Ivana Petrevska - Best Employer Brand Manager Adria 2022
Ivana Petrevska is an Employer branding and culture programs Manager at Pivara Skopje. As our Best Employer Brand Manager in Adria region for 2022, we're happy to share some insights from Ivana's journey in employer branding.
Tell us about your role in Pivara Skopje – when did employer branding became a business function?
The introduction of the Employer branding role at Pivara Skopje happened at the same time as my employment in the organization, in June 2021. It already existed as an approach in the organization before, but with my arrival the employer branding activities became more structured and frequent.
I came with huge ambitions and desire to do great things and because I was focused on marketing and corporate communications before in another industry that really helped me lay a good foundation on which today, I build all internal and external communications related to our Employer branding strategy.
I remember being contacted by the People and Culture Director in Pivara Skopje, got introduced to the position and asked if I am interested to apply. My son was two months old then, so my impulsive answer was to say “no”, but deep down inside I knew it was a huge YES. I immediately imagined myself working in the Coca Cola and Heineken world, full of ideas, innovations, a great workplace with young and ambitious people, and in a world full of opportunities for growth and personal development.
It was a huge challenge for me: a new industry, a new company, a brand-new position, and on top of all that a little baby by my side. But I accepted it, powered through all the challenges and even though the decision seemed too ambitious, I succeeded.
From the very beginning, it seemed to me that I was part of an inclusive and supportive environment in which the engagement, the satisfaction and the well-being of the employees are put first and above all things. I was warmly welcomed by my colleagues who selflessly tried to provide me with an easy adaptation and a quality on-boarding process, while taking care of my well-being as a mother. And I said then, this is an employee experience that everyone should know about. And this is how this Employer branding journey begun.
In fact, this personal story of mine played a significant role in the way that I, as an Employer branding Manager, was perceiving the big picture of the Employer Branding strategy and the objectives it should achieve.
How did employer branding evolve in the last 12/24 months at your company?
Employer branding evolves every day at Pivara Skopje. Without being modest, I can certainly say that in the past year or two there has been a huge progress in this segment. What differentiates us as a company from the rest is that our Employer branding strategy is based exclusively on real stories and examples that come from our employees.
Personally, for me, the most important thing is that our people believe and experience what we communicate externally and support the organization in spreading the messages. That's the only way employer branding makes sense.
I am especially proud of the fact that by creating our Employer branding strategy, I managed to create a fusion of the corporate culture, values and behaviors and translate them into every initiative, activity, or campaign. Thus, all communications aimed at promoting our employer brand are fully aligned and based on strong ambassadorship coming from our employees.
Talking about progress, I would also emphasize here the data driven approach that I use in development and execution of the Employer branding strategy. Behind every initiative, activity or campaign are detailed data-driven analyses that only increase the relevance of the strategy.
Where do you see you're creating the most value for the company at this role?
Primarily, I would say in raising awareness in my surroundings about the importance of the employer branding, and thus raising the quality of the communications that we deliver, which significantly affect the image of the company that we build on the talent market but also among the public.
I strongly believe that I have improved the visibility of the employer brand of Pivara Skopje, which is meaningful and iconic. According to the talent market survey conducted in the end of 2021, we are in top 3 desired relevant employers on the market and first choice of employer for Business Developers, a job position that is in the heart of our business.
In addition, I gained significant improvement in internal as well as in external communications, considering that of all corporate external communications, about 30% refer to topics that strengthen our employer brand. And that brought us significant growth on social networks, which are key communication drivers today. Pivara Skopje has the biggest LinkedIn family in the country in comparison with other FMSG companies but also in comparison with companies from other industries. And that is what brings additional value to our employer brand.
I am focused on delivering quality, relevant, and truthful content to our target groups. My goal is to mirror the overall atmosphere, experience, and engagement of our people outside Pivara Skopje, so that every potential employee can feel and understand what we, Pivarci, experience in our company.
We have also started to attract candidates from other industries, which only confirms the fact that we're extending our employer brand's reach to new groups of people.
But what is essentially important and where I personally consider that I have given the greatest value to the company is my effort in raising the engagement of our employees. The strength, the pride and togetherness of Pivarci, and their sense of belonging in the company, is something that is priceless and unique. And all that translated into a different mix of activities and initiatives makes our Employer branding strategy extraordinary.
What are the main areas Pivara Skopje is focused on when applying employer branding activities?
Like any company, we also have clearly defined target groups that we address, wanting to attract their attention in a way that we will offer them opportunities that match their individual preferences when choosing an employer.
We are strongly focused on students, on our sales force with an emphasis on women in sales, on creating stable and sustainable Supply Chain teams, and on our employees that are our secret ingredient for success. And for each of these target groups, we develop projects that allow us to attract the best candidates to the talent market, retain our employees, and enable growth and sustainability of our business.
I’d mention here our summer internship program, Coke Summership, designed for talented youth which gives students a different educational and career experience. 60% of the participants in the last Coke Summership program, which took place last summer, continued their career path precisely in Pivara Skopje, which for us is confirmation of the success of the program itself.
We place significant emphasis on gender equality and inclusiveness in the workplace, wanting to break the biases about certain job positions within our organization. And we do that together with our women - engineers and women – business developers who work in the field every day. Thus, we act as a socially responsible company and encourage women to realize their dreams by freeing themselves from some social constraints, and on the other hand, we increase the attractiveness of the job positions we offer.
Within the framework of our diversity, equity, and inclusion agenda, we implement different activities that support our commitments. We educate our employees on unconscious biases, we implemented flexible and hybrid working model as a benefit for our employees highly appreciated by our women, we started a partnership with Gender Equality Alliance etc.
Ultimately, instilling a positive company brand image starts with a good onboarding process. But also, the overall employee experience as such is very important. Therefore, I’d mention here our Sales Academy which is a comprehensive end-to-end developmental experience covering both business, commercial knowledge, leadership skills and mindset components of development. It is licensed learning model that helps our people build enough knowledge and experience before meeting our customers for first time, then helps our people to reach full performance and enables development of capabilities within our sales force.
I would not miss to mention the well-being of our employees. We created Club Pivarci to put all our efforts in the direction of improving the well-being of our employees under one umbrella. We have defined four key areas in which we work together and offer different content. So, we offer activities that help our employees to improve their physical, mental and emotional health, additionally we offer trainings that give support in learning new skills and at the end we create activities that have impact on building togetherness.
Are other employees involved in employer branding in your company – if they are, in what ways?
Absolutely. I am sure that paid PR cannot be as valuable as employee experience and storytelling. Today, people believe other people more than brands, therefore, the ambassadorship has a key role in the execution of our employer branding strategy.
In this context, I would mention the power of our employees, known as "Pivarci", in the role of strong ambassadors and key creators of the image of our employer brand.
I have developed a strong ambassadorship program, through which I encourage and invite our employees to talk about our organization through their individual examples and experiences, and I implement their stories in the Employer branding communication plans.
I could write many examples explaining the role that "Pivarci" have in the overall employer branding strategy, but I would summarize that Pivara Skopje employer brand stands out in the talent market because we present unique approach based on true stories. We don’t just communicate our values and our propositions, but we demonstrate them. And this is what makes us different and valuable, and as an Employer branding Manager makes me proud and convinced that we are on the right path.
Thank you Ivana and we wish you many more amazing achievements in the future!