Employee Testimonial

Meet Alp Onal, HR Manager Human Resources

Something unexpected happened over a shared rainbow cake in Istanbul – and it’s become one of Alp Onal’s most memorable moments on the job. Meet our Turkish-based HR Manager.

  • HR Manager Human Resources
  • At Business Area HR
  • Works in Istanbul
  • At AkzoNobel since 2020

"When I look back, I am happy to see that my personal vision in life has aligned with AkzoNobel's. We both value growth and people through education, exposure and experience."

One of the most satisfying moments of Alp Onal's work life happened while introducing our (at the time) new "True Colors" LGBTI+ inclusion group to our wider networks.

"The meeting ran over by almost an hour because we had such an interesting conversation over our rainbow-colored cake," says Alp. "And when I shared pictures afterwards on LinkedIn, I received likes from people that I had not even met."

"I already knew how tolerant and respectful my colleagues in the Istanbul office were, but I didn't expect them to have this deep conversation with them – especially because our culture is one where people may feel hesitant to share their views on the subject," says Alp.

Culture of respect and care

As our HR Manager in Istanbul, Turkey, Alp helps make sure we're operating with integrity, sustainability and safety at the heart of how we work. He decided to become a member of True Colors, one of several diversity and inclusion networks at the company, because he feels anything he can do to contribute to a culture of respect and care gives him great job satisfaction.

"I believe what makes a company a leader isn't only its financial output, but also the value created for people within the organization and for outside communities," says Alp. "We need to care about and respect people, whatever their sexual orientation, and provide equal opportunities. Creating this inclusive workplace helps us achieve our goals together."

He adds: "It makes me very proud to be working for a company that gives us this feeling of belonging."

Supporting excellence

Based out of the Istanbul office, Alp works with Marine, Protective and Yacht teams who are responsible for our commercial activities in Turkey and Central Asia.

"AkzoNobel has several leading positions in the paints and coatings sector in Turkey, so it's paramount to equip managers and employees with the right set of values and skills to sustain our performance," explains Alp. "That could mean anything from creating a high-performance culture to harmonizing and standardizing our processes."

Try, learn and grow


“We need to care about and respect people, whatever their sexual orientation, and provide equal opportunities. Creating this inclusive workplace helps us achieve our ambitions together.”

"I've always had a growth-based approach to my life, taking all opportunities to try, learn and grow," says Alp. "I'm a passionate person with many interests: I'm a DJ, gym-addict, food-lover and keen traveller."

"I moved to the UK at the age of 18 to attend the magnificent Saïd Business School in Oxford. I wanted to move back to Turkey to be a diplomat but missed the exam deadline, so I took a job in the Turkish Prime Ministry in the HR department instead."

Alp joined AkzoNobel in 2013. He says: "Many great leaders here have offered me invaluable professional and personal support to become who I am now. And since 2017, I've been studying towards my PhD in organizational development and management.