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Attracting talent – Why Millennials are choosing to join Johnson Controls in Bratislava

Millennials are the largest pool of potential employees, and the most attractive because of their typically high education level.

Johnson Controls canteen

Talent acquisition is a challenge for any company, but especially for firms based in Bratislava, which has become a magnet for the business services operations of global companies over the past decade. In addition to Johnson Controls, many multinational firms have business centers in the city. For all firms based here, Millennials, defined as the generation born between 1981 and 1997, are the largest pool of potential employees, and the most attractive because of their typically high education level.

As the Bratislava Business Center continues to grow, we wondered how Millennial employees felt about working for Johnson Controls, a company that is committed to recruiting the best talent in the region.

We interviewed two Millennial employees on the topic: Veronika Turčanová, currently lead accountant, Order-to-Cash, who leads a team of 10 people working on cash application in the EMEA region; and Agneša Ujpálová, Finance lead, Accounts Payable Payments and Resolution Team - North America, heading a 13-person team. Both women are 28 years old. Veronika joined Johnson Controls in May 2014. Agneša began in June 2014. Both have master’s degrees – Agneša in auditing and accounting, Veronika in biology. Veronika also completed double entry bookkeeping training before joining Johnson Controls and is participating in the company’s FIA training program to further develop her accounting skills. Here is an edited version of our discussions.

What attracted you to working for Johnson Controls?

Veronika: Initially I thought I wanted to continue my studies in natural sciences and get a Ph.D. But then I thought ‘Enough with studies. Time to enter the real world.’ I had a friend working for Johnson Controls and she suggested I apply for a position in collections, because I like talking to people and trying new things. So I did and I got the job. All my life I had been interested in finance so the opportunity here appealed to me.

Agneša: I was not attracted to local companies. I didn’t want to work for a small company doing what I already knew how to do. I thought I could learn more with an international company. And I wanted to be able to improve my language skills and maybe get a chance to travel. I started as an accountant at the help center, taking calls from suppliers.

How does the company help you grow professionally, in both hard and soft skills?

Veronika: In many ways – there is a lot of opportunity for motivated people to grow their skills. As an example, there are daily tasks that are a regular part of your job, then ad hoc things come up and I jumped in every time. That way I learned new things and developed a large network of contacts within the company. This network has really helped me grow professionally. I’m also expanding my accounting and finance skills with FIA training through Johnson Controls.

Agneša: In terms of hard skills, like Excel, language training, and more, we have so many training options and it’s easy to take advantage of them. Soft skills are more difficult to teach, but the company includes soft skills in the training options such as good communication practices, team work, time management, and those are very helpful. Even more important is what you can learn from your colleagues. My first line manager taught me how to deal with difficult situations with customers, how to write appropriate emails, how to lead a good conference call. I’m much more confident now in those sorts of things.

Do you feel there are good opportunities for advancement at the company?

Veronika: Yes, if you work hard you are able to achieve.

Agneša: Yes, there are many opportunities. I think the rotation program within the company is especially good. I’m on my third or fourth team since I joined. The rotation program has helped me grow my skills. Of course it always depends on an employee’s expectations, but there are opportunities for growth.

How does the company help you achieve a good work-life balance?

Veronika: I think the company is trying to create a work balance for employees. Our new relaxation areas in Panorama are nice because you can go there, have a coffee and switch off from work just for a little while. Also flexible working hours are helpful. I can start the day at 8 or 9, depending on my schedule. Then there’s a gym in the building, which is really nice.

Agneša: I think it does. For example, my manager is always sending me home if I’m here more than 8 hours. Definitely there are critical situations when you have to stay longer, but then the next day you leave earlier. And there are so many nice things in the new building - the canteen, the kindergarten, the gym downstairs, and we’re adjacent to a shopping mall which is very convenient. Even working the second shift can be good because it lets you get things done in the morning when stores, etc. are not so busy.

What company-sponsored events do you most enjoy – Sports Day, the Christmas party, participating in the annual Our Town volunteer event, or …?

Veronika: Myself and others on my team, we really look forward to all the events at different times of the year. It’s a good group of people and we all enjoy getting together outside work.

Agneša: I participate in all the events. I especially like the annual Our Town volunteer event because we’re doing something good for children, older people, for others. I also like the big Sports Day for the whole company because all employees can be together. All the events are nice because you’re not in front or your computer, you’re doing something that improves the team spirit here, together with all your friends.

How does it feel to work in the new Panorama building? Do the building’s amenities such as the canteen and increased meeting space make your job easier?

Veronika: The new building improves our work day. There are a lot of meeting rooms so you’re always able to find space when you need to meet. It’s really spacious. I like the location. I’m proud of having a smart building. The space outside is very nice. Having the canteen means you don’t have to go outside the building to find lunch, which is just easier. But in this location there are a lot of options nearby if you decide you do want to go out to lunch.

Agneša: I think working in Panorama does make our jobs easier. For example, when looking for a meeting room in one of the old building you had to book it two weeks in advance because there just weren’t enough rooms. Here in Panorama there are many. Also previously we were in three buildings and now it’s great to all be under one roof. I really like the canteen, too. It’s so convenient. We used to have to go out and find a place to have lunch, then wait for our food – we really didn’t have much time to relax and eat. Now we have more time for lunch and the big tables in the canteen are good for getting together with a group to eat. The gym is really nice and the kindergarten is a very big plus. To be able to have your children in the building is great.

Do you appreciate the company’s commitment to sustainability and being a good corporate citizen?

Veronika: Yes - Johnson Controls has gotten much better known since I started here because of our message of sustainability. We’re really the best example of shared services operations among all those Bratislava has.

Agneša: I know from my first role here that our goal is to make customers feel good, to collaborate and innovate to make our customers more comfortable and safe. Also the company thinks ahead, about the future. It really cares about customers and employees. We have great benefits, they care about our health. The feeling is we are important to them and that is really, really good.

As a Millennial, what do you like most about working for Johnson Controls?

Veronika: It is the people. I love the people I work with. I’ve gotten to know lots of people in the course of my work here and that has made the job easier because employees help each other, whether it’s a colleague working in Dubai or wherever. We develop good working relationships and then when you travel for work, people in the other offices are very happy to meet you, and always very helpful.

Agneša: There are so many things – flexible hours, the international environment, the opportunity for growth. If you work hard you can achieve what you want.

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