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Diversity 05 Feb 2020

Humility, training and diversity: key elements in attracting and retaining talent

Paloma Tejada, Director of Talent and Culture and Communications in BBVA’s Client Solutions, participated in a round table discussion entitled “Is your hiring strategy appropriate? Predict performance and feed company diversity”. The goal was to share the path BBVA is pursuing in terms of attracting and retaining talent. Some of the conclusions from the discussions were that humility is the starting point, training is the foundation of the process and diversity will guarantee success.

The session took place as part of the event “Transformative talent and exceptional employees: Who are they and how to attract them” organized by the Association for Progress in Management (APD). Florcy Jiménez, Director of HR for Spain and Portugal at British American Tobacco; Mar Medeiros, Director of the Corporate, Strategic Partnerships and CSR-D at the Inserta-ONCE Foundation; Daniel Ferreiro, the Head of Training and Recruitment at Sanitas Seguros; and Juana Lozano, the Head of Talent at Lactalis Puleva joined the discussion. Bruno Geraldes, the Director of Sales at INDEED, was the moderator.

Above all, humility

A company that seems inaccessible is a company that does not attract talent. Of the characteristics that make up the company’s brand as an employer, the way in which relationships are built between the organization and candidates is one of the most highly valued elements. “At BBVA, we have changed our approach to candidates. We approach them in a more humble manner -- from a position of collaboration and partnership, and not so much as an employer. Some examples of this are our  ‘Datathons’ in which the business areas are the ones that were competing and not the other way around; or our Future Designers program, in which the design experts share with participants the different branches of this discipline in which BBVA can work, explained Paloma Tejada.

Reinforcing this message, Daniel Ferreiro, of Sanitas, said:We are looking for perfect candidates, but… are we a perfect company? For example, do we value the time the candidates invest in our selection process? Sometimes we have thought about somehow compensating them for that.”

Training for new employees and for those who welcome them

There are many different people who participate in a selection process, and the person who is the team manager is one of the most influential, and the most overlooked at the same time. “The managers need to be prepared to conduct job interviews and complement the work of their colleagues in HR,” said Juana Lozano. That’s why one of the measures introduced to support transformational leadership at Lactalis Puleva entails providing selection training to the managers participating in recruitment processes. At the end of the day, they are the ones who will work with the candidates  on a daily basis and they will need to know how to identify their potential.

Paloma Tejada, Director of Talent and Culture and Communications in BBVA’s Client Solutions - APD

However, training is not only a way to attract talent. It’s also a way to retain talent in a context of constant change and demand for new skills. “We are creating career opportunities and building the capacities of our colleagues in technical knowledge areas, such as design, sustainability, behavioral economics, software development, agile coaching and big data through reskilling and upskilling programs,” said Paloma Tejada. “In fact, part of our success lies in the combination of new talent with talent from the bank: we build teams of people that are already familiar with BBVA and our creation framework and put them together with new colleagues that contribute best practices, new perspectives and innovation.”

The diversity creed

Even though there is still a long way to go, the importance of embracing diversity in the corporate landscape is becoming increasingly clear. When minority groups join the workforce, variables such as decision-making, the degree of innovation or the ability to enter new markets improve substantially. Mar Madeiros also views diversity as a tool to help attract customers. “Talent doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t matter if you are a man or a woman, younger or older, or whether or not you have a disability. And the talent we bring on will attract new customers to the company,” she added. “We have to fight against fear and inertia and stop hiring candidates that are the same as we are,” she said.

Paloma Tejada ended her presentation by recalling that people want to work in upright, committed organizations that acts based on principles that are shared by everyone that is a part of the organization. In line with this idea, she stressed the importance of seeing employees as people as a whole -- and not viewing them merely as workers. Breaking away from the fear and inertia Mar Madeiros mentioned, BBVA has launched the program “Work better. Enjoy life” which promotes a culture of productivity and high performance, equal opportunities and work-life balance. “We focus on achieving objectives instead of a long work day, seeking to break with presenteeism. We trust our teams and empower them through flexibility. This program is global and some examples of its measures include: closing headquarters at a certain time, for example at 7:00 PM in Spain; incentives to arrive and leave earlier, like free coffee before 8:00 AM and lower prices at the gym; and of course, the right to digital disconnection, with a limitation on sending and receiving emails between 8:00 PM and 8:00 AM. At BBVA, we believe that being a high performing team is completely compatible with a healthy work-life balance.”