Richard Branson, the influential British entrepreneur, once said that it is not the customers who are most important to a company, but the employees who need the most attention. Anyone who has ever worked in human resources can agree with this statement.
KingsBox also strives to operate according to these principles and pay as much attention as possible to our employees by introducing various innovative practices. I am honored that we have been rewarded for some of these practices, or that I have been invited to lecture on them on various stages. And no, it’s not about trophies, but knowing that we are on the right track and doing something right makes us very happy!
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From Idea to Solution
As Tone Pavček would say: first, there is the topic. Or in more HR jargon: first, there is the challenge. These arise due to changes, new needs, different circumstances. Of course, we cannot address all the problems that arise, but we must address the biggest and most repetitive ones! This is where we start reading articles, seeking advice and solutions, drafting one, two, and sometimes three solutions before one is approved. I must look for solutions that are in line with our values, annual goals, and, of course, those that are achievable in terms of time and resources. Then we need to implement the solution, check satisfaction, and measure progress. I enjoy the first part the most, when the brain needs to work especially hard, but I fear the last part the most because if employees are not satisfied with the solution, all the work was in vain. This year’s goal is to try to involve them more in the development process so that there are as few surprises as possible at the end of the project.
What are those practices we introduced?
Years ago, we drew attention to ourselves when we were among the first to introduce OKRs into our work process. What may be an incomprehensible acronym for many has become a way of life for us. Based on OKRs (Objectives and Key Results), we first set annual goals, and then each department adds its contribution to the mosaic in achieving our plans. OKRs and the philosophy behind them encourage us to stay focused and always know what is important.
We introduced OKRs at about the same time as our educational plans. One of our company’s values is growth – which I do not mean only the muscles of our clients and sales figures but also the personal growth of our employees. Luka and Dejan highly value knowledge; after all, they had to learn a lot themselves to go from a student garage company to entrepreneurs with thirty-five employees.
Every three months, our colleagues choose their own educational plan with the goal of improving specific skills. Perhaps they want to learn to create better 3D images, learn more about brand development, delve into sales techniques, or improve their communication skills. To improve their skills, individuals choose three activities to learn from. These can be books, (online) lectures, visits to other companies’ best practices, etc. With every page read, podcast listened to, or mentor’s advice taken, each individual grows and, of course, the company grows as well.
Of course, everything is not ideal, far from it! On our journey, we encounter many obstacles or challenges, but we strive to overcome them together. For example, during the pandemic, we faced a problem when we suddenly hired a lot of people. We didn’t know each other anymore, we were almost like “strangers” writing to each other through Teams channels… Colleagues started complaining about this new dynamic, and we quickly took action! We signed up for a hackathon, where students from various faculties’ HR programs prepared a comprehensive onboarding program for us. Of course, I adjusted it a bit, but the concept remained the same: before we hire someone, a mentoring program is already prepared for them, in the first week they go on a treasure hunt to learn about the work of all the teams, then they work according to the mentoring program for two months, and are then ready for (almost) independent work.
But there is still a lot of work ahead of us…
These are just a few of our practices that we have implemented. Of course, I am also proud of our recommendation program, which is still under construction, as well as our digitized personnel files, agile systematization, and good team building activities.
On the other hand, we still need to address many challenges. We all agree that we need to improve communication between employees, which needs to be more transparent, increase individuals’ responsibility for tasks and projects, do more to transmit culture to remote employees, and finally, move into shared spaces (we have partially succeeded in this, but we are still not all together!), so we can have our occasional pizza Fridays more often and with fewer logistical problems.
I recently read somewhere that most people who work in HR landed in this profession more or less by accident. This also applies to me. But I wouldn’t trade my choices for anything in the world! My personal goal in this company is to create an environment where no one finds it difficult to get up on Monday mornings. We all know that we work to live, but if we also feel good at work and spend those eight hours a day with pleasant people, all the better!