Leading the Way in Manufacturing: An Exclusive Conversation with Eray Karaduman, Chief Human Resources Officer of Kordsa

In this insightful interview, we sit down with Eray Karaduman, the Chief Human Resources and Corporate Communications Officer at Kordsa. Kordsa, a esteemed client located in Turkey, serves as a shining example of innovation and sustainability in the manufacturing sector. As we delve into various aspects of his role and Kordsa’s strategies, Eray Karaduman sheds light on the dynamic landscape of human resources, corporate communications, and sustainability. Join us as we explore how Kordsa’s strategic initiatives have led to accolades such as the esteemed “Great Place to Work” award, and how his experiences and advice can inspire professionals across sectors to drive success and sustainable growth.


What is your role as Chief Human Resources and Corporate Communications Officer at Kordsa?

As the Chief Human Resources and Corporate Communications Officer at Kordsa, I am responsible for developing and executing the human resources strategy in alignment with the organisation’s overall business plan. This involves providing strategic leadership by communicating HR needs and plans to the executive team, shareholders, and the board of directors.

My role encompasses a comprehensive understanding of both human resources and corporate communications. I oversee various HR aspects including talent acquisition, employee development, compensation, benefits, and relations. Simultaneously, I lead internal and external communication efforts such as branding, PR, and stakeholder engagement. Recognizing the close relationship between HR and corporate communication, we ensure that communication strategies harmonise with HR initiatives, fostering a consistent message and boosting employee engagement and satisfaction. I’m proud to facilitate effective communication of HR initiatives to internal and external stakeholders, ensuring a clear alignment with our employees, investors, customers, and the wider public.



As your third-year milestone in this role draws near, could you highlight two accomplishments from this period that you take the most pride in?

Approaching my third year in this role, I am pleased to highlight two significant accomplishments that I’m particularly proud of.

Firstly, I spearheaded an impactful “Future of Work” project that spanned four continents and encompassed 13 locations at Kordsa. This initiative was pivotal in maintaining our company’s agility and competitiveness in the face of evolving work dynamics. By strategically aligning our workforce with emerging technologies, we positioned ourselves at the forefront of innovation.

Secondly, I take immense pride in driving groundbreaking Digital HR initiatives alongside a dedicated team. Our journey of digital transformation optimised HR processes and elevated employee experiences. Key milestones include the digitization of onboarding through the Kordsa Journey Application, adoption of the online performance tool Perf-X, introduction of the Global Job Posting and Global Rotation platforms, and implementation of the global recognition tool Positive Vibes.

These pioneering efforts, focused on innovation and cultivating a positive work environment, led to our organisations in Turkey, Indonesia, Thailand, and Brazil being honoured with the esteemed “Great Place to Work” award. These recognitions underscore our commitment to employee satisfaction, talent attraction, enhanced performance, innovation, and overall growth.

Looking back at the past two years, I take pride in fostering purpose and success within our workforce, setting the stage for further achievements at Kordsa.




Could you discuss some of your objectives for the next two years at Kordsa and your plans for achieving them?

Over the next two years, we’re committed to enhancing our HR strategies at Kordsa through innovation, improving employee experience, and utilizing workforce analytics for productivity gains. Our objectives are centered around the “3C Strategy”:

  1. Unlocking Capacity 
  2. Powering Up Capacity
  3. Evolving & Igniting Culture


The Unlock Capacity approach involves talent revelation through Employer Branding, Agile Transformation, Digital HR, Growth Organization, Regional Management Team Reinforcement, and Strategic Workforce Planning. 

Power Up Capability focuses on skill-building with Development Programs, Agile Projects, Upskilling & Reskilling, and Talent Fluidity. 

Evolving & Igniting Culture promotes Performance & Feedback Culture, Future of Work, Diversity, Inclusion and Equity, Engagement, Empowerment & Recognition.

Our roadmap for these goals spans X+1, X+2, and X+3. Over the next two years, we’ll strengthen employer branding, complete Agile Transformation’s Deployment Phase, and progress towards Organisational Transformation. We’re fostering Agile methodologies, evident through Team Bolt, Agile Portal, and agile-focused initiatives in various areas.

Additionally, our Learning Agility & Talent Fluidity objective involves completing the Learning Pathway and Platform. Our Future of Work initiative continues to evolve in areas such as wellbeing, smart workplaces, flexible employment, and strategic workforce planning.

In summary, my Chief Human Resources Officer goals for the next two years encompass talent, leadership, engagement, learning, diversity, equity, inclusion, HR tech, analytics, and change management. These align strategically, fostering a positive environment, development, and growth. Our collaborative efforts will undoubtedly empower employees, fortify our culture, and ensure sustainable success.




Sustainability is increasingly important for companies worldwide. How does Kordsa incorporate sustainability into its overall business strategy, and can you highlight some specific initiatives such as WhiteCycle and the Composite Business in Europe?

Sustainability is integral to Kordsa’s global operations. By combining cutting-edge reinforcement technologies with innovation, we create sustainable value for stakeholders. We adhere to corporate governance principles, operating transparently and responsibly across geographies.

Our sustainability strategy aligns with our material issues and business goals, bolstered by Technology and Digitalization. We engage stakeholders through materiality analysis, setting impactful targets in line with the UN’s 2030 sustainable development agenda. Kordsa supports global standards, being a UN Global Compact signatory since 2016 and reporting to CDP since 2014.

WhiteCycle is a vital initiative, converting plastic-based textile waste into high-value products, exemplifying our commitment to circular solutions. In composite tech, we innovate for aviation, automotive, maritime, and rail systems, fostering lightweight and fuel-efficient vehicles. Our R&D focuses on eco-friendly materials and process optimizations, leading to a 13% Scope 1&2 emission reduction in 2022.




What advice would you give to other companies seeking to become more sustainable and socially responsible?

For companies aspiring to be more sustainable and socially responsible, involving all stakeholders in crafting a sustainability strategy is crucial. Analysing stakeholder requirements and needs is essential for effectiveness. Realistic and ambitious targets should be set based on a strong understanding of our capabilities. Implementing good governance practices and ensuring strategy deployment across the company are pivotal for success. Every employee should recognize their role in value creation. Integrating ESG-related risks into the risk management structure helps manage risks and identify opportunities.




In terms of sustainability, have you noticed any changes in the skills that are required for new hires or in positions in general?

When it comes to sustainability, there’s an observable shift in the skill sets needed for new hires and various roles. However, it’s important to recognize that the precise skills required can vary based on industry, organisation, and distinct sustainability goals. Continuously evaluating the evolving sustainability landscape and aligning skill requirements with organisational objectives is vital for staying at the forefront of sustainable practices.

In terms of key competencies, the significance of “regulatory and compliance knowledge” is notably growing. With sustainability subject to diverse regulations and standards, a firm grasp of pertinent environmental regulations, compliance frameworks, and reporting mandates is pivotal. Staying current with emerging regulations is crucial for ensuring compliance and mitigating legal and reputational risks. At Kordsa, we prioritise candidates who possess this awareness and offer training on this topic to our employees through both classroom and online platforms like HUB.

Today, “environmental awareness” holds equal importance alongside other competencies. As organisations strive to minimise their environmental footprint, the demand rises for individuals well-versed in environmental concerns, sustainability principles, and sustainable practices. This includes familiarity with concepts like circular economy, resource efficiency, waste management, and renewable energy. Within this context, robust “supply chain” management is paramount for sustainability. Proficiency in sustainable supply chain practices involves knowledge of ethical sourcing, responsible procurement, and supplier engagement. Moreover, advancing sustainability initiatives within an organisation necessitates adept “change management” skills. Professionals capable of driving effective change, inspiring others to adopt sustainable practices, and demonstrating leadership qualities like vision-setting, strategic planning, and collaboration are highly sought-after.




What prompted Kordsa’s collaboration with a headhunting firm such as Kilpatrick, and what advantages have arisen or do you anticipate from this partnership?

The decision to collaborate with Kilpatrick and leverage their services stemmed from our aim to attract top talent for our strategic positions. Recognizing the significance of securing individuals with the right skill set and cultural fit, we partnered with Kilpatrick to contribute to Kordsa’s growth. Throughout our collaboration, Kilpatrick consistently demonstrated their expertise and professionalism. Their ability to grasp our unique requirements and offer effective solutions has been noteworthy.

One aspect that particularly stands out is the collaborative approach of our engagement. Kilpatrick’s team has consistently shown responsiveness and attentiveness to our needs, promptly addressing any questions or concerns that emerged during the process. This level of responsiveness has cultivated a sense of trust and confidence in our partnership.

On the whole, Kilpatrick’s professionalism, dedication, and the value they’ve added to our talent acquisition efforts have left a positive impression. We value the strong working relationship we’ve established and eagerly anticipate ongoing collaboration in the future.



What advice do you have for HR and corporate communications professionals seeking to succeed in the manufacturing industry, and what trends and challenges should they be aware of?

For HR and corporate communications professionals aiming to thrive in manufacturing, consider these pointers:

Start by aligning HR and communication strategies with the organization’s goals. Develop initiatives that enhance growth, productivity, and employee engagement for lasting success. Given talent scarcity across sectors, adopt effective recruitment to attract and retain top talent. Collaborate closely with hiring managers to identify specific role skills. Automation and digitization trends are rising; stay updated on tech advancements like robotics, AI, and IoT. Invest in training to upskill the workforce and adapt to rapid manufacturing changes. Facilitate continuous learning for role demands.

In an industry prone to shifts, process changes, and tech upgrades, employ change management strategies. Communicate change rationales, address concerns, and offer support. Lastly, be attuned to manufacturing trends: supply chain shifts, 3D printing, renewable energy, and regulatory shifts. Keep updated via industry sources, conferences, and networking for insights.