How GDPR Will Affect the Businesses in Romania (I)

01.06.2018   |  Tech

GDPR – General Data Protection Regulation – is an initiative proposed by the EU in 2012 to replace the 1995 Data Protection Directive, that came into effect on 25 May 2018. These new regulations reflect the need for protection in respect of the personal data of the EU individuals, against the background of skyrocketing growth of the digital technology consumption.

The events such as the 2015 viral campaigns or, more recently, the scandals involving Facebook have created an opinion trend in favor of this kind of regulations.  

How can Romanian companies get in line with these new GDPR regulations? Firstly, it is important to understand clearly what these new laws involve, as they will affect not only the businesses in the European Union, but also the ones outside it.

Brief Description

In order to facilitate a detailed explanation of these provisions, we’ll refer to terms such as:

  • Personal Data – include, without limitation, confidential and personal information, such as first names/last names, physical or email addresses, identification documents, payment means, localization data, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs or data related to the physical looks of a person.
  • Data Processing includes, without limitation, collection, storage, consulting, changing, using or sending, as well as deletion and destruction of the personal data mentioned above.
  • Data Encryption – Represents the process of securing the sending of confidential information between institutions or companies and citizens, using advanced encryption technologies (mathematical algorithms).

The GDPR initiative is meant to offer increased transparency and security in the process of data processing and encryption for the EU citizens in the online environment. The regulations require the companies that provide services to individuals in the European Union to inform the consumers in respect of the personal data processing methods and the purpose for which such data will be used. At the same time, this initiative brings about value and credibility to a brand, considering the extent to which the present day consumer appreciates the confidentiality of its actions in the online environment.

Very many big companies, even some startups, had complied with these regulations long before they became effective. Nowadays, however, the EU will make sure that all the companies will implement, in a transparent manner and in full, these provisions, which will improve the relations between consumers and suppliers.

We all know Apple’s Safari 10, the new version of web navigator, was a big success in 2017. It offers the possibility of blocking the unwanted personal data monitoring and also other facilities as the automatic starting of the video content on the page, which may be classified as aggressive marketing.

The New Provisions and Their Importance

The new provisions should not alarm any operator (private legal entity), as they have been prepared not only to the benefit of the users, but to the benefit of companies or other organizations. The provisions have been developed based on Directive 95/46/EC, which was abrogated once the new GDPR has come into effect.

It’s true that these provisions will substantially affect the marketing and operational strategies of all. Following is a summary of the provisions:

  • Any entity that processes the consumer data in the EU, including third parties, may be liable to prosecution if these provisions are infringed.
  • When an individual does not want their data to be processed by an operator (company/institute), the information must be destroyed, on condition that there are no reasonable grounds to keep it.
  • If they process on a wide scale confidential information for a big number of consumers, the operators are obligated to designate an expert in personal data management (small and medium size companies are exempted from these provisions if the data processing is not an essential part of the their business).
  • The operators are obligated to report to the national supervisory authorities any serious violation of these new regulations immediately.
  • Parental consent is necessary for the children under a certain age to be able to use social networks (the age criterion varies from 13 to 16 years, according to the specific laws of each country).
  • Individuals are entitled to the portability of their data, which allows for the easy and convenient transfer of their personal information when they change services between suppliers.

Of course, the law provides for more than just that and any company dealing with businesses in the tech-online class should seek for the advice of a specialized law firm. To many companies that have already developed online marketing strategies in keeping with the old regulations, the new law does not necessarily bring about major unforeseen aspects.

You can find some considerations on the impact GDPR will have on Romanian companies here.

Octavian Pătrașcu  |   01.06.2018   |  Tech

Three things to test and maintain in HR: hard skills, soft skills, and motivation

25.04.2019   |  News  |  Startup
The quality and efficiency of an employee mainly depend on their professional qualifications, but the modern human resources theory refers to this only through a partial term, namely "hard skills". In terms of evaluations and professional management, these “hard skills” are supplemented by a range of different qualities defined as "soft skills", such as the motivation that an individual demonstrates or chooses to develop.

Hard Skills: Easy to identify, necessary, but not enough

The term "hard skills" applies especially to fundamental professional knowledge, skills, and abilities, but not only. For example, if a programmer has to write code in Java, he will obviously have to know the programming language. In the field of hard skills, however, complementary skills such as foreign languages ​​or driving licenses also come into play. If the job description is not IT-related, the computer skills - quasi-generalized today - are also in the same complementary category. Upon hiring, hard skills can be easily tested or proven. Basically, all the skills in this category can be certified through a diploma or a certificate of qualification. These skills are the basis for the future work of the employee, but in the vast majority of cases, they are not enough to ensure good performance at the workplace.

Soft Skills: harder to test, especially required for higher positions

These are somewhat social qualities, relating especially to people-interacting abilities. Soft skills include teamwork skills, communication skills, leadership qualities, and the ability to solve problems as they come. From simple politeness to a nonconflictual attitude, a whole range of attributes can be added here, including good time management or the desire to conform to strict professional ethics. If hard skills are easy to identify, in the case of soft skills, the stereotype enumerations present in CVs are never enough proof of their existence. They can somehow be felt when hiring, during their interview or, possibly, through psychological tests set up by human resources specialists. As they mostly focus on human interaction, soft skills are increasingly needed as the position of the employee in the hierarchy is higher, but the situation differs from one job description to another. If the programmer we had as an example earlier does not necessarily need soft skills when writing code, a sales or marketing specialist will interact with the top management and thus cannot work without them.

Motivation: differs from case to case

Motivation is a problem that concerned psychologists way before Maslow's Human Pyramid of Needs. There are many hypotheses and models that relate to this theory. I will just state that a first classification refers to financial and extra-financial motivations. The former refers to material compensation and are accepted unanimously. However, since the beginning of the 20th century, it has become clear that there is no direct link between payment and the efficiency of a person. 100 years ago, however, besides the famous $5-a-day salary, Henry Ford offered land lots, kindergartens for their children and, in the case of immigrants, English courses to help them integrate into the mass production processes. Today, large companies provide health insurance, relaxation areas, various educational classes, physical activity facilities. All of these include career plans and contract terms that offer job security and much more. Perhaps, the first thing to remember is that motivation differs greatly from one employee to another. Effective management should be as flexible as possible, in accordance with the needs and incentives of employees, beyond the standard packages.

The Employer’s Perspective

From what we described above it seems that that the employer will consider the three components as we’ve structured them. Hard skills are easy to identify and absolutely necessary to ensure performance in a particular position, so these are the first ones that will be tested. Soft skills can be identified to a certain extent in the midst of the employment process, but initial perceptions can be confirmed or denied later on. What’s more important is sustaining them at the workplace, often as a necessity for promotion on a higher hierarchy level. As final words, motivation has qualitative rather than quantitative aspects. Employers should be less concerned about the answer to the question "how motivated is an employee?", but rather show concern towards the type of motivation that employees are most responsive to. Schematically speaking, if hard skills are mainly the employee's concern, soft skills relate to a process that takes place between the employee and the company, and in the case of motivation, it should meet the needs of the employee. Only by paying attention to all the three components, the employer and the employee can have a mutually satisfactory and productive relationship.
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