[INTERVIEW] Goran Kljaić: When measuring engagement, the most important thing is to focus on…
When it comes to employee engagement, every team leader has their tricks, and Goran Kljaić, the development team leader at Trikoder, revealed his own to us.

What happens when a person becomes a team leader “too quickly”? Mostly sleepless nights due to new roles and responsibilities. Rapid growth and moving up the hierarchical ladder also means quickly adapting to new situations and learning new lessons. Lots of new lessons. Goran Kljaić, the head of the development team at Trikoder, told us all this.

So what he learned, what challenges he faced and how Improv3 helped him, he told us in a short interview.

1. How long have you been a manager and can you give us a little description of your path to that role?

I have been in the manager role for about 5-6 years. I started out as a junior backend developer and came to be the manager pretty quickly. Now that I look back, I may have become one too quickly, spending a lot of sleepless nights because of my new responsibilities and roles. It is also a message to all young people that climbing the hierarchy as soon as possible shouldn’t be the goal. It is important to know when a person is ready for a new role.

2. What has been your biggest challenge so far on this journey?

New challenges arose with each increase in the number of team members. Initially, my team consisted of three people, and it quickly grew to nine or ten members. With a small team you have time to be familiar with everything that is being done. As the team grew, it took me a long time to learn to leave responsibilities to other people because it was impossible to have more detailed supervision over a larger number of people.

3. You have encountered employee engagement and satisfaction measurements – what is your position on the topic (eg does it help the development of the department, team, people, revenue or not…)?

I think it is good for people to take their perspective a little away from everyday work and see a broader picture of the problems that exist, but are not the focus in everyday work.

4. How did the results of the engagement and satisfaction survey helped you with the development of the team?

The results of the survey served as a good framework for discussion about issues that were not in focus in our regular one-on-one and team meetings. Already after the first discussion on the results of the survey, people’s awareness was raised that they are also responsible for doing something about solving the problems that exist. After agreeing on concrete actions that we will take as a team, we concluded that so far we have missed such a discussion about the problem from a “bird’s eye view” and we will try to continue to hold similar discussions once a month.

5. Do you think that your engagement can have a reciprocal effect on your team’s engagement?

Of course. I think it motivates people when they see that the leader solves problems and encourages them to do what they can to solve a problem.

6. How did you feel when you got your hands on the results of the engagement survey?

Some grades were expected, but some surprised me as well. Of course, you try not to take personally the grades concerning you as a manager, but they always wake up a different feeling in you. However, the most interesting part was the team discussion about the results themselves and a more detailed discussion of the topics set in the survey.

7. How did you approach the challenges you found in the survey results?

I tried to put the team in focus on the problems and the action plan that they as a team or I can do to solve the problem. Such an approach has raised the team’s awareness that they are also responsible for creating and solving part of the problem that they have always blamed someone for.

8. What do you think is most important in such measurements?

The survey questions prompted the team to think and discuss the “big picture” problems that easily get out of focus in the automation of everyday affairs. As I mentioned in a previous response, it also helped raise awareness of employees’ own responsibilities.

9. When you have specific information, what do you do with it, do you know how to proceed? Do you have any advice for your HR department, how they can help you with that?

We have already agreed on specific team actions and have already resolved some of them. The plan is to sit down with the team once a month and do an audit of the problems and team actions that arose after this survey which should help maintain a focus on big picture problems and solving them.

Tip for HR? Make an effort to provide the team with all the necessary education and support around a problem that is beyond their power.

If you want to increase your team’s engagement, get employee feedback in real time and influence the progress of the entire company – try Improv3.

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