Robert’s contagious smile wins you over the minute you walk into his office. And you don’t even need to knock, as the door is always open.

A physiotherapist by profession, he joined the group in 2009 as facility manager at Villa Messina and has never looked back.

Feeling a genuine need to make a difference in people’s lives, he is super excited about his new role and is determined to give it his all.

“It is such a great feeling to be able to help employees discover their development path and meet their needs. When people feel connected, they work better together and help each other achieve a common goal in a stress-free and fun environment. After all, an organisation is driven by people,” he says.

“One of my objectives is to develop a new mindset that highlights the human aspect of people operations, thus reaching out to employees, supporting them and being there for all their needs.”

Robert describes his role as both challenging and overwhelming. “Running a facility, you are mostly concerned about the well-being of your immediate team. As people operations manager for the whole group, my duties and responsibilities have increased significantly.”

Even though this new job comes with a learning curve, he feels optimistic and confident that people will ultimately get a better employee experience. “The fact that the group also implements an open door policy is a big boost and a step in the right direction.”

Apart from being a people person, Robert has years of experience in the care sector and a thorough understanding of strategic human resources management behind him, having obtained a Master’s degree in Strategy, Leadership and Change Management. Both his academic background, as well as a number of management skills he acquired over the years, will serve as guiding tools to putting all that he has learnt into practice.

What role does well-being play in people operations? “Well-being is the glue that keeps the department together. Most work motivation theories generally revolve around well-being. Factors, such as fairness and equity, training and development, communication and feedback, recognition, support from peers and management, safety, trust, feedback and autonomy, all contribute to a healthy work environment and to employees’ growth and progress.”

The group has just finalised its appraisal policy and is working on a number of other policies, such as the onboarding and well-being policies, with the aim of empowering employees.

“A performance appraisal is an excellent feedback and communication platform for both employee and employer. It gives individual employees and their manager an opportunity to review current performance, how work can be improved, to look back on what has been achieved during the past year and then agree on future objectives and needs,” Robert explains.

“We are also working on an employee onboarding policy, whereby we will be fully supporting new recruits during the first five months of their employment with us through regular meetings and training.”

Committed to ensuring the well-being of all employees, especially in the aftermath of COVID-19, the group’s employee well-being policy aims to reach out to the needs being felt across the whole company – from the senior management team down to operational level.

“The pandemic has had a huge impact on people operations, forcing us to work in emergency mode and to put all our business plans for 2020 on hold. However, as we slowly recover, everyone is extremely enthusiastic to go back to normality and start afresh.”