Every day’s a school day – developing our FLEETCOR leaders


Diana Abdrakhmanova is HR Director for FLEETCOR Russia. She has over 17 years HR experience, and has spent the last 10 years in HR leadership roles at multinational companies. Here she explains why she is working towards a Masters in International HR, and how FLEETCOR have supported her along the way.

Identifying learning and development opportunities

I first thought about getting my Master’s Degree in International HR 10 years ago. At the time, I had just got married, and I was pregnant with my first child Polina, so I decided to postpone my studies. I realized that these would be two huge steps in my life and it would be difficult to be successful in both at the same time. I never gave up on getting my degree; for me, an International degree and CIPD qualification are essential for any HR Professional.

I am now halfway through my course and it hasn’t disappointed. It’s helping me grow further as a professional and I hope it will help bring new insight to my role at FLEETCOR. Two Universities provide the course of International HRM: RANEPA in Moscow, Russia and Kingston University of London, UK. The learning is a combination of academic knowledge, practical insights and tools at the same time. It has also been great for both local and international networking.

FLEETCOR have really encouraged me to pursue my learning and development, and have supported me in two ways: I have had help financially (FLEETCOR agreed to compensate me for part of my first year) and through additional time off during my modules, which equates to 12 days for study leave a year.

"I deeply believe that people are the main asset of a company. What I like most about HR is that we can attract, retain and develop the right people. We are helping people to shape and build their future by giving them the right project or job."

Very few young people I’ve met really know what they want to do or achieve in their life, which is why it’s extremely important for them to start with the right Employer and professionals on hand to guide them. I often think there are similarities between HR and my first career path as a teacher!

What I’ve learned from my International HR Masters

I have learned so much from my course that I want to share! Studying International HR has made me sure that every employer needs to revisit their ways of working, as well as what they expect from their employees.

Different ages and regions have different motivations. Generation Z (those born 1995+) tend to expect more flexible working conditions which vary for different projects and assignments, rather than set office hours. Together with Generation Y (born between 1985 - 1995) they’re less afraid to challenge – partly because they can obtain all the answers with easy access to the Internet!

"The younger generation are typically faster, accept new ideas and adapt to change better. The older generation tend to be more stable and prefer to dig deeper into a problem. If leaders and managers can balance the two, it can deliver amazing results."

Both groups also share a global mind-set and expect immediacy and transparency in everything they do. This includes sharing everything on social media, which now plays a huge part of all of our communication.

In Russia, we have a social portal called Vkontakte, which is more popular than Facebook in some regions. At FLEETCOR Russia we use both Vkontakte and Facebook to reach our employees, as well as Instagram. We are also working on developing our HR Chatbot to work with Telegram (a popular Russian equivalent to Whatsap and Viber). Once this work is complete, we will be able to use Telegram as our corporate messenger to post various webinars, articles, and life hacks covering topics like sport, health and career development.

Learning the differences between cultures

I love working at places where there is a mix of different cultures or nations. It makes HR more interesting when you need to unite people with different backgrounds or values. For example, I have found the biggest misconception about Russian people is that we are lazy and do not smile. It is true that we are very much different to most European people but like in any nation we all are different. But people tend to have “a single story” about any nation or country based on prejudice.

People also forget that there are huge differences within each country; Moscow and Bryansk differ in the same way London and Swindon are very different in the UK.

"Moscow is a huge city full of opportunity where the speed of life is incredibly fast. In comparison, our Bryansk office is like any small city - people are usually looking for stability and a more relaxed pace, and they value their work/life balance more than those who live in a big city."

FLEETCOR have a great office right in the centre of Bryansk - we know that in Bryansk no one will want to travel to the office for more than 20 minutes! By comparison, some of our Moscow team are less deterred by a 2-3 hour journey into the office!

Why choose FLEETCOR as a place to learn and develop your career?

FLEETCOR provides a level of freedom and flexibility to really shape the future and influence the present. I would recommend it to anyone who is ambitious and motivated to succeed.

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