Arpi Karapetyan, founder and chairman of Armenian HR Association, founder and managing partner of Cascade People & Business, initiator of Regional HR Conferences, told Regional Post about the current state and the challenges the labor market faces in Armenia.
Interview : Tatevik Stepanyan
Mrs Karapetyan, you are involved in two major organizations in the field of HR in Armenia. Tell us about the companies.
— Armenian HR Association is a non-profit organization aimed to contribute to the development of the field in Armenia. Our main goals are to study and share HR management practices, training and professional development of community, improvement of HR framework and, in general, advocacy of HR industry in Armenia. We do this by organizing different types of HR events throughout the year, providing international and local certifications in HR sphere, discussing and sharing concerns, insights and experience of the community members. Our biggest event is the regional HR conference which we have been organizing for already 7 years, and last year more than 200 participants from 10 countries took part in it. The Association currently includes around 60 members and is actively growing.
At the same time, founded in 2008, Cascade People & Business evolved into one of the leading HR service providers in Armenia and continues to grow by expanding its work in the region. Our main motto is “we bring change” and we strongly believe in human and company potential. We are passionate about transforming people and businesses and creating value that lasts. During the last 10 years we have worked with various industries and made numerous HR projects that we are proud of. We are considering with my close friend and partner Armine Hayrapetyan to initiate a couple of innovative and non-standard projects in the field.
As an HR specialist and a leader, what do you think is the key ability for a woman to be successful in the Armenian labor market?
— You know, I personally have never encountered gender discrimination. I think this comes more from childhood and the way I was taught by my parents to look at the world. I simply never thought some doors may not be open because I’m a woman. Also, this might be connected somehow with my profession, because Human Resources is considered to be a bit female occupation, so you never challenge gender issue here. What I believe in is if you do not regard yourself in a discriminative way, no one will. You should simply not allow yourself to think that you can be discriminated as the people feel that and react accordingly.
You have more than 20 years’ experience in HR. Could you compare the field in the end of 1990s and now?
— We’ve witnessed a change of an amazing scale. I was 22 when I became the head of HR in Pernod Ricard Armenia, and my career began with dismissing and massive reorganization. The field was undeveloped then, and the new standards and approaches were just being established. However, we were able to come up with a strong motivation system and a correct salary range. We were regarded as the best employer at that time. I do remember the times when we were explaining the difference between HR and PR, and no one considered HR manager as a Business Partner. Now, the market has changed enormously, our profession is valued and every single day I receive inquiries from different employers looking for HR professionals to join their teams.
What do you believe in?
— The human being has unlimited potential, incredible capacities of self-knowledge and self-development. After all successful years of operation I can declare: When you don’t lose focus and believe in the best outcome, all impossible things become possible, and the most challenging scenarios become incredible movies. The only thing you need is to pick the right keys. And yes, we do bring change.