WEBINAR – The importance of feedback during times of change

During times of change, the employee experience is often one of the first things to be overlooked – with businesses instead focusing on how to minimise disruption and maintain a sense of ‘business as usual’. Over the last few months many companies have decided to pull back their engagement surveys, fearing it’s the wrong time to be seeking feedback from employees. In truth, their experience or sentiments are one of the most important things to be considered during change and uncertain times.

In this webinar, Culture Amp Senior People Scientist Charlotte Burt will argue why it’s more important than ever to gather employee feedback and why running an engagement survey during volatile times is crucial to long term business success. Furthermore, we will hear first-hand from the HR Director DACH & NORDICS of Reckitt Benckiser, Mrs. Friederike Rissing on their learnings.

If you:

  • Are a CEO, Business owner or HR professional who wants to help employees transition better this period of change and uncertainty
  • Want to explore ways in which your company can act on people and culture data to drive success through change
  • Discover what learnings we can use for the new normal, whatever it may be
  • Want to discover how a large company as Reckitt Benckiser has addressed this challenging period in terms of employee relations

Then this webinar is for you. The session will also resume in a networking session, to explore challenges and share ideas.


  • Charlotte Burt – Senior People Scientist, Culture Amp UK
  • Friederike Rissing – HR Director, Reckitt Benckiser DACH & NORDICS

The discussion will be moderated by David Sebastian SteinManaging Partner Romania of Stein & Partner.

Date and time – Wednesday, June 24, 2020, 15:00 – 16:30.


  • 15:00 – 16:00 – Keynotes and Q&A session.
  • 16:00 – 16:30 – Networking in small groups, discussing challenges and exchanging ideas.

Participation is free of charge and link will only be sent to pre-registered attendees. By submitting this form, you agree to share your information with the webinar organizers, Stein and Partner.

Stein & Partner announces partnership with Signium

Stein & Partner becomes as such Signium’s partner in Romania and Austria, thus further strengthening the company’s resources abroad and in consequence the ability to serve the developing objectives of its clients in the CEE region.

“Joining Signium means we will have access to a global network with excellent capabilities and we can support our clients even more in complex international search assignments, identifying exceptional talent in multiple locations, both regionally and globally”, stated Mr. Sebastian Stein, Managing Partner within Stein & Partner.

“Signium is a global partnership founded in 1951 in the United States and we are currently in the top 30 executive search & leadership consulting firms in the world. We are delighted that Stein & Partner is now part of our organization and we consider them as a very important addition”, said Signium Chairman, Alastair Paton.

The announcement was made during the celebration event planned by Stein & Partner to mark a quarter century of activity in Romania and CEE. Organized under the theme “We believe in Eastern Europe”, it brought together guests of honour such as His Excellency Mr. Cord Meier-Klodt, Ambassador of Germany, and His Excellency Mr. Arthur Mattli, Ambassador of Switzerland, as well as Alastair Platon, Chairman of Signium Global, and strategic partners at regional level. Werner E. Stein, Founder and Chairman of Stein & Partner, and Sebastian Stein also held brief speeches regarding the past and the future of the company. The discussions were moderated by Mrs. Friederike Rissing, HR Director within Reckitt Benckiser Germany.

“I am delighted to be here on your very special jubilee. The no risk, no fun may have played a role when you, Mr. Stein, came to Romania right after the Revolution and founded your company a quarter of a century ago. Romania developed dramatically, and so has your company, not only locally, but also in the region”, stated His Excellency Mr. Cord Meier-Klodt, the Ambassador of Germany in Romania.

Also His Excellency Mr. Arthur Mattli, the Ambassador of Switzerland in Romania, declared: “I feel greatly honoured to take the floor at this special occasion in order to add my voice of congratulations to a consulting company which was built 25th years ago with a wish of what Eastern Europe could become and a mission to contribute to its development.”

At the same time, this year Stein & Partner announced that a new Partner, Mr. Dan Gataianu, took over the management of its Vienna office, therefore development plans for this region will be also reached.

About Stein & Partner

Founded in 1994 in Bucharest, Stein & Partner offers an extensive portfolio of services that range from executive search, human capital team development and alignment in M&As, integration coaching and more. Company’s activity has translated in more than 1500 senior management positions occupied throughout the years, with a success rate of over 94%.

At the same time, working with hundreds of clients and thousands of candidates from numerous industries, including pharma, FMCG, banks, insurance or constructions, has helped the company to acquire experience with very diverse people, with their different needs, requests, expectations, visions and values.

About Signium

Signium is one of the world’s leading executive search and leadership consulting firms with an extensive history dating back to the 1950s with offices in key business cities around the globe.  The company looks beyond the qualifications and background of an individual candidate to consider culture fit and client values, something it calls the application of “intelligence and intuition.” With local passion, knowledge, and a partner-led approach, Signium advises senior business leaders on developing their skills, their people, and their organizations.

Furthermore, Signium was also a founding member of the global industry standards body, the Association of Executive Search and Leadership Consultants (AESC).

For more information, please visit: www.signium.com.

Digitalization of Executive Search

Every executive search team wants to deliver value to its business clients. But the way to achieve that goal is changing as the use of technology grows.

This may come as a surprise because we all know that executive search depends on person-to-person contact and assessment. Indeed, here at Stein & Partner, our main focus is and always will be direct human contact.

Supporting, not replacing, human contact

We cannot emphasize enough how important personal interactions are in our business. They really are fundamental to the service we provide. Besides, it seems unlikely that machines will ever be able to replicate the intricacies of human communication and the high levels of expertise needed for successful strategic appointments.

Nevertheless, we are embracing new technologies that enable us to spend more time on direct contact with our candidates by automating ‘back office’ processes.

This is why we have started working with Osterus, an exciting new start-up based in Berlin. We believe that the cutting-edge solutions this new company is developing could revolutionise international executive search.

Osterus technologies are helping to break down barriers between cultures and countries. This means that talent from any country can be truly recognised and understood anywhere in the world.

We spoke with Julian Herzog, a founding partner of Osterus, for this blog – the first in our series on the digitalization of executive search. He explains the Osterus technologies below, and we hope you find them as interesting as we do!

But before we get into the detail, do be aware that at Stein & Partner we are working with Osterus on tailored solutions for senior positions, rather than ‘off-the-shelf’ tools, based on our vast search experience.

Challenges of cross-border search

Barriers to international executive search tend to start at the university level. “There are so many universities all over the world that people just don’t understand how to assess them,” Julian explains.

By collecting several sources of data into one, Osterus is able to identify certain trends, career trajectories and salary trajectories to help firms find the right people. Interestingly, the sources of data are open platforms such as LinkedIn, Glassdoor and the H-1B visa, the US work permit for foreigners. The German network Xing is also under consideration.

“Many Western companies are blinded and confused when somebody from Asia applies for a role,” says Julian. “They have a hard time making an assessment. So we have a tool where we showcase the career trajectory of a person studying at that university, and which universities it can be compared to in the Western world.”

The benefits that come from this unique analysis of academia around the world are numerous. It can considerably widen the talent pool, lead to more cost effective hires and raise the level of diversity.

The benefits of diversity are well documented and widely considered to include greater creativity, greater productivity and better decision making through a wider range of perspectives. When it comes to a lack of diversity, Julian asks, “There’s always the question: is it really bias or just a lack of understanding?”

The example of Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella highlights this issue. “If you look at his CV, it’s not prestigious,” Julian points out.  “His university in India, Manipal Institute of Technology is phenomenally good, but nobody knows it!”

Interestingly, the data on academia that Osterus is developing can also be developed for prospective students. Given the high levels of debt associated with studying abroad, it can help them judge which universities will give them the best value over the long term.

Cost of living comparison

Another useful database that Osterus is working on is a cost of living comparison tool, which will compare every city in Europe, Asia and North America. This will enable HR managers to quickly establish whether they can afford a particular candidate, how competitive they really need to be with salaries, and how to tailor-make salaries and benefits packages.

This data may be particularly useful to smaller companies that do not have access to this type of data internally.

Artificial intelligence to score résumés

Osterus is also developing a résumé scoring tool. As you might expect, this evaluates résumés many times faster than a human and without any bias. What’s different about it is that it also tries to understand the probability of an individual fitting into the company on the basis of the quality of their education. It also makes a quick assessment of how long the candidate is likely to be in the company, based on the probability of them performing too high or too low.

“We’re not interested in the ‘best’ candidate, we’re interested in the candidate that does a good job, and will stay for a long time” explains Julian. “This was something that was never really considered, but something that we can now get data and information on. Then, using data on other platforms, such as LinkedIn, we can assess whether they are at risk of moving on too soon.”

Firmly focused on human contact

With the three main areas of technology described above being developed by Osterus, here at Stein & Partner we’re working on customized solutions for senior hires.

We’re looking at new ways to analyse résumés and give predictions, while also developing custom tools for certain clients. Another development will be to offer due diligence services to build up a database of people who can quickly be authenticated.

Human interaction will always be at the heart of what we do and technology will never be able to replace that. But we do see the potential of technology to enhance our services and hope to develop long and rewarding partnerships with other tech pioneers for the benefit of our clients.

To find out how your company could benefit from new technologies by working with Stein & Partner, please contact: dan.gataiantu@steinandpartner.com

Dan Gataiantu: new Partner for our Vienna office

We are excited to announce that Dan Gataiantu, a senior executive with Finance background and vast transformation experience, is now part of our team as Partner in charge of our Vienna office.

Before joining our team, Dan has worked in leading positions within Financial Service companies, having been also involved in several Business Development and Reorganization projects in CEE. Within Stein & Partner, he is focused on Executive Search for Professional & Financial Services, as well as on Human Capital Advisory during Business Transformation and Company Acquisitions.

Dan holds a MSc. from the University of Vienna and speaks fluently German and English. He is a passionate piano and guitar instrumentalist and outdoor sports enthusiast.

Read more about all our team members here: https://steinandpartner.com/team/

Using active listening for a more effective communication

Listening is essential to successful communication at all levels and is one of the most important and useful skills we can have, for both personal and professional success. And although we use it in all contexts, to obtain information, to understand, or to learn, we spend our school years learning to read, write and speak, but almost no time learning how to really listen.

Studies suggest that we only remember between 25-50% of what we hear, as portrayed by Edgar Dale’s Cone of Experience. That is because listening is not something that just happens naturally (as hearing), but an active process in which a decision is made consciously to listen and understand the messages of the speaker.

By becoming a better listener, you can improve your productivity and ability to influence, convince and negotiate. Furthermore, you’ll avoid conflicts due to misunderstandings. The way to improve in this respect is to practice “active listening”, namely paying full attention to the interlocutor and trying to understand the complete message being communicated. Active listening is a skill that can be acquired and developed with rehearsal.

There are several techniques you can use to become a more effective listener:

Be present. Don’t get distracted by what is going on around you, your own line of thoughts or by thinking of counter arguments while the other person is still speaking. Look at the speaker directly and give him/her your undivided attention.

Show your interest by using both verbal and non-verbal messages, such as nodding occasionally, smiling, saying ‘yes’ or simply ‘mhm / uh huh’ to encourage the speaker to continue. Among other non-verbal signs of listening can also be mentioned: leaning slightly forward or even mirroring the speaker’s posture or expressions. By receiving this response, the person speaking usually feels more comfortable and therefore communicates more openly and honestly.

Reflect on what is being said, ask questions and provide feedback. Summarise the speaker’s comments by using the main points of their message and rephrasing them in your own words, thus giving the speaker chance to correct you if necessary.

Try using the following expressions to ensure the communicator that you understood what he/she is saying:

  • Sounds like you are saying…
  • Let me see if I understand…
  • So, you see it as…
  • What I think I am hearing is…
  • What I think you mean is…

If he/she agrees, you will know that you’re on the same page. If not, go deeper to comprehend his/her view.

Pay attention to more than what is being said or not said. Try to read through the nuances, the meaning behind the words, the person’s mimic, body language and overall energy, as well as how the messages are expressed. See how the interlocutor reacts, how convincing he/she is, what’s his/her argumentation, as well as his/her enthusiasm and interest for certain topics.

Don’t interrupt and allow the speaker to finish expressing his/her ideas. You should avoid jumping in with questions or comments every time there are a few seconds of silence. Active listening involves giving the other person time to explore and convey their thoughts, feelings and ideas.

Be open to the other’s perspective, encourage respect and understanding in the communication.

Why you should have a board of advisors

Working in the same business for a long time might lead to narrowing down the top managers’ views over improvements and opportunities. One of the best ways to keep the business ahead of its market is to bring in a strong board of advisors. They are usually a group of hand-selected professionals with solid business background, whose primary role is to help the company’s leaders clear the air when it comes to strategic decisions.

Having a board of advisors can help get the business to the next level as:

• The members of the board are objective and unbiased; therefore, they could be great for pointing out the blind spots and also be more creative in finding solutions to solve them.

• They are seasoned experts, have a great knowledge base, and are willing to share their experience and lessons learned. This saves precious time for the learning curve of the company’s managers.

• Choosing advisors that are ahead of you and have already achieved what you are trying to, means that you can learn a great deal from both their successes and their mistakes.

Unlike a board of directors, the advisory board has an informal nature and offers non-binding advice, adding value and strength to the business at greater flexibility.

See here who are the members of Stein & Partner’s Advisory Board: https://steinandpartner.com/board-members/.

Blind spots in interviews and how to avoid them

The greatness of our social being characteristics is that we can easily connect with each other and have conversations that influence our energy. It is as valid for interviews, as for any other encounter and it makes our job amazingly beautiful. It can also become a challenge, as having great conversation skills does not make up for the technical ones.

Therefore, a potential and harmful blind spot is getting carried away by a person’s open and friendly personality. Whilst it is always great from the perspective of coordinating a team, there are also other things that have to be taken into consideration and evaluated. References, situational and competency-based interviews, examples of solutions to specific situations the candidate has implemented, carefully tailored questions to identify behavioural patterns have to be added to the discussion so as to clarify all details.

Another notable blind spot would be rushing to consider a candidate as not being suitable before doing a more complex appraisal. Consequently, we are to leave the subjectivism aside and correctly asses the know-how, experience, skills, values and potential match with our client’s company.

What we are looking for most when in search of leadership potential

Renowned author Daniel Goleman states that a person with true leadership potential is driven to achieve beyond expectations – first and foremost the ones that they set for themselves. “They seek out creative challenges, love to learn, and take great pride in a job well done. They display an unflagging energy to do things better. They are also eager to explore new approaches to their work”, says Daniel Goleman.

Also, people who communicate easily, are positive and determined, and in the same time self-aware and analytical, have great opportunities of becoming true leaders. Teams usually need somebody who leadership helps them get to their next level in the most non-intrusive way. Therefore, they will always appreciate and grant full trust to a leader that is rather humble and has a coach-like approach, not power driven and directive.

Not always the persons with leadership potential are fully aware of their capabilities, consequently one of our team’s most important role is finding them the right place to become what they are meant to be, as well as help them develop the career that highlights their best features. It’s the only way both them and the companies that nurture them will win the performance game.

Most wonderful 3 traits in the Romanian social culture

Every social culture borrows characteristics from the people’s general profile to their professional attitudes and behaviours. From this perspective, Romanians have always been appreciated by co-workers all over the world for being some of the most reliable and easy-going colleagues they have.

According to a Result Development Study on the values of Romanian employees, we are very family-oriented people and have strong connections and dedication towards our loved ones. This trait translates into the workplace as a high adherence of a person towards a team, people fit in easier and this results into much greater cohesion and effectiveness.

We are also very open and quick to relate to each other, and this becomes a highly appreciated quality at work, especially in industries that require frequent contact with people. This makes it easy for us to adapt and always find creative ways to make multicultural teams work very well together.

It is also our curiosity and capacity to learn new things and grow that makes us stand out in corporate environments. Being able to quickly resonate and connect to information helps us stay in the forefront of team developments no matter the company we are working for.

The Potential is the Focus. Interview with Andreea Manta, Partner

What do you see as the most important trend marking the executive search industry?

As talent and people skills tend to become more and more relevant in any managerial job, we turned our focus towards the person behind the job description. This is the result of an ever-changing business environment that challenges companies to be flexible and to have a high degree of adaptability so as to respond to markets’ moves.

Speaking about adaptability, would that be the main trait of a top manager today?

Many necessary managerial traits always come in various shapes and styles, as companies vary and organizational cultures are ever more diverse. Adaptability is one of the most important skills a manager should own today, as this is one of the strongest characteristic to have, to be able to lead your team forward.

What else would you look for in a top manager?

What we notice as showing true value in relationship building within a senior position, as this became the most important role at this level, are honesty and self-awareness. There is nothing more rewarding for both parties than to relate to each other openly and thoroughly and thus build a long-term collaboration.