In a VUCA world such as the one in which the labour market is currently immersed, employee training and professional development are critical factors in the success of organizations. Adapting to changes quickly and effectively requires new skills and competences among the employees of a company on a continual basis, both in terms of young talents and more experience professionals. To analyse the trends and get a first-hand insight into how leading companies in their sectors are managing this process, in collaboration with the APD (Association for Management Progress), EAE Business School organized the conference entitle “Trends in company training and development”, held on Monday 27th November in the CEPSA Auditorium.
Carlos Morán Moya, the Director of Human Resources at CEPSA, got the proceedings under way by welcoming the audience and outlining the issues that would be covered over the course of the morning. Commitment generation, the role of leadership, opportunities offered by new technologies and the digital skills of the workforce were just some of the concepts he mentioned, though he highlighted the need to have people as the focus of our attention.
Along the same lines, Loreto Sanmartín, the Central Region Director of the APD, explained that “there are two critical factors for the success of organizations: talent and people”. During her welcome speech, she also mentioned “new company cultures” that strive to incorporate employee training and development by creating a business culture that promotes lifelong learning. “Make our professionals fall in love with the company”. This is the objective emphasized by Pilar Llácer, a lecturer on the MBA at EAE Business School, which is the challenge facing organizations and which is achieved with an effective employee development program.
Employee Commitment. The quest to humanize the company
Chaired by Irene Pérez Bendaña, The Director of In-company Training at APD, the guests who took part in the first round table to discuss this trend were Rafael Fernández Qundez, The Director of Organization and Talent at CEPSA; Begoña Trasancos, the Director of Human Resources at AMADEUS; Luis Manuel González, the Director of Human Resources at Roche Farma; and Enrique Escalante, Head of Human Resources for Iberia at the Havas Group. The four questions posed to the guests where how they understand commitment in their company, what tools and strategies they use to develop ‘Business to Human’ systems, which KPIs they use and what advice they could offer in this respect.
“As far as CEPSA is concerned, commitment involves a good work-life balance, a good boss who leads and finds out from our employees how their work is going and how they can evolve”, responded Rafael Fernández first of all. During his contribution, the Director of CEPSA explained the transformation the company has undergone and is still undergoing, including various elements such as “the physical transformation of the building” to one in which the workers embrace the experience of forming part of CEPSA, “without office, with just technology”. More than KPIs, Fernández emphasized that the important thing is knowing what the company wants to measure and what that data means. “It is essential to know what is behind the commitment climate surveys in order to develop an appropriate strategy at any given time”.
The multinational Amadeus has received various accreditations and accolades for its talent and commitment management. Since 2010, they have begun to train their directors on how to generate commitment. Begoña Trasancos, the Director of Human Resources at Amadeus, highlighted that “a multicultural character, an interest business profiles, career progression, the importance of investing in R&D&I” are some of the factors that attract new candidates, as well as operating in an ‘attractive’ sector, such as technology and tourism. Trasancos explained the Amadeus is in the midst of a “change in culture” that started in 2012, which she admits has “affected the company’s KPIs”, an important factor to take into account when conducting commitment surveys.
Vision 2020 is the project that was started at Roche Farma with the aim of getting all the company’s employees more committed, by “getting them involved in all stages from decision-making right through to the execution of these decisions”, explained Luis Manuel González. As far as he is concerned, the key word is inclusion: “Asking our employees about their concerns, their comfort, what changes they would make, etc., and listening to what they have to say and propose, with the company taking it on board”.
For his part, Enrique Escalante, the Head of Human Resources for Iberia at Havas Group, started his presentation by outlining the situation in his sector, in which renovation and transformation shifting towards all things digital was crucial. “The company culture and commitment shapes how people feel about the way they work”, explained the guest, underlining the absence of hierarchies, collaborative organizations and an interest in CSR issues. “Creating sharing and learning are our three lines of approach to foster commitment and get workers involved in the company’s strategy”.
Leadership to strengthen the culture. Growing together
The second round table was chaired by José Conejos, the Managing Director of BE UP, and included the guests Ignacio de Orúe, the General Director of People, Communication and Institutional Relations at Orange España; Gonzalo de la Rosa, the Director of Human Resources at Cetelem BNP Paribas; Eva Figueroa Salado, the Director of Human Resources at Astellas España; Fernanda Cardama, the Global Head of Human Resources, Organization & Communication at MAXAM; and Carmen Polo, the Director of Human Resources at AXA Seguros.
The trend that they focused on was leadership and the shift that organizations are experiencing from an individual leader towards “organizational leadership”. “True leadership is cross-disciplinary, transformational and emerging”, reflected Conejos during his introduction to the panel.
Carmen Polo, the Director of Human Resources de AXA Seguros, incorporated the concept of self-leadership. “At AXA, we work with people from a competence-based perspective, moving from ‘I’ to ‘we’ as people with the power to transform the organization. This is where leadership and self-leadership begin”.
As the guests reflected on this issue, Gonzalo de la Rosa explained that, at Cetelem BNP Paribas, they are also working to “identify leadership talents” among the people that join the company. Meanwhile, Fernanda Cardama gave us an insight into the transformation process experienced by a company with more than 140 years of history and which has grown from a small national company to an international and global player. “At Maxam, more than a process of change, we have undergone a process of evolution”.
“If we do not change our culture, we will not manage to achieve our business objective”. This fundamental truth is the first thing that we need to embrace, added Ignacio de Orúe. Secondly, he emphasised having conviction in the goal, knowing what we were aiming for and how we are going to measure it. “In third and last place, we need to be aware that the leadership and company culture has to start with the CEO and the Board of Directors in order to be really effective”.
Technology for optimizing processes
After a short break during which the audience, including students at EAE Business School, made the most of the networking opportunity, the conference continued with the trend. This was chaired by Pilar Llácer, a lecturer in the School’s MBA, with the participation of Javier Delgado, the Director of Human Resources at Telefónica España; José Luis de Federico, the CEO and founder of Grupo Bizpills; Luis M. Moral, the HR /Talent Management Business Partner at LG Electronics; Andrés Ortega, the Head of Talent and Learning for Spain & Portugal at ING España & Portugal; and Francisco Puertas, the Talent and Organization Lead at Accenture.
“What impact has technology had on the people management process?”, Pilar Llácer asked the guests on the panel. Francisco Puertas answered that, at Accenture, technology has been disruptive and explained that they were developing a customized application to establish contact between the employee, the company and the manager, in order to identify the expectations that each of them have.
Meanwhile, Luis M. Moral explained that, at LG Electronics, as may well be expected, “technology is very internalized”. The main area of progress has been the analysis of the data extracted, which is used to get to know the employees better and draw different conclusions to enable the business to operate effectively.
Related to the previous trend discussed, Javier Delgado spoke about “the transformational digital leader”. In the opinion of the Director of Human Resources at Telefónica España, such a leader has to have certain characteristics, such as a passion for embracing technology and knowing how to apply it, the ability to learn from experience and the competences required by each profile.
José Luis de Federico and Andrés Ortega referred to the culture of each company. “At Grupo Bizpills, our philosophy is based on creating startups and letting them fly”, explained De Federico, while Ortega also focused in the learning process facilitated by technology. “We don’t know where we are heading, but we know that we are building a way of learning that is completely different from the way it was understood before”, said the guest with respect to ING’s vision in this respect.
Customer experience for improving decision-making
To bring the conference to a close, Jorge Martínez Arroyo, the President of DEC, chaired the last of the round tables on trends, with the participation of Carlos Hernández Jiménez, the Director of Personnel Strategy and Policy at Bankia; Marta Pancorbo, the Director of Change Management at the Unidad de Crédito Inmobiliario; Luis Blas, the Director of Human Resources at Altadis; and Itziar Vizcaíno, Director of Human Resources for Iberia at MetLife.
During his introduction, the chairman emphasized that the experience has to be real and authentic. “We cannot say that we are one particular way and then act in another way. This panel focuses on what companies are doing with respect to the employee experience”.
The guests then responded to the question. Carlos Hernández explained that, in Bankia, they strive to achieve an “individualized experience and a memorable quality in order to generate a sense of pride of belonging”. Moreover, the guest stressed that it is a mistake not to include the whole team. “Without joint creation, there can be no change”.
Luis Blas, the Director of Human Resources at Altadis, reflected that the challenge that may companies is that they still focus more on the customers than on the employees. “We have to start by measuring the levels of satisfaction of our workers” and the segmentation process plays a key role in this respect, in view of the fact that, as he explained, the concerns of a young new recruit are not the same as the concerns of a senior professional who has been working at the company for 30 years.
On this matter, Marta Pancorbo, the Director of Change Management at UCI, believed that its is not an issue of placing customer or employees at the centre, “but rather people”. The guest even joked about the excessive communication that they have in their company and recommended sharing enthusiasm among the team, as an experience in itself. “We realised that one of our failings is that enthusiasm, just like responsibility, was not distributed among everybody”.
Also discussing branding within the company, Itziar Vizcaíno, the Director of Human Resources for Iberia at MetLife confessed that, in her organization, they work a lot on marketing for the employees: “We have to make them fall in love time and time again”. Giving tips in mistakes to avoid, Vizcaíno mentioned “not being rigid enough”. “We used to activate a lot of improvements because they were appealing. Now we have learned to be stricter and filter, to do fewer things but more efficiently, ensuring that they are linked to the business strategy”.