Nursel Ölmez Ateş: A Fiery Trailblazer Stoking the Fires of Success

Nursel Ölmez Ateş | Borusan Holding | Sustainability Officer Communication & Chief Human
Nursel Ölmez Ateş | Borusan Holding | Sustainability Officer Communication & Chief Human

The industrial sector in Turkey is constantly evolving as the country seeks to remain competitive in the global marketplace. This has led to a number of changes in recent years, including the increasing adoption of automation and new technologies, the growing importance of sustainability and the need for a more skilled workforce.

These changes present both challenges and opportunities for businesses in the Turkish industrial sector. Amidst the ever-evolving landscape, Borusan Group stands tall as a trailblazing conglomerate. Founded in 1944, Borusan has been at the forefront of innovation, embracing technology and corporate entrepreneurship to reshape and revamp its operations in line with the necessities of Industry 4.0.

At the heart of Borusan Group’s remarkable journey stands an inspiring leader, Nursel Ölmez Ateş, who holds the position of Chief Human, Communication and Sustainability Officer. Nursel’s unparalleled expertise in human resources, effective communication and sustainability practices have been instrumental in shaping Borusan’s culture and driving the company towards a brighter, more sustainable future.

As an industrial giant, Borusan Group recognizes the significance of incorporating sustainable practices and the need to give back to society. Nursel’s passion for empowering women and supporting volunteerism aligns perfectly with the company’s core values. Through her visionary leadership, Nursel has instilled a strong commitment to corporate social responsibility, making Borusan a beacon of positive change in the community.

Let’s delve into how Nursel’s leadership serves as a guiding light, driving Borusan Group’s mission in an ever-competitive industry!

Please introduce yourself and provide a brief overview of your role in the field of Human Resources.

I graduated from Istanbul University Industrial Engineering Department. I started my career at Migros Türk T.A.Ş. as an assistant specialist in the Method Organization and Planning Department. Here, I worked as a manager in the R&D, Planning and Project Management departments and commissioned many innovative human resources projects.

In 2003, I was appointed to Ramstore, one of Migros’ international operations, as the Assistant General Manager of Human Resources and Corporate Communications. I returned to Turkey in 2008 and continued my career as Human Resources and Corporate Communications Director at Koçtaş and Ford Otosan.

I was appointed as Borusan Holding Human Resources Group President in March 2018 and as Borusan Holding Human Resources and Corporate Communications Group Head in November 2019. As of August 1, 2022, my area of ​​responsibility expanded and I became Borusan Holding Human, Communication and Sustainability Group President.

What innovative strategies or technologies have you implemented to enhance the employee experience and promote a positive workplace culture?

Technology and digitalization have been on Borusan’s agenda for a long time. In this transformation, which we started before the pandemic, we gained a significant advantage by moving many of our processes to digital with the transition to our new working model.

With Borusan Human’s Cloud-Based Digital Infrastructure Transformation, all HR processes, from recruitment to exit processes, are managed end-to-end by both employees, managers and HR teams over a digital infrastructure. These applications are used not only in Turkey but also in talent management applications in 5 countries in the globe where Borusan operates.

We won the Global Workforce Management Digital Transformation Award in 2022 with our global talent management practices. Until now, we have included many important applications such as Borusan Insan Mobile App, Borusan Insan Chatbot with AI infrastructure and SAP SuccessFactors infrastructure transition into our working life. We present all reporting works to our leaders as dynamic and visualized with our dashboards integrated with an instant database.

With our BorusanX project, harmonizing the future of business with the corporate culture is our primary focus. We aim to gain the maximum benefit from new technologies by strengthening the new generation’s digital business culture and models.

How do you incorporate diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives into your HR strategies, and what benefits have you observed as a result?

While we discuss gender equality in detail under the human focus, which is one of our sustainability strategies, under the headings of climate, people and innovation, we have been continuing our work in this field for more than 10 years.

By launching the Borusan Equal Platform in 2015, we aimed to adopt and internalize gender equality at both corporate and individual levels at Borusan. With the Gender Glasses program, which we include under Borusan Equals, we focused on the invisible barriers that cause gender inequality in business life and also presented a recipe to find a solution to this issue.

Among the practices we have implemented are the improvement or development of areas such as women’s dressing room and milk room on our campuses, private health insurance with maternity coverage, the opportunity for women to use maternity and maternity leaves uninterruptedly for 5.5 months, maternity and postpartum support program, cash nursery assistance, first day of school and report card day leave, addition of an additional week to legal paternity leave, paternity training opportunities, flexible working practices, face-to-face meeting application violations with female employees.

We aim to reach a female employee ratio of 40 percent in the first and middle management levels, 30 percent in the senior management, 40 percent in office workers and 20 percent in factories, fields and workshops in all Group companies.

We prepared the Gender Equality and Domestic Violence Guide published in 2020 to demonstrate our zero-tolerance approach to violence at Borusan. While we included not only physical but also psychological, economic, sexual and cyber violence in the content of the guide, we conveyed how to recognize the employee experiencing domestic violence and the signs of violence.

With the Borusan Equality School, which we launched last year with the Toptalent career platform, we aim to raise awareness of gender equality. In our project, in which Borusan employees take part voluntarily, we address the issue of gender equality under different headings. A certificate is given to the participants who complete the training, which is organized online and free of charge.

Another study we implemented was the Borusan Group Parent’s Guide for working parents and prospective parents. We ensure that Borusan employees have access to the most accurate information through legal procedures such as leave, working hours and payments in the parent guide, which we announced in November 2022.

In our book 10 Years Dedicated to Equality, which we also published in 2023, we shed light on Borusan’s journey toward gender equality. In our 10th anniversary book, we brought together the people of Borusan, who walked with us on this journey, who took part in Borusan’s work focused on gender equality, or who have inspiring stories that guide us.

Apart from the projects I mentioned, there are many gender equality-oriented practices and studies implemented by our Group companies. As an institution operating in the field of industry, we carry out awareness-raising activities to increase women’s employment in this sector, and we aim to increase the number of our female employees.

How do you approach performance management and talent development to ensure continuous growth and professional advancement for employees?

At Borusan, we consider the topic of talent in a much broader framework. We focus on sustainable talent management under the human subject, which is one of our sustainability focus areas, climate, people and innovation.

At Borusan, we consider talent management under the headings of attracting talents, developing talents and retaining talents. We aim to create a happy, meaningful and unique employee experience for Borusan employees and aim to continue to be among the employers most preferred by potential talents. This is why we attach great importance to the Borusan employer brand.

Accordingly, we develop innovative recruitment tools, programs and collaborations. We consider recruiting the best talents to support us in achieving our strategy and goals as one of our main goals. With different projects where we can reach talents, we aim not only to promote Borusan but also to support their development and create benefits.

At Borusan Group, we are aware that talent is a transformative factor. In addition to keeping the talents alive, it is one of the important items of our agenda to develop these talents and prepare them for the future and to strengthen them with the competencies that will be needed in the future.

Especially in the pandemic, the developing technology and digitalization showed us how quickly talents can transform. We have a focus on developing our talented employees in line with the needs of the business world of the future.

While implementing this focus, we move forward not only with training-development solutions but also with different solutions such as rotation, project-based assignments, gaining experience in our overseas companies, mentoring, coaching or digital development programs.

Borusan Academy, one of Borusan’s most established institutions and our management team shape the competencies of the future; We are already planting the seeds for the talents we will need in the future.