People & Culture Brunch Series: Designing Culture for a New World of Work

We were delighted to host a select group of senior HR professionals from the Romanian business community at our most recent People & Culture Brunch Series. This event series aims to spotlight innovative and inspiring HR topics; providing insightful thinking around the latest trends, and also room for discussion & best-practice sharing amongst the local community.

The topic of this event was ‘Intentionally Designing Culture for a New World of Work’. According to a recent survey of job seekers, 9/10 people look at Company Culture whilst looking for a job, 73% would not apply at an organisation that did not share the same values as their own, and 60% say that a healthy company culture is paramount.

Participants came from across the country to learn and share experiences around intentionally designing and embedding company culture. The event was facilitated by Rike Stein, Signium-Stein & Partner’s Head of Leadership Consulting. Rike brought her passion, expertise and belief in shaping organizational culture to share with participants, highlighting the importance of authenticity in designing cultures and living the true values that are crucial to organisational success.

Meeting in Maison 13 in Bucharest, this casual modern location in the centre of town was a great setting for generating ideas, innovation and connecting with other like-minded professionals. We explored questions around how do you intentionally design healthy & engaging cultures in the face of a changing world of work? How do you create the kind of cultures that not only engage, motivate and inspire employees but also those that lead to business success in an unstable operating environment?

There was an extremely vivid, open discussion with lots of involvement, energy and enthusiasm! Key takeaways included:

  • There is opportunity to intentionally design culture; culture can be shaped and designed. Culture should support both your purpose as a company, and also your business strategy.
  • It is key to make sure your culture is authentic and resonates with employees in the business. It needs to be lived; people need to know about it, believe in it and then also behave accordingly.
  • Culture is the responsibility of everyone in the business, but we in HR can play a powerful role in co-designing and creating a meaningful human-centred people experience.

If you would like to know more about this topic, or be a part of future events, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Business2Society Event: Circular Economy Leads to New Business Culture

Signium – Stein & Partner were delighted to recently welcome CEOs, Heads of Institutions & Universities to discuss how the concept of a circular economy can lead to new business culture and opportunities. This was part of the Business2Society Event Series; whereby members of the business community are invited to discuss and engage on pertinent issues around leading into the world of tomorrow.

The event, held at Casa Vlasia, was opened by Werner E. Stein (founder of Stein & Partner) who articulated the growing need for change and driving purpose-led cultures. We were then thrilled to have Prof. Dr. Peter Heck (Founder and CEO of the IfaS Institute in Trier, Germany)  lead the group through what actually is the Circular Economy and how to drive individual organisations towards a circular business model. After ample time for networking and connecting, Ms. Friederike Stein (Partner at Signium – Stein & Partner in Vienna, Austria) presented on how to transform towards purpose-led & progressive company culture. Detailing how to intentionally design company culture in order to drive employee happiness & performance, as well as business results.

There were a number of key takeaways from the event, highlights included:

  • Understanding that the Circular economy is a global economic model that decouples economic growth and development from the consumption of finite resources
  • Looking at managing materials more intelligently and through systems based thinking; breaking away from a linear model to ideally a closed-loop economy.
  • Authenticity is key when it comes to designing culture. Your culture needs to be lived by each member of the organisation: employees need to know about it, believe in it and behave accordingly.
  • Culture is the responsibility of everyone in the business; HR can support by creating a meaningful people experience, and facilitate this process.
  • Your culture needs to fit your individual company, and support your purpose & business strategy.

We thank all our speakers and participants for the extremely fruitful and open discussions.

If you would like to know more, or attend future events, please do not hesitate to contact one of the Signium-Stein & Partner team. 


Signium – Stein & Partner welcomes new Leadership Consulting Partner

We recently welcomed Rike Stein to the Signium- Stein & Partner team. She will be the Partner responsible for Leadership Consulting across Central & Eastern Europe. We spoke to her to understand more about her background, external trends, and her aspirations for Leadership Consulting at Signium-Stein& Partner.

Welcome Rike! Please tell us a bit about yourself. 

I have spent nearly 20 years in Human Resources in various international leadership roles across different industries. I have always enjoyed helping leaders at all levels to shape culture and develop self-awareness in order to elevate their leadership to the next level. I am passionate about developing talent and rewarding company cultures, which I believe fundamentally drives business success.

What attracted you to Leadership Consulting & Culture Development?

My personal purpose is to create better workplaces for generations to come. I get lots of energy from helping clients to create amazing workplaces through inspiring leadership and purpose-led cultures built on a strong foundation of values. That’s why I have co- founded my own business in Germany which is a boutique consultancy helping early-stage organisations to build progressive company culture from day 1. In this role at Signium, I am fortunate enough to be able to play a part in creating great workplaces for many organisations across the Central European Region where I partly grew up and feel closely connected to.

What are the leading trends you see in the market?

Although perhaps obvious, the dominant discussion is still around the ‘Great Resignation’ or ‘Great Renegotiation.’ I clearly observe that people want more than just a job and that this notion will not go away. With this in mind, I strongly believe that we need to focus more on developing leaders and shaping company culture.

Alongside this trend, the role of Human Resources has also evolved and developed. HR is now seen much more strategically in terms of developing Culture, Purpose, Principles and Values; with some people viewing them as ‘Culture Evangelists’ & ‘Purpose Guardians’. HR Leaders play a much bigger role in crafting meaningful Employee Value Propositions, focusing on Sustainability agendas, and now more than ever, they have a much bigger responsibility to actively do good and give back to society and the environment.

What qualities will successful leaders need in the future?

I believe that there are certain core leadership qualities that are timeless and will be needed now and in the future. Caring for your people, appreciating them, challenging them, and helping them to grow are central to success. Similarly, learning to set your ego aside and being able to listen and see the viewpoints of others are crucial in creating environments that allow people to grow from mistakes, contribute fully, and feel engaged at work.

Self-awareness is key in all of this: knowing your intentions but also being constantly aware of your impact on others and how you come across.

If I look ahead, I believe leaders will have to navigate a future which is only more VUCA and uncertain. We will not have all the answers, and therefore it is so important to be able to trust your people and empower them to be able to make decisions as they see best. An emerging, but powerful, school of thought around New Work advocates for leaders to lead through Purpose, Principles & Values. This enables your team members to be able to work within a framework, gives freedom & responsibility, but also to co-create and create cultures of inclusion & belonging. Get out of the Ivory Tower fast!

What is one thing organisations can do today to develop leaders /shape culture in the future?

Be intentional about ‘Culture’ and how leaders shape culture. Culture is not “soft stuff” to leave aside or a nice-to-have. Culture is key for your business to survive and to flourish.

Without the right culture you will not have the right people, and without the right people you will have very little chance to achieve your strategy. Spend time looking at your culture and be clear about what kind of culture you need to grow and develop.

What can Signium-Stein & Partner do? What kind of team do you have behind you?

We at Signium- Stein & Partner are all passionate about building culture and finding the right leaders to drive culture in your business. We have an experienced team of search and leadership consultants who have worked across several industries and countries. We have been operating in Central Eastern Europe for nearly 30 years with offices in Vienna & Bucharest.

We can measure your current culture with our unique internally developed Culture Due Diligence tool and then can also help you define the culture you aspire towards. Through workshops and co-creation, we help you get to where you see your culture needs to be, in order to move towards your vision and outperform your objectives.


Demand in High Quality Executive Search will increase significantly

Amid the recovery efforts after the Covid-19 pandemic and the prospects of the war in Ukraine, we reviewed the Executive Search and Leadership Consulting market in Romania with David Sebastian Stein, Global Board Director at Signium and Managing Partner at Signium CEE – Stein & Partner.

Tell us, please, a little bit of the Signium – Stein & Partner company, how long has it been operating in Romania, what services do you provide, etc

Signium – Stein & Partner is looking back to almost 30 years of experience in Romania and Central Eastern Europe, being established in 1994. We are a family company in its second generation, part of a global network of Executive Search and Leadership Advisory. Throughout the years, the firm has been one of the leading providers in Executive Search, Board Advisory and Leadership Consulting, as we help clients across industries form and develop leadership teams, according to their unique contexts and plans. Our ambition has always been for both our clients and candidates to have a positive experience in working with us.

How has the HR, Executive Search and Leadership Services market evolved in Romania since the beginnings till nowadays?

Historically, the Executive Search industry has been focused prominently on identifying and reaching the special talent, while today, also given the technology development, the industry has shifted towards a more complex contribution, namely an advisory role. This implies that our jobs do not limit to recruiting, searching for candidates, and placing them. Other more strategic components have an increased importance: the market research, the information made available, and the analysis of which competencies the leadership teams should comprise and what the development gaps are.

What impact has the position in the Signium board at global level for the local market and how has it changed your activity of the Signium-Stein & Partner?

Our responsibility in the global Board is significant to us and probably also to Romania. As more and more regional and global positions are being steered from Romania, it also means that the quality of the professional services industry is significantly increasing, and that the competition is at a very healthy level. Our activity in the Board also gives us additional insights on how colleagues around the globe are conducting their business, what the latest trends are, and ultimately on how we can improve our services. Furthermore, Signium being a founding member of the AESC as well, we are also able to have a look at the entire sector and contribute to improving internationally developed standards. We treat this responsibility with utmost respect and are excited about the possibility to share new ideas and perspectives.

You have a unique background, coming from Germany and knowing the Central & East European market very well, after leading for many years the offices in Romania. What is your input in the Signium board, how do you feel you bring added value to the board’s activity?

Having had the opportunity to take over the business from my father, I naturally came into business with the ambition to make things different and hopefully better. As we have been a standalone organization in the last 10 years, it was difficult to validate our ideas and initiatives. Since we are now again part of a global partnership, it is very rewarding to see that our direction has been right and that our ideas are being appreciated at global level.

Personally, as a board member, I hope that my experience in the Eastern and Central European market is a strength, knowing its specificities and its opportunities.

You are the youngest member of the Signium board and, as all of them, you have a 3-year term. What do you plan to accomplish in this term, as a team and personally?

We have to admit that we were able to implement already a lot of initiatives and we hope to achieve at least 75% of our plan, that’s because we have a set of milestones harder to achieve in 3 years. But we are doing all that depends on us to have it more completed and implemented.

Signium has been historically a conservative business environment with a high focus on quality and service delivery, and our aim is to preserve the focus on quality, yet to modernize the way of supporting and engaging with each other.

How has the Covid-19 pandemic has affected the HR and financial services local market and the activity of your company?

In what concerns us, the effects of Covid have hit us in 2021 and not in 2020 as expected. There were hard times, as for many other companies.

This year, the outlook is again very positive, however, we need to see the impact of the Ukraine crisis on Eastern Europe. Besides this, the way of conducting our business has shifted to almost a virtual environment, which comes with plusses and minuses.

In regards to the HR market, the effects of the pandemic are very visible across industries and definitely long-term. We have seen a renewed focus on employees, an increased awareness of their mental health, an acceleration of digital HR, a change in processes, even reimagining the structure and impact of this role. Things are not still settled, some are still looking for the best options to perform in the “new normal”, but we believe that, overall, this pandemic period has brough on important lessons for everyone.

How does the recruitment sector look like now and how do you think it will look like on medium and long term, considering all the Covid impact on the labour/workforce market and other factors?

We believe that the demand in high quality Executive Search and in particularly Leadership Consulting will increase significantly, mainly also because the talent acquisition is progressively more difficult, and the corporate culture often steps in as the main differentiator. The Covid crisis has accelerated these trends, especially due to the difficulties/ discrepancies of living values in a hybrid or completely remote set up, these circumstances requiring different skills and competencies, and not all organizations are still open to embrace the new context.

What is your clients’ feedback regarding the Romanian employees? What is the local job seekers’ profile nowadays? What challenges do employers have ahead from this perspective?

Firs of all, being active in the Executive Search industry, we mostly contact C- level/ top management profiles and usually they are not job seeking. However, most of the placements we conducted were highly appreciated and most of them remain for at least 5 years in the respective companies. Challenges are mostly surfacing in more entrepreneurial environments, where processes are not yet too well defined. Traditionally, the educational system is rather focused on a “learn by heart and repeat” mentality than on a new creation/ solution-oriented approach. Sometimes, this comes with challenges as entrepreneurial environments are less structured and the organization is in permanent change.

What is the most challenging for you, the basic positions or the top executive ones? What does the Romanian workforce look like? Romania has been struggling with the labour shortage and mostly with the lack of skilled workers/professionals…

As we predominantly focus on executive functions, the challenges are arising mostly from the research efforts. Looking for example at a functional role such as CFO or HR, where the business model is more relevant than the industry related experience, you have to screen multiple markets and companies in order to be certain that you have the best available talent. Moreover, the transition from C-1 to C level can be tricky as certain competencies need to be developed or complemented in order to successfully fill the new set of responsibilities.

I know your practice groups have a large expertise on a wide range of industries, from HR, Finance, Sales, Marketing to Industrial, Digital or Life Sciences. Which of these fields are mostly sought after by the job seekers?

As industry knowledge is very important and the ability to understand the connecting sectors as well, our practice groups are still industry focused. Indeed, in order to have a project team established that is likely to succeed, you need to pair industry knowledge with functional knowledge and also add the regional expertise to it. In Romania, the fastest developing sectors are certainly IT&C, Agribusiness, Industrial (especially after Covid and Ukraine crisis) and recently both the professional and financial services sectors.

From what you see, is Romania a destination for foreign investors more or less as before? Are further investments in the pipeline for settling in Romania, despite such factors as the proximity to the conflict in Ukraine, the rising production costs due to energy/gas challenges, or even the labour shortages?

During Covid, a lot of multinational companies realized how damaging it might be to depend so much on Asian collaborators, from production, to supply chain. At the same time, through the various crisis episodes, from lack of raw materials to transportation, the corporations have started to look for other options in Europe. Thus, even with the Ukraine crisis, as devastating as it is, we still see a large interest in Eastern Europe, especially countries which are already in European Union and NATO.

If you can provide us some pros and cons of being a HR/services consultant market in Romania? And what pros and cons do you see by being an expat living in Romania?

The service sector in Romania is not yet appreciated to the same level you see in Western markets. On the one hand, this is due to the cheaper labor market which increases the competition on services and secondly, the lack of professionalism companies have experienced in many service sectors. Educating the market and providing excellency in service is therefore our key to success and we will build on this

To access the full interview, click here.

Why do managers change jobs?

The decision to make a change professionally can derive from many situations – from the desire for a new challenge or growth, to changes or misunderstandings within the organisation, but also various personal contexts. This is true at any level. However, when it comes to top management profiles, people tend to have different motivations; if a person at the beginning of their career is rather looking for financial motivation or accessing roles where they can learn or grow, for example, an executive or manager has other challenges and expectations.

For an in-depth understanding, Alexandra Ene highlights the most common reasons in a very dynamic and insightful talk with the hosts of the show and we are happy to invite you to watch the embedded video.

Below are the main points that were covered:

  • How is the situation nowadays when top management professionals want to change jobs?
  • What exactly are they looking for or looking at in a new position?
  • What motivates them when it comes to a career change?
  • Is the increasing impact of ESG a reason to consider when taking on a new challenge?
  • What happens when a manager wants to change the industry?
  • How is meaning affecting the change of direction?
  • The importance of flexibility, adaptability, and personal time

Analysing the reasons why many executives are open to new professional opportunities, we were able to extract some common situations:

  • Changes within the organisation
  • Changes at industry level, especially decreases / contractions
  • The company enters another phase of maturity
  • The desire for a role with more impact
  • They are not supported in achieving the required results

Moreover, we had another article published on this topic that could provide additional information. If you want to explore this as well, kindly see the read here.

To access the full recording of the show, click (min 1:17:40) here.

Employee wellbeing in Romania


The probability of a higher stress increased during the pandemic, when work-life balance became more important than ever. As the transition to remote or hybrid work programs has brought unprecedented challenges to employees, there has been a growing need for organizations to implement solutions to help them manage the challenges they face individually or as a team.

The companies acted quickly by implementing integrated programs covering psychological counseling sessions, mental well-being workshops, emotional, spiritual balance and physical invigoration, as well as financial well-being.

For a deeper dive into the subject, our colleague, Alexandra Ene, has concrete examples on such initiatives and explains how these should be based on the real needs of the employees when implementing them.

You are invited to our Youtube channel to watch her live intervention or you can access the full show (min 22:10) here.


Sami Hamid assumes management of Austrian office


Signium – Stein & Partner Austria welcomes Sami Hamid as its new Managing Partner

We are excited to announce that as of November, our office in Austria will be managed by Sami Hamid, a professional with over 30 years of experience in the Executive Search industry! He was Managing Partner, CEO, and Board Member of large multinational search organisations, including Ward Howell International, and we are happy that, after several years in private equity, he has decided to return to the business.

Prior to joining Signium, Sami has been CEO and Managing Partner of two of the largest European Executive Search companies, heading 30 offices throughout Europe, Asia, and the Americas. He is an expert in leadership assessment projects and has successfully managed more than 600 Executive Search assignments for clients in Western Europe, CEE, the Middle East, and Asia. He relies on a broad functional experience, ranging from Executive Board assignments to all other C-Level functions and Supervisory Board positions.

At Signium, he focuses on search mandates for C-Level positions in Real Estate, Industrial and Digital, as well as on all aspects of Leadership Advisory.

Feel free to get in touch with Sami

LinkedIn /

Unlearning -The key to wisely navigating in times of great upheaval

When the context abruptly and massively changes, such as the one we’ve been going through since the spring of 2020, the blueprint and practices of the past became out of place.

To move themselves and their organisations forward, leaders became aware of the need to adapt, so they continued to learn, but most of them started to unlearn.  Otherwise, how can we make room for something new? How can we be open to new approaches and practices unless we conscientiously decide to give up the old, unnecessary ones? How can we be permanently on our toes, ready to change direction and inspire trust and commitment?  Lots of questions that still need answers.

In the light of our upcoming webinar on June 15th: Transforming HR: What do Leaders need to Unlearn to Succeed in the New Normal we, at Signium – Stein & Partner, considered this a favourable moment to take a breather and sit down with our speakers Mrs. Melania Jaravete, HR Director at Cargus Romania, Mrs. Adina Vidroiu, HR Director at Microsoft Romania, Greece, Malta & Cyprus and Mr. Dragos Barbulescu, Deputy General Director and Group CFO at E.ON Romania, and collect some reflections from them, in an attempt to warm up the spirits before we go live with a new engaging concept of an interactive webinar.

What was the most valuable take away for you as Leader from the past 12 months?

Melania Jaravete: As the entire world shifted gears due to the pandemic, it became clearer and clearer that the HR function should evolve into the natural next step, HR needing to become Chief People Officer instead of a paperwork-based department, to re-acquaint itself with people, their needs, their concerns, and become the main communication channel guiding the team through this period and providing security, reassurance, and a stable context. 

Adina Vidroiu: The past 12 months helped us learn more about ourselves and the importance of human connection. Believing in our people and showing care about what matters to them, namely their passions, purpose, and strengths, is strongly embedded in our culture. We made sure that we kept an open and constant communication with our employees, which contributed tremendously to creating clarity and trust. I’ve been amazed by the strength shown by our team and our community and impressed by the stretches in adaptability people demonstrate when they’re set up to succeed. Trust, communication, and a focus on output do wonders in a remote workforce, and having supported flexible ways of working, the past year has proven it can all work out. 

Dragos Barbulescu: I have learned that although we cannot accurately predict the future, it is important to react calmly and resolutely to the unknown. Contingency plans and a resilient organization will always allow us to respond effectively and efficiently to difficult situations.

I also learned that any crisis brings with it several opportunities and that it is in our power, as leaders, to take advantage of them and keep our people close, connected and engaged to the realities of the business.

The Covid-19 pandemic was an accelerator of the digital transition, which remains a priority for us in all areas of the organization, being a method of streamlining the business and improving the experience of our customers. On the other hand, we cannot talk about the future, about technology and the development of innovative digital solutions without motivated employees and adapted to the new reality. We must continue our cultural transformation, to invest in our people and thus to attract diversity in terms of abilities and personalities, so that team members can amplify each other’s results.

The performance comes out from resilience, agility, independence (given by the team’s abilities and the vote of confidence won from the organization), curiosity, and the ability to see the full spectrum. These are also the ingredients we aim to develop through our team members

What has helped you personally keep the balance through this uncertain context?

Melania Jaravete: Despite the challenging context, my anchors are the family, friends and work content that makes me feel I can contribute. These have kept me grounded, reminded me that we are supported, understood, and accepted in our journey and that we can remain true to ourselves even in a shifting environment.

Adina Vidroiu: Living in a pandemic this past year and a half has posed immense challenges for everyone and a steep learning curve. When uncertainty became the only sure thing, we refused to stay under the pressure of disruption and instead became stronger, leaning on soft skills like empathy, motivation, and collaboration to support each other. Personally, spending more time with my family and friends, as well as focus more on my own wellbeing, helped me maintain balance.

Dragos Barbulescu: Before being leaders, we are human beings, so difficult situations are influencing us emotionally too. Accepting the situation and looking for solutions are the first things you can do.

I could say that I’ve created a new, beneficial routine for myself, for things which in the past I didn’t have time for or paid insufficient attention to, and I’ve realized how important are these for my balance.

As a person, keeping the balance meant a combination of several factors: family, social connectivity with friends and colleagues, physical activity, allocating time to relax and reset.

As a business, times of crisis require adaptability. The new technologies have helped us to stay connected and ensure the functioning of the companies and the services at an optimal level. All this time, we kept the team close, and we did our best to communicate even more with each other to stimulate the involvement in the new projects and thus to have all the highest possible morale and motivation.

The days when the responsibility of the CFOs and the financial executives was limited to financial reporting, compliance, audits, and the presentation of annual accounts are gone. The current context forces us to look up from the spreadsheet and quickly find solutions to adapt and, where possible, reinvent ourselves.

Today’s CFO must be able to see the “big picture” and play a key role in strategic capital allocation and corporate governance decisions. Currently, we are talking about some basic pillars in leadership: on the one hand the development of self-control, problem solving and decision making; then strategic agility and business acumen. To these is added the management of relations with all those involved. From this point of view, the open and empathic communication, the optimistic approach to the new situations have helped both at team level and individually, to overcome the pandemic period, and all the lessons learned will certainly be seen in future progress.

For more reflections on people and organisational practices, join us on Tuesday, 15th of June, at 14:00 EET, for our second online event in the Transforming HR series:

Content by Ana Maria Popescu

Important appointment on the Executive Search market

The Managing Partner of Signium – Stein & Partner, elected as Signium Global Board Director

 Signium is one of the top Executive Search and Leadership Advisory partnerships worldwide


A big win for the Executive Search Market in CEE! David-Sebastian Stein, Managing Partner of Signium – Stein & Partner, founded in Romania in the early 1990s, was elected as part of the Signium Board of Directors. The latter is one of the top partnerships in Executive Search and Leadership Consulting worldwide, with almost 70 years of experience and presence in over 30 countries.

The decision was made following a nomination and an internal voting process, won by an overwhelming majority, a year and a half after the company became part of the Signium partnership. The appointment is doubled in importance, as David-Sebastian Stein is the youngest member to hold this position since the establishment of the partnership until today.

Currently on the board, along with David-Sebastian Stein, are Annelize van Rensburg (South Africa), Piotr Pilecki (Poland), Felipa Xara-Brasil (Portugal) and Aleksander Montalbetti (Germany). The responsibilities of the five members in their 3-year term, are related to making administrative decisions in accordance with the development and coordination strategy of the 250 people in the partnership. Their goals for the next period include business development in the key regions, expanding into new markets worldwide and consolidating leadership in certain areas, while simultaneously boosting Signinum’s global Brand Strategy and Communications.

“I am both honored and grateful to be elected as Global Board Director, all the more as I respect Signium’s 70-years legacy and success, and that it’s continuing to build on its industry experience to remain a top player in the market. I want to add value to Signium projects worldwide and together with my colleagues to succeed in achieving our goals and to support the strengthening of our market position through focused leadership and governance”, said David-Sebastian Stein, Managing Partner Romania & Austria for Signium – Stein & Partner.

“Signium – Stein & Partner Austria & Romania is a reliable partner for us, and we are happy to have them by our side, not only as part of the partnership, but also a part of the Global Board of Directors. We believe that the experience of their consultants and good knowledge of the Central and Eastern European market will translate into increased quality and performance of the entire network, having more than 150 consultants, in 40 offices – worldwide. We are confident in this partnership, and we are sure that, with this board’s vast experience, Signium Global is uniquely placed to advise and support its diverse client base as they face complex leadership issues in an era when good c-suite leadership has never been more important”, mentioned Annelize van Rensburg, Chair of Signium.

Given this new responsibility and the importance of Stein & Partner for the global partnership, the company is undergoing a rebranding process and will become Signium by the end of the year: “The values ​​that define our organisation are in full agreement with those of Signium. It is an opportunity for us to actively participate in the development of the network and to find the best solutions for our customers based on intelligence, intuition and entrepreneurship”, David-Sebastian Stein also underlined.

About Signium – Stein & Partner Founded in 1994 in Bucharest, Signium – Stein & Partner offers an extensive portfolio of consulting services and leadership solutions, from Executive Search, evaluation, and development of management teams to the alignment of human capital in mergers and acquisitions, coaching for integration, and not only. At the same time, the collaboration with hundreds of clients and thousands of candidates from many industries, including pharmaceuticals, consumer goods, banking, insurance, construction, and investment funds, has helped the company gain experience working with diverse professionals with different needs, expectations, visions, and values. Signium – Stein & Partner is a member of the Association of Executive Search and Leadership Consultants (AESC).

The above press release was published by Business Review and you can acces it here.

C-Level Recruitment


Romanian managers are more oriented towards respecting the rules than on communication and creativity, a recent study shows, and they tend to be promoted based on technical skills and specialisation. In order to choose the right person for a leadership position, especially in the context of working in a pandemic, a candidate must also demonstrate coaching and mentorship skills, explained the guests of the show Gandul Financiar.

What are the selection criteria for a top manager? 

The recruitment of the right person for a manager role is based not only on the professional and technical competencies, explained for Gandul Financiar Alexandra Ene, consultant at Signium – Stein & Partner, a consulting company specialised in executive search.

“Customers often come to us with a few written lines – we want someone who knows this and this. And it’s never just about that. It is about understanding the business as a whole, about aligning the stakeholders- with whom the respective person will work, what the teams look like, what are the directions of the business itself “, explained Alexandra Ene. Thus, executive search specialists take into account the skills, abilities, personality, motivation, energy but also the coaching and mentoring skills of the potential future managers.

Last year especially, the need for team guidance, communication and coaching skills was noticed. “Suddenly, managers found themselves unable to stop by employees computers to see what people were doing, therefore they had to be coaches and mentors and keep their teams close and motivate them and find other ways to engage them,” Alexandra Ene explained.

An example of a wake-up call for the need to change the management approach given by Alexandra Ene is an online team building, organized at the beginning of the pandemic, in which the employees were just looking at each other and at the clock, waiting for the allotted time to end.

“That’s why, when we look at a recruitment, we look at a very complex picture of how that person should be, in order to be able to give the right direction to the business she/he will manage, to fit in, to have these essential leadership skills, not only strategic and not only technical abilities”, Alexandra Ene underlined.

The recruitment grid for top managers is constantly adapted, and specialists work with various tools to help them complete the ideal profile. “Things change from day to day, from year to year. We do not have a competency matrix for a marketing role that we use in 2000, in 2020, and in 2040. We work customized on each project. We are very optimistic about the labour market and future managers and the collaboration between young managers and senior managers, because they have a lot to learn from each other “, says Alexandra Ene.

Trends in the recruitment market 

“What we can observe, when referring to the new generation of managers, is that they are prepared, our experience with them is favourable, we see more and more young managers, who study abroad, at top universities, MBAs, EMBAs, who invest in education, either personally or the companies that they work for, they are very competitive and very determined “, says Alexandra Ene. 

Regarding foreign companies, beyond the professional competencies, nationality plays a role in deciding to choose the managers. There are still several multinationals that are very keen on bringing managers of the company’s nationality, as Alexandra Ene explains, with the aim of ​​probably instilling in local employees a certain type of culture that is also in the parent company, and not because they are better prepared. “But indeed, we see this trend of looking for international experience, but local understanding, and we do have customers, both in services, as well as production, who are looking for local people who understand very well the local culture and who are able to bring together the teams “, the consultant specified.

In addition, choosing an outsider or, on the contrary, promoting one’s own employee is a decision directly correlated with the company’s objectives and typology. “Of course, people from the inside aspire, but if that company is at a time when it needs a fresh approach, then they can choose to bring in a manager from outside the company. Maybe when the manager withdraws due to retirement and the company wants to maintain the status-quo, they may think of promoting someone from the inside. Depending on the objectives, they can think of promoting someone from finance, sales or marketing, because, in general, the top manager obviously sets the tone for everything that happens in the rest of the company “, detailed Alexandra Ene. 

If you would like to read more and watch the filmed interview (in Romanian), please click here.