As the year draws to a close, we can look back to analyse the topics that have been most discussed over the least twelve months and so take stock of the current situation and the challenges that we face in the near future. EAE Business School continues to reinforce its commitment to its relations and partnerships with other Organizations and Associations, with the objective of jointly enhancing knowledge in the various sectors. Thanks to these bonds, these Schools has hosted, held and participated in several events and talks on the year’s hottest issues.
Digital transformation of companies
Digital transformation has moved on from being an objective or project to become a full reality. To a greater or lesser extent, it now forms part of organizations, which are facing a series of challenges in the process.
This was one of the issues covered in a conference entitled “Trends in training and development in companies”, held on 17th November in collaboration with the APD (Association for Management Progress). In the sessions, the participating students discovered how different companies have tackled this challenge, including Bankia, Amadeus, Havas Group, Orange España, LG Electronics and Accenture, among others. During the talk, Rafael Fernández Qundez, Director of Organization and Talent at CEPSA, joked that the transformation process that the company has undergone and continues to undergo included a broad range of factors right down to “the physical transformation of the building”.
Focusing on the Human Resources Department, the School organized a conference in collaboration with the AEDIPE (Spanish Association of Personnel Management and Development) on 19th January. Entitled “The Future of HR in 2017: Transformation of the HR Department”, the session welcomed the participation of top-level professionals, who drew conclusions on the role of this department in organizations.
At the Madrid Campus, the School organized activities focusing on digital transformation in the different departments of companies. One of these talks was entitled “Digital transformation in communication departments”, with the participation of Ángel Alloza, the CEO of Corporate Excellence – Centre for Reputation Leadership, and Macarena Estevez, the CEO of Conento. The conclusions of the conference can be summarized by a quote from Alloza: “The challenge that communication directors face is transforming companies to gain a good reputation among the stakeholders”.
The Supply Chain sector is also fully in the throes of digital transformation. The arrival of new technologies gives rise to new business models and practices with opportunities that create value and profits, as well as reducing costs. “The Digitization of Past and Present Supply Chains”, at the Madrid Campus, and “Supply Chain Management: Trends, Challenges and Opportunities”, at the Barcelona Campus, were two of the conferences organized by EAE Business School and the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals. In addition, in Madrid, we ran a session entitled “Moving Towards Data Logistics”, in collaboration with Adigital, in which we discussed the standardization of labelling and the facilities offered by unique and accessible identification systems for ecommerce packages.
The importance of innovation
Innovation and business culture were two of the key issues covered at the Annual Alumni Reunion 2017. The keynote speaker at the event, Mitch Lowe, the Co-Founder of Netflix and current CEO of MoviePass, focused on innovation within entrepreneurship and how a small idea can turn into a giant, as was the case with Netflix.
This was not the only event to focus on innovation. To varying degrees, many of the activities and events organized by EAE Business School dealt with the topic in different departments and companies. The lecturer at the School Luis Capdevilla discussed the cyber-industry with Joan Francesc Fondevilla, a lecturer at EAE and the Director of Cecable, and Gian Lluis Ribechini, the Founder of innogenierum.com. In the webinar “Industry 4.0, the Future of Technological Innovation”, the speakers spoke about the future of technological innovation, with an in-depth analysis of the opportunities and technological foundations.
Enric Bayó, the Director of Innovation Management at ACCIÓ (the Catalan Competitiveness Agency), also led a number of Focused Programs on the same issue. Aware of the fact that innovation is a key element for remaining at the forefront, Bayó stated that it must form part a company’s DNA and its culture”. Looking to the future, the expert added that we have shifted from a product-focused period to a service-focused age, “that is increasingly moving towards experiences”.
Focusing on the creation of attractive business models in order to promote business development, the School organized a web conference in September, with eth participation of Xavier Ayneto, the CEO of Ideas2Value Network. “Driving innovation to make your business more competitive” gave us an insight into the motives and profiles that drive innovative companies. A motivated team, analysis of the environment to detect threats and opportunities, strategy alignment and the importance of measurement were some of the key factors highlighted by the guest speaker
The year got under way at EAE Business School with two key activities: the presentation of the 1st Talent Management Barometer in Spain, a study drafted by the International Organization of Human Capital Directors, and the presentation of the Report on the Positions and Competences in the Highest Demand in Companies (EPyCE 2016), prepared by the AEDRH, EAE Business School, Human Age Institute and CEOE.
The former focuses on four areas: talent acquisition, retention, development and dissociation. It emphasized contracting junior profiles by companies through internship schemes and young talent acquisition programs, particularly in the areas of operations and marketing. Innovation is also happening in terms of sources of recruitment, beyond the company’s website, using social media such as Instagram.
Meanwhile, the EPyCE 2016 report presented the data and figures on the positions and competences in the highest demand now and in the future, both in terms of junior and senior profiles. In view of digital transformation, the field in the highest demand is technology, a trend that will continue in the future. Moreover, in terms of competences, for junior profiles, the ranking is headed by commitment, followed by teamwork, while for senior profiles, the competence in the highest demand was strategic vision, followed by customer orientation.
With the aim of advising and help the students of EAE Business School to enhance their employability, the School also organized several activities focusing on social media, dealing with headhunters and recruiters, preparing for a professional interview and developing a professional strategic plan.
Fernando Calleja and Cristina Villanova, experts in profile selection using social media, they gave the participants tips on developing a good personal image in a webinar entitled”. Another of the sessions held in October entitled “Tips for developing a professional career plan”, in collaboration with Victoria Redondo, an expert in internal communication and human resources at BT Spain, underlined the need to “map out a professional path, take control of our career and sketch out a roadmap”.
As well as Talent Management, other issues to be covered included remuneration systems and the “requirements” of the new talents with respect to the companies that take them on. Francesc González, the General Director of AQPE and a lecturer at EAE, gave participants an overview of remuneration systems from Ford’s policy onwards. “A good salary goes beyond financial remuneration: a good boss, professional prospects, training opportunities, an innovative environment and a variety of tasks are just a few of the factors that comprise a good salary”.
Leadership in diverse teams
Changes in companies, embracing new technologies and hiring new young talents also require changes in the company culture and, first and foremost, the elimination of hierarchies in the working teams and figures identified as ‘bosses’. The need for leaders has been the focus of several activities, events and round tables throughout 2017, but what do we understand by the term leader?
In September, Santiago Ávila, the lecturer in Human Behaviour in Organizations at the Barcelona Campus of EAE Business School, led a Focused Program entitled “Learn to be a charismatic leader”, in which he underlined the concept of transformational leadership (“the common process of leader and workers moving towards a higher level of morale and motivation”), as well as motivation as a key factor in leadership style. In this respect, he differentiated between extrinsic motivation, conditional and focused on remuneration, intrinsic motivation, from within the individual, and transcendent motivation, determined by satisfaction without expecting anything in exchange.
Activities more focused on team diversity and the need to enhance the visibility of the challenges face by female executive included “Shared role: from micro-machismo to collaboration” and the round table “Our company: Women. 30 Years of Achievements and a Future of Challenges”.
“There are no exclusive tasks – they are all shared” was the main conclusion of the first management conference, organized by the Community of Madrid and the Fundación Personas y Empresas. “In terms of diversity, we have made progress, but we have to keep fighting for diverse environments”, emphasized Pilar Llácer, the lecturer on Human Resources on the MBA at EAE Business School. Divided into five conversations with experts, among other issues, the conference covered the proportions of women in STEM professions and how to network without differentiating for gender. They also discussed the differences between feminine and masculine leadership. On this matter, José Miguel Caras, the Director of Training and Development at Santander España, highlighted the trend toward “authentic leadership, characterized by coaching, motivation and concern for the development of the team and people, regardless of the leader’s sex”.
With respect to the round table entitled “Our Company: Women. 30 Years of Achievements and a Future of Challenges”, four guest experts in a various business sectors came together to mark the 30th anniversary of the AMMDE (Madrid Association of Female Directors and Businesswomen). “We have to build a better society for future generations”, emphasized Sara Navarro, the President of the Association. Meanwhile, the directors underlined the need to believe in oneself when undertaking a project. “Incorporating you female DNA”, “looking for the opportunity, without fear. If we want to, we can”, “Our Professional and personal lives do not need to be in conflict; All you need is passion and drive”, and “keep insisting that there is room for women; we are strong and capable” were some of the motivational phrases that the panel members emphasized to the female audience.