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Employment and in the digital environment

The digital revolution has transformed the business of many industries and the way in which they offer services to their customers. Carlos Casas and Ophélie Richard, or BBVA’s Talent & Culture area, addressed during Talent Day 2018 how these changes also require companies to radically transform the way in which they work and manage in-house talent.

Talent day is an event that serves as a meeting place for professionals to debate trends<0} and new initiatives in the development of company talent.  This year’s event, held in June at Reina Sofía Art Museum in Madrid, gathered over 850 executives, including several members of BBVA’s Talent and Culture team.

“To understand the transformation needs of the talent management functions in the financial sector, we need to understand first the huge transformation underway in our industry,” said Carlos Casas, head of Compensation, Benefits and Key Role Management. Banks used to offer very similar product portfolios to their customers, and their ability to differentiate themselves from the competition greatly depended on the capillarity and accessibility of their physical distribution networks and their risk-adjusted pricing policies.

Technology has dramatically changed the playing field,” said Casas. “And it has changed it at many levels, including the nature of our commercial portfolio and the way in which we reach out to our customers.”

From standardized products to tailored services

On the one hand, “our ability to get customers to trust us with their data, and trust the way we process and interpret them, allows us to develop products and services that really meet their needs and help them make better financial decisions.” An example of this shift from classic products to personalized services is BBVA Valora, a digital platform that helps prospective homebuyers or renters make better informed decisions, by providing information about their actual value vs. their asking price. “From a standard product, such as a mortgage, we shifted towards an advisory service, that offers much more value to the customers,” concluded Casas.

Another huge change has had to do with the way in which companies reach out to their customers. Banks have gone from exclusively relying on a physical branch, to a model that combines this network with digital channels. And, more importantly, “we do so creating experiences for our customers based on our design capacities, which allows us to really set ourselves apart from our competitors, also in the distribution channels.” As an example of this transformation, Casas cited BBVA’s mobile app, the world’s best according to the Global Mobile Banking Benchmark that Forrester Research publishes every year.

These huge changes that have taken place in the financial industry and in society at large, also require changing radically the way in which companies work and manage talent. Companies need to completely overhaul the way they organize work.

And they need to do it – according to Casas – in two ways. “First, in the way we identify, determine and work on our new priorities. At BBVA, for example, we have gone from having year-long planning cycles, very traditional and predictable in time, to much shorter cycles, more in line with the speed of the waves of disruption sweeping across the globe nowadays. Each quarter we ask ourselves what should we be focusing on, what projects we’re going to launch, and where should we allocate resources. And this is a brutal paradigm shift because we’ve moved from having a very stable work environment to an ever-changing one, where priorities are adjusted to fit the needs we identify at each point in time.

Ophélie Richard talking about talent management.

A liquid organization

The second change affects the way in which people and teams work. “Este nuevo entorno nos obliga a trabajar de una manera más rápida y más ágil. This new environment requires working in a much faster and agile manner. For BBVA, the great transformation in the case of BBVA has been the introduction of agile ways of doing things within the Group, which means replacing fixed structures and hierarchies typical of the past century for a much more liquid organization”.

This new way of organizing work offers three pivotal advantages. “In first place, the creation of multidisciplinary teams, capable of managing a product or project’s development cycle in its entirety. Agile methodologies also help improve the quality of end products, the way they meet customer expectations, while significantly reducing time-to-market. And, thirdly, they bolster resource liquidity, allowing us to reassign people from one project to another much faster.

Talent management in the digital era

Regarding talent management, Ophélie Richard, Global Talent Acquisition Discipline Leader at BBVA explained that it’s becoming increasingly pressing to “have a very clear idea of what competencies we are going to need, know our customers very well and work on a model that allows us to make sure that we assign each person to develop the most appropriate role based on their skills and the bank’s needs.”

In this context, the responsibility of businesses in terms of employee advancement is no longer to outline pre-set career plans, but opening opportunities so they can pursue further training programs, build new skills and explore new roles within the organization through open platforms.

That is why BBVA’s training and development model has also changed, said Richard. “We’ve gone from a system where employees expected awaited for the organization’s guidelines to move or enroll in a training program to a new approach that provides all BBVA employees with the resources and tools they need to design their own custom career and training path.

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