Confirmed: “It’s important to train our leaders. They need a quick brain, but also a good heart”, Olga Serrano, Costa Cruceros’ HR Manager.
04 de February de 2021
04 de February de 2021
The Human Resources department has begun to gain major relevance in the business world since it provides companies with the opportunity to redirect their people management systems as strategic assets. What does this mean? It means that the people in charge of this area face the continuous challenge of making everyone in the company carry out their job efficiently —alone and as part of a team— without losing sight of the fact that every working relationship is a two-way thing: employees are the company’s most important asset while, at the same time, the company’s success is in its employees best interest.
On top of that, HR has to face this complex challenge while adapting to the ever changing needs of companies. For this, it must have a comprehensive understanding of how the company works, be up to date withthe latest trends, tools and practices and be completely aware of its role.
That’s why we centred our latest Career Talks, “The New Strategic Role of HR”, around this topic. In this event organised by EAE, we were able to listen to firsthand professional experiences by Diana Molina (Llorente & Cuenca - Senior HR Generalist) and Olga Serrano (Costa Cruceros - HR Manager for Spain and Portugal) as well as their methods to create value for their companies though their teams.
During the complex situation we’ve lived through in 2020 —especially since working from home became the “new normal”—, the role of HR as an ally of employees has stood out. Diana Molina explains: “I think this whole experience has proven helpful in bringing light to our role inside the company and the help we can provide”.
As for Olga Romero, she agrees that, before the pandemic, HR’s role was much more administrative, while now it has become much more strategic: “We are communicators and listeners; we generate empathy and help manage emotional intelligence. People are the most important part of a company and the department that manages them should be as well”.
Check-EAE: These statements have been double-checked (viewed and verified) by our “Work of the Future Centre” director, Pilar Llácer: “Talent management is proving to be one of this pandemic’s key indicators. Working from home has been proven as a feasible option for many professions. Now, the challenge for HR will be to customise the options and the work mode based on professional profiles, bearing in mind that face-to-face contact is needed to create culture”
If we had to put what this last year represented in one word, it would definitely be “change”. On this topic, Olga explains that there are four stages in any transition process:
Check-EAE: check (viewed). Pilar Llácer states that, even when it’s true that new competencies are needed for HR (less administrative ones, since many tasks will be automated) —as well as more impact, customisation and creativity—, this department should have acted as the game changer a lot sooner and it should have taken the leading role in the digital transformation.
All companies have something in common: transparency is absolutely necessary. That’s the conclusion to which Diana arrived: “It’s crucial to be clear about the company’s situation, about the changes that will take place, about what the company needs from its employees… And, at the same time, it’s important to pay attention to the worker’s needs”. This is also confirmed by Olga as she states that, if there’s something wrong, it’s always better to talk about it and work together with employees than suffering from lack of communication.
Check-EAE: check (viewed). Nevertheless, Pilar Llácer insists on the fact that there’s still a long way to go in order to reach transparency and exemplariness in companies because there’s still a lot of information that is kept from employees: “These two competencies are essential for the success of HR and the company. A new style of leadership should be sought, one that’s more open, that feels closer and that treats employees like responsible adults”.
Regarding good practices that could be developed by HR departments, Diana explains that it’s all about listening to the needs of each employee and seeing how that could fit the strategy of the company. As for Olga, she recommends that teams should be much more independent than they used to and companies should put more trust in their employees for everything to work out: “It’s really important to train our leaders. They need a quick brain, but also a good heart”.
Each leader plays a role that, besides being strategic, must work towards calming and stabilising the team. Especially taking into account that “when working in teams, roles have ceased to exist, they have dissolved. Things are no longer seen in terms of I’m your boss and you are my subordinate. Now everyone works towards achieving a common goal”, as Olga explains. Diana shares this opinion and insists on the importance of getting back the trust in employees after the situation we have experienced and that we are still living through: “Keeping the seat warm is no longer a thing”.
Check-EAE: check (viewed). However, Pilar Llácer thinks that this moment hasn’t arrived yet: “There’s quite a hierarchical managing style that stands in the way of agile decision making. The strategic role of HR should drive this change in leadership style”.
After “checking” this meeting out, one thing has become clear as day: Covid-19 has taken us for a tough ride and it seems to still have fuel to continue. But let’s not panic! We still have a long road ahead of us, full of learning and growing opportunities before we get off this boat and reach our destination. It doesn’t matter if we are captains or sailors, the key to getting to safe harbour will always be having a good crew.