Investing in people as a successful strategy (especially) in times of crisis

In the last year, we have witnessed different approaches by companies in dealing with the crisis caused by the COVID pandemic. Given the uncertain circumstances, and depending on
specifics of the industry in which they operate, companies resort to different strategies and try to minimize costs, including allocations for employee development. Some of them approached through the temporary suspension of allocations for this type of investment, while others continued with a reduced volume of investments. However, there are also those who have taken a completely different stance.

One of such companies is TITAN Cementara Kosjerić (TCK), which has decided on a strategy that they believe in, and know from experience that is the right answer for them for the challenging time in which they operate. In a conversation with Ljiljana Spasojevic Tosovic and Magdalena Joksimovic, we reveal their recipe for success.


The crisis as a lesson

During the global economic crisis in 2008, TCK found itself in an unknown situation with the impossibility of adequate planning and consideration of future market developments. In terms of the company’s approach and attitude on one issue in these circumstances, there was not the slightest dilemma in the company – investing in people and their development must not stop, on the contrary, it should be intensified. The focus has been increased on training for leadership development, as well as on allocations for training of employees at different levels, with constant monitoring of needs, as well as the effects that have been achieved. The results of this approach, according to Ljiljana, who led the HR sector in that period, were more than obvious. In addition to the noticeable individual development and personal sense of empowerment, a positive change was felt at the team level, a sense of togetherness, belonging to the company and commitment of each individual. The company prospered and employee turnover was minimal.


A holistic approach to development

This view of the importance of employee development within TITAN Cementare Kosjerić, regardless of the circumstances, is reflected in the fact that at the beginning of each year the goals and desired measures of success are clearly defined, and their indispensable and equally important part refers to employee development. All development initiatives, on the one hand, come from the manager, and on the other from the employees themselves, who recognize the highly developed learning culture in the company. A comprehensive approach to development, support at all levels, as well as role-model managers who, together with colleagues, undergo training, contribute to understanding and demonstrating the “Leadership in the TITAN way” program throughout the organization.


An old approach to a new age

Taught by the lesson from 2008, and in the face of the COVID pandemic, the company decided on a tried and tested practice – one of the priorities remains investing in employees, which this time required additional adjustments. Namely, the positions of some of the employees do not include working in offices, owning computers and company accounts. For this reason, it was necessary, in order to enable their employees to attend online training, to provide additional technical equipment with adequate education. With the wholehearted support of the entire organization, in the shortest possible time, the number of employees with the possibility of attending trainings almost doubled.


“Window to the world” through open training programs

With the company TCK, we have implemented a large number of trainings, leadership programs and development teambuilding, but one type of education has always stood out as something to which the company attaches special importance. Despite the large number of participants and the opportunity to organize learning through in-house trainings, Titan often opts for the concept of Open Training Programs. Through this type of education in a common space, classroom or online, professionals from different companies / industries with unique business experience gather around a certain development topic. In the previous 6 months alone, more than 130 Titan employees went through some of the OTP trainings we conducted, and Ljiljana and Magdalena explained to us why they pay so much attention to this way of learning:

“Apart from the personal development that our people receive this way, we believe that it is extremely valuable that they have the opportunity to exchange experiences and opinions with participants from other companies and industries. We operate in a small environment, so, especially in the current circumstances, open trainings provide us with an opportunity to connect with the world, open vistas and provide insights into different ideas, approaches and practices of leading companies in the market. ”


Results as a reward

Despite the fact that the previous year, burdened by the pandemic, brought special challenges when it comes to employee development, TCK successfully completed almost 17 hours of training, on average per employee. The results of the latest employee satisfaction survey showed that about three quarters of Titan’s staff have a positive view of working conditions and opportunities for development and improvement in TCK, as well as their engagement and motivation to work – which is the result of the company’s continuous investment in human development.

“Working together with the Gi Group, we once again experience an exceptional blend of expertise and creativity with a careful selection of useful topics to improve professional and personal skills. Excellent cooperation, trust and high quality of services make Gi Group, for years, an indispensable partner in the development of knowledge and creative potential in TITAN Cementara Kosjerić. “

We have been part of TCK development initiatives for 15 years, helping their progress and supporting them along the way. We are convinced that their approach, attitude towards employees and readiness for constant improvement will make them successful in the next 15 years.

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