Business / human resources

HR Expert, the profile & career

Interview with Aco Momčilović, Future HR

(Part 1)

Part 2 | The HR market in Croatia

Part 3 | Trends in HR

This is a very challenging time for the recruitment and talent acquisition industry in Croatia. In the last 30 years, the country has undergone significant changes in how business is conducted, and it’s still changing as we speak as the technology sector champions a fast implementation of global recruitment culture.

We decided that having a very long conversation with a subject matter expert would be a valuable read for anyone interested in doing business, recruiting, or even moving to Croatia. Our choice was one of the well-established names in HR, Aco Momčilović. We will split his conversation into 3 more digestible but still highly-related features. 

The career

How did you start your career in Human Resource Management, and why? 

By my initial education,  I am a psychologist. Upon graduation, I had to decide in which area of psychology I wanted to focus my career. School and Educational Psychology weren’t that attractive to me at that time, clinical psychology was very interesting, but had limited opportunities, so I chose Organisational Psychology. 

In my perception, it was multidisciplinary; it provided access to employment with big organisations and allowed me to upgrade my knowledge in particular business segments. And, last but not least, these jobs are also paid better! Professionally, it allowed me to help people with their careers, make better choices, but also to influence the life of the organisations and maximise their efficiency.

Within your professional journey, you worked with a few multinational companies in Croatia. Do they have similarities when it comes to HRM? 

Yes, the great thing about international corporations is that they have dedicated HR teams in the Headquarters that are doing projects on the global level. In that way, I was in the position to participate in a few top-level HR Global projects and gain experience that would not be possible if I have worked for a local company. International organisations invest significantly in the education of their employees, being aware of the impact those investments have on their businesses. The other benefit is, of course, meeting your colleagues in Paris or Vienna, broadening your experience and exchanging ideas. 

How did you decide to start your own business? 

A few people predicted my shift from corporations to entrepreneurship years ago! Very often, I had side projects that I got through recommendations. At that point, that work was really only project-based. 

However, when I gained enough both experience and confidence and grew my client base, I decided that it is time to start my own company. 

Since then, I had some exciting offers to return to the corporate world, and take some global positions, but for now, I haven’t accepted them. Having my own schedule allows me to work on projects that are not directly HR-related, but are my passion and help me stay close to the latest trends (like National AI Capital Research).

What is the most challenging part of being an independent HRM specialist? 

Well, there is always the uncertainty of the number of new projects and clients in the pipeline, although that part was easier than I expected. It seems that I already had an excellent reputation and recognition in the market, so most of the projects came almost effortlessly. 

The second challenge is time-management and workload since, as an entrepreneur, I have to be highly self-driven. It helps, of course, doing what you love. 

The third challenge might be the lack of colleagues to work with and share things with, and no higher entity is responsible for my development. 

Fortunately, I have found a way to organise my work in a way to compensate for all of those deficiencies and make the best of it. 

Have you ever thought of changing professions? If yes, what would it be? 

In a certain way, I changed it already. I went from being a psychologist and an HR Expert with business acumen, to become an entrepreneur with a very different scope of duties. 

My career is developing into a general management direction. I managed a few organisations (like MBA Croatia) and participated in events and conferences. 

I’m also trying to write regularly, undertaking research projects that are taking me back a little, into the academic sphere.

And yet you’re still very active in the academic space? 

Yes, that’s a big part of my professional life, being a lecturer at various universities, in areas of Corporate Culture and Company Branding. I’m also a Visiting Professor at the MBA Program of the Swiss School of Business and Management. 

During my career, and because of my job description in international companies, I collaborated with many universities and became friends with many professors. That fact, combined with my interest in the research and writing, opened new opportunities. 

How does that contribute to or help your business? 

Of course, I think that experts in any field have a particular obligation to share their insights and experience, helping students to make the right decisions at the right time. That is gratifying and also forces me to go the extra mile; reading new articles, researching new topics, and connecting different parts of knowledge. 

Each public speaking opportunity is also providing an additional reach and recognition in my domain, so there are also direct benefits for my business. 

I believe that all of those activities are improving credibility and helping me achieve higher levels of excellence. In communication and interaction with academic experts in different areas, I also learned a lot and it helped me to be even better in my Human Resources roles. 

Connect with Aco via LinkedIn or read via Medium.

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