You cannot manage what you cannot measure

Charlo is the HR and Communications Director of Malta based Vassallo Group. With a wide experience in the public and private sectors, Charlo shares his strategy to involve people in the various initiatives across the Group and emphasizes the importance for organizations to invest in technology.

Muriel: “Your Group mottos are 'we want you to be happy!' and 'we are fun'. How do you promote happiness and a sense of community at Vassallo Group?”

Charlo: “Engagement at the place of work is really important both for the organisation as well as for the individual. You cannot be engaged unless you are happy at your place of work. Mind you “being happy” does not mean that you won’t have your up and down days. We all do.

However, at work you need to feel useful and appreciated. You need to feel part of the team. At Vassallo Group we work hard to make our employees feel appreciated. This is done through fair compensation, award schemes, bonus schemes, social events and a generally good-vibes atmosphere.”

Muriel: “You consider constant feedback as a vital component of management. How does your Group culture encourage people to have meaningful conversations and constructive feedback?”

Charlo: “We do this through the encouragement of continuous and effective communication between the management, line supervisors and the individual. We do have an appraisal system called VIP – Valuing the Individual, Valuing Performance which we aim to keep improving for better results.  

At the moment we are also doing an Employee Engagement survey across the Group, the results of which will be assessed and discussed with the employees themselves. We also have formal structures, employee committees with whom we discuss issues of concern to the employees and management, as well as important subjects such as health and safety at the place of work.”

Muriel: “With over fifty nationalities represented in Vassallo Group, you celebrate annually your Cultural Diversity Day with the aim for everyone to share their customs and traditions. What are the main achievements of this important day?”

Charlo: “This event is meant to show our embrace of cultural diversity. We believe that in such a situation where we have so many cultures, so many languages, so many different religions, it is very important also for the organisation to have harmony, collaboration and also appreciation of the difference between people – the diversity.  

Cultural Diversity Day encourages employees to promote their country and their culture. This will bring a better understanding of that culture through food, music, folklore, costumes.”

Muriel: “Digitalization and artificial intelligence are changing the way we communicate. How do you think this is affecting organizational culture and leadership styles?”

Charlo: “I believe that both digitalization and AI can help the human resources professional make better decisions. You cannot manage what you cannot measure. Using today’s tools to keep yourself informed about all aspects of human capital management is extremely important.

AI can help us look at things which we would probably miss should we depend on traditional tools. Of course, an investment is needed and no, it is not easy to convince shareholders to make substantial investment in technology. But what would the cost of missing out important signs within your workforce be? Wouldn’t it be a pity if we do not manage to take important decisions on time because we do not have the tools that can help us do it in a timely manner?

Thankfully, today there a number of Human Resources Information Systems (HRIS) which are affordable, particularly to the larger companies. What I like in these systems is the way they help the HR professional and indeed the whole organisation in a number of ways. For example, one of the most important of all HRIS benefits relates to the ability of the software program to improve the productivity of human resources employees.

These systems are highly detailed, and they are designed to enhance and speed up the efforts of HR employees in a number of ways. For example, they can assist with recruitment by simplifying the process of collecting resumes, reviewing candidate information and more. I also like these systems’ ability to make more informed decisions in real time, by using analytics and integration of organizational data.”

Muriel: “When you look back at ten years leading HR & Communications at Vassallo Group, how far have you come and what are your objectives for the coming years?”

Charlo: “Ten years ago I started working as an HR Manager for one of our companies, CareMalta, a Healthcare Company. Little did I know that I would grow so much in this period – from Manager to Group Head, to Director, the first in this Group’s 72 years old history.

There are many targets I would like to reach in the years to come. I want to take HRM within the Vassallo Group to another level also through the use of technology. That’s a target I am confident I can reach in the next few years. There will be challenges, there will be resistance, however, I am confident my targets can be achieved.

The minute I will find myself without any challenge, I will accept that that would be the end of the road for me and look elsewhere. I do not forecast such a day will come very soon :)”


Charlo Bonnici has been working in HR for a total of 20 years. He started his career at the very young age of 19 years and worked his way up both within the Maltese public sector as well as the private industry.
Throughout his career, Charlo also held Senior Management positions including that of Chief-of-Staff for the Minister of Education and Employment as well as the Junior Minister for the elderly and persons with disability.
In 2008, he joined CareMalta, a Company within the Vassallo Group, as HR and Communications Manager, first progressing to Group HR and Communications and for the past two and a half years, as Director.
For over 9 years, he also served as Member of Parliament in the Maltese House of Representatives.  
Apart from his experience in HR, Charlo Bonnici also gained years of experience in Communications, Marketing and Broadcasting. This experience was lately recognized by the Maltese State so much so that in January 2018, he was appointed a Member of the Maltese Broadcasting Authority by the President of Malta.

© Muriel Matta 2018 

Muriel Matta (BSc, MSc, MPhil, Cert CTT Practitioner) is an HR Advisor, Coach, Trainer and Facilitator.
She is a multilingual Human Resources Management expert, with extensive cross-cultural experience in MENA, Europe and CIS. 
In line with her Vision, she launched Maravilhosa in 2014 to help organizations build high-performing teams.
For more information:
Muriel can be contacted via email: Muriel@maravilhosa.net

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