Venipak, a Lithuanian capital company that has successfully established itself in the Baltic States and is actively strengthening its international position in the world, is growing rapidly not only in terms of its business volume, but also its team. The recently launched Venipak Creators campaign reveals how many different professionals are working to build the company every day and are growing alongside it. Laura Buitkuvienė, HR Manager at Venipak, talked about the labour market trends in Lithuania and throughout the world, as well as what modern employees are really looking for and what helps keep them motivated.
What labour market trends have you noticed in Lithuania recently?
The labour market is extremely busy right now. We employ a wide range of professionals, from logistics to administrative staff, including programmers, sales managers, process engineers, marketing specialists, etc.
We set really high criteria for each position, and look for the best candidates to meet those criteria. This is the secret to our business success, so that we can continue to grow. Unfortunately, a large number of candidates are currently applying for positions that do not match their skill sets, making it difficult to choose the right individual.
Another emerging trend is that more and more candidates want freedom. When choosing an employer, they look at how much flexibility is being offered. This is why many candidates choose start-ups where they can work at their own pace, rather than organisations with clearly defined processes, standards and work routines. However, in day-to-day processes, such uncertainty can later become a significant challenge for both the employee and the employer. That is why it is important to “measure” and rationally assess the desire for freedom, in order to determine whether it is in line with the employer’s and the employee’s expectations.
Are the Lithuanian labour market trends in step with the Western world, or do we have specific characteristics?
We recruit employees not only in Lithuania, but also in other Baltic countries, as well as in Germany, China and the Netherlands. The difference is that in Europe we recruit not only local workers, but also workers from more distant countries – India, Africa, etc. People from these countries particularly appreciate the opportunity to work for a company that meets European management standards, has a good work culture, offers them a flexible work schedule that they can combine with their family interests and makes them feel valued.
It is often the case that in the Baltic region, we only employ local personnel due to certain bureaucratic restrictions, and we are obliged to communicate with our clients in their own language. In other countries, most of the workers speak English, so it doesn’t make much difference what country we recruit them from.
There are also some cultural differences. In the Baltic countries, the work culture and management approaches are quite similar. Other countries have different work cultures and attitudes towards work. There can be a lot of discussion and comments before a decision is made; whereas in Lithuania, decisions are generally made very quickly.
Is the saying that it is healthy to change your job every 2-3 years reflected in the reality? Or is it the other way around – with today’s trends showing that employees prefer to be loyal to one employer?
There is no one single rule. There have been cases where people who have changed their job repeatedly in a short space of time have finally found themselves in our company, and they are doing fine. It’s also the case that people work with us for 10-15 years, but their ideas never run out, as they’re constantly thinking about how to improve the work processes and how to bring value to the company.
In general, younger workers tend not to stay too long in the same company and change jobs more often than older workers. They want to try new things and are less interested in stability.
There are also an increasing number of situations where a worker who wants to change their job is offered better pay or benefits by his or her employer and decides to stay. Do these employer decisions pay off in the long term?
This trend has been particularly strong in the last few years. We have people that we have retained in this manner, and they are doing very well, continuing to fulfil their potential and are climbing the career ladder. If the employee is a good fit for the company, has delivered excellent results, and has the specific knowledge and competences that we need, he or she should be retained. It takes a long time to bring in a new person, and there is no guarantee that he or she will be a good fit for the position. Thus, the cases where an employer retains a worker who is about to quit are more likely to be successful than not. However, the retention of one staff member can affect the motivation of other staff members, so it is necessary to look at each case on its own merits and think about how it might affect our other staff.
In the long term, once a person has made a move, the employer should be prepared to strengthen the competences of the people that are most needed, as well as to provide additional training and development opportunities to ensure that the work processes are not undermined by the change. When change finally happens, it will then be less painful because the right preparations have been made.
I believe that there is no need to try to keep the employee a second time – if a second situation happens, it means that the employee wants to grow in a different field or company and should be allowed to do that.
In a highly competitive labour market, an employee who decides to change jobs, especially one with strong competences, foreign language skills and a high level of IT literacy, as well as innovative thinking and ideas, will receive a number of offers from different companies. The candidates themselves are usually open about this, mentioning that they have several job offers and will choose the one that appeals to them the most. For some, it could come down to the salary, for others it could be the name of the company, etc.
Looking at the recruitment process in Lithuania, one gets the impression that talent is being lured in with all sorts of goodies – “workations”, hybrid working models, fridges full of food, etc. What are the best ways to attract talent to your company, and what motivates your employees?
In our case, candidates are most attracted by our name, the international nature of our activities and the stability of our company. They associate our company with the opportunity to work in a multicultural team, where they can realise their potential through work experience, while growing their competences and contributing to the company’s development through creativity, ideas and innovations.
We have also found that one of the most successful motivational tools is employee recognition and rewards. We run a range of programmes to incentivise our employees, from the Employee of the Month award, which we collectively choose through the Peero app, to the WOW courier project and more.
Venipak operates not only in the Baltic States, but also in China and the Netherlands. What are the specific features of recruitment in different markets?
Each market has its own specificities and labour regulations. For example, in some places health insurance is a necessary motivational tool, while in others a gym membership or food vouchers are considered as a standard incentive.
However, we share some of the same HR initiatives and motivational tools, so that’s how we support our common culture. These include value rewards, Christmas presents and training. In September, all the company employees, regardless of the country, will receive remote training on how not to burn out at work – as the human challenges are mostly the same.
We also run a leadership development programme for all mid-level managers. The standards of what they have to learn is the same, but the lecturers are local, as this training can only be in the local language.
The main difference between the Baltic States and China, in terms of the recruitment and retention process, is the completely different legal framework. On the other hand, the Baltic countries have a lot of commonalities and the same rules, so we can easily share and compare our practices and experiences with each other.