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Ivana Marković, HR Sector Executive Director, Lidl Srbija

Respecting Diversity – Recipe For Success

Lidl forms part of Germany’s Schwarz Group, which is one of Europe’s largest discount food retail chains. Lidl is known in our country as a desirable employer that believes equal opportunities for all employees and respect for diversity are the main elements of long-term success

For LidFor Lidl’s HR Sector executive Director Ivana Marković, respect is key – respect for individuals, respect for differences, respect for opinions… She believes that respect leads to understanding and empathy, without which there can be no good cooperation or success for individuals and companies.

What is it that has resulted in your company gaining the status of a desirable employer on all the markets where you operate?

Our company offers every employee equal opportunities, because we believe that equal opportunities and respect for diversity are the main elements of long-term success. Standardised salary structures are based on objective criteria, such as professional experience, qualifications and skills, and in no way on discriminatory criteria.

At our company we really have diversity when it comes to the ratio between employed men and women, their rights. This is not something that is merely discussed at Lidl, like a dead letter on paper, but rather is something that we live by, because we’ve invested a lot in that internal organisational structure.

Testifying to this is the fact that women account for more than 60 per cent of employees at our company and they hold all positions – from sales and logistics centre staff, to expansion and managerial posts. Regardless of the position they work in, we provide our female colleagues with special support in achieving a balance in their private lives, such as, for example, through customised health insurance packages.

You You just mentioned customised health insurance packages. Is that the only benefit that distinguishes you from the competition?

Although we have more than 2,200 employees in Serbia, the basic benefits that we offer all employees exceed the standard for this market. Here we include, primarily, private health insurance under equal conditions for all employees, competitive earnings, an attractive work environment, work from home, family office and the like. For us, every worker, every person, is very important.

At the beginning of their engagement with us, all of our employees – regardless of the position that they will hold – go through an education programme that’s devised for every job.

At Lidl we really have diversity when it comes to the ratio between employed men and women, their rights to equal pay and the number of working hours. That’s not just a dead letter on paper

This means that each new employee observes their more experienced colleagues for several weeks or months and is familiarised with the job and the company through “job shadowing”, while their buddy acquaints them with the company from a human, informal side.

We thus help to ensure our new colleagues feel welcome in their new team and minimise the level of stress that’s inevitable when starting work at a new company. This is greatly appreciated by our employees.

Do you believe the claim that the best worker is a motivated worker who knows that they will be able to advance if they work hard?

Yes, certainly. Motivated employees are the engine of our success. We know that it is precisely this fact – that all employees have opportunities to advance and develop – that makes us recognisable on the market and a top employer. An equal chance, no matter how unattainable it may be seem, is actually a fairly simple matter – in a meritorious society, where individuals are encouraged to pursue their ambitions and supported, a policy of equality at work is a win-win.

Through such a comprehensive approach, we have reached a situation where the majority of our management staff are recruited from within our own ranks, which directly demonstrates the extent to which our company values hard work, effort and the engagement of employees.

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