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Human resources in Eastern Europe Human resources in Eastern Europe
by Jay Gutman
2019-08-24 09:34:21
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Sweeping generalizations about human resources in Eastern Europe, in no particular order.

-If you're looking for people who are excited to show up to work, who show enthusiasm on the job, who try to complete every task with dexterity, who always seem to want to get more work done, who help people out when in need, and who always go the extra mile to get the job done, probably won't find those in Eastern Europe.

easter01_400-To many Eastern Europeans, work is a bit of an obligation of sorts. They show up to work because they have to, do the work because they have to, and help out if they have to. The best way to put it is they tend to find work constraining, and would have stayed home if they were paid to stay home.

-So, explain a lot of complaining about “work being too hard” and about “being showered with work” and about “my boss being abusive” even when there's no abuse to speak of. Giving them work is abusing them.

-Before I get to hiring, one more thing. Eastern Europeans are almost always bullies in power positions, the ugly kind of bullies. They will call workers into their office and shout for like 30 minutes, one hour, in some cases three hours. They will tear documents off handed in by workers. They will throw things at workers. And very often, they can't state their ideas clearly or give clear instructions, so in the end, workers are not even sure why they are being treated like that.

-Eastern Europeans in power positions believe that “you get paid by the sweat of your labor.” So they won't leave anyone sitting at a desk doing nothing. They will force work upon them, even if it's useless work. One example is a friend of mine missed a Monday because she was sick, and she had to show up the next Sunday, and they gave her useless work, just to compensate for being absent on Monday.

-Hiring: most Eastern Europeans tend to “try to network themselves to a job” rather than send resumes and cover letters. As they network themselves to a job, they tend to try to find out about how things run at a company. This is because there are too many horror stories resulting from sending resumes. So if you own a company there, you want a good reputation, and you're going to have workers recommend workers when needed.

-During the job interview and at work, many Eastern Europeans almost exaggerate with their attire. They will show up with “tailor suits” and “handmade ties” and in some cases dark sunglasses. Women will show up “bling bling” or “sparkling.” During job interviews, they can sometimes use “defying” tones, especially if you doubt their skills. Expect them to be tense at the job interview, and on the job.

-One thing that freaks me out about Eastern Europeans (especially Russians, Ukrainians and people from Belarus but also Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, etc.) is how much they overuse the word “death”. As in “my alarm clock died this morning, and then I tried to switch on the computer and it was so slow it was heading to its death. Then Andrei didn't show up and I thought he was dead, then this client was late and I almost killed him.” You get the idea.

-Now Eastern Europeans do have a sweet side. They like to draw posters of company members, or cartoons of company members, or portraits of company members and hang them at the company. Or they'll give you a hand-made card. Remember that most of Eastern Europe takes art education very seriously.

-Eastern Europeans also have a great sense of humor and tend to take emotional distances from all the workplace stress. They won't chew on getting yelled at too much, and will make great impressions and imitations of their boss. They even improvise “plays” where one guy impersonates one boss and other guy impersonates the other boss.

-Most Eastern Europeans believe the unwritten rule is full job security. There are no clear rules on that, but the unwritten rule is you can't fire anyone unless they make a huge mess out of something. And even then, you want to try to work things out with them first before you fire them. The unwritten rules is they are here until retirement, or until they quit to go to a better job.

-Finally, most Eastern European languages have complex writing systems, complex spellings, complex grammar rules. Writing style tends to include way too many details, and doesn't always follow linear, chronological or formal logic. So if you need information, a good chat with employees is always better. Try to avoid picking an informant, because informants will use their position to their advantage, by terrorizing everyone else. And you won't get accurate information from informants.


    
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