Business / human resources

The HR market in Croatia

Interview with Aco Momčilović, Future HR

(Part 2)

Part 1 | HR Expert, the profile & career

Part 3 | Trends in HR

What are the values Croatian employers appreciate in their candidates? 

I can speak mostly about private sector companies. Probably there are a few universal values that are appreciated around the world. Motivation and passion for a certain industry, dedication, and hard work, teamwork, and focus on the results and the end goal. 

Very often we can see people not considering how much their work provides actual results. Although it was important before, in the time of crisis and pandemic few things are becoming even more important: flexibility in the work environment, proactiveness and taking initiative, entrepreneurial mindset, and dedication to continuous development and learning. But of course, to be an exceptional employee, one needs to have a good combination of skills, values, and knowledge. 

In the recently founded Udruga Glas poduzetnika (Voice of Entrepreneurs Association) we are working on raising awareness of lifelong education amongst employers and employees. Many companies will have to re-examine their strategies and adapt to new circumstances.

To what extent are employers aware of the seamless new employee onboarding, and how many of them have this in place? 

General awareness I would say is not on a high level. But of course, many companies don’t have HR Departments or sufficient management education to take care of those aspects of hiring. For the best companies, I think that onboarding processes are becoming the norm and that many of them have some kind of integration of employees in the company. 

I developed and implemented those projects in a few companies, and am glad to see that many companies are requesting help. 

The IT sector is doing a good job regarding Human Resources, in general, since they have well-educated employees and managers, and are under pressure to excel in different ways. As a result, they started forming HR Departments, working on Employer Branding strategies, and Onboarding Programs. 

International companies, of course, have had these features for quite some time. 

Why do so many companies globally and locally still neglect this aspect of management (HRM)? 

I don’t have exact numbers of how many companies are neglecting HRM aspects, but I would guess that the number is decreasing. For those who are still ignoring it, there are many reasons, ranging from — ’ I didn’t have those when I was starting, and look how I turned out’, to   ’ this is just a cost, and we don’t have enough money or time to deal with it’. 

And it may work in certain areas of business, for now. But in general, what was before just an excellent quote, ‘people are our most valuable asset’ has become a reality. People’s experience, knowledge, motivation and engagement, that human capital, will make companies succeed, especially since new advancements and capabilities  are strongly related to human capital.

Croatia currently has a lack of talent. How are employers coping with that? 

I would say not great. We are becoming limited by the number of educated people graduating and moving to the workforce. There are of course a few reasons for this, some of them could be partially controlled by employers themselves, and some just can’t. 

For example, we have a demographics problem. Fewer people are born, and working-age citizens are leaving the country. Of course, on the market, companies are engaged in the war for talent, and many of them have started to invest in different HR projects to remain recognised. 

Campus Management projects are still something that could be improved. One part of the solution would be the national strategy of attracting the best international students and keeping a proportion of them. 

There are also under utilized advantages of Croatia as a very secure and nice country to work in or from. Our companies could attract many more international experts, and they should get some help from the government in the sense of flexible laws and regulations. 

The third possibility is to harvest the great potential of the Croatian famed diaspora. With hundreds of thousands of potential returnees, Croatia could benefit from their knowledge and experience, and not only money some of them are sending back. We are addressing that issue at our annual Meeting G2 conference for the Croatian diaspora.

When do you think part-time employment will be implemented in Croatia? 

The model is incorporated in our legal system and is technically happening in practice. However, since business models are still not aligned completely with those options, so I would say it’s not yet prevalent. 

One of the challenges that companies are still struggling is offering women support and a strategy of returning to the workplace after starting a family. What’s your advice to businesses? 

In general, the Croatian system is providing better opportunities and social protection than some western countries. Women on maternity leave have at least a partial salary for one year, or up to 3 years if they have more children, and that’s not bad at all.

We also have many initiatives that are pushing the issue of gender equality in the workplace, but it will take time. Associations like Professional Woman (and Men) Network are dedicated to those issues, and projects like Mamforce also aims to support women returning from maternity leave. 

I would advise every company to think long-term and become aware of the enormous contribution that women provide and is yet unused in its full potential.

Connect with Aco via LinkedIn or read via Medium.

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