Dragana Davidović, HR Manager, HEINEKEN Serbia:

Our People Are Our Best Asset

HEINEKEN employs 73,000 people in over 70 countries worldwide. The company does business in all kinds of different markets, which makes it difficult to establish a universal HR management strategy. The solution is to adjust it and act according to the local business environment. HEINEKEN's global team defines the basic guidelines, but has a flexible approach and adapts them to local markets

The HR function has also been transforming over the years, influenced by new generations and new market trends. Nowadays, HR professionals are expected to have knowledge from other functions, so they can contribute to companies’ business agendas.

Having said that, HR should not have the same approach to all employees, but rather needs to use a tailor-made approach based on different motivating factors, and to approach each employee individually, while remaining within the boundaries of a pre-defined framework.

Successful companies use coaching to improve performance and job satisfaction, so we do our best to train our line managers to manage their teams as effectively as possible.

When it comes to specific HR activities, it all depends on the stage of a business life cycle. A start-up or a recent acquisition will not do the same things as a mature organisation that has been in business for several years.

When it comes to the labour market, skilled and educated workers are unfortunately a challenge to find in Serbia, as many of them have left the country. Most of them left in order to find stable work or to further develop their skills or build an international career.

On the other hand, well qualified people who have lived and worked in Serbia for a longer period rarely decide to leave their current jobs and companies.

The problem is even more complex in the provinces, where the outflow of qualified individuals is particularly pronounced.

Our company also has to face that challenge, as we also have breweries in Zaječar and Novi Sad.

We believe that that this challenge can be overcome through the attracting of young people and investing in their development in early stage of their careers. That is the reason why we have introduced a Local Management Trainee Programme at both breweries.

Besides that programme, for example, we have established successful cooperation with a secondary school in Novi Sad and students over 18 have the opportunity to gain work experience at our brewery.

Employee satisfaction is essential to our company and is something to which HR is particularly committed. We conduct an annual climate survey in which all of our employees participate. The survey questionnaire helps us assess how they feel about key topics, such as job satisfaction, professional development, material and non-material incentives, working conditions, human relations, their rank and prospects in the organisation, information and communication, management and our overall business policy. We use that information to compile comparative reports and define action plans that should answer burning questions: How to improve working conditions and performance? How to create a great place to work?

HEINEKEN Serbia provides remuneration packages that are in line with the market, but we recognise the extra mile and compensate it accordingly.

Our aim is to respond to the needs of every single employee and to follow their growth. A company’s success is reflected in its staff. We invest not only in technology and production, but also in the training and development of employees, improving working conditions and ensuring safety at work.

Our corporate culture is designed around a system of values and a working environment that support and stimulate personal and professional development and corporate spirit by harmonising our employees’ needs and goals with the needs and goals of HEINEKEN. If our employees are satisfied they will be motivated to go the extra mile and we will co-create a great corporate climate that will boost the performance.

I expect HR to form mutual bonds, to truly care about the wellbeing of all employees and to always be there for them. For this very reason we at HEINEKEN have introduced so-called business partners in each place where we operate.

In addition, HR has to be bold enough and step forward and be able to identify the root causes of potential problems in human resources and help business to go forward, rather than maintaining the status quo or doing things in a tick‒box fashion.

The influence of the HR department comes with experience, knowledge and authority, and depends very much on the formal status of the company layout.

At HEINEKEN Serbia our motto is “walk the talk”, i.e. what we do has to be in harmony with what we stand for and what we communicate.