5.03.2019.

An Interview with Romina Ivančić, HR Director at HEINEKEN Hrvatska

We are extremely proud of the result we achieved in our first year of certificating for the Employer Partner project – 94 out of a total of 100% of points. We entered this process to compare ourselves with other companies and gain new insights about how to be an even better employer. We believe that we are already raising the scale when it comes to work standards and employee well-being in the FMCG industry. The Certificate will encourage us to achieve our vision, and that is to be the best company in Croatia.

In 2003, Karlovačka pivovara became a part of the large HEINEKEN family, a global beer producer operating in 70 countries around the world that has around 80,000 employees. Our headquarters are in Zagreb and our brewery is located in Karlovac and has a long tradition of production – since 1854.

HEINEKEN employees, over 300 of them, are powered by the passion for quality and enjoyment of life, as well as respect for people and nature. We are exceptionally proud of the long tradition of our Karlovačko, but also of the rest of the product range that will satisfy the tastes of adult lovers of beer and cider on various occasions. In addition to the Karlovačko light beer, that family also includes: Karlovačko Natur Radler (lemon and grapefruit mint), Karlovačko Retro unpasteurized, Karlovačko black and, since recently, Karlovačko black cherry. Also, in our portfolio we have international brands Heineken, Amstel Premium Pilsener, Edelweiss, Desperados, Affligem, Czech lager Krušovice, Slovene lager Laško, Strongbow cider and apple cider Stari lisac. Our products are made of top-quality ingredients. We are especially proud of the fact that our natur radlers are made of 100% natural ingredients, without preservatives, artificial colours and sweeteners. Furthermore, for Karlovačko we use barley malt of exclusively domestic origin – i.e., barley malt made of 100% Croatian barley.

 

Can you describe the vision and mission of your business and explain the way in which your employees contribute to their realization?

HEINEKEN Hrvatska operates according to three basic principles: natural, sustainable and fair. These are also the main principles based on which we make decisions, no matter if they are related to the relationship towards business, towards partners, suppliers or employees. Our corporate strategy goes hand in hand with the goals and operational tasks of all employees, and each of nearly 330 employees knows how they contribute to the company’s success. For example, each sector, or department, has its key performance indicators – KPIs, and set goals, and both the managers and the employees are responsible for executing them. In addition, mission and vision are reflected through the values ​​and behaviours we expect from our employees. Given that it is very important to us that our employees behave in accordance with company values, these behaviours are part of annual goals and individual development plans.

 

What can a person expect when coming to your organization? What does the onboarding process look like?

It is very important to us that employees feels good at HEINEKEN from the very beginning and that they become part of our team as soon as possible. That is why we do not leave them to their own devices, and we accompany and support them since the onboarding. Before their arrival, a so-called introductory training plan is created for each employee that includes all initial information about the company, work environment, values, work instructions, but also all education necessary for the employee to start working at their new position. Accordingly, onboarding does not last one day, but, depending on the position, it lasts up to several months. New employees can thus expect to get acquainted with key processes in our industry, to meet colleagues, their departments and other departments in the company, and to learn about important rules and guidelines and they can expect to be engaged in relevant meetings.

 

Which strategies does your company use to ensure the development of its employees? Which models make the best employees stay in the company and ensure their satisfaction?

For each job we have defined a set of tasks and expectations, but also the required competencies. A part of work performance management, goals for the next period are defined, as well as behavioural expectations – how to meet the goals. Accordingly, the superior and the employee define the areas for development. They can be expert knowledge and skills, but also the so-called soft skills. Every employee, whether he or she works in production or as a department manager, has their development plan, i.e., the company supports them with some development measures so they can further advance, be satisfied and effective in doing what they do. We retain the best employees by recognizing their contribution and engagement, we invest in their development, support them in the pursuit of their professional ambitions, and we promote internally the employees ready for the next steps in their career. We expect the managers and employees that we develop to be role models, to inspire and launch changes; so we invest heavily in the development of leadership.

 

Sustainability and corporate social responsibility have become an unavoidable aspect of business. How do you ensure them in your organization?

Sustainability and social responsibility are key business priorities to HEINEKEN. Our sustainability strategy is called “Brewing a Better World”, and it covers six areas: advocating responsible consumption, growing with communities, promoting health and safety, protecting water resources, reducing CO₂ emissions and sourcing sustainably. In all of these areas, we achieve excellent results, about which we annually inform our key stakeholders through our Sustainability Report.

We focus on green business and reducing our impact on the environment. Since 2017, we have been using ZelEn in the brewery – electric energy obtained solely from renewable sources. As a part of the brewery, last year we built a warehouse according to the principles of green construction, which include a reduction of the environmental impact at all stages of construction, but also at all stages of using the building. On the roof of the green warehouse with the energy class A+, we set up 1,380 solar panels that will reduce the CO₂ emission by 118.5 tons per year. In the process of charging beers, we point out a new combined line where it is possible to charge beer in all types of glass packaging at the same time. By doing so, we have improved the charging process, achieved greater energy efficiency and safety at the workplace. We are particularly proud of the two recent acknowledgements – HRPSOR’s CSR Index and HUP’s prize for corporate social responsibility.

 

As a company, you pay a lot of attention to promoting well-being of your employees. Can you tell us a bit more about the activities focused precisely on caring about your employees?

The health, safety and well-being of our employees are key areas for us. We work hard to ensure that our company, i.e., brewery, is a safe place to work: we educate employees on safety at work, we constantly improve safety standards and procedures, we conduct safe driving training for employees who spend most or part of their work hours in the car… Furthermore, employees are provided with a general medical exam, high-quality work equipment, dioptric safety glasses, etc. For those whose work nature does not impose such limitations, we have introduced flexible working hours and other flexible work arrangements to also contribute in this way to employee well-being and the balance of their private and business life. We believe that the focus should be on employee performance and not on time spent in the office. We also encourage employees to lead a healthier life through sports activities and various forms of movement.

 

HEINEKEN Hrvatska entered the Certificate Employer Partner project for the first time this year, and successfully met the high standards of excellence in the area of human resources management. What do you see as the value of the Employer Partner certificate that you attained?

We are extremely proud of the result we achieved in our first year of certificating for the Employer Partner project – 94 out of a total of 100% of points. We entered this process to compare ourselves with other companies and gain new insights about how to be an even better employer. We believe that we are already raising the scale when it comes to work standards and employee well-being in the FMCG industry. The Certificate will encourage us to achieve our vision, and that is to be the best company in Croatia.

 

What are the main strategic projects in focus in the coming period?

We are a company that operates naturally, sustainably and fairly. We make every business decision by following these principles. Our way forward will be marked by products from natural and, as far as possible, domestic ingredients, produced with care for the environment and the community in which we operate. From the perspective of human resource management, we will continue to insist on the safety and well-being of our employees and on the possibilities of developing their career in Croatia and the company system abroad.

(www.poslodavacpartner.org/en)