Calvin Cassar

Working at the office, or remotely? Four-day weeks, or five-day ones?

Human resources (HR) departments within workplaces are constantly faced with dilemmas surrounding the best approach to manage a workforce. Ensuring that a positive work environment is in place has become more vital than ever, as business leaders face mounting employee turnover rates.

However, implementing an environment which is based on fair and consistent decisions is no easy task when a business is made up of different opinions, attitudes, and lifestyles.

Calvin Cassar, HR Manager at Merkur eSolutions Malta Ltd and HR Director at EPG Financial Services Ltd, highlighted this on Wednesday, stating that HR tends to “struggle when adopting a one-size-fits-all approach” in management.

“One thing that is clear to me is that what works well for one person, might actually be problematic for another,” he explained.

On the topic of physical and remote working, he said that he personally enjoys an office presence, yet this does not mean that an office-first approach works for everyone. The same applies for those who prefer working remotely, as it “can be frustrating for some”.

Following this, reached out to Mr Cassar to further understand what HR departments – and businesses as a whole – can do when faced with such challenges, especially those on a larger scale where fairness and consistency are even more important.

He pointed out that HR policies need to be in place, as they “set the direction and expectations for employees as to how to act and react to given situations”.

These policies can be set up in a way as to “enable” flexibility rather than “encroach” it. “Through simple means, such as using conditional statements, rather than absolute statements, it is possible to still leave space to those exceptions and special situations that would benefit from the customised approach,” he explained.

Mr Cassar added that HR departments need to engage in open dialogue and communication with the workforce. While it is very difficult to make everyone happy, it is “definitely possible to give everyone a voice”.

“When taking decisions, you can then explain the rationale behind these. There is nothing more frustrating than having a company go to an employee with a fait accompli, and without providing the rationale for what has been decided,” he said.

Fostering communication can go a long way for employees, even if it is only having a rationale provided, “taking into account both the positives and the negatives of what was decided”.

Lastly, he remarked that companies should take key decisions based on their values rather than rigid procedures.

“Values should be the steering compass for organisations, and they do not tend to be more relevant than when dealing with people matters,” Mr Cassar said.

“If a value clashes with the content of the policy, it should be the value that supersedes, and possibly the policy which should be adapted or changed,” he concluded.

Mr Cassar has extensive experience within the HR field, having previously served in various related positions at The General Soft Drinks Co Ltd, Malta Financial Services Authority, Mizzi Motors, FTIAS Ltd, and Konnekt.

He holds a Master of Science in Occupational Psychology from University of Leicester, as well as a Bachelor of Psychology in Psychology and Linguistics from University of Malta. He is particularly skilled in recruitment, interviewing, and talent management, among other things.

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Calvin Cassar

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