Blanka Borkowska, People and Culture Director ISS Poland and Baltics wywiad dla Kornblit Talks
Kornblit Talks
Balancing High Expectations and Healthy Relationships
I wholeheartedly endorse the notion that career and family life should peacefully coexist, irrespective of gender. Let's tread carefully in our pursuit of gender balance, ensuring we don't inadvertently favor women or men, regardless of their competence. The overarching objective should be to disregard gender and focus on creating the most extensive and diverse talent pool possible - emphasizes Blanka Borkowska, People and Culture Director, ISS Poland and Baltics.

In the interview for Kornblit Talks Blanka Borkowska embraces among others:

HR in action

I have a background and passion for HR, but I make a conscious effort not to be just a desk-bound HR person. I wanted to see firsthand how my projects and solutions truly affect people and businesses. That’s why, beyond my office duties, I spent a significant amount of time in stores, diving into operational details, chatting with frontline employees who engage with customers and the product daily, pitching in with customer service or handling deliveries.

In companies with tight profit margins, a big chunk of costs comes from employee-related expenses. That’s why the role of those overseeing HR is super important in these businesses. Any improvements in this area have an immediate impact on the company’s bottom line. The sense of agency and impact is crucial and really keeps me motivated.

Transition into new roles

Taking on the role of Managing Director isn’t the usual path for HR careers, but it turned out to be an incredibly fascinating period of growth for me. It pushed me way out of my comfort zone into entirely new territories. Despite the change in responsibilities, my deep understanding of the company, its operations, and its people laid a solid foundation for developing skills that were brand new to me.

With each subsequent role, talking business, dealing with finances, and collaborating with Country Managers became more natural because I’ve been in their shoes. This blend of competencies is pretty unique among HR leaders and allows me to take on strategic HR roles with a strong emphasis on Business Partnering, understanding the business’s goals and needs, and speaking the same language.

EVP – “The Place to be You”

To become the global Company of Belonging, ISS is striving to be a place where it’s Safe to Be You no matter your gender, sexual orientation, ability, age or background. We strive to be a company where people want to work, one that provides a safe and comfortable working environment, fostering a sense of belonging, which is one of the fundamental human needs. The workplace creates such an opportunity. At the core of our culture are ISS values: honesty, responsibility, entrepreneurship, quality, and unity. It is on these values that we build our company. We want every employee, when coming to work, to feel accepted and be able to simply be themselves, to have a sense of recognition and appreciation, as well as opportunities for training and professional development.

Skills of the future

One needs to consider both sides of this professional “transaction,” the arrangement of roles between the candidate/employee and the employer. The former expects greater flexibility. Not only in terms of remote work or hybrid models but also in relation to the tasks or roles they perform. The latter has increased expectations in the area of so-called “future skills,” such as openness, agility, and the ability to keep up with changes, active learning, and analytical thinking.

Technology is here to stay. But the more machines work, the greater the importance of the human factor: our leadership and communication skills, especially during times of change, cannot be replaced by any robot. Relationships are becoming more challenging from a distance, yet they are also increasingly important, considering we are all social beings. In relationships, communication is key. Expressing expectations, needs, and concerns is crucial. Providing thoughtful feedback with respect and good intentions, whether it’s about achieving strategic goals, team management, change, conflict, or a process – communication is the key.


If you want to live a life and develop professionally in harmony with your values, be sure to read this interview: full version available in Polish.