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Renata Matusinović, Business Executive Officer for Food Category, Member of the Managing Board - Nestlé South East Market

Personal Contribution and Visibility of Each Team Member Are Keys to Success

Nestlé has around 328,000 employees worldwide, with 700 in the Adriatic region that covers seven markets: Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia- Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Kosovo and Slovenia

With a local presence for more than 15 years, Nestlé Adriatic employs 537 people in Serbia, out of which 57 per cent are female, while 60 per cent of managerial positions are held by women.

We spoke with Renata Matusinović, Business Executive Officer for Food Category and member of the Managing Board of Nestlé South East Market, about her 15 years of business experience in Nestlé, the company’s dynamic development and the changes that have occurred over the past decade in their way of doing business.

As an executive officer for the food category, you have to manage different profiles of employees – from number-oriented financial staff and process-focused procurement personnel to creative marketing teams. Are they so different, and how do you manage to adjust?

Before we start to work on any project it is very important, to set clear and measurable objectives, and how each person will contribute to the business results. We all need to work and function as a team with a common goal, which will ensure that we “row in the same direction”. Everybody contributes in their own field of expertise, but at the same time collaborates with others, bringing synergy to the highest level. Diversity and inclusivity are essential parts of our company’s culture, and we see diversity as a strength since it is all about getting the right mix of people.

During your long career, you’ve probably seen how companies have been changing. For you, what were the most important transformation points that have influenced the business and you personally as a leader?

For me, a transformation is a change of mindset that affects both individuals and the organization. From a business perspective, it is really demanding, since it includes new technology, geopolitical factors and changing consumer trends, which means that we must be ready to adapt fast to deliver superior business results and to delight our consumers. The most important principles are defining our focus, finding winning ground and constantly working on developing experts and leaders.

To achieve a win-win situation, Nestlé has a very simple formula: provide a purpose and hope; be supportive, engage people to recognise opportunities for private and business growth, let people decide and act, at the same time allowing them to take purposeful risks

When it comes to creativity, what is the best approach to achieve results by using employee motivation?

Nestlé has an approach that supports and engages people to recognise opportunities for both private and business growth. In addition, it is crucial to let people decide for themselves and take purposeful risks.

How do you value the importance of HR as a factor in the company’s further development?

Human Resources needs to be all about people. Its role is to continuously feel the pulse of employees and adapt their needs to the business, like flexible working hours, development of new skills, working out of the office etc. It is crucial for HR not to be a supporting function, but to be our business partner. Regarding the necessary skills for HR, they should focus further on gaining marketing and analytical skills.

Most top executives are driven by key performance indicators and results, while for leading successful agile teams it is essential that they possess patience. How can that gap be bridged?

In reality, we expect the business to perform as usual. Senior management should be involved in the development of people and in building coherent teams with no hierarchy, giving visibility to all team members and always staying close to them. Simply stated, our model for success is ‘grow business – grow people; grow people – grow business’.

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