Managing from the Heart in a Changing Reality

I have been the HR manager at Brooks-Keret for the past 13 years. The human capital in the company is the most important thing to me. In this article, I have chosen to share the essence of my approach in life in general, and in the world of management in particular — “IT’S ALL ABOUT PEOPLE.”

I believe it all starts with relationships, connections between people, which is precisely what I have found at Brooks-Keret;

The issues I have chosen to bring here are relevant to management, especially in challenging times like last year. The biggest managerial challenge we’ve faced has been hybrid management, which seems to be here to stay.

As a rule of thumb, the more organized, united, and committed a company is, the easier it is to manage even in crises.

The article will discuss the following questions:

· How does one recruit and train new employees?

· How does one maintain employee motivation and efficiency?

· How does one maintain a sense of corporate belonging? Professionalism? Mutual support and solidarity?

A bit about employee recruiting and retention:

Quality recruitment examines suitability, encompassing three (3) areas:

Suitability to job requirements, compatibility with the company’s staff, and its DNA.

For example, at Brooks-Keret, we conduct an in-depth recruitment process consisting of several stages, the main ones being: a personal interview, professional and psychological exams, and checking references. This process is highly predictive of employees’ suitability for the job and organization. Therefore, it proves itself, and the required investment is definitely worthwhile.

Upon onboarding, we conduct a professional mapping process, and an initiation program is created, covering three (3) areas:

Professional knowledge; Handling clients; and Social integration.

** A short tip in this matter: Assigning a Buddy — a team member who closely accompanies and supports the new employee, is an excellent idea, contributing significantly to an employee’s sense of belonging during the first few days.

Once we have selected the people, employee retention is our next challenge as managers, especially concerning Generation Z, characterized by a tendency to change jobs frequently.

Connecting employees to the organization is one of the most significant challenges facing managers and companies today.

When an employee is connected to the company and his specific role, he is more satisfied, cares more, and is more productive.

When people feel connected, they will give their heart and soul.

What can contribute to long-term employee retention?

Each person has their own spark — that thing that motivates them to take meaningful actions.

I believe that those who act out of inner passion and high motivation create and realize their inherent potential. It makes them feel good, being seen and feeling they are contributing, connected and meaningful.

To do this, managers need to “step outside themselves” and see their employees, the way they speak, and what they do not say. Body language speaks volumes and requires high sensibility and listening capabilities. Our ambition is to see employees evolve and grow within their roles and within the range of possibilities.

It is imperative to mention that if employees’ aspirations cannot be met at this stage, for whatever reason, it would be vital to maintain complete transparency and integrity in the relationship by sharing the intricacies of the matter, creating other paths for employees’ development.

Personal and professional development — with us, beyond the constant professional learning, professional training, and English lessons, we believe in the extensive contribution personal improvement workshops have for employees. Hence, we allow all employees to participate in empowerment workshops as well as private coaching sessions. We have dedicated a space where employees are exposed to tools and insights and undergo a transformation that significantly improves their quality of life at home and in the workplace.

And now, for the most significant component — contact with the direct manager.

Studies conducted over the years show that the main parameter in employee satisfaction and retention is the direct manager. The direct manager’s attitude has a decisive impact on the employee motivation in particular and willingness to continue working for the organization in general.

All our managers created strong relationships with their team members and inspired such deep connections amongst team members themselves. The employment relationship is based on personal trust, also allowing for flexibility in working hours.

Caring and collegiality are the main characteristics of creating such a space. More than once, we made decisions that were, seemingly, in stark contrast to all business-economic logic. And always, the personal story and the mutual guarantee were before our eyes.

For example, an employee who experienced a severe personal crisis, due to which she could not perform her duties at work. In full cooperation with her household, we provided a personal trainer and an additional circle of support, which put her back on her feet relatively quickly.

Encouragement and Appreciation

Over the years, we’ve seen up close that genuine, hearty compliment or encouragement greatly empowers and strengthens employees’ sense of being ‘in the right place.’ As a result, even though those compliments and words of encouragement stem from a place devoid of interests, it motivates employees to prove their worth. The basic need to hear some good words exists in every human being, so it is important not to skimp on praise.

Satisfaction feedbacks

Feedback sessions between employees and managers and employee satisfaction surveys are tools for close communication, clarity, goal setting, and coordination of expectations. It is important to emphasize that the feedback is mutual, and the discourse is open in both directions. That’s the beauty of the process. It allows both parties to grow from the experience.

The purpose of the feedback session is that employees are empowered, although improvement points have also come up.

The main emphasis in the conversation should be on employee strengths because that is where the growth potential is most significant.

When employees share work-related frustrations, and managers are open to hearing about them, a sense of listening is created first, alongside an in-depth understanding of points for improvement. Needless to say, the messages arising from these conversations should be taken seriously, and it is the employer’s responsibility to improve and streamline processes.

Other significant points that are important for employees today, apart from employment conditions, of course, are job independence and freedom of action, promotion options, pleasant working environment, personal connection between employees, work-life balance, obviously depending on the nature of the activity and unique characteristics of each organization.

Another issue that contributes to employee retention is a sense of being ‘consequential’.

Brainstorming is a tremendous resource that is a shame not to use. Hence, openness and invitation for employees to voice their opinions at staff meetings contribute to the organization and impart a sense of meaning to the employee. En voyage, staff members benefit from productive discourse and problem-solving modelings.

Example: We prepare in advance issues for discussion at our executive meetings. Our executive meetings’ format is built on a round-table model, allowing everyone to share and find solutions together.

And of course… Corporate events

Forging “team spirit,” taking trips, and arranging events, connects and integrates employees, breaks routines, and adds terrific value.

For example, a video that communicates most of the firm’s values, happy hour with some bonding activities, rewarding employees who have received exceptional customer feedback, and more.

When things aren’t perfect

As we all know, life is not perfect. Therefore, when difficulty/claims/mistakes or dissatisfaction arise in any area, it is recommended to have open, honest communication based on sharing, transparency, and integrity. Employees who participate in authentic discussions, combining poignancy and directness alongside listening and interest, are more likely to feel they are treated with respect and have room for self-expression. A place where employees and managers sit together and see how they can find a way to improve things.

Example: Relationships before Results is the motto characterizing our organization. Even when we decide to part with an employee, it is usually done in complete transparency, putting up all considerations and investing significant efforts to provide these employees with support and tools to improve their capabilities and stay in the organization. Quite a few “layoffs” can end with a hug.

When the relationship is close and sound, the results are accordingly.

In conclusion,

I have chosen to bring up a basket of tools and insights that work and prove themselves with us. It is clear to me that not everyone is necessarily suitable for any organization. It is essential that each manager chooses the right tools and that he/she connects to their value.


This article was written by Shiri Alon , HR Manger @BrooksKeret.
Contact het at:



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