Competitive Companies Prioritize Human Resources

Competitive Companies Prioritize Human Resources - Herdís Rós Kjartansdóttir

Herdís Rós Kjartansdóttir is the first human resources manager of Colas Ísland and has been in that role since 2017. Before that, Herdís worked as the human resources manager of Ísafjarðarbær and as a play-school assistant director. She has an MBA degree from the University of Iceland and an MS degree in human resource management from the same university.

“When I started working as human resources manager at Colas Ísland, I immediately began implementing various processes and new methods. The job is very fun, diverse, and rewarding. This has been a significant change for me, as I had previously worked in a very different environment.”

Herdís draws inspiration from good relationships and communication with colleagues.

“The most enjoyable by far is to maintain good relationships with the staff, so that they know they can always contact and reach out to me. I also get a lot of inspiration from my interactions with my colleagues in Colas HR departments all around the world. I can learn from them endlessly and get ideas for interesting projects and ways to improve.”

Exciting Projects Relating to Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability

Colas Ísland is the largest paving company in the country and has over 120 employees.

“Colas Iceland is part of a large international conglomerate that has its headquarters in France. There are around 58,000 employees in over 50 countries. The company is very concerned with the environment and sustainability. We are constantly working on projects that reduce our carbon footprint and increase the reuse of asphalt.”

Herdís says that development and work in relation to the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility is one of the most exciting things currently being dealt with at Colas Ísland today.

“We are working on very exciting research projects related to this, for example, asphalt recycling, carbon-neutral binder in asphalt, and a comparative study of bitumen in collaboration with a producer in France.”

Colas Malbikun

The Values of the Company are the Guiding Light in Human Resources Matters

“Our values are Dare - Share - Respect. We dare to take on challenging projects and constantly work on innovation and development. We share knowledge across the company/conglomerate and show each other respect by building a culture where everyone can enjoy themselves.

These values are our guiding principles. Our main focuses in human resources are related to them and include to offer a good working environment where safety is a priority, including social safety.” Colas Ísland places great emphasis on quality continuing and lifelong learning.

“The Colas Group offers courses at a school called Colas University. It offers specific continuing education for example for project managers, supervisors, new employees and aspiring leaders. These are very ambitious and challenging courses that take place around the world at Colas facilities,” says Herdís.

HR Monitor Makes a Good Company Even Better

Colas Ísland has been using HR Monitor’s regular human resource measurements since November 2021.

“We wanted to hear from our employees more often, take their “pulse”. It’s nice to see that as the number of surveys increases, the managers increasingly see what a good tool this is for getting feedback from employees. Managers use the results to improve the working environment and better meet the needs of the staff.

The surveys have helped us identify things that could be improved by the company. We have also been able to intervene earlier than otherwise when we see a weak result. The results are discussed at department meetings, the issues are brought to light and solutions are sought in cooperation with the staff.

The surveys have also strengthened us by affirming that we are on the right track in terms of our journey in human resources. Job satisfaction is high at Colas and I believe that HR Monitor is part of making a good company even better,” says Herdís.

“One of the things that repeatedly came up in the surveys was that the flow of information within the company needed to be improved. We have responded to that and made improvements.”

Colas Malbikun

Retaining Good People is the Main Challenge in Human Resources

Herdís says that human capital is very important at Colas Ísland.

“Companies that want to be competitive for labour must prioritize human resources. In the environment we live in today, where unemployment is low and competition for labour is high, it is important to be able to demonstrate what the company stands for.

By prioritizing human resources, we enhance our image and reputation and increase employee loyalty and commitment. If human resources issues are a priority, then we reduce the chances that we will lose qualified staff.”

Herdís says she is optimistic about the future of human resources at Colas Ísland.

“Here at Colas Ísland, there is a strong focus on human resources. We are constantly thinking of new ways, changing, and improving our processes and implementing innovative solutions. We have good people that work here and at Colas there is little employee turnover.

We know that the main challenge in human resources is to attract and retain good people, and we do that by prioritizing human resources because human resources are the most valuable resource of a company.”