Raquel Fernández (Telefónica): "Linking human resources with business strategy is essential to maintain the value of business"

On Thursday, September 21, we were very fortunate to have Raquel Fernández León, Chief People Officer of Telefónica Spain, at Master's Degree at Personnel Management Service in Organizations.

In the session, we were able to further explore the critical role that human resources play in organizations. This informative panel discussion highlighted several key issues that define the current business landscape and the challenges we face today.

On the fundamental aspects that define the business landscape today, we find the following three:

The importance of accepting challenging challenges: Throughout their working lives, employees are faced with a variety of challenges. From this, it was argued that in a constantly evolving business world it is important to accept challenging challenges. These challenges, in addition to boosting our development staff and work, also give us the opportunity to contribute to change and innovation within our organization and within our own and others' careers and staff .

network of contacts and references: contact networks and reference letter people, such as mentors, allow us to have connections that provide us with new approaches and perspectives. In addition to the submission of confidence and motivation needed to effectively advance in our career path. In other words, the active search for references becomes an essential strategy both at staff and at work.

The value of work as a team: work as a team is the main driver of business and organizational success. An effective partnership and good synergy among business members are necessary to achieve organizational goals and effectively address current and future challenges.

Below, we address some of the challenges highlighted in our session:

War of Talent and the Great Withdrawal: we live in an era in which all companies are competing for similar and specifically technological profiles ( cloud control, big data). On the other hand, the status of COVID-19 generated a phenomenon known as the "Great Withdrawal", triggering a radical change in the preferences and expectations of workers, rethinking in companies new demands and challenges. As companies we must be willing to constantly adapt to these changes, to work on flexibility, redesigning our employment offerings and functions to remain constantly aligned with changing priorities, needs and expectations. This, in turn, has led to organizational changes and challenges, as selection processes are stretched over time and high levels of turnover require a new management. 

Business differentiation: Differentiation is crucial in today's market. Processes such as onboarding and offboarding have become an important tool to retain talent and ensure effective and lasting integration into the culture of business.

Reskilling and Upskilling: activities and profiles are changing rapidly, this requires a continuous approach on training and learning for the vast majority of employees. HR has a crucial role to play in leading this subject of initiatives: offering training tools that allow employees to stay updated and aligned with business objectives and with the new strands of activities and profile emergence.

HR and business strategy: Human resources are completely linked to the strategy of business, working in close partnership with the business plans. Therefore, it is essential to know the business strategy in order to maintain and reinforce this alignment. For this, it is essential to have a good Workforce Planning, where profiles and staff volume are clearly defined, according to the strategy defined by the business.

Organizational transformation: the change or transition from a traditional organization to a more agile business model is a current requirement in a world of constant change. For this reason, the "end to end" vision, more flexible roles, introduction of agile methods and new business models have become elements core topic for the adaptability and growth of companies.

Talent, flexibility vs. specialization: in the corporate world, a new question is emerging: what is more important: flexibility or talent? Today, the question of whether to promote flexibility or specialization poses a strategic challenge that requires the design and implementation of a specific development plan.

Gender diversity: promoting gender diversity in organizations is not merely a matter of equality, but also leads to greater innovation, performance and representativeness in today's society.

Influence of leaders on change: the leaders of business play a fundamental role in the management of change and in the long-term growth deadline of business and its employees.

Finally, the Director of People at Telefónica Spain raises and emphasizes a last point challenge, to cover the gap in young talent. Young people are part of a fundamental lever of change to drive innovation, so it is essential to provide training to finally be able to cover the current gap.

The importance of maintaining good relations with labor unions was also emphasized, mainly for two reasons. First, given the company's "social peace" policy, which seeks to maintain a collaborative and harmonious work environment, in order to ensure stability and well-being for its employees. Preserving a positive relationship with the unions will make it easier to achieve this goal, as communication will be more effective and conflict resolution more constructive. Secondly, the fact that 70% of the business employees are within the agreement, requires a strong relationship with the unions. A collective agreement is a labor agreement that establishes working conditions, wages and other issues important to employees. Working with the unions to negotiate and maintain these agreements on favorable terms is crucial to ensuring the well-being and rights of the majority of Telefónica's employees.

At summary, having good relations with unions is crucial for promote social peace, effectively resolving labor disputes and ensuring fair and favorable working conditions for employees at business.

Finally, human resources have become an important component of business strategy and organizational development . During the session, we jointly came to the conclusion that by facing these challenges, building strong networks and promoting a spirit of partnership, we will be prepared to grow and develop in a dynamic business environment in the most constructive way possible.

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