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Human capital 18 Feb 2020

Putting employees at the heart of corporate strategy

The financial industry has experienced a series of changes that have revolutionized the way banks engage with customers. In this evolving context, the next step is to apply this change to the way banks relate to their employees. Only the companies that manage to put their employees at the heart of their strategy will be able to attract, retain and develop the best talent. Some of our main challenges regarding Talent at BBVA involve empowering employees, diversity, and work-life balance.

In recent years, BBVA has added new value propositions to the business, such as designing a more attractive and simple customer experience, using data to personalize services and enhancing the mobile channel to interact with customers. “We started with customers, offering them solutions to make their lives easier, advising them at critical moments and helping them improve their financial health,” says Imma Catalá, the Head of Strategy and Solution Development in BBVA’s Talent and Culture department. “Now we are focused on how we can do the same with our employees to prepare them for the future. It’s hard to predict, but many studies say that some of today’s jobs will no longer exist in a few years, or will need different skills and other new job opportunities will appear for which we have not yet being trained,” she adds.

The people working at the bank are not limited to economists and finance experts. The profiles that are currently most in demand are those with training in quantitative finance or data analysis, such as big data and business analytics. That’s why, selection and internal training programs have been completely transformed. “We are taking innovative action to attract new talent, such as datathons and hackathons. We have also implemented internal programs to create communities of knowledge and training in order to offer employees training in these new skills,” explains Catalá.

Imma Catalá-Talent & Culture- BBVA

Imma Catalá, Head of Strategy and Solution Development in BBVA’s Talent and Culture department. - BBVA

For example, BBVA’s training model puts employees in charge of their own development, giving them autonomy to determine their learning journey. “We were used to a predictable environment in which we could plan out careers in the medium and long term. Today’s evolving environment is transforming all of this. That’s why we ask employees to take responsibility for their own careers, to learn, and stay up to date. Ultimately, they should take the lead in their careers.”

A flexible, more diverse environment

The new generations are adding a different perspective in this vision. They are professionals with new priorities and expectations who seek to develop their careers, but also highly value aspects such as flexible hours, diversity and equal opportunities. They also want to join more humane organizations with a purpose and social impact, while working to achieve a more sustainable world.

In order to face the challenges of this new paradigm, “At BBVA, we have been evolving traditional approaches to organizing work and leadership, moving toward an environment in which all of our employees are leaders in their area of responsibility,” says Catalá. “Leadership guided by a purpose and values, and doing it with integrity, empowering teams to be entrepreneurial and making them responsible for their decisions and results.”

Last November, the bank launched a new productivity and work-life balance plan, with important measures related to digital disconnection. “On the one hand, we included best practices to achieve an efficient use of time. And on the other, bold, more visible measures related to digital disconnection and the closing of the bank’s corporate headquarters in Spain at 7:00PM,” she explains. Services provided at corporate buildings (restaurants, transportation, gym) have also been adapted to this schedule.

In the end, it’s about creating an environment that is attractive to employees, efficient for the company, but that also ensures equal opportunities. “The environment is now flexible enough for men and women to have the same opportunities.” Obtaining a diverse workforce in the broadest sense makes it possible to adapt better to the needs of the heterogeneous mix of customers and offer them more comprehensive service.

“By putting employees at the center, offering them all the tools for their professional development, and creating a diverse and inclusive environment, we will ensure that everyone looks for opportunities where they can add value and feels more satisfied with their career,” she concludes.

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