An interview with Jelena Đuranović, HR Director at Addiko Bank Podgorica
"Considering my long career within the organization and the experience gained through three different positions within two organizational parts, I can confirm that Addiko does not lack opportunities for learning and development," says Jelena Đuranović from Addiko Bank AD Podgorica. After the positions of IT analyst and Expert for Organizational Development and Project Management, she got the opportunity to work in a completely new field and today she is HR Director. She loves her job because it is creative and dynamic and she notes that she feels great while working with people, following their development and achievements and achieving exceptional results of the Bank together with them. We spoke with her about Addiko Bank's recent CEP certification, the ways in which the Bank measures the performance of the HR function, the coronavirus pandemic, and their plans for the rest of the year.
Can you describe the way your business developed over the years, what is your mission and vision and what are the specifics of your business in Montenegro?
Addiko Bank AD Podgorica, as part of the Addiko Group, has been operating on the Montenegrin market for five years. Our approach is to be clear, simple and direct, to offer key products that are attractive, competitive and that reflect the needs of our customers. We have made a promise to provide direct banking with a transparent relationship with clients and employees, and we live up to that promise. Under the auspices of the Addiko brand, we build the character of our organization, invest effort and knowledge in innovation and digitalization and look forward to individuals who want to be part of our team and create a new and even better bank with us!
In the certification process for the status of CEP holder, you particularly stood out with your excellent practices in the area related to HR strategy. At Addiko Bank, HR is truly equal to other key functions and a strategic partner to business. How do you ensure that? Where do you see the key value that the HR function gives to your business?
Yes, at Addiko Bank HR is really equal to other key functions and a strategic partner to the business. We actively participate in creating a vision of the future of the organization, which is inspiring, ambitious, convincing and clear. After that, we approach planning together, coordinating all parts of the organization and defining a strategy that leads us to achieve that vision. For those of us who are engaged in human resource management, this means that we plan how HR processes will take place to help the organization achieve business goals. At the same time, this requires creativity and courage, but also gives great results. We are creating a culture of high performance with a focus on employees, which through the development of competencies, knowledge sharing and advancement in the organization, encourages a high level of engagement of individuals and consistently contributes to the achievement of individual results and the Bank's results. This value of HR ensures a longer-term employment relationship, greater cooperation between organizational units and a recognizable Addiko employer brand.
In recent years, great emphasis is being placed in HR on data-driven decision-making. How do you measure the success of the HR function at Addiko Bank and how do you use all the data you get from various measurements of performance and satisfaction of HR service users?
At Addiko Bank, we measure the success of the HR function through various key performance indicators. One of the most important is performance management, which we measure through the success of the realization of strategy, i.e. the percentage of achieved individual goals through the principle of cascading the Bank's business plans from the top of the organization to individuals. This way, we ensure that each employee understands the strategy of the organization, how they fit into the overall picture and how their work contributes to its realization. Talent management is also very important and in this section we measure our ability to attract, motivate and retain those people whose skills, knowledge and interests are aligned with our business. We also pay great attention to the development of the organization's culture, which values the opinion of employees, so we regularly conduct annual research on strategy, leadership, culture and employee satisfaction with the organization, as well as satisfaction with processes and services provided by the HR sector. Based on their feedback, we create action plans, implement various initiatives, measure efficiency and improve the Bank.
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, many aspects of doing business in your industry have changed. Are there any changes that you have introduced due to the pandemic which you plan to keep after its end? Are there any business changes that you have been forced to introduce due to the pandemic that have proved to be particularly challenging to implement?
The coronavirus pandemic period is a period during which we have confirmed that we can implement innovations quickly and efficiently, that as an organization we are able to successfully adapt and change the way we manage people, to ensure cooperation and trust among team members, employee development, inspiration and motivation, as well as successful management of remote teams. The HR team played a proactive role in this in order to preserve the health and safety of employees, and support business continuity. The changes we introduced at the very beginning of the pandemic are work from home, interaction and socializing through virtual meetings, online education and learning platforms, Walk&Talk sessions, psychological support, mindfulness trainings, etc. We are very proud of the fact that all key HR processes were effectively transformed and adapted to new circumstances, and the feedback we received from employees speaks in favor of all new processes being very useful and well received, so we will keep all of the above and give priority to digital channels and tools in the future.
Last year, you achieved the CEP holder status for the first time. What do you personally consider to be the key advantages of Addiko Bank as an employer on the Montenegrin market?
I believe that the corporate culture and work environment are what separates Addiko Bank from other employers. We are not typical bankers, we are creating a world of clear, simple and direct banking by transforming the world of finance in a way that makes us recognizable on the market. We want to create such an environment in which our employees can give their best and leave a personal mark on the development of the banking business. We all in the organization share these values and believe in the culture of original solutions, in the culture of nurturing successful human relationships and the peculiarities of modern, affordable and dynamic bankers.
What key projects will be in focus at Addiko Bank in 2021?
The year 2021 began with the launch of a new innovative concept of organization and way of doing business in the Addiko sales network, which envisages further digitalization and improvement of sales channels, with the aim of achieving excellence in the provision of banking services. We continue with the Mentoring Program, because it has shown exceptional results in the exchange of knowledge within the organization itself. In addition, we are planning many more activities that will further strengthen teamwork and communication, employee engagement and satisfaction. When it comes to the further development of HR, we will continue to digitalize our processes and services, carry out activities aimed at attracting talent, as well as activities that affect the health and well-being of Addiko team members.