It is still important for businessman to keep employees

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Our greatest success is our members. Today there are more than 400 of them, we have grown a lot since our founding in 2006. The greater the membership, the greater the strength of our association. The Serbian Association of Managers is committed to their professional development and promotion of the management profession, efficient connection of managers in Serbia and the region and promotion of best business practices, responsible and sustainable business, said Jelena Bulatovic, executive director of the Serbian Association of Managers (SAM).

SAM is celebrating its 15th birthday this year, and our interlocutor points out that the association is constantly working on educating managers because that is the key to duration.

– That is why in the jubilee year we launched the SAM Academy, which through synergy of exchange of experience, knowledge and best examples from corporate and entrepreneurial practice, contributed to the development and strengthening of individuals who will lead the business community in Serbia in the coming years. It is a program oriented towards creating leaders of the 21st century.

During 15 years, we have gone through a lot together, we have launched many programs for the development of managers, initiatives to improve the business environment, socially responsible actions. We have established the practice of transferring knowledge to young members, who make up our future. And we will continue to work in that direction in the coming years.

How will you mark the jubilee?

– With the launch of the SAM Academy, we made the first step in marking the jubilee because it was a long-standing wish of many of us. We have seen off the first generation of students and have ambitious plans for the future. Additionally, this year we marked another jubilee, the 10th SAM Annual Award, at our SAM Gala Evening which is one of the most prestigious business events not only in the country but also in the region. The continuity of this award is important to us because we strive to bring to the forefront managers, young managers, employers, individuals and initiatives that demonstrate leadership and set a good example to others through behavior, excellence and responsible business. In this way, we nurture true values – reliability, friendship, change, responsibility and the principle of giving. We also encourage the further development of the management profession and show the strength and contribution that managers and good companies give to society.

SAM is actively working to improve the business environment. What are the biggest challenges for business people at the moment and what are their proposals for improving the business climate?

– For businessmen, it is still, as at the beginning of the pandemic, the most important thing to save employees. We are talking about the health aspect, but also about preserving jobs. In the past period, the most successful were those businessmen who kept their employees in which they had invested for years. Although the situation is stabilizing to some extent, the uncertain market remains one of the important challenges. However, businessmen are always looking for the same thing, and that is the predictability of the business environment.

As a society, we went through a real health, but also economic blow during the previous and this year due to the pandemic. How do businessmen and managers, members of SAM, look at the past period? How do they assess this and last year, how much did the pandemic affect the Serbian economy?

– In the year of the pandemic, managers had a special role and showed the strength of the profession. It was necessary to react quickly, save business, but above all people. That’s where the real leaders came from. Through the Association, we shared experiences through the online format, and initiated state bodies to react and provide assistance to businessmen. The current business continues with all the changes that the pandemic has brought, and digitalization and short-term planning are just some of them. Our members have felt more than ever what crisis management means. It remains to overcome further challenges and recover the most endangered industries.

The state reacted correctly

How do managers evaluate the support measures that the state has prepared through several “packages”?

– When we look back now at all the measures that have been introduced, the state reacted correctly and we have supported everything that was aimed at preserving our economy. What we emphasized from the beginning, when we sent a letter to the Government of the Republic of Serbia, is the care of those who were most affected, as well as a special focus on micro, small and medium enterprises, which still bear the brunt of the crisis. As an association, we sent a message, among other things, that it is very important to preserve business processes, with an appeal not to break the payment chain that would lead the Serbian economy into a deeper crisis – Jelena Bulatović points out.

And what are their expectations from next year?

– Already last year, managers realized the importance of quick reaction, flexibility in changes and recognizing opportunities. That is how they entered this year as well, and considering that we are already used to living in a new reality and not looking back but looking for new ways to function better, I believe that they will continue to be directed in that direction. The focus will continue to be on people, that is what we are constantly mentioning and drawing on. Digitalization is there to stay, e-commerce, hybrid work, shortening the supply chain, but also more attention to the changed needs of customers and partners. On the other hand, business will be affected by global inflation, general growth in energy prices, raw materials… These are all some things that managers will deal with in the coming years.

What is the cooperation of SAM with institutions, and what with other business associations?

– For 15 years, since the existence of the Serbian Association of Managers, we have been trying to contribute to the improvement of the business environment, both through cooperation with state institutions through open and constructive dialogue, and with other business associations. In order to start some things in society, we must all work together, it is not just a question of SAM or any other business association individually, but all of us, managers, to share experiences, talk openly about problems and challenges in order to we will find the best solutions. In all this, it is very important that there is cooperation with relevant institutions precisely because of the support for launching socially responsible initiatives and topics. It is very important to keep the focus on encouraging the widest possible cooperation with businessmen from the region.

More than 400 SAM members employ 90,000 people

– Among more than 400 of our members, there are representatives of corporations and family companies, managers of various levels, from the youngest to leading executives, who come from all industries. These are successful managers of companies and teams with more than 90,000 employees, who annually realize work worth close to 10 billion euros and make a great contribution to the Serbian economy. In addition to the managers who have been with us since the founding of SAM, we also have young managers and we are very glad that we are rejuvenating and learning from each other – proudly points out the executive director of the Serbian Association of Managers.

In what ways does SAM provide support to its members? You also have special programs for young managers…

– I am very proud that in the past 15 years we are really recognized as an Association that works to improve managers, their development, which opens the door to young people and provides them with various opportunities to learn, progress, make new contacts, encourage and show their full potential in the future. For all managers, especially young people, we want to remain an association that is the best platform for developing and connecting managers.

This year was marked by the launch of the SAM Academy. This is a very important project for us, we already had the first generation that showed that young managers today are ready for challenges, brave to take responsibility and willing to initiate and try something new. Through this project, we want to further strengthen the managerial skills of our members and other managers, to accelerate their development and help them be ready to take on leadership roles in the future, all by providing them to learn from already established professionals, true leaders in Serbian business. scenes. At the same time, we want to empower them in the management of companies, people and business processes. From year to year, we also implement the Mentoring Program, as well as the program for entrepreneurs, and we continuously cooperate with the faculties, with lectures for students. We are one of the partners of the Erasmus project ADA through which we will empower new generations with modern knowledge necessary for the future.

What are your expectations for 2022? What are SAM’s plans for the next period?

– First of all, the most important thing is that we all preserve our health and continue to be very committed to caring for our employees. SAM will continue to work on projects that are already recognized as those that connect, through which one learns, progresses and acquires new knowledge and skills. We will also continue to initiate activities, to continue to be responsible and to be an example of how great individuals, professionals, gathered around a common idea of a better future, can do extraordinary things. We will work even more intensively on how to keep managers in the country or at least the region, how to preserve quality staff, but also create new, young people who are the future of our business world, Biznis reports.