många av de mål vi sätter nås aldrig. Vad är det som gör att vi inte lyckas hålla i trots att vi har så goda intentioner?

Hur gör vi då för att hålla motivationen och viljan att nå de där målen?

Detsamma gäller i arbetslivet. Det finns teorier och forskning som visar på att de som sätter upp mål är mer framgångsrika. Hur gör vi då för att hålla motivationen och viljan att nå de där målen? En viktig sak är så klart att bibehålla motivationen och att sätta upp realistiska mål. Vad är målsättningen med målet? Motiverar det oss? Handlar det om att vi ska hållas oss friska och kunna leva ett långt liv utan krämpor eller handlar det om att tappa de där extra kilona? Se till att sätta upp mål och en vision som ger motivation som håller under lång tid, dvs: hitta ditt varför. Fundera sedan på hur du ska nå din vision. Vad behöver du göra för att nå ditt varför? Varför eller visionen är något som ligger långt fram i tiden och därför är det viktigt att bryta ner visionen till vad du behöver göra här och nu. Först då kommer målsättningen.  Det krävs disciplin för att nå dina mål och vi människor behöver få positiv feedback/belöning för att hålla motivationen uppe och fatta beslut som leder oss till vår vision även när vi lockas att avbryta och ta den enklare vägen. Starta alltid med ett mål som har låg tröskel så du ger dig chans att lyckas, för känslan av att prestera och lyckas gör att vi skapar än mer motivation för det långsiktiga målet, vår vision. Du behöver lägga en plan men det viktigaste är ändå att göra. Sätt konkreta och tidsbestämda mål på VAD som skall göras, NÄR det skall göras och VEM som skall göra.  Ifall visionen är att du ska leva ett långt och friskt liv så är det kanske den där lunchpromenaden du skall ta idag och känna dig nöjd med det första steget mot din vision.

Tänk långsiktigt och fira även de små stegen

Så se till att ställ dig frågor kring din vision oavsett om det gäller din livsvision, din karriärvision eller din företagsvision för att säkra att den är djupt förankrad i vad du faktiskt vill åstadkomma. Som ledare lägg tid på att sätta visionen, involvera andra för att säkra att den är välförankrad och jobba därifrån. Vi mår bra av och behöver mål för att vara framgångsrika men se till att prioritera och var inte för ambitiös i nuet utan se det långsiktiga och fira även de små stegen som leder dig till din vision.

Emma Lindén & Louise Brondin Månsson

Mål 2023

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Meet Sukwon Choi

EVP Asia and Pacific as well as Executive Search Consultant in South Korea

South Korea has population of about 51 million inhabitants and a geographical size about the same as Hungary or Iceland. South Korea is notable for its rapid economical development in a few generations from an underdeveloped nation to a developed, high-income economy. They are member of OECD since 1996 and the value of their currency the Won has been quite stable over the past decade. By nominal GDP, South Korea has the 4th largest economy in Asia and the 12th largest in the world.  The country is known for its advanced manufacturing sector, which produces high-value products like semiconductors and automobiles and has many well-known companies like Samsung, Hyundai Motors, and SK Group.

What is your background and what attracted you to make a career change into becoming an Executive Search Consultant?

I was born and raised in Seoul Korea and got educated in US to a degree in economics at University of California Los Angeles. I started my career in investment and finance with firms like UBS and Morgan Stanley. My experience with Executive Search Consultants had been very positive and critical when I made my career moves in the past. This experience instilled me about my transition to Executive Search very naturally when an opportunity arose. Unlike many other careers this business we are in do not have to sell or take advantage of others – I love the idea of win-win business relationship.

What are your own focus areas as Executive Search Consultant?

As Managing Partner I focus on business development and client management for Executive Search services in South Korea. I have strong presence in the alternative investment area, especially Private Equity market. Over 70% of assignments are generated by PE clients of which 30% assignments are in the area of investment managers and 70% for PEs portfolio companies.

What can you tell us about AIMS International in South Korea?

AIMS International in South Korea has a strong presence with more than 10 years of strong business building as part of AIMS International global alliance. We currently have about 30 consultants with offices in our capital Seoul and in Busan, which our second biggest city and one of the biggest ports in the world. We are able to provide Executive Search Services to most major industries, especially to the area of IT and industrial manufacturing markets. During the recent Covid period many bio and life sciences businesses emerged as another major roaring market. The South Korean market is very familiar with Swedish brands and we want to expand further ties between the two countries.

What is South Koreas economy like?

As world’s top 10 economy Korea proves itself time and time again as Asia’s most important economy alongside with China and Japan. As a big global number one producer in the areas like semiconductor and mobile phones, South Korea has many competitive industry positions in the areas of technology, automotive, bio science, games and more. Recent and continued booming trend of M&As and corporate IPOs many make it possible for companies to enjoy in-organic growth and provide opportunities for new management changes.

How would you describe the Executive Search market in South Korea?

Our Executive Search business meaningfully began in the early 90s. Upon reaching new millennium especially posting 2010 market became quite saturated due to heavy reliance on multiple major HR portals (Saramin, Job Korea, Remember, Linkedin etc.). Many Executive Search Businesses have to compete with transactional database driven HR portals. In some areas, holistic Executive Search Processes often became luxury when timely infusion of candidate profiles highly valued in the respect of cost per value standard. Indeed, in the midst of this market saturation, Executive Search firms who deliver differentiated services and value driven results are often sought after by major conglomerates and fast growing companies.

What is the most important advice for a foreign company who wish to invest, establish or increase their presence in South Korea?

Korea’s economy and culture is very dynamic and opt for fast change. Foreign companies who wish to establish or increase their presence in Korea should be able to ready apt for change in trends and also keen to global dynamics. Assured, companies that bring real value to the market should be able to stick with long term business marketing without short term result.

You are the Executive Vice President of AIMS International Asia Pacific (APAC) – what are the challenges in this region and what are the strongest trends you see moving forward when it comes to finding and keeping top talent?

It has been a long waited desire that AIMS APAC generates more cross border business and more interconnection with Western and Africans partners. Unlike European countries, where traveling, meeting and calling partners are in the hands of convenience, Asian partners have more challenges doing the same thing as it encounters different time zones, trans ocean travelling and different business cultures by each country. Building solid business relationship, one by one, like our process as Swedish Korean business relationship – continue adding this embedded trust relationship would allow closer steps toward success.

Sukwon Choi

South Korea


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Seasons Greetings 2022!

We are getting closer to the end of 2022. It has been a  year of inspiration and continued growth and development for us in many ways and we feel both humble and grateful. Thank you so much for collaborations, meetings and interesting discussions throughout the year! Hopefully your new year will start in good health and confidence.

Wherever you are and however you choose to celebrate we wish you all the best for the upcoming holidays!

It is a tradition for us in AIMS International Sweden to help children in need instead of buying Christmas gifts. We started many years ago with supporting some projects for Kids Future in Thailand and in recent years we have donated money to clean drinking water for children in exposed areas. Unicef has excellent alternatives when one wants to help, so our Christmas money has already been transformed into clean water through their clean water package.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Best wishes,
The Team at AIMS International Sweden

MikkoTittiBörjeRickardArneEmmaLouiseJonas, Linda and Göran

Season´s Greetings

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How to manage your talents who are quietly quitting

The term quiet quitting refers to an approach to work in which an individual meets the minimum requirements of their job description but nothing more, no discretionary effort, no going above and beyond. The term has been discussed intensively lately in media. It is widely known that organizations include employees who have attitude of working “just for receiving salary”.

Motivate – demotivate

Why do some employees choose to become quiet quitters? In a recent article in Forbes the decrease of productivity is connected to quiet quitting and enforcing stricter work from policies. If distance workers are required to get back to the office under the threat of discipline, it leads to disengagement, fear, and distrust. As referred to in the article Gallup found that if people are required to come to the office for more time than they prefer, “employees experience significantly lower engagement, significantly lower well-being, significantly higher intent to leave and significantly higher levels of burnout.”

I believe that neither behavior of quietly quitting nor the reasons leading to quiet quitting are new. People feel demotivated or have other reasons not to be engaged and they can choose the quietly quitting approach. In this article I will discuss what to do if you identify that the previously high performing talent or you suspect your recent key recruitment has become a quiet quitter.

Define concrete behaviour

To begin with, you should reason why do you believe a person a quiet quitter by identifying a concrete behavior. The most notable sign is of course the decrease of performance/activity levels.  But I have witnessed also other early signs such as lack of interest of generating ideas, negative attitude, low engagement level in meetings or sudden change to short-term and purely operational perspective. The term quiet quitter is rather descriptive – a formerly active employee become quiet and passive.

Get an objective overview about the reasons for being demotivated

My recommendation is while discussing with the employee to create an environment where the employee feels comfortable in sharing the reasons for lower engagement. I agree with Forbes article that changes in distance working policies might cause dissatisfaction. However I believe there are numerous other reasons which are at least as common such as relationships issues with manager or colleagues, job task dissatisfaction, possibilities to impact or unclear mandate just to name few.

Action plans based on individual circumstances

Since the effects of quiet quitting are harmful for the whole organization, it is important that the leaders establish practices to prevent low engagement and thus increasing productivity.  We recommend that managers define action plans to based on individual circumstances. I do not believe there exist a standard solution but rather a combination of several actions which might include:

  • Allocating new and more demanding job tasks, additional responsibility, or clarification of mandate.
  • Follow up dialogues (e.g., weekly).
  • Solving team/relationship issue, if necessary, consider moving the person to another team.
  • Implement stretched targets, providing clear message on higher expectations.
  • Clarifying workplace/distance working issues and trying to find a solution which works for both employee and employer.
  • Redesigning the office to become a place for collaboration and socializing.

Coaching and mentoring as tools

I believe that providing mentoring and coaching for the employee to discuss the motivational drivers is a very good option to increase the job commitment.  International Coaching Federations Global Coaching Client Study shows most clients reported improved work performance, better business management, more efficient time management, increased team effectiveness, and more growth and opportunities. The same study found that coaching clients noted greater self-confidence, enhanced relationships, more effective communications skills, better work-and-life balance and an improvement in wellness. Nearly 70 percent of individuals indicated they had at least made back their initial investment.

We at AIMS International Sweden are specialized to support companies broadly when working with Talent Management issues including building new way-of-working and providing Executive Coaching, Leadership Assessments and Executive Search. Please contact us in AIMS International Sweden in case you want to hear more from the solutions we can provide.

Mikko Taipale is Partner and works with Executive Search and Talent Management in AIMS International Sweden. He is also a Certified Coach by International Coaching Federation (ACC).  Before starting in AIMS International Sweden he worked close to 20 years in large corporates as a HR leader with a focus on Talent Management practices.

Quiet quitters

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Meet Olivier Legrand

With its location in the centre of Europe, the three Benelux countries Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg make up Sweden’s third largest trading market. As the heart of the EU and NATO, Benelux is a highly relevant market in terms of security, politics, as well as commerce, and the collective GDP is one of the largest in Europe.

What is your background and what attracted you to make a career change into becoming an Executive Search Consultant?

During my corporate career I’ve had many times the opportunity to work on building – developing – transforming teams and organizations, and I’ve enjoyed that pretty much. During those years I have always been surprised how little the understanding of my business challenges was from HR consultant and especially Recruiters: The conviction is that a better support was possible was there. I was just missing a spark! And this happens when I met by coincidence Gregoire Depeursinge (Managing Partner AIMS Int Switzerland and at that time VP EMEA) during Automechanika in Frankfurt a few discussions later, and receiving the extra support from AIMS International Greece and AIMS International USA, AIMS International Belgium was created and a new professional chapter started for me.

How is your local presence in Belgium?

Belgium by its location and history is international by essence. Like myself I am born in France and I live in the Flemish speaking part of Belgium and been working for international companies. When me and my colleagues are looking for candidates we find them in Belgium but sometimes also in France, Switzerland or the rest of the French speaking communities of the world, or if we are looking for Flemish speaking candidates we are looking in the Netherlands. We are cooperating very closely cross border with our partner within AIMS International. Me and my colleagues can for sure help locally thanks to a deep understanding of the local market, but where we can make the difference is in our ability to help our customers locally and globally leveraging the unique global footprint AIMS international is offering: wherever they are looking for talent we can help following the same process and when needed with a central point of contact who will deeply understand their culture, specificities and challenges.

What is Belgiums economy like?

The economy of Belgium is a modern economy that has capitalised on the country’s central geographic location, highly developed transport network, and diversified industrial and commercial base. My country has developed an excellent transportation infrastructure of ports, canals, railways, and highways, in order to integrate our industry with that of our neighbours. We are about 11 million inhabitants in a small area of just +30.000 sq. meters so everything is close and Belgian companies often goes international very fast. Our economy is made of a healthy mix of some large groups and a multitude of mid to small size innovative companies, highly international driven. You will find here many international companies European (and sometimes global) Headquarters and large number of production facilities in Food (not to mention Beers and chocolates!), the Pharma/Life Science or Chemical sector and an extremely high transport & logistic activity especially around Antwerp and its harbor.

Innovation is highly stimulated by each region, and by many active cities like Leuven, Gent or Hasselt, hosting many rising stars.

How would you describe the Executive Search market in Belgium?

There is currently an interesting situation: companies are in need for talents and ready to hire while candidates are difficult to attract

First reason is the global context: we went through Covid, we have the war in Ukraine, price inflation. These situations generating stress, concerns with the consequence that a large part of potential candidates are feeling it is not the right time to change

Second is that it is a big challenge to get good candidates attention as they are in great demand.

Last but not least many companies have not understood yet that that the game has changed : they need to convince candidates more than they need to convince them ( to show long term vision, to be open for home office possibilities, to offer development opportunities for instance), and they need to be « quick on the ball », long processes with too many steps with not also easily available managers / executives are losing many candidates along the way.

How specifically do you handle international assignments?

It varies with the assignment and the desire of our client: we can perfectly handle from Belgium the project if our consultant’s expertise is what counts the most (in a specific sector for instance) or hand over to our local AIMS colleague if the local expertise counts the most.

To give you an example. When a company in Sweden would like to have help with an Executive Search project in Belgium they are already mostly a client to AIMS International in Sweden. My colleagues at AIMS International Sweden are responsible to lead the project and I am responsible to set up the local team in Belgium. If we need to make a multi county search I do it by myself or together with my colleagues in the French speaking countries or my colleagues in the Netherland. It depends about preferred languages.

The main driver is to propose the solution that will be the most efficient to the customer  and with the same process.

I know you work a lot within Automotive and Industrial with Executive Search, areas where we have collaborated together. Any other areas where you also work in and what type of assignments do you do?

AIMS International Belgium is supporting companies in the Automotive, within engineering, in the Chemie, in the food, in finance and in logistics so the scope is pretty broad. We can virtually help all sectors.

You are the Global Head of our Automotive and Mobility Practice – what are the challenges in that sector and what are the strongest trends you see moving forward when it comes to finding and keeping top talent?

The industry is under massive pressure as it needs to speed up its digital Revolution, handle a technology shift (electric vehicles) and successfully go through a quick consolidation phase.

To succeed, even at AI rising time, the decisive factor is the human factor: people.

It is thus for this industry a massive HR challenge:

  • supporting their team will cope with all changes and adjust to the new normal (engineers for sure, but sales and marketing too)
  • supporting their management will adjust (managing new generations with other expectations, driving towards more gender equity and more diversity)
  • attracting talents in new technologies at a time when Automotive is less attractive than some other industries / sectors.
  • securing the next generation is properly prepared with the appropriate succession planning in place.

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Snäll eller dum som en ko?

Under åren har jag noterat en förändring i förhållningssättet till begreppet snällhet, det vi kallar sympatisk (sympatiskhet), hos de ledare jag mött. Sympatiskhet ingår i femfaktormodellen som är den teori som de flesta personbedömningstest vilar på. Sympatiskhet i detta sammanhang handlar om vilket förhållningssätt /stil som en person har i sina relationer till andra. Dvs vissa personer är och uppfattas som varma, tillitsfulla, snälla, sympatiska och ofta ivriga att få hjälpa till och andra är mer skeptiskt inställda, avvaktande och tar lättare till ett kritiskt synsätt mot andra.

Snäll med integritet

Förr pratades det om, att man måste ha hårda nypor, vara kallhamrad för att kunna vara en verklig ledare för att kunna fatta svåra beslut och inte engagera sig för mycket. Ledare ville inte heller betraktas som snälla. Jag har själv fått höra ord som – du är en av de snällaste cheferna jag haft – den feedbacken landade inte helt bekvämt i mig själv till en början. För det finns en viss negativ koppling med ordet i jobbsammanhang, snäll förknippas ofta med något negativt, snäll som en ko, dvs att det är samma som att vara lite korkad. Visst finns det en risk att vara för snäll, att man är en mesig ledare som lätt utnyttjas och lägger sig platt för andra. Det är dock en felaktig tolkning av begreppet snäll enligt mig. För vad betyder egentligen begreppet snäll när det handlar om ledarskap? Stefan Einhorn som skrivit boken Konsten att vara snäll, menar att en snäll människa också måste ha omdöme, mod och integritet för annars riskerar det att bli just dum-snäll.

Bidra till psykologisk trygghet

Att vara snäll som ledare genom att alltid hålla med, aldrig ställa krav, undvika obekväma beslut – ja, det skapar otydlighet och gör att organisationen tappar handlingskraft. Att däremot vara snäll genom att vara lyhörd för andras åsikter, visa respekt för både andras och egna behov, ta nödvändiga beslut även om de är svåra och uttrycka sin egen ståndpunkt – då är man som ledare snäll på riktigt eftersom det bidrar till så kallad psykologisk trygghet – den viktigaste faktorn för att skapa trivsel och goda resultat i ett team, enligt forskning.

De senaste åren har jag sett en tydlig förändring hos de ledare jag möter, de använder ord som snäll, empatisk, lyhörd och inlyssnande mycket mer när de beskriver sin ledarstil och sina framgångsfaktorer än tidigare. Även rekryterande chefer har svängt i sin syn och ser det också som en positiv egenskap när de ställs inför ledare som har en hög sympatiskhet utifrån begreppet i femfaktor-teorin. Detta är glädjande då jag är övertygad om att snällhet i ordets rätta bemärkelse är en av de viktigaste nyckelfaktorerna i ett framgångsrikt ledarskap. Glöm dock inte att snällhet skall, som Stefan Einhorn utrycker det, kombineras med gott omdöme, mod och integritet för att skapa effekt!

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Distansarbetet och makten på arbetsplatsen

I en tid när många arbetsgivare och arbetstagare fortfarande försöker hitta fram till det nya normala uppstår ett antal intressanta utmaningar. Min kollega Börje Hammarling skrev redan förra året om vikten av samtalet vid kaffeautomaten och senast skrev Mikko Taipale om behovet av att hantera förändringarna med viss flexibilitet.

I detta inlägg vill jag lyfta en annan frågeställning och det är om det ökade distansarbetet innebär en förändrad maktbalans mellan arbetsgivare och arbetstagare samt hur det påverkar ledarrollen.

Det är tydligt att det omfattande distansarbetet under och efter pandemin har inneburit nya förväntningar från arbetstagarens sida på flexibilitet. Många anställda vill kunna styra över både när och var man ska utföra sitt arbete. Dessa förväntningar ställer krav på arbetsgivaren att snabbt ställa om och hantera situationerna utan att förlora kontrollen över sina medarbetare. Ökat distansarbete kan också leda till en maktförskjutning mellan arbetstagaren och arbetsgivaren då makt är något som till stor del utövas i rummet.

Den snabba digitaliseringen som har lett till ökat distansarbete har förstås inneburit stora förändringar för hur verksamheter ska drivas. Inte minst har ledarskapsfrågor ställts i ett helt nytt ljus. Hur leder man en person som man i princip uteslutande kommunicerar med via e-post, telefonsamtal och videomöten? I den klassiska kontorsmiljön, med en självklar förväntad fysisk närvaro för de allra flesta, har vi sedan länge inarbetade former för hur ledarskapet ska utövas. Hur vi ska få det att fungera i den postpandemiska världen är fortfarande föremål för utveckling.

Vad vi ser nu är att fler kandidater tidigt vill veta hur arbetsgivaren ser på distansarbete. Samtidigt har vi uppdragsgivare som i många fall deklarerar att återgång till kontoret är den förväntade normen. Någonstans i den här diskrepansen byggs en spänning upp. Vem kommer att kunna sätta agendan för de framtida arbetsformerna?

I vissa sammanhang kan en attraktiv och jämförelsevis svårrekryterad kompetens antagligen styra arbetsformerna i högre utsträckning än när en eftertraktad arbetsgivare kan välja och vraka bland intresserade och kompententa kandidater.

Om vi utgår från att distansarbetet ändå ökar, vad får det då för effekt för maktbalansen mellan medarbetare och ledare, mellan arbetstagare och arbetsgivare? Den utveckling som sker höjer medarbetarens frihetsgrader betydligt. Att den enskilde kan styra över sin arbetsdag på ett helt annat sätt än i den traditionella kontorsmiljön får konsekvenser. Det ger indirekt en möjlighet att påverka hur möten hålls och upplevs, inklusive de som tidigare skulle ha varit spontana sådana. Möjligheten att disponera tiden mellan arbete och fritid ökar. Möjligheten att välja en bostadsort långt från den ordinarie arbetsplatsen blir plötsligt en realitet.

För vissa kan ökat distansarbete dock innebära en risk för social isolering. Kontakten med arbetskamraterna försvagas och gränserna mellan arbete och fritid suddas ut. Olika former av ohälsa blir svårare att uppmärksamma av arbetsgivaren.

Ur arbetsgivarens perspektiv kan det upplevas som att man tappar en möjlighet att styra över arbetsplatsens kultur. Att lojaliteten med arbetsgivaren försvagas. Att innovationstakten försämras. För chefer kan det upplevas som att man får svårare att leda och fördela arbetet. Att kontrollera prestationen hos enskilda medarbetare kan bli svårare. Att identifiera och hantera olika former av problem hos medarbetarna försvåras också.

Samtidigt ser många arbetsgivare en ökad produktivitet och möjligheter att sänka lokalkostnaderna.

Men vem vinner och vem förlorar? En möjlig förlorare kan vara de fackliga organisationerna. Hur samlar man kollektivet i en värld där man inte träffas fysiskt? Är det här självklart en fråga om självständigare medarbetare som stärker sin ställning i relation till arbetsgivaren eller innebär den större distansen också att den enskilde blir mer utbytbar och i själva verket försvagar sin roll på arbetsplatsen?

Vart utvecklingen tar vägen kommer vi att få se. Vad som däremot redan nu kan konstateras är att detta kommer att ställa ytterligare och delvis annorlunda krav på ledarskapet. Den som har en ledarroll måste finna nya vägar för att påverka sina medarbetare. Att utöva konstruktiv makt på distans ställer helt enkelt krav på andra metoder än de vi vant oss vid under lång tid.

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