Business and Employee Development in Bosnia

Equus Group

1. No Poverty 8. Decent Work and Economic Growth 10. Reduced Inequalities 16. Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Overview

Since forming, Equus Group has hired Bosnian employees as part of their global workforce in an effort to give back and provide opportunities to those otherwise not available in a developing country. These employees are fully integrated into the company through training and ownership of business solutions, and providing intellectual rights and profits to all. The employee integration model for Bosnian employees supports the following UN goals, decent work and economic growth, reduced inequalities, and no poverty.

Authors

Michael Brechter

Michael Brechter

Zhiwei Xing

Zhiwei Xing

Danijel Maracic

Danijel Maracic

School

Case Western Reserve University - Weatherhead School of Management

Case Western Reserve University - Weatherhead School of Management

Professor

Scot Lowry

Scot Lowry

Innovation

Since its founding in 2013, the US-based company Equus group has employed 6 Bosnian employees while creating a formula to integrate these international employees into every facet of their business. The core of their integration program is training, ownership of business solutions, and providing intellectual rights and profits to all.

The integration of training and ownership of business solutions has helped the Bosnian employees acquire valuable skills and knowledge they might have not otherwise been provided. Biljana described how she "required them to speak English in all meetings" and introduced them to Grammarly to strengthen their English skills. The employees are then able to use these skills when working with English speaking customers. Biljana mentioned this training was vital because "this allowed my employees to participate in client meetings and solutions."

The other aspect of the integration program is providing intellectual rights and profits to these employees. The Bosnian employees are paid a living wage and are eligible for additional profits through intellectual rights. The money made by the Bosnian employees then helps to support the developing Bosnian economy.

Business and Employee Development in Bosnia

Inspiration

Biljana mentioned "growing up in Bosnia and wanting to give back" as her main driver for integrating Bosnian employees into her company. Her perspective of knowing the "bad situation" of growing up in Bosnia because of poverty and corruption inspired her to give back. She described her ultimate goals to "build a bridge between people in Bosnia and US, ...introduce Bosnia to US clients, make young employees communicate more in English with local clients, and give them chance to visit the US."

Overall impact

Equus's integration program has hired 6 employees in Bosnia. Since being hired these employees have been able to develop their English skills through training and involvement in business solutions, such as speaking with English-speaking clients to develop and deliver solutions. Through this they have become full business partners within the company compared to more traditional outsourced labor.

The other impact of the innovation is on the Bosnian economy. The salary and profits made by the Bosnian employees allow them to make a living wage which goes directly into the Bosnian economy. Jobs that pay a living wage like these provide more of an incentive for local citizens to stay and work in Bosnia further developing the economy. These impacts will provide a lasting supporting Biljana's main goal of giving back to her hometown.

Business benefit

Hiring and integrating 6 Bosnian employees has allowed Equus Group to hire employees with equivalent skills compared to US employees but at a lower wage. This has helped control costs for the business. Since the Bosnian employees still make a living wage, an additional benefit is low employee turnover with international hires.

The other benefit of this approach is opening a new labor pool to recruit and hire from. Being based in northeast Ohio, the company can hire employees with different perspectives, backgrounds, and skills that may be difficult to find locally.

Social and environmental benefit

After the integration program, the 6 Bosnian employees are provided wages that directly feed into the Bosnian economy. Their wages and taxes help provide support to other local Bosnian business owners and their families. Providing a living wage has also provided an incentive for those hired to stay in Bosnia further strengthening the economy.

Equus group hired employees from many different religious and ethnic backgrounds. This goes against the norm in a country where religious and ethnic tensions still exist. When discussing the company's hiring practices, she noted: "I was never bothered by religious allegiance and racial identities." Having a group of diverse Bosnian employees working together provides an example that everyone can work together peacefully in the region.

Interview

Biljana Lovrinovic, Owner

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Equus Group

Equus Group

Eastlake, OH, US

Business Website: https://equusbranding.com/contact-us/

Year Founded: 2013

Number of Employees: 2 to 10

Equus Group is a "marketing, branding and advertising agency". Their scope of services includes marketing, brand, and advertising consulting. Some examples include website design, brochures, and social media.