Category: InterSearch Slovenia – P&P InterSearch

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Slovenians do not like to commute
Interview of InterSearch Germany Executive Consultants with Marta Rojko, P&P InterSearch Slovenia

Is there an ideal educational background for an executive search consultant? “I don’t think so. I believe it is all about the skill set and experience that you build over time, but first, you must love what you do,” says Marta Rojko, a consultant and the Director of Operations at P&P InterSearch Slovenia in Ljubljana. “Of course, empathy, trustworthiness, strong communication, negotiation, and organization skills are essential, as are adaptability and problem-solving ability. Equally important is being able to read between the lines and understanding people,” Rojko adds. “I believe you develop a kind of intuition-based approach over time.” As an executive search consultant, it is important to be able to get acquainted with different corporate organizational structures and to understand different levels. Getting to know different industries and segments well is also essential. While their core business is executive search, P&P InterSearch Slovenia also carry out searches for highly specialized experts and offer a range of HR consultant services from reorganizations, optimizations, salary surveys and other analysis as well as management assessments, leadership development, coaching, workshops, etc. “Recently, we have been doing a lot of salary and benefits surveys, as Slovenian companies are increasingly focused on retaining their high-performing executives.” Like most countries, Slovenia is currently a candidate-driven market with historically low unemployment rates and candidates who know their value, Rojko explains.

Slovenia is a very small market

P&P InterSearch Slovenia assists companies from many different sectors with their executive and expert recruitment needs. “For example, over the years, we have had many clients from the financial sector. The Slovenian banking sector is interesting and also challenging, as there are not many banks and most individuals active in this sector know each other. When performing a confidential search project, we need to be especially careful and resourceful,” Rojko says. The consultants in her firm are not focused on any one specific industry. “The Slovenian market is really too small for that. Our colleagues bring with them expertise from the fields of HR, sociology, communication and PR, psychology, economics, and management,” she explains. The small size of the Slovenian market is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, according to Rojko, the research part of a search project can be carried out very quickly and thoroughly: “We often reach the point of having spoken to all suitable candidates fairly quickly and can be confident that the market is researched in-depth.” On the other hand, search consultants also reach the candidate pool’s limits more frequently. “We are in communication with our clients on regular basis throughout the project and when we encounter the candidate’s pool’s limits, we discuss which experience or other requirements, such as educational background or language knowledge, may deviate. As the next step and usually the last resort, we expand our searches to countries other than Slovenia,” she says.

Salary levels can vary greatly

In international personnel searches, Rojko appreciates the straightforward and cooperative collaboration with members of the international InterSearch network. “We recently cooperated with colleagues from Austria, acting as an operational partner for their clients to find a regional sales manager. In doing so, we complemented each other perfectly with our local and regional knowledge and experience.” Especially regarding salary levels, P&P InterSearch Slovenia was able to offer guidance. “This is one of the challenges when we expand searches for a position in Slovenia to other countries. The salary levels in Slovenia are lower than in Western European countries such as Austria or Germany – making it more difficult to convince candidates to relocate to Slovenia. For that reason, we are more frequently looking for talent in countries with similar or lower salary levels, such as Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia, or even Hungary and Bulgaria.”

Migrating talent and candidates not inclined to commute

Slovenian talent has been leaving the country for years to take better-paying jobs abroad. “However, we also experience a great willingness to return. A lot of people only wish to leave Slovenia temporarily and have every intention of moving back at some point,” Rojko says. In those cases, candidates are often willing to accept lower salaries. “They are aware of the salary levels in Slovenia and accept smaller packages in order to be closer to their family or return back home,” she explains. In addition, she says, Slovenia’s small size is the reason for another peculiarity: “Slovenians are not prone to commuting. A commute of more than an hour – or sometimes even as much as 40 minutes – is unthinkable for many and is either rejected outright or comes with significantly higher salary demands.” According to Rojko, some of that is changing, as many companies are offering remote work or more hybrid models. But especially when recruiting for manufacturing companies that have locations in more remote regions, it can still be difficult. “This is not just due to the candidates’ preferences. Recently, a manufacturing client of ours was looking to fill a position at one of their production sites and only considered candidates who lived no more than 30 minutes’ drive away. One of the reasons is that locals are preferred as employees, especially in more remote regions,” she says.

At the executive level, it is usually a different story

According to Rojko, however, the relative immobility of Slovenian candidates applies mainly to middle management or specialists. “At the top management level, this is not as evident. Executives are more willing to commute and to be present on site or at the office. In most cases, no distance is too far for them.” She emphasizes that remote work is also not expected by C-level candidates, nor is it something they ask for during interviews. “Managers need to be flexible and on site to really get to know their teams face to face and lead the company.”

Marta Rojko

Marta Rojko is a communications specialist and sociologist. She has been active as a consultant at P&P InterSearch Slovenia for four years, where she is also in charge of international communication and cooperation and certain personnel searches as well as marketing projects and a part of operations.

She started her career straight after completing her studies in a highly technological, development- focused manufacturing company and then moved to Dubai where she worked for 5 years before joining P&P InterSearch Slovenia. P&P InterSearch Slovenia focuses on executive search, but also offers a range of HR consulting services from reorganizations, optimizations, a variety of analysis for management assessments and leadership development, succession planning, outplacements, and more.

Slovenia in figures

  • GDP: 61.6 billion USD
  • Economic growth: 8.1% compared to the previous year
  • Per capita annual income: approx. 29,193 USD
  • Inflation rate: +1.9% compared to the previous year
  • Unemployment rate: 4.7%
  • Employees in the service sector: approx. 70.8%
    Source: Statista 2021


How do you keep your star employees from walking away?

How do you keep your star employees from walking away? InterSearch Slovenia‘s perspective

Star employees and consultants do more than just a good job. They radiate a positive attitude and improve on tasks, not just complete them. They may even set higher standards for their work than their manager does.

In the case of star employees, preventing them from leaving is the best solution. If your star employees do decide to walk away, it could take time and money to replace them. Research shows that it can take up to six weeks to hire for a management-level role. And then there is usually also the notice period that can add up another few months before the candidate can actually join the new organization. The onboarding process usually takes the longest. It’s estimated that it takes at least a year for a new employee to match the productivity of the person they’re replacing. To sum up, with the loss of a star employee and the hiring of a new one, we lose more than a year.

So, what are the steps that every manager should consider in order to retain the star employees?

  • Encourage internal movement

Suddenly, internal mobility has become much more important than it was when there was a tight labor market” says Robin Erickson, PhD, principal researcher at The Conference Board.

Internal mobility refers to the change of the role that an employee may choose to engage in within the company, shifting from one organizational unit to a different one and perform different activities. Internal movement is crucial in tightening skills gaps, preparing employees and company for the labor market of tomorrow, as the labor market continues to narrow, and skills expire at a rapid rate.

Mr. Erickson added: “Before, it was easier to find a candidate externally who had the required skills. But with hiring freezes during COVID-19, if you’re not allowed to hire from outside, you now have to find people inside for critical roles.

  • Figure out what they value

Business owners should know that they have to offer competitive pay and benefits to job seekers. But there are also many other different factors that employees should consider when evaluating a potential offer:

– Flexible Schedule (work – life balance)
– Feeling valued
– Interesting work
– Opportunity to Advance
– Development
– Recognition
– Team and working atmosphere
– Working from home

  • Allow funding for development

Employee development helps attract and keep great employees. It helps them to stay on top of changes so they can deliver great work.
Development of employees helps them feel engaged, skilled, and motivated. It allows them to work in the direction of the company’s business goals.

  • Provide feedback—positive and negative

Feedback is always given to a person or a team of people regarding the effect their behavior is having on another person, the organization, the customer, or the team.
Positive feedback is when you tell someone about their good performance. This feedback must be timely, specific, and frequent.
Constructive feedback alerts an individual to an area in which their performance could improve. This is not criticism and it should always be directed to the actions taken, not to the person. The main purpose of negative feedback is to help people understand where they stand in relation to expected or productive job behavior.

  • Be an awesome manager

An awesome manager is able to blend into the background, changing small things to great effect. Becoming a better or even an awesome manager isn’t something that magically happens overnight. It’s a process… 5 key tips to become one:
– Motivate your employees
– Make people feel good
– Tell your employees how much you appreciate them (at least from time to time)
– Treat everyone equally
– Treat your employees well

Written by Kaja Sukovic, Project manager P&P InterSearch Slovenia

#EmployeeRetention #StarEmployees, InterSearch, InterSearchSlovenia


Artificial Intelligence in Human Resources: Some More Thoughts Before We Hand Human Resources Over to AI

Have you seen Black Mirror – the scientific fiction series on Netflix set in a near future where new technologies reap terrible unintended consequences on human lives? Or the new Blade Runner 2049 movie – a film production about Artificial Intelligence (AI)? Could we say that both might be a (worrying) preview of what our world could look like if we were to seriously accelerate our AI game?

AI, Artificial Intelligence, Human Resources

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Inner Changes for a Better Career Life - positive thinking

Inner Changes for a Better (Career) Life

We are living in a busy world, full of expectations. We expect more because we are conditioned to expect more. It all starts in our childhood and we all remember our parents keep telling us what to do, how to do it and always »knowing« what is the best for us, but at the same time giving us enough freedom to live the life we want and to choose the job we dream and we’re passionate about.

Career, Career change, happiness, Happy Employee, Slovenia

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