EAE Business School recently took part in the Barcelona Fashion Summit, an event that took place on 4th February at Barcelona’s Palau de la Música. This is the most prestigious conference for fashion professionals held in our country. This year saw the event’s fourth edition, which was entitled ‘Keys for Growth’ and focused on the critical factors for expansion (when, how and where). This forum is organized by the website Modaes.es and it welcomed leading professionals from the sector at both a national and international level.
After the various presentations, we had the opportunity to chat to Javier L. Crespo, Director of the Master in Human Resources Management and a doctor of social psychology, who took part in the conference “People: How to Form a Team in order to Grow”.
What did your participation in Barcelona Fashion Summit 2016 involve?
I took part in a round table to discuss the efficient management of executive teams within the fashion sector. I think that it is an extremely strong niche market, an industry that does things very well and which is starting to achieve extremely advanced development in terms of HR policies. We have realized how important people are to a business’s performance and is interesting that they are so concerned about this.
What are the main differences between human resources policies in the world of fashion and in other markets?
My wife works in fashion and it is a field that I know very well. There are aspects that are common in all areas, which generally tend to be acquiring talent that contributes add value to both the organization and the customer. So it is hard to pinpoint underlying differences, as it depends on the company and its objectives.
What values are characteristic of the employees needed in such organizations?
I think that there is a set of values focused primarily at young people, new generations that, in the case of fashion, metabolize these new trends. However, at the same time, I think that this sector offers conditions that really are not very decent. We should bear in mind that these new generations do not want to work in places that are not in line with their values.
What characteristics should the store staff have, for instance?
They should be satisfied workers who enjoy what they do. We must remember that the company sells experiences to everybody that comes into the store. Therefore, the staff must be really motivated and committed, with a good working environment, because that is what they convey to the customers. In this market, as in many others, they prefer people who can turn their hand to many things, rather than being too specialized in particular tasks. They need a blend of training and competence.
How do you manage talent in an organization specializing in fashion?
It is important to invest in the brand image and, right from the start, you have to focus on the candidate experience. They should feel that they have received a warm welcome and they should consider the expectations they hope to achieve in these positions. This must all be effectively managed through the HR Department.
On the Master in Human Resources Management that you took, did you touch on examples related to this sector?
Studying the case of Zara is always a must. The world of fashion makes up a significant part of our industry and, on various courses, we come across aspects related to the sector. The industry has done things well over the years so that, at an educational level, it has always been considered useful to learn from these experiences.