[INTERVIEW] Radomir Bjelopetrović: The most effective measure to increase engagement is…
Engaged employees and good culture increase revenue 3-4 times! Radomir Bjelopetrović, CTO at Njuškalo knows how to increase engagement.

During and after his studies, he worked as a freelance web developer, then he got his first “real” job in telecommunications. As an IT specialist, working at a telecom has allowed him to come into contact with a multitude of systems and technologies. From a programmer, he came to the position of designer, team leader of a smaller team, leader and ultimately director of IT. After 15 years of working in telecom, he decided to change the business environment and joined Njuškalo, as the director of the technology department.

This impressive biography describes the fantastic career of Radomir Bjelopetrović. There are many steps and lessons learned from a student to a director in a large company. And we were interested in how he solves challenges and situations within the team, what measures he uses to increase employee engagement and how Improv3 helps him in that.

1. How much do you think HR has changed in the last 10 years, is it changing for the better at all?

HR has changed significantly. From a human resources department that only kept paperwork on departures, arrivals and sick leave, it has grown into a service that takes care of employees. HR, now together with managers plans training, development plans of individuals, monitors onboarding of employees, advises employees and managers. Njuškalo is aware of the importance of caring for employees and invests in HR, quality staff that can successfully support and implement such processes.

2. You’ve been a leader for a long time, you’ve certainly encountered measuring employee engagement. Can you share some of your experiences?

There is a big difference in the approach of individual companies. Some engagement measurements are conducted only formally, without a clear goal. In Njuškalo, the results are public, the leaders comment on the group results with their teams and draw conclusions and next steps based on them. We don’t skip high grades either because there’s always room for improvement.

3. What does an “engaged employee” mean to you?

An engaged employee is an employee who feels responsible for the domain of his work, who has a certain autonomy in the field of his activity, can make quick decisions and feels that his work has a purpose and contributes to the overall picture. Of course, recognition for your work and the work that comes from colleagues and superiors is also important.

4. In your opinion, how much does employee engagement affect the productivity of the entire company, specifically revenue?

It is extremely influential. Engaged employees and a good culture can increase revenue 3-4 times.

5. How much does the team influence the engagement of the individual, and how much does the leader?

The leader significantly influences the engagement of the individual. The leader is responsible for the culture of the team, you know how they say: “the fish stinks from the head”. The team has a huge impact on an individual’s engagement, but it is the leader who must take care of the team’s culture. It is not only the knowledge that matters, but the attitude and attitude towards other people. It is the leader who can either unite or divide the team, or determine the culture within the team.

6. In your opinion, what is most important when conducting this type of survey?

Transparency and trust. The survey must be anonymous. An individual must know that no one will call him out for an honest answer. Indeed, a poll without honesty serves no purpose. We want to know the real opinion of people because that is the only way we can progress as an organization. But even if they got all fives in the survey, even then they would know the basics: we have to work on trust because it will never be realistic that everyone is super engaged and satisfied. Without trust there is neither commitment nor results.

7. How do you feel when you get your hands on the results of your team’s engagement?

I am looking forward to the results of the survey because it is an excellent basis for further discussion and improvement. Of course, if a result is below average, it stings you a little, but if we approach it with the desire to correct weaknesses (either our own, team or organization), then it is extremely valuable information and we can only progress.

8. What advice would you give to younger colleagues who need to become leaders on how to approach the development of the team in the direction of increasing engagement and satisfaction?

Give people credit. Ask and give them feedback. Talk to them, listen to their advice and suggestions and appreciate them.

9. What is the most effective measure you have introduced that has helped you increase team engagement?

Giving trust with regular mutual feedback. People want and need to have autonomy in their work and be able to make decisions, and you as a leader are there to help and guide them. Feedback must not be annual or quarterly. It must be constantly present. It can be a single sentence or a question but it is important that it is continuous.

Feedback is not one-sided. Not only does the manager give it, the employee must also give it to his manager. Giving trust is also not easy, especially if the leader came from an expert level. It is easy to be misled that you always know best. Even in cases where this is true, excessive and detailed instructions and micro-management stifle human development.

Mistakes happen, but with feedback they are an opportunity to learn. A leader must assess when he can and can’t allow a mistake, but the answer to that question must not be “never”.

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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