INTERVIEW: In this second part of Chief of Staff Asia’s interview with Anastasia Shamgunova, the HR Director (APAC, Japan, the Middle East, Turkey, and Africa) at Kaspersky, we looked back and spoke about data-securing measures her company had taken at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We had a big chunk of flexibility even before the pandemic. People already worked from
everywhere – on the road whilst travelling, or from home. We had all these existing tools, equipment, and security protocols in place. When the pandemic started, we were ready. It was not very hard to adapt,” she cites proudly.
However, Shamgunova said their focus quickly pivoted to their employees’ mental well-
being. “Our constant concern was not knowing what this person was going through, even if
we see them on camera. We were blessed in Singapore, but it was scary in Brazil, Africa,
and other locations.”
Kaspersky has employees working globally, and the company supported them during the
pandemic through training, consistent communication, and online psychological counselling
with a qualified professional therapist available 24/7.
“This was the time we had to double down on our effort,” Shamgunova recalls.
Their efforts certainly paid off because the company’s productivity was not affected. “We
were concerned about our employees, particularly as striving to achieve work-life balance in
an unprecedented pandemic was something we all had to constantly learn and adapt to. However, we managed to overcome challenges. On average, work output was optimum,” Shamgunova says.
On working at Kaspersky, we asked Shamgunova what she looks for in prospective talent.
She said an agile mind is key, “Not all people like it. More people like to have a consistent
routine. Here, it is the total opposite. We welcome people who get excited about dynamic changes, those who think that without change and challenges, life is boring.”
Above all, potential employees must be driven by new experiences and the willingness to
learn about new cultures and environments. “You get all the life experiences you possibly
can. It’s a huge variety. We tell this to our candidates. If this is what they want, then it is a
Kaspersky has IT and non-IT employees. So how does she motivate the non-IT staff and
ensure they have the same benefits as the IT people?
Shamgunova says there is no differential treatment for the two. “We don’t distinguish
because we look at them in a role-based approach. We equally give them access to manage
their professional journey themselves. If they want to learn something new, they can do another job. It can be a promotion or a lateral move. But we are open to internal candidates
“We are quite flexible when it comes to geographies. If they want a bit of something else
without having to move abroad, we are also open to having them be part of a project
if they don’t want big changes. Here they will allocate about 20% of their time to such projects. They get exposure, knowledge, and experience from other people. They can capitalise on this for their next steps.”
She encourages her people to discuss career progressions with HR. They call it Open Doors
with HR, wherein Shamgunova blocks a day on her calendar for anyone to discuss their next
The HR director does what she does best because everyone’s career at Kaspersky is a
constant journey. She aspires to motivate and engage with her employees constantly. However, she said that this would mean differently for every individual.
“It’s the beauty of it because we’re all different. I like to engage them by making them look
for value in their professional careers, which will make their journey with us meaningful. It’s
easier said than done because it is a constant journey. It’s everlasting. It is the most important thing,” Shamgunova stresses.
This feature was extracted from Chief of Staff Asia's exclusive interview with Anastasia Shamgunova, HR Director of Kaspersky for APAC, Japan, the Middle East, Turkey, and Africa. For further coverage, please see the below link: