Milica Jović, CHRO, NELT:

Modern Business Requires Constant Change

Becoming a strategic partner to business is a long and demanding progression. Pioneers of HR management could not simply walk up to the decision-making table and claim a seat – they had to earn it

At Nelt we were extremely fortunate to have visionary people at the helm, who have empowered HR to its current position of power. The baton has now been passed to the HR team and we need to continue to grow and develop, in order to justify the trust placed in us.

How does the evolution of the HR function look, from a service for personnel to a strategic partner of business? Where does Nelt see itself on this path?

– We want to build internal HR capabilities in order for the whole function to have both the strength to steer the business in a desired direction and the ability to organise our internal processes in an agile manner. We are building a system that promotes an organisational culture which couples high performance and adaptability, as the two most important levers of success.

Our future role won’t be to act merely as an in-house caretaker who provides exemption to management from all matters regarding the governance of personnel. The most important task of the HR function is to design tools and frameworks that enable management to orchestrate work of high-performing individuals, so they deliver outstanding results in a timely manner as a product of teamwork.

How does Nelt approach the task of connecting the potential of human capital and the longterm sustainability of the company?

– The only constant in modern business is change. If we want to remain successful, we must embrace the mentality of a great adapter. This holds equally true for companies of all sizes, from lean start-ups to corporate behemoths – the winners in business today are those who innovate the fastest.

When this macro outlook is transferred to the company level, the implication for Nelt is that we need to do more than just keep pace; we must be able to anticipate new market demands, pounce on new technologies and seize remarkable opportunities.

On the level of human capital, we must instil in our people such a mindset that every colleague understands that the business is evolving continuously – and considers that change as being great. This is done by developing existing staff and hiring new people who are motivated and driven by tackling challenges.

I love comparing our company to a highperforming sports team. We have to continuously scout for talent and reconfigure our team line-up. We make changes in the present to be able to have an impact on the future.

However, incorporating the talent-to-value principle into people management is challenging from two sides:
1 – as a company, we must be rational in decision making and repeatedly ask ourselves if we have the people of the right mindset and the right skillset in the right places. Emotions should not interfere with our decisions, as staying in the game requires that staffing decisions be made solely from the perspective of expected future performance, which is a prerequisite for remaining successful;
2 – individually, we must detach ourselves from the concept of life-long employment and embrace life-long development instead. The best career advice I ever got was to keep learning new skills, remain open to new opportunities, and regularly take on new challenges.

Talent sourcing is a two-way street – we shouldn’t forget that candidates are evaluating us just as we are evaluating them

How challenging is it for you to find “the right people in the right place” at NELT, which is constantly expanding and diversifying its field of activity?

– Finding the right people is always a challenge, especially when you refuse to compromise on either values or capabilities. We take pride in hiring people who appreciate the ability to work within a great team that’s huddled around a clear purpose and well-defined deliverables.

In the greater scheme of things, it is challenging to translate these theoretical principles into reality in a region that is mostly static in terms of human capital and where talent is thinly spread. In order to respect these principles, we must be very self-disciplined and repeat the same threequestion mantra – what does this person love to do; are they exceptionally good at it; do we need someone to be great at that?

Talent sourcing is a two-way street – we shouldn’t forget that candidates are evaluating us just as we are evaluating them.