Andrew Fialkovsky is managing director of a Ukrainian engineering firm specialised in the area of aircraft and airport construction. The severe economic crisis that recently hit his country has also affected his business. Due to limited economic relations with Russia, the medium-sized enterprise lost important customers. When Fialkovsky attended the Programme in 2015, his primary intention then was to find new partners to fill this gap. However, the biggest benefit he got from the Programme, he states, was in the area of HR management.
The employees at Progresstech-Ukraine are satisfied - a fact they also like to share on social media. "It's cool to work at Progresstech", they enthuse on national job portals like work.ua or networks like Facebook and vk.com. Fialkovsky is proud of this digital marketing success. Because his staff’s positive attitude is no coincidence. It is the result of the innovations he himself introduced after noticing how German firms generally recognise and appreciate their employees. "Now we regularly run questionnaires and conduct staff surveys", the business economist said.
He holds staff meetings twice a year. The suggestions and criticisms submitted at these times are often the catalyst for actions aimed at optimising production processes or social programmes. Fialkovsky also established an expert council, based on the German model, which is composed of retired employees. They are consulted on difficult cases or strategy matters. Keeping them in the loop retains business know-how.
There was no skimping in the area of personnel development, either. His HR managers created an individual development plan for each of his 500+ employees. A corporate benefit plan comprising a performance-oriented points system was set up, where employees cash in their points at the end of the year, for example in the form of insurance or fitness programmes. There are also more and more social projects being initiated, for example employees have collected donations in-kind from within the firm and passed these on to children's homes. "The colleagues who coordinate these fundraisers have some very moving moments when they visit the children", says Fialkovsky. His innovations have resulted in less staff turnover, increased motivation and better cohesion.
Through these pioneering management measures, Fialkovsky was able to strengthen his business and enter new markets. In 2016, the Progresstech Group opened a branch in Warsaw to serve the European market. "We needed a European face", the managing director explains. Poland was the perfect location, as it was an EU country, but at the same time similar to Ukraine in terms of its mindset and language. For example, it was based out of Poland that Progresstech managed the conversion of a Boeing 787 to a VIP jet for a Bavarian engineering firm. Progresstech has also been a service partner for an aircraft repair and service enterprise since 2015, providing support for the maintenance of heavy and large freight machines in Leipzig. The Ukrainian firm also counts France and Great Britain among the countries in its EU portfolio.
"My experience in Germany shows that there is no value in knocking on every door. You should start with building trust", concluded Fialkovsky. Big firms can be won over with an impressive presentation. But medium-sized family businesses in Germany, he continued, choose their partners differently – they value personal relationships. The forty-year-old executive regularly attends the relevant trade fairs in Germany and Europe, helping to build this trust in his enterprise and his country.