May 3, 2024

Valerija Buzėnienė: running an HR-themed podcast & tips for HR professionals in startups

Valerija Buzėnienė: running an HR-themed podcast & tips for HR professionals in startups

Valerija, if you had to introduce yourself and your activities in one sentence, how would it sound?

I am a manager who has successfully grown a recruitment business, I am energised by people, the dynamics of business and the taste of results, and I love to learn and share my experience with others in different formats: trainings, books, articles, podcasts, or just meeting over a cup or a glass.

How do you manage to combine activities and not get burnt out working in the "people sphere"?

The fascinating thing about working with people is that you never stop learning from those around you. I try to learn something from each person, and for years when I interviewed a candidate, I consciously set myself the goal of not only getting to know and assess them, but also to learn something new myself. I come away from every interview with information about the new business, the structure, the management methods, the moods, the recommended books, the travel destinations, and much more. Not to mention how much we learn about ourselves when we are in a team, when we are striving for something, or even when we fail.

I'm sure that a lot of your attention is currently consumed by the "Žmogiškieji iššūkiai“ (Human Challenges) podcast. How did the idea of creating an HR podcast come about?

It came into my life completely by accident. Aurimas Mikalauskas, the founder of Audioteka, started this podcast, I was one of the first speakers, I talked about attracting talent, and I announced the book "Misija Talentai" (Mission Talents), written by Saulius Jovaišas and I. After recording the first season, Aurimas decided to delve deeper into other topics and asked me to take over the helm of Human Challenges. I was very hesitant to take the helm, but now I am very grateful to Aurimas because the podcast allows me to do what I like to do the most: to go deep into new topics/learn, to meet interesting people, to share and to help others to share their knowledge.

If you had to choose one episode of "Žmogiškieji iššūkiai“ that you would recommend our readers to listen to, which episode would it be?

It's like my daughter's question: which is your favourite child 😊 "Žmogiškieji iššūkiai“ has already accumulated 75 episodes, so there is something for everyone. We've talked about a wide range of topics with very interesting interviewees.

For me personally, one of the most memorable stories is from the episode about stay interviews. I was planning to do a post on this methodology with Kristina Glumbake (then Juknevičiūtė) from Pepco and I thought I would write to the author of the methodology, an American, Richard P. Finnegan. To my surprise, Richard not only wrote back, but also agreed to participate in the podcast, to share first-hand information about the method. It is such a small world.

Valerija Buzeniene

You've grown a successful company from the start-up stage. We are part of the start-up community ourselves, and we have a number of HR professionals working in young companies among our readers. What are the 3 things HR professionals working in start-ups should know?

I don't have any golden tips. For HR people, the most important thing is to listen to the essence and the need, to act not out of fashion or habit, but to achieve the best result for the company. Startups have a lot of charm because of their speed and ideas, but it is also important for them to have people who are highly adaptable, flexible and open to experience. Startups should pay close attention to these qualities during the selection phase.

It's always fun to ask top professionals what trends they see in the market. What are the current HR market pain points in your environment? What are the biggest challenges for HR professionals in the near future?

I joke that for as long as I have been working, there hasn't been a single year when you couldn't call the job market "interesting". We have candidate expectations that are more towards reality now, but the tension in the job market hasn't gone away. There is still a lot of focus on work organisation (workplace, working time, other related arrangements), benefits, the emotional well-being of employees, and quality leadership and management skills development remain a priority. Also, IoT is slowly entering and changing all HR routines, and it is important to seize this opportunity.