Importance of human resources in a company’s growth

Tomislav Grubišić & Ana Ćuro

Personal and professional employee development is crucial for any growing business. This is why our culture and philosophy centers around making every person in the company feel important.

Before we founded Degordian, I worked in a company whose excellent human resources processes made it really stand out from others. Given that it was my only experience of working in a company, we eventually used my key takeaways and included them into Degordian’s practice. Some organizational practices and relations towards employees were implemented deliberately, and the others naturally found their place in our company.

It all started with our first employment processes – every single person was important. We wanted to help them grow professionally and to give them opportunities to accomplish their career goals so they can do what they really enjoy doing.

We cherished frequent conversations and took time to go to lunch and really talk, as well as celebrate every achievement, no matter how small. The happiness of the people in the company was important to us from the start and it was never an empty phrase or a „fingers crossed behind our backs“ thing.

Degordian Team 2012

Most people at Degordian say that all members of our growing team were and still are happy, so I’m convinced that we are really doing a good job. Our goal was not to have employee satisfaction in the general sense, but to perfectly align all the pieces of the puzzle in a way that 100% employee satisfaction becomes a reality.

It’s extremely challenging to organize a company in a way that every process involving people works ideally, especially when the company grows from 0 to 100 employees in just five years. Managing this kind of growth and keeping everybody happy and focused takes a lot of work and perseverance, but we’re always willing to go an extra mile when it comes to the satisfaction of our people. It is easy to pay no attention to someone, but we listen to a person’s problems and try to solve them. It’s simpler to have your own goal and to work toward its completion, but we listen to the people around. It takes less effort to fire people, but we try turning their weaknesses into strengths.

If we had chosen the path to ignore problems and never listen to others, we never would have gotten so many excellent and highly motivated people that truly love and enjoy the work they do. It is truly amazing to have so many colleagues that we can fully trust.

I wholeheartedly believe that if Daniel and I, as owners, were to back away from leading Degordian, this company would still continue to grow both in size and in quality.

At the end of the day, the thing that makes us really happy is seeing the joy of our colleagues and the quality of the products we created. That is what matters the most and that is what every company should strive for because that is what ultimately yields results in other areas.

In order to achieve these results, we decided to establish a Human Resources department three years ago. It seemed crazy at that time as there were “only” around twenty of us in the company at the time, but now we know it was one of the best decisions we ever made. We needed a person that would lead the Human Resources department for two reasons:

  • We wanted to keep expanding, but the process of employing new people is extremely time consuming.
  • We wanted to develop internal processes which would deal with people’s personal and professional development, work quality, employee happiness etc.

We chose Ana for this position, our intern for digital marketing solutions at the time, as we needed a person with the vision similar to ours. She didn’t have any formal experience in human resources, but she had a huge desire to learn more about it. Today, a lot of entrepreneurs contact me to give them advice on creating the atmosphere we have in Degordian. That is the biggest proof that we made the right decision by founding the Human Resources department and hiring Ana to lead it.

In conclusion, I firmly believe that anyone who thinks about company development needs to have someone working at human resources.

(Tomislav Grubišić, CEO)


 

Starting a human resources department in Degordian was a bit challenging because we started out without any experience. There were no benchmarks we could rely on and we did not actually know what to expect in the future. All we had was a vision.

If you take a look at a startup or a fast growing company environment, you’ll notice a few specific characteristics: fast growth in turnover and people, dynamic projects, flexibility and adaptability to different clients and market changes, the need for responsibility and process definition, and many more. All of the above calls for a specific management approach – including human resources!

Most of our employees are part of generation Y, also known as Millennials – demographic cohort following Generation X, born ranging from the early 1980s to the early 2000s. This generation is usually very determined about their needs and wishes, so this is where management and human resources activities have to be able to adapt and create an environment that will fulfill their aspirations.

Generation Y employees want transparent communication and want to participate in the decision making process. They want to know what’s happening within the company, where the company is going and they’ll openly show how they feel about it. For them, a challenging workplace, flexibility and work-life balance are essential.

Also, people who are a part of generation Y know what they want from their development and education – they want to learn, research and progress in their careers. Yes, they want to have a career, not a job! Also, they want to be acknowledged as experts in their field of work.

Degordian Team 2013

It’s the same with us. People in Degordian tend to be very devoted to their work and often ask to work on projects in which they can be bold and challenge themselves. Everyone is ready to give more than 100% for success of these projects, but it’s amazing how everyone still manages to have a lot of after-work activities such as volunteering in NGOs, playing music or dancing. That kind of drive and passion for personal growth we really cherish.

All of these specifics regarding generation Y require human resources to be very quick and savvy in creating a dynamic, challenging and flexible environment. So far we have done a lot in Human Resources department and established company support for:

  • flexible working hours
  • work from home or any other location
  • team buildings and projects that provide participation and innovation development (Startupin24h, our annual team building, celebrations of special occasions in the company),
  • clear roles and responsibilities
  • education system
  • optimized selection processes
  • educational and financial rewards
  • a culture of recognition and feedback
  • dedicated time by CEOs to address ideas and concerns of individual employees
  • …and many more.

The most important thing that supports development of the Human resources department in a company is the management’s approach towards people. In Degordian, management puts people first, so work is not done primarily for profits, but for the experience we provide to our people and clients. Therefore, we truly have full support to create the best possible workplace and meaningful experiences to all Degordians.

As we are completely creating and implementing human resources processes on our own for the first time, I feel that there are still a lot of things to be done. When we started with the Human Resources department, I was the only one there. Today, our team has three full time employees in the department and we have a lot of plans to achieve our vision of the future of Degordian.

Interested in experiencing this from your own perspective? Don’t miss job opportunities!

(Ana Ćuro, HR & Process Manager)

Author

Tomislav Grubišić & Ana Ćuro

While Tomislav has great technical knowledge and enjoys brainstorming about different ideas during the night, Ana is more oriented on personal growth and in search for keys to happy relationships. They share keen sense for people and enthusiasm toward lifelong learning.

All stories by Tomislav Grubišić & Ana Ćuro

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