Despite the pandemic, the Bulgarian transport and logistics sector has reported staff shortages. Although at the beginning of Covid lockdowns there have been employee dismissals, later, during the pandemic, companies in the sector have made efforts to keep their employees and at the moment there are even staff shortages. During this difficult period the main question, which Gopet Trans asked itself, was how to keep its employees healthy. “We’ve never considered employee dismissals or wage reductions,” said Irina Stancheva, HR Manager at the leading transport and logistics company. She admitted in general, transport and logistics companies have observed a high demand for employees. “We can count on the universities for well-prepared candidates, but we’ve identified shortages,” said Irina Stancheva. According to her, a major problem on the labour market has been the different expectations of both the candidates and the business and its return on investment. That’s why Gopet Trans is focused on assisting young people, who graduate from university, in their training, as well as guiding their first steps in the industry to get a real idea of the work environment and their place in it. “We strongly believe people are the driving force for our success and we do our best to ensure a work environment, where colleagues can develop their skill set, find their career path and feel their contribution to society,” commented Stancheva.
At the moment Gopet Trans is looking for Assistant Freight Forwarders and Forwarders. The open positions span across three of its teams and are targeted at young people without experience, who will be trained, and also at accomplished professionals in the industry. The Bulgarian freight forwarder also has open positions in its Invoice Processing Department, which centrally manages the document flow of its other divisions outside the country. A newly-opened position is Key Account Manager in Gopet Trans’ Sales Department. Until the end of the year the Bulgarian logistics leader plans to expand its Turkey team too. For its regional department in Varna the company will need a new addition, as well as another Freight Forwarder at its Maritime Transport Department.
Gopet Trans also announced its summer internship programme. During the three summer months young candidates will be trained in its freight-forwarding teams, as well as its administrative units – Invoice Processing Department, in particular.
Most of the open positions are in the freight-forwarding business
As usual, the highest employment rate is in Gopet Trans’ main activity – freight forwarding, where most of its staff is employed. The reason behind the active recruitment are the so-called “internal nominations” – colleagues, who have been promoted to work in another department, – or maternity leaves. “We’re looking for applicants with a strong desire to work, to engage in the working processes and to learn,” said Irina Stancheva. “English and computer skills – knowledge of Outlook, Excel and Word – are a must,” explained Irina Stancheva. The candidates must also have communication and analytical skills to make fast decisions and take responsibility for their actions. “Gopet Trans is the expert who our customers don’t have in their business – a consultant for the best possible transport of goods and materials,” commented Irina Stancheva. The company has a policy of balanced recruiting – a combination of junior candidates, leaving the education system, and experienced applicants with a professional industry insight. The skills of the new additions to the teams are developed and improved with internal trainings under the Gopet Academy Initiative.
A positive work environment in a modern workplace
Gopet Trans provides a positive, Covid-safe work environment in a modern building with fitness facilities, table tennis and relax areas. During the lockdowns the company has rearranged its office to ensure additional space is used for more comfortable distancing of employees, who are also scheduled to dine at varying times. The logistics leader offers a competitive employee benefits package – a corporate food service subsidy at its own restaurant, free transport to/from the workplace, as well as a transport card subsidy. A long-term benefit for the employees after their third year of employment are the additional five paid vacation days.
Expansion during a pandemic
Despite the difficulties, Gopet Trans has continued its efforts to expand its business during the pandemic. The company has opened a new office in Varna, a subsidiary – in Turkey, and increased its activities in Maritime and Air Transport. Expansion to the new locations is relatively smooth – in 2021 another employee has started work at the regional department in Varna, and two more people have been added to the team in Turkey. “We pursue our objectives for gradual expansion. We aim to recruit the right people and to train them, so they are well-prepared to be included in the team,” added Irina Stancheva.
The Covid crisis has led to rapid and significant changes in Gopet Trans’ work habits – with the essential face-to-face communication and team work transferred to a digital environment. As a result, the company has organised a well-functioning home office for those employees, whose work can be performed off the premises. It has provided the employees with new computer equipment and access to the corporate VPN network, which was built before the pandemic. To encourage the communication between the teams, Gopet Trans has doubled its communication channels through Skype, Viber and other apps. “We’ve kept our established traditions of informal communication between colleagues and we’ve transformed our coffee breaks into a digital event,” said Irina Stancheva. On the other hand, a safe work environment in the logistics departments and warehouses has been guaranteed for those, who can’t do business from home because of the nature of their work, by restricting access to outsiders. “Outsiders aren’t allowed into the building, and for example deliveries are made in a buffer zone – parcels are left behind in a special room and later taken by the colleagues at the reception,” explained Irina Stancheva. Hygiene is very important at Gopet Trans – the entire building is disinfected on a regular basis and employees work with personal protective equipment. During the critical lockdown periods, when employees didn’t have the option to work from home, the company made large investments in tests in order to guarantee a stress-free working environment. Subsequently, after the peak of the pandemic, Gopet Trans has started to completely bring back office work and now only higher-risk groups continue to work remotely. “In agreement with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, people need to be safe in order to concentrate on other things in life. That’s why first and foremost for us comes the notion to maintain and exceed safety standards in our central Sofia office and all other locations as well,” said Irina Stancheva.
An important factor, which makes Gopet Trans an attractive employer, is the opportunity of career advancement and promotion within the company. “Since the beginning of the year four of our employees have been promoted to new positions with internal nominations. We aim to develop the skill sets of our employees, who know the business. Our top freight-forwarding managers have started their careers in Gopet Trans. We develop the potential of our people and this is our greatest advantage,” concluded Irina Stancheva.
About Gopet Academy:
The Gopet Academy Project started in 2017 and its purpose is to create a culture of mutual aid, exchange of experience and knowledge and mechanisms for 360-degree feedback, as well as standartisation of work competencies, development of general and professional competencies of new employees and shortening the terms of their adaptation. Gopet Academy increases work efficiency across all teams and upgrades the skills of experienced employees too.
At the beginning trainings were conducted by an expert with long-term business practical experience. Later, the project attracted employees from other departments, who presented their activities and business specifics. Main subjects of the trainings are Road Freight, Intermodal Transportation, Maritime and Air Transport. Gopet Trans has provided its employees with video training resources about different software programmes, used in its business, and specific services.
Gopet Academy trainings are targeted both at experienced employees and those who have just completed their education – whose knowledge needs to be upgraded. Main benefits of the trainings are assessment of employee progress and timely corrective action, if necessary, faster adaptation to the team and the company’s values, building effective business interactions, as well as reducing errors and conflict situations between the teams. In 2020 г. Gopet Trans was presented with an Employer Branding Award for its initiative.