I AM KRONUS – Gunta Špīse, head of the Training and Development Department

For the ninth “I am KRONUS” interview, we were joined by Gunta Špīse, head of the Training and Development Department. She works with great enthusiasm and is able to pass this on to her colleagues.

Gunta is active both inside and outside the working environment. Her great passion is Latvian folk dances but find out more about Gunta’s daily work and leisure activities by reading this interview.

How long have you worked at KRONUS and what is your current position?


I have been working at KRONUS since July 2020, so just over 3 years. I have recently become the head of the Training and Development Department, which is both a pleasure and a rewarding experience for me, being appreciated by the very demanding management of the company, but also a great responsibility, especially for the people who make the KRONUS Training Centre work professionally. In general, I perform a variety of functions, including non-training and non-employee development, such as being responsible for the satisfaction survey and related tasks, the structured running of projects and processes related to the Adizes methodology, the planning and organisation of entertainment and team-building events, and currently I am also working on internal communication activities. But I have to say that I really like the diversity and the opportunity to see the big picture, not just one small, narrow area.

What do you associate KRONUS with?


A Latvian manufacturing and export company that Latvia should be really proud of – from small Latvia we are world leaders. And, of course, with my longest job place in recent years. When people ask me where you work, I am proud to say – KRONUS!

2023-10-18 120742

How did your career start at KRONUS?


My career at KRONUS started thanks to Covid, because the previous training services company I worked for closed down because of Covid. I started in 2020 as an HR specialist with different projects in the department. I remember that my first job was researching different HR IT systems. Overall, when I came to KRONUS, I realised that I had landed in a company with a lot of room to grow and develop, as there were no structured departmental processes in this area initially, apart from recruitment and administration functions. In terms of career, KRONUS was like a step back, because I started at the specialist level, although I had previously also managed the HR function in companies of different sizes, as a regional HR manager. Looking back, it was a great opportunity to catch my breath after the rather demanding work as a business consultant and growth management trainer , which I was doing just before joining KRONUS.

What do you like best about your job?


What I enjoy most is creating something new. All the new training programmes, projects where you have to think of ways and different approaches. I really like the feeling of satisfaction when you manage to achieve a result. I like it when I see people applying what they have learned, when they share what they have learned, when managers notice that an employee has improved their skills and recognise it.


What do you think are the biggest advantages of working for KRONUS?


The team – especially my immediate HR team, who are the people I would be willing to get up and go with in the middle of the night. The attitude of the management – so supportive, involved and interested in every employee. Such management is really rare in a business environment. KRONUS management, including the owners, is very close to the people and this is definitely to the benefit of all of us. There is never a dull moment, there is no routine, we are constantly thinking about how to do better. If you do your job well, you are rewarded well. It is a pleasure to try and go the extra mile because it is noticed and appreciated.


What was your first paid job?


My first job was as a sales assistant in Centrs department store, selling linen products.

2023-10-18 121101

Deviating slightly from the work topic – How do you spend your time outside work?


I have always been very active outside work. I love travelling, mushroom picking, going to the theatre. I adore animals, which take up a lot of my free time. I love singing and dancing. I have been very active in academia – I was active in the student corporation for more than 10 years, but now I am more of an outside observer. I have sung in women’s choirs in Carnikava and Riga, danced sports dances and social dances. But now I like dancing Latvian folk dances the most.

How long have you been dancing Latvian folk dances?


I have been dancing folk dances since I was three years old, with quite a long break in between. I have the feeling I have been doing it all my life, but that would be an exaggeration, about 25 years in total.


What made you decide to take this up?


As a child I was just taken to all the possible clubs and folk dancing is the one that has stayed. I love the fact that this hobby is physically active, the workload is quite high and it is a chance to completely switch off after a long day at work, but also that this hobby has more meaning than just exercising. Everyone who dances Latvian folk dances is a patriot. They nurture the culture of our nation and promote Latvians all over the world, including traditional costumes. Dance is also a passion, an opportunity to express emotions, to gain strength, to strive to be better and better, both technically and to tell the story of the dance as the choreographer intended.

I AM KRONUS – Gunta Špīse, head of the Training and Development Department

What are you most proud of so far?


There are many of us – tens of thousands of folk dancers – and I am proud that thanks to those who love Latvian folk dance and teach it to others – parents of children and dance teachers – every autumn scores of little tots go to learn their first polka, skip, trot and gallop in one of the dance clubs. I can’t take the credit, but I am a small part of this Latvian identity movement. Although my sons are not dancing at the moment, they have also participated in folk dance as children and, if they wish, they can resume dancing at any time. Every five years the Dance Festival is the most important event for Latvian folk dancers – the ingenious patterns that our choreographers and leaders create in the stadium, which we dance, are a mystery to many – how it is even possible.


Back to the work topic. How has the company changed since you have been here?


Remarkably! Every year KRONUS reaches new heights, not only in terms of numbers and tasks and the number of employees, but also in terms of the orderliness of processes. Many processes have been introduced, developed and organised, including in my field, for example, the 1:1 development interview process, training planning is more structured than before, the selection and induction process has been created, and is constantly being improved. In general, a lot of functions have been developed that were previously minimal or simply not present in the company. Colleagues have put a huge amount of effort into organising finance, quality, marketing, logistics, production, planning, sales and other processes. Process improvement is a never-ending story, but if you compare KRONUS then and now, they are two different companies. But what I am most pleased about is the company culture, which has changed over these three years, with the addition of new people, the change of the organisation itself, its leaders – very much for the better. We have learned to give feedback and to work in an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect. We are happy that we no longer tolerate toxic or disrespectful behaviour and that we are building a team that cares about our values, that people who value the employee, who are open, results-oriented team players are becoming managers. Of course, today, as three years ago, there is no shortage of problems, issues to be solved or difficult situations created by more complex personalities. However, I think that we have learned to deal with them in a professional manner. I believe that KRONUS will soon become a model of what a modern export company should be. We are on our way, and we are close to that goal.

What challenges do you face in your everyday work?


Time is the biggest challenge – how to find the time between all the operational work to learn and do it with inspiration, not for a checkmark. Overall, for anyone in HR, I think the biggest challenge will always be people – we are each individuals and personalities, each with our own needs, motivations and ambitions, our own thoughts and opinions, our own map of the world and understanding of what is right and how things should be. And HR has to be able to professionally balance the personalities of all 550+ employees, ensuring that we are fair, that we do not offend anyone, that we do not discriminate, that we support everyone, that we develop everyone, that we take into account that employees feel good and want to stay with us, and on top of that, making sure the business is profitable and the owners are happy. That is the challenge.


Do you feel supported by KRONUS in your professional development?


Absolutely! I have learned a lot at KRONUS about the work of a manager, the nature of a manager and leadership in general. And for that I have to thank the managers who have mentored me along the way. I am given the opportunity to learn what I need for my professional development, to work on myself as a professional and a manager through feedback, to do work that I like and to do new things that make me step out of the ordinary. The number of books I have read from the KRONUS library alone is worth it. So definitely I have changed in these three years and I hope for the better! 😊


What are your future career goals?


To further develop the Learning & Development function. The vision is there, the goals are there, I just have to roll up my sleeves and get to work. Definitely one of the goals is to develop myself and be a great manager and leader. I want to create value for myself and for my company, so I hope to continue to be a part of achieving the company’s strategic goals.


What is your motto in life?


I don’t really have one. But I wish for us all to stay cheerful, live with joy, love each other and be active in everyday life – do what you love and love what you do! During the last year and a half, I sincerely hope and pray that the world will be at peace and that all of us, our children and grandchildren, can live in a peaceful and beautiful world.

023-10-18 120234