Dragana Koruga-Ristić, Country HR Manager at Coca Cola HBC:

Developing a Winning Team

Through careful selection and training based on long and worldwide experience, Coca-Cola HBC achieves exceptional results, generating a keen interest among Serbian youth in becoming part of this successful team

Dragana Koruga Ristic - Coca Cola Beograd, 01.09.2016 Foto: Irena Herak

Coca Cola HBC’s profitable strategy is based on modern HR management principles. These begin with effective selection, high quality training, teamwork and incentives, and provide the opportunity for continuous promotion in the company hierarchy.

Coca-Cola employs around 1,000 people in Serbia. To what degree are the principles of hiring new staff harmonised with Coca-Cola global standards?

We have a large team in Serbia and I can tell you that enthusiasm, commitment, innovativeness and continuous drive for innovation are shared values, not only of our local staff but in all 28 countries where we operate. We offer our staff stimulating conditions and a working environment where everyone can develop and grow, and that’s a condition for setting up a great team anywhere in the world. We also provide them with additional education and opportunities to expand their knowledge and maximise their potential. In 2016 alone, each staff member had more than 26 hours of additional training, which best confirms how we build, develop and create a winning team. Support to professional youth development is one of the strategic areas in our support to the community.

According to an Infostud survey, Coca-Cola HBC is again the most desirable employer in 2016. With your traditionally high reputation among youth looking for a job, positions in your company command a huge interest. Can you tell us something about the process of selecting recruits?

Selection of recruits in Coca-Cola HBC Serbia includes several phases. At the very beginning we focus on whether a candidate fulfils the conditions of each job vacancy, such as education, professional experience, a driver’s license, etc. The next step includes online tests evaluating specific competencies (work attitude, customer orientation…). Then there is an assessment of motivation, expectations and proficiency in English if that is one of the requirements. What follows is an evaluation of competencies and conduct that are relevant to the specific job. This step involves participation in simulations of real situations, showing us how a candidate acts in potential scenarios. The candidates whose profiles match the required profile are invited to an interview. This process may seem complicated, but the selection of high quality people is of huge importance and we invest a lot of time and effort in selecting the right people for our team. The candidates’ feedback also confirms that they themselves additionally develop their skills through interesting simulations.

In 2016 alone, each staff member had more than 26 hours of additional training, which best confirms how we build, develop and create a winning team

From the viewpoint of a large company, what would you add to the education system to strengthen the pool of young people for quicker engagement in production?

In our selection procedures we can see that it would of great help for young people to study modern business as part of their education. In the simulations I mentioned in our selection process, we notice that young people can successfully track and identify a problem, but lack the readiness to make high-quality and courageous decisions that affect business operations. That is why we launch our own initiatives and share our experience and know-how in cooperation with universities. This provides youth with an opportunity to master key skills, first for entering then for successful positioning in the modern business world in various areas: marketing, sales, finance, logistics… The results we accomplish are excellent and in the last several years 30 participants of the Coke Summership programme got a job in the company. The fact that in 2016 we had more than 1,500 candidates applying for the programme confirms how attractive it is.