11.03.2021.

An Interview with Ivan Bilać, Human Resource Director at Croatia osiguranje: “We place great focus on employment and continuous development of top experts”

We spoke with Ivan Bilać, Human Resources Director, about Croatia osiguranje as an employer, about their socially responsible business and HR projects that are going to be in focus for them in the coming period.

Croatia osiguranje, an organization with more than 130 years of tradition, is a leader on the Croatian insurance market, and since 2015 it has been operating within Adris grupa. As its mission, Croatia osiguranje states the provision of long-term financial security to the community and the provision of top-notch and innovative services tailored to customer needs, while providing employees with a stimulating work environment and meeting the expectations of Croatia osiguranje’s shareholders. Croatia osiguranje’s company values ​​are focus on the client, reliability and responsibility, expertise, speed and agility, and innovation.

What do you think will be the main challenges for your industry in 2021 and why is Croatia osiguranje an attractive employer for experts in this field?

The insurance industry has yet to face all the business challenges posed by the complete digitalisation of services and business transformation. As a domestic market leader in the insurance industry, CO stands out as a leader in the implementation of digital solutions, and with continuous investments in transformational projects and digitalization totalling more than 200 million HRK, as well as with the launch of LAQO, the first 100% digital insurance, and with launching INSURTECH program at FER, CO shows that it recognizes and takes concrete steps in overcoming the challenges of the future by setting high standards.

In order to achieve our ambitious goals here at CO, we place great focus on employment and continuous development of top experts. In addition to a good working atmosphere, working in CO provides opportunities to work on innovative solutions in a team that is leading digital trends and transforming the entire domestic insurance industry. Additionally, in CO, there are motivating compensations, rewards and other benefits, opportunities for learning, growth and development in the business through continuous education, mentoring and certifications. CO provides its employees with a stimulating work environment that is secure and stable, but also provides employees with an individualized approach to development by monitoring their progress towards pre-set and transparently communicated goals and competencies.

Can you describe what a typical selection procedure looks like when hiring new employees at Croatia osiguranje? What changes have you made to the selection process since the coronavirus pandemic began?

At CO, we are focused on building and monitoring the experience of all our candidates throughout the selection process, and we are continuously developing and improving the selection process in accordance with the latest trends. In order to ensure the employment of the best candidates, we systematically carry out pre-selection by reviewing CVs according to the advertised conditions, and then we try to select the candidates who best suit the job requirements by using validated psychological tests, but we are also always mindful of making sure that the job corresponds to the candidate profile.

We adapt the selection process to the specific needs of the advertised position and the business, but generally, candidates can expect 1 – 3 selection rounds when applying for a job. With giving regular feedback in each phase of the process, we ensure our continuous availability to candidates for all possible inquiries during the process.

Given the current epidemiological circumstances, the selection process is currently performed entirely online, but for candidates who do not have a personal computer and / or Internet access, we enable access to the CO premises, with compliance to the epidemiological measures. Although we occasionally performed selection processes online before the coronavirus pandemic, over the past year we have focused on refining recruitment procedures and on developing an internal application for monitoring and evaluating the selection process, to ensure the best possible experience for all job candidates despite our inability to hold in-person interviews, and to provide them with open communication channels while enabling our fast and direct sending of information about current selection processes.

As a company, you care about the health of employees and ensuring the balance of their private and business lives. Can you tell us more about the initiatives you are implementing? Have you introduced any additional initiatives over the past year, marked by a coronavirus pandemic?

At CO, we recognize the importance of balancing private and business lives, and there are a number of initiatives that seek to help employees reconcile their family and work roles. Of these, major events stand out, such as the Family CO Day and the Adris Sports Games, which are held outdoors. They are marked by numerous activities that encourage recreation and active holidays, but also promote the values ​​of balanced private and business roles. In addition to numerous other organized events that enable socializing and relaxation outside working hours, such as Christmas party and Cinema for the children of employees, to many colleagues whose job description allows for this, we also give the option of a more flexible organization of work hours through sliding work schedules.

In 2020, which was marked by the coronavirus epidemic and given that a large number of our employees worked continuously from home for extended periods of time and larger social gatherings were not possible, we recognized an additional need for initiatives to emphasize the importance of mental health. In moments of greatest uncertainty, all employees were provided with the option of using psychological assistance. For this purpose, contacts of psychologists were available to all employees, and a special internal channel was opened through which useful telephone numbers for free psychological assistance in various situations were communicated, and content related to mental health was also published on this channel.

Sustainability and socially responsible business have become an indispensable aspect of business in the 21st century. What are you most proud of in this area as a company?

Given the high presence of Croatia osiguranje in local communities throughout Croatia, the strategy of sponsorships and CO donations is aimed at initiating positive changes in local communities and is closely related to the core business, values ​​and personality of Adris grupa and Croatia osiguranje as a brand.

Sponsorship and donation policies are implemented in three key areas: culture and heritage, sport and health, and life and safety. We are especially proud that CO supports projects of national or local importance, projects that promote the preservation of cultural values ​​and natural resources and tangible and intangible assets, encourages the development of national and local sports clubs, supports projects that promote healthy and responsible living and supports inclusivity and improvement of the quality of life of those most in need, especially the youngest and oldest members of the community.

Which HR projects will be in focus for CO in 2021?

Working according to the business partner model, we have a better formal, but also informal understanding of the organization with the aim of faster identification of organizational needs and a better readiness to respond to new challenges. By bringing HR closer to the organization, we got quality inputs on the priorities that the organization needs by developing additional procedures in the recruitment and selection processes, and by developing the onboarding process and implementing a buddy system, where a buddy in CO is called a  “COmpa”,  we are focuded on providing candidates and future colleagues that we meet through the selection processes with a top experience from application to full integration into the CO family.

This year, we are placing great focus on the implementation of a new system of competencies based on our core values, which we are integrating with the existing system of performance appraisal into a single process. This will also enable us to better plan future development activities, target the application of specific training for individual organizational units and teams, and provide a basis for creating new individual development plans for all our employees.

In addition, to support major transformation initiatives, we recognize the importance of managing organizational culture by conducting a series of surveys and workshops involving all employees because we want to ensure that every voice is heard and that we can still proudly say It is good to be in Croatia!