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Opinion 11 February 2020

Work-life balance and productivity will set the agenda this year in people management

Enrique González, BBVA Head of Culture and Employee Communication, analyzes the main challenges facing people management in the workplace. Work-life balance, diversity, inclusion and corporate values are just some of the aspects that BBVA will continue to develop in 2020.

2020 is not just any other year. It’s the start of a decade full of challenges ahead. We are living at a time when people are demanding more just and equal societies, promoting equal opportunities for everyone. A more sustainable world in all aspects: environmental, economic and social.

Companies cannot be detached from these demands and we must work hard to ensure that our best asset -- people -- form part of this paradigm shift.

So far, traditional talent management has been focused on training and professional development. Both aspects are, and will continue to be very relevant, but without a doubt, other factors will set the agenda in the coming years, factors that are more related to the organization’s culture. Of these, I would call attention to three:

The first will be the need to have a purpose and common values shared by all employees to guide our decisions and our behaviors.

Second, it will be essential to continue promoting a diverse and inclusive workplace. It’s been proven that teams consisting of people with different ways of thinking, taking on problems and making decisions get best results. They also have a very positive impact in terms of employee engagement and satisfaction. Therefore, progressing towards an inclusive organization, capable of bringing together different kinds of profiles, is going to be critical to organizations’ success. At BBVA, we’ve been working on diversity plans for quite some time now, with measures aimed at fostering, among other issues, gender equality, and training our leaders to identify unconscious biases to eliminate stereotypes and prejudice in our way of thinking.

Finally, I would like to underscore the need to promote work-life balance. Almost three months ago, BBVA lunched “Work Better & Enjoy Life”, a plan aimed at improving our teams’ productivity and their work-life balance. The first datasets we’ve gathered attest to the initiative’s favorable reception: over 60 percent of employees in Spain have told us that it’s helped them boost their productivity and their work-life balance. But we still have a long way ahead of us. We need to keep strengthening a culture that promotes productivity, where work is organized according to goals while allowing employees to strike a healthier balance between their personal and professional lives. And managers play a pivotal role in this whole process, because they are a crucial lever to activate this cultural shift we want to achieve.

It is time for people to start reaping the benefits of the age of opportunity, and we, the organizations, need to start working to ensure they can. A purpose and a set of values shared across the whole organization, nurturing a more diverse and inclusive workplace, and promoting work-life balance will be our key lines of work in 2020.

Opinion column published on Employee Benefits.