Meet the newest addition to the Organisation Development team at Sheffield, Dr Petar Milojev. Petar is a leader in the field of personality assessments as well as people systems design. He has worked at several universities throughout New Zealand as well as overseas, including as Professor of Psychology in Malaga, Spain.
Tell us broadly about your background?
I suppose I have always had a multi-pronged career. I have spent a considerable amount of time, and continue to do so, in the investigative and research space. I worked in academia as a researcher, lecturer, and later professor of applied and social psychology, playing with and investigating all sorts of theories, ideas and psychological phenomena, both across NZ and overseas. At the same time, I have always been drawn to practical applications of psychological principles and investigative techniques. This has led to a long line of private consulting in this space, including quite a bit of time collaborating with Sheffield as an Associate.
What are you looking forward to about working with Sheffield?
The move from an associate consultant to an internal team member at Sheffield is exciting. I am really looking forward to working more closely with everyone.
I also think that working with Sheffield in this capacity will lead to a lot of interesting developments in the way of organisational development and assessment offerings, and I am looking forward to putting my psychological background to use in putting these things together into an integrated framework that contributes meaningful value to our clients.
Where do you see the future of organisational development going?
I think we are seeing a shift in the way things are done globally. Most people are likely familiar with the slow shift towards measurement, analytics and data-driven decision-making. The really interesting thing is that this trend is complemented by a more recent move towards a ‘humanistic’ approach to organisational development and human talent management. Some of the old ‘one-size-fits-all’ ways of doing things are questioned, with research-backed evidence brought against them, and are replaced with more people-centred, adaptive and agile approaches. I think this combination of analytical rigour with a focus on more bottom-up processes and well-being is a hugely effective and powerful approach, and an exciting shift in the field.
What are the biggest challenges facing employers these days?
Insofar as we are talking about challenges relating to the human factors in the business landscape, these, by and large, revolve around attracting and retaining the ‘right’ talent. The ‘right’ talent here refers to that which can support the business strategy in the short- and long-term. Of course, strategy itself is a challenge, given the unpredictable nature of the landscape in which most organisations operate, and the need to be agile and adaptive. So, the issue then gets a little complex.
What is something that more business should start doing?
Invest in smart human talent intelligence. The importance of having well-planned, valid and adaptive assessment procedures cannot be understated. Despite the common references to ‘people analytics’ and ‘big data’, not enough businesses are deploying assessment practices towards achieving a strategic advantage. Traditional, once-a-year assessment efforts are proving more and more inadequate in providing timely, actionable intelligence in a changeable and dynamic business landscape. This really needs to be a point of focus for more organisations, particularly in New Zealand.
Oh, and start paying attention to and supporting general health and wellbeing.
What’s something that more businesses should stop doing?
One size does not fit all. So stop it. Seriously. Despite what the traditional views of human motivation suggest, such as the various misinterpretations of the hierarchies of needs, people are invariably motivated by meaning. Our ability to create and communicate meaning is in many ways what makes us human. As an employer concerned about the ‘employer brand’ you need to invest a whole lot of effort in understanding and communicating your ‘why’? Similarly, your people have their own meaning, their own strengths and weaknesses, and things that they identify with. And they want to be heard. So make sure you measure, ask questions and listen much more regularly than you probably do already. This will drive engagement and benefits for all.
Favourite business book?
I didn’t really have one for a long time. I spent far too much time getting my information from various journal articles and research reports. That is until a good friend recently opened my eyes to the book called ‘Nine Lies About Work: A freethinking leader’s guide to the real world’. Definitely check it out!
Three words to describe you…
That is either too few or too many words. In any case, far too revealing.
What advice would you give your 20-year old self?
Relax. Most things are not that serious.
I don’t really do favourite quotes or sayings or lines. They all just roll around in there and pop up when least appropriate. Current champ: “Anything in life worth doing is worth overdoing.” (Uncredited, more or less.)