January 18, 2024

«Our values align with the values of Ukrainians». How CEMARK is managing its team during the war

CEMARK is part of CRH, the world leading provider of building materials solutions. The group entered the Ukrainian market in 1999, acquiring the Kamianets-Podilskyi cement plant. Later, the CRH group also included the Odesa cement plant and Mykolaivcement (Lviv region), making it one of the leaders in the Ukrainian cement market.
During the war, CEMARK continues to develop and build a strong team – how is this achieved? HR Director of CEMARK Svitlana Tserkovna explained to Forbes.ua.

What was 2023 like for CEMARK?

Our focus has always been to support our employees, as people are our company’s priority. The COVID-19 pandemic and almost two years of full-scale war once again showed that our team consists of strong, dedicated, and hardworking people. Our task as a company is to create all the necessary conditions for their safe work (both physical and psychological). The entire set of measures we conducted this year was aimed at supporting our employees during these difficult times.

  • Health & Safety. This area plays perhaps the most important role in the formation and development of our team. We constantly implement various initiatives. For example, this year, we organized Health & Safety training with some of our European colleagues. During the event, we thoroughly reviewed occupational safety principles, learned about advanced practices from other countries, and shared our own experiences.
  • Mental Health. We created a psychological assistance service for our employees, which gives them the opportunity to use the services of professional psychologists, psychotherapists, and coaches.
  • Initiatives for the Development of Inclusion and Diversity. In March this year, we dedicated time to the role of women in business. Later, we held a «Month of Respect» – we engaged people in discussions about the meaning of respect for them personally and what we can do to strengthen our culture. We expressed respect and support for veterans and covered the topic of their reintegration, as well as the adaptation of business and related challenges that already exist and will arise in our society in the future. Recently, Movember has ended – it is a Men's Health Month, during which meetings with a psychologist and doctors were organized to discuss the importance of this topic.
  • Mentorship. This tool has become very important for supporting our employees under the current circumstances, as war is a constant stress that affects the productivity of all of us. We successfully utilize various training sessions, thereby assisting our employees.
  • Medical Insurance. We renewed and significantly expanded the insurance program. It was particularly important for us to provide access to quality medical services in small towns. Insurance also covers cases of injuries from shelling.

Our company has always provided stability. Most of our employees who went abroad have returned to us, and new team members have joined as well. They chose CEMARK because of our values and development direction, which align with the values of Ukrainians – working together to rebuild and construct Ukraine's future.

Corporate Social Responsibility of the Company

We utilize various corporate social responsibility practices: supporting social initiatives in the cities where we operate, providing building materials and equipment to medical and educational institutions, etc. For example, this year, we furnished a shelter at Odesa Educational Complex No. 125, and as part of the charity initiative 'BUDU!yemo,' we provided 2 million UAH for the prosthetics of six patients at the Superhumans Center.

We also assist communities affected by the destruction of the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant – providing them with building materials necessary for the reconstruction of social infrastructure objects. The first tens of tons of cement have already arrived in the Kherson region.

We do not forget about traditional environmental programs either. This summer, as part of the annual campaign 'Give a Tree a Ring – Save a Life!' teams from Mykolaivcement, Podilsky, and Odesa cement plants collected 1632 kg of waste paper, equivalent to saving 20 trees.

In total, since the beginning of the war, the company has allocated over 70 million UAH to support social programs.

Veteran Reintegration

When the war started, company employees on their own initiative created a volunteer center to maintain constant contact with the guys who went to war and provide them with everything necessary within our capabilities. We have a plan for the reintegration of veterans and are constantly improving it, as some have already returned from the front. The most important thing is to understand and assess the state of the person. Some are eager to return to work immediately – if we see that a person is ready, they can come back from the first days. There are cases when a person needs a few weeks to rest and spend time with their family. We consider each case individually.

We also have an approved program for the financial support of veterans' rehabilitation – the Kinesis musculoskeletal recovery program. There is also an opportunity for sanatorium treatment. We constantly keep in touch with the families of servicemen, and they can also use our psychological assistance service.

In addition, we organize webinars and seminars. We are in the process of adapting to new realities, which is an important and challenging task at the same time – to be a positive example for society and demonstrate how to respond to the changes happening around us. Each of us can be in different conditions and circumstances, but it is very important to cooperate and build the future of our country together.

How the Company Solves the Staffing Issue

The culture of our company is built on the desire to develop and grow. People come to us because they share the same views and values. They see stability and transparency, and this attracts them. Our approach to solving the staff shortage issue is to develop our people. We have three main areas of development: corporate training, and the development of hard and soft skills. It is important for us to create conditions for people to share knowledge. Every employee should know the basic fundamentals of other functions.

Rotations between plants are another direction of professional development. There are internal transfers, both horizontal and vertical, and a culture of staff exchange between countries.

Speaking of how we attract people from outside, networking and recommendations are the most effective ways for us. This is an indicator that we are a company that employees want to recommend.

Development of Potential Talents

Our cooperation with educational institutions to develop young talents began in 2015 and now consists of two programs. The first is aimed at developing young specialists in working professions and involves cooperation with technical schools and colleges. To implement this program, we conduct company presentations for students and organize factory tours, offer internships, and then provide an offer to join our team.

The second program is aimed at cooperation with universities. We analyze the needs of the business, determining, for example, the financiers or engineers we need and we invite relevant students and graduates to participate in the internship program. This program has a broader spectrum and lasts all year. Participants of the program are employed and get acquainted with business processes and manufacturing processes, undergo training to develop skills necessary for international business, study English, and have a unique opportunity to develop and implement their own project.
The development of young talents will help in the reconstruction and preservation of personnel in the country.

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