On the weekend of December 14th and 15th, we had the opportunity to attend the first Culture Impact Conference held at the ICT Hub in Belgrade. This is the first conference in the region dedicated exclusively to organizational culture management. Within the conference, a series of lectures, workshops, and panel discussions were organized, with the most current topics related to organizational culture.
The conference was opened by Dragana Mitrić-Aćimović, HR consultant, founder of Culture Impact and one of the organizers of the event.
First and fundamental question was why she came up with the idea of organizing this conference. Dragana shared her personal story with the participants and concluded that our HR scene deserves a conference like this. She expressed her desire for this conference to become a movement that would work together on “culture management”. Dragana’s mission is for children to see their parents returning from work smiling.
After Dragana, there was Saša Popović, one of the founders of VegaIT, who briefly referred to the establishment of the company and the early days of their business. VegaIT has existed for 11 years, and they are very satisfied with the profits they made. Saša defined happiness as a key value of the company, that is, he really cares that people feel good at work.
When it comes to the happenings in the IT industry, Saša has formed several groups:
• Frequent departures from companies (high demand)
• New generations are looking for more and faster
• More confidence and respect
• Additional focus on results
• Listening and caring for people
Saša shared with his audience how VegaIT tackles these challenges.
The next one to address the audience was Slavko Ilić, a QA consultant who first of all shared with the conference participants the basic characteristics of this position and what is his role in the development of digital products.
He shared with the participants that 98% of all errors that occur in the software are human errors and that only 2% is an actual technical error. Also, coding errors caused more than a billion dollars of damage in 2016. That damage is increasing year by year. One of the biggest mistakes has been the theft of 170.000.000 identities or even the extension of imprisonment. Some of the recommendations are to minimize errors:
• Development of quality communication within the organization
• Work on developing critical thinking
• The culture of giving and receiving feedback
Also, human error reduction can be obtained by introducing artificial intelligence or machine learning. Processing and “digging” through the data even goes so far that you will be advised that it will be easier to get credit if you wear a blue shirt. According to this, it is important for HR to recognize these facts and carefully decide what to do with them.
Sonja Ivković. Learning & Development partner from Levi9 gave an inspirational presentation on learning cultures at Levi9. According to her, at the moment, the status of skills is no longer a requirement for employment. Currently, the greatest skill is the ability to learn new skills.
She briefly commented on Levi9 Academy, which promotes doing, learning, interacting.
She briefly referred to ROI (Return on Investment) in HR and how much it can be measured and how.
At the very end of her presentation, she concluded that the ideal approach to learning was: Learning path for everyone, which she said was very difficult to achieve. On the other hand, in the future, companies will hire employees who are primarily curious, and they will train skills.
An interesting lecture about “First time managers” we had the opportunity to hear from Marija Pavić, director of H.art development.
She gave an example from her practice, a person who was good at her job. However, in the position of a leader, this person did not have good results. Marija gave an interesting information that over 50% of leaders do not perform well in their first 24 months as a leader. She talked about the value of investing in the development of new executives, and how much better it is to develop a new leader from the very beginning and thus fit into the company culture.
A very inspirational lecture was delivered by Azra Sarić, Chief Culture Officer from Mistral, Sarajevo. Her logic is that when you close one door in a business, another five open. Servant leadership is a leadership where leaders are primarily responsible for creating a safe environment in which employees are respected and where mistakes are part of learning. She cited a very striking example from nature where a pack of wolves moves in formation, the oldest and the sick ones go first, while the pack leader goes last and defends the pack from possible attack. Her company is happy and smiling, and the work is always done well and on time.
At the very end, a panel discussion called “spoiled employees in the IT industry” was organized, moderated by Snežana Pupovac of Eryce AG. The participants were Saša Popović, professor Dobrila Vujić and Nenad Mitrović from Hooloovo.
The second day of the conference … We are continuing at the same pace. After a very good workshop on Basic of the Design Thinking Methodology held by Đurđa Đukić, project coordinator at the ICT Hub, Dragan Ilić, our well-known radio presenter, caught the visitors’ attention. This time, he and his colleague Gorica Nešović found themselves in the role of founders of the production company “Supermiš”. This time, Dragan was alone and told the story of how he came from an employee at B92 to opening his own production with Gorica. He emphasized the importance of personal values in shaping one’s business.
One of his key values is integrity, above all in creating content for their radio program. Entrepreneurship is, according to him, a great thing if you have a detailing accountant and it is up to you to pursue a business vision.
Then Jelena Subotički-Berar introduced us to the role of HR when it comes to corporate culture. A frequent question is who is responsible for the company culture, CEO or HR? In Jelena’s opinion, the truth is somewhere in the middle, ie. that the CEO has a responsibility to create the culture and HR is there to remind him and help if the CEO “stumbles”. Culture is not what we do but how we do it. When it comes to measuring employee satisfaction, recent research has become cumbersome and arduous for the employees to fill in. That is why a „Pulse survey“ is being done, where a specific question is asked only on the topic the employer wants to explore.
Marija Janjić, HR manager at Hooloovoo, shared with the participants the story of her company’s work, how she became a part of it and what were her first impressions about it. How compact the company culture is can easily be seen from a fact that almost all top management has come to support Marija’s presentation. And that says it all…
And what is the culture like when it comes to a big international giant, Slađana Martinović from IKEA shared with us. One of the sentences that “colored” her speech is the quote of the founder: “If your job doesn’t bring you joy, then you’re wasting a third of your life.” Next, diversity and respect for age and gender is something present in IKEA by all means. Thus, the oldest trainee employed by this company is 59 years old and has almost retired.
Zoja Stojković from Nordeus presented her company, its values and culture, which is best described by the sentence: „People are our No1 Game“. It is very important for Nordeus, as a multinational company, to have an impact on the society and the city in which they live and work. Therefore, there are 170 employees from 20 countries who are the best ambassadors of Belgrade and Serbia.
At the very end, we had the opportunity to attend a great panel discussion on “Agile culture: What is it and how to avoid common mistakes”. Panel participants were: Marko Branković from Puzzle software, Viktor Bartieniev from NIS and Davor Čengija from CROZ, Croatia. The moderator was Marija Nikolić, Advanced Scrum master.