MK Group Employer of the Year: People are the Core and Drive of Every Company

MK Group Employer of the Year: People are the Core and Drive of Every Company


Interview of Marina Rakić, Manager of the Human Resources Department of MK Group and Member of the Board of Directors for the portal Telegraf.rs

The MK Group System employs 6,000 people in the Adriatic region, and is one of the largest domestic employers in Serbia. The Serbian Association of Managers declared this company the Employer of the Year, and on that occasion, we spoke with Marina Rakić, HR Director of MK Group. In the interview, we talked about the values fostered by one of the most desirable employers, the role of corporate culture in modern business and market trends in the field of human resources management. What contributed to the fact for the Serbian Association of Managers (SAM) to recognize MK Group as the Employer of the Year? What are the key qualities of a successful employer?

We are proud of the Employer of the Year recognition, because it confirms that we have successfully followed our vision of creating additional value for employees in addition to good business results. We are glad that the business community has recognized our focus on employee development more than ever. This means that we in the MK Group really “live” the values we believe in, and at the center of which we have placed the very employee. We strive to create a working environment in which employees are empowered and motivated to achieve excellent results, outdo themselves, and thereby achieve personal success, but also contribute to the success of the entire organization. After all, this is also shown in the employee satisfaction survey that we conduct every year – as many as 80% of employees are proud to work for our company and would recommend it as an employer.

One of the key features of a successful employer is continuous investment in employees, recognizing their needs and taking care of all aspects of their professional development. This is our strategic commitment and that is why we will invest 400 thousand euros in employee education and training this year alone. This includes programs that contributed to SAM recognizing us as the Employer of the Year – the Leadership Academy, within which we organize strategic workshops for around 30 leaders of the MK Group System, the MK Management Academy, through which more than 200 employees passed last year. For our colleagues who are the bearers of digitization in agriculture, we implemented the “Digital Academy” program in order to strengthen the digital skills and abilities necessary for the agronomist of the future. For four years now, we have been organizing the “Launch an Idea” internal competition, in which every employee can come up with a business idea for business improvement, and we reward the best proposals with really valuable prizes. Gender equality is certainly an important aspect and we really work to empower women, especially in managerial roles. Half of the employees in our system are women, close to 40% are managers, while a third of them are in the Board of Directors of MK Group.

With these and similar programs, we show that our employees and their satisfaction are important to us. A good employer knows that each employee has a role in the overall success of the company and that people are the core of the company and the drive of its development.

Today’s market is extremely competitive and employers are faced with the challenging task of aligning business goals and organizational resources to achieve them. What is the role of corporate culture and what are the trends that will shape the culture of corporate business in the coming period?

The nature of business is competitiveness and the desire to achieve better business results every day. Corporate culture in the modern business environment is a key factor for its functioning and progress. It is the “backbone” of the organization, the foundation on which a sustainable business vision and strategy are built, it is the one that defines and determines the company’s values and what makes you recognizable in the business community and among employees. ​

The challenges on the market today are numerous, as a result of which it is necessary for the company to be agile, innovative and to continuously insist on adapting all business segments to changes and new trends. Constantly auscultating the needs of the market and reacting effectively is demanding, but necessary for constant growth and value creation, which are the basis of MK Group’s mission and vision. That is why it is important to create a corporate culture in which employees experience change and transformation as a natural part of professional development. Everything rests on people, as I said before, they are the core and drive of the company.

New trends, along with digitization and the introduction of flexible work models, also mean that today, companies around the world are engaged in reshaping business culture and focus on the individual, i.e. employee. Staff training, talent attraction and retention programs, reward programs, benefit packages and advancement opportunities differentiate employers on the market today. And that is what the MK Group is intensively working on

What is the HR’s role in all of this?

The role of HR is multiple and essential for the development and progress of the organization, because satisfied and successful employees are the foundation of successful companies. HR maps quality personnel and works to develop and retain existing, as well as to attract new talents. Contemporary practice and current trends tell us that an individual approach to each employee is important, and that’s why we will especially deal with career plans and defining the necessary training and development that are in line with career development in the coming period. It is important to recognize the real talents among employees who shares common values ​​with the company, work well in a team, want to develop further as experts and managers and are ready to take on more responsibility. In terms of attracting new talents, HR faces the challenging task of harmonizing the business needs and goals of the organization with the requirements, motivation and interests of new generations that are just entering the labor market. Experience has shown that new generations are looking for greater autonomy and flexibility, connection with the purpose of work, employers’ attitudes towards social issues, along with opportunities for personal and professional development. The Human Resources Team must therefore be a kind of ambassador of the corporate culture and values ​​of the organization, constantly working on its improvement and thus actively contributing to the sustainable development of the business, as a true partner in business.