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The DNA of the New Paradigm in People Management


The markets and its behaviour have changed because society and the behaviour of people have changed. This is the unquestionable reality why the majority of companies today face the challenge of reconstructing their value proposition in their respective industries and sectors of activity. Reinvent or teeter… risk or surrender… innovate or… just vanish.

This scenario is not about trends, but survival. We have entered into the era of re-invention, re-definition and re-construction and in such circumstances the capacity for re-generation inevitably involves placing the spotlight onto people.

Such a statement does not uphold a romantic vision of the return to humanism….not even in an attempt to defend the fundamental—yet almost always questioned—role of the HR function. It is vital to focus on the individuals and their abilities because people are the driving force of re-action, for defining, inventing, constructing and generating a new reality, no less.

HR professionals take on a key role in this context: if the capacity for re-generation is shouldered by people themselves, then people management must take on another dimension—a dimension that looks markedly different from what it has been so far.

Let’s leave rhetoric and demagoguery aside, the way the HR function has been intended and understood so far can hardly become a catalyst for re-action at the service of the organization. The need for self-criticism becomes compelling for resetting its own value proposition to ultimately re-direct the function to focus on the capacity for re-action through people.

A self-critical process is called for that allows us to define a new set of responsibilities for the HR function. Beyond fads and trends, value generation from the people area to the business passes through the development, with firm conviction, of the following lines of action:

  1. Lead digitization

There will be no value generation without digitization. The behaviour of people develops independently of time and space. Technology thus becomes the catalyst in this new way of behaving and relating. If the field of people management intends to positively influence business, it will not be enough to be merely an actor. Instead it must become the leader of the digitization process in the organization.

  1. Promote knowledge and generational diversity

In the longest living societies, the ability for at least three generations to live together within the same organizational context (Baby Boomers, Generation X and Millennials) is already a reality. In a highly globalized environment the cultural mix is by now a reality in our companies. The organizational complexity must be offset with diversity, and in this context, a people manager must become a generational integrator and a knowledge catalyst embedded in every corner of the organization.

  1. Develop talent connectivity

It isn’t enough to just identify it or even to retain it. The new dimension in talent management involves connection. One of the main tasks of a people manager must be to build talent communities and platforms, in which professionals express themselves freely, identify one another and make connections that impact business.

  1. Promote transformational leadership

To lead is to transform and change in a setting like today’s; transformation generates value. Transformation calls for a leadership style that does not conform to the prevailing status quo. HR should activate mechanisms and processes that promote the development of a leadership style that manages the organization from, for and towards change.

  1. Set free and practice intelligent disobedience

HR should stop penalizing divergent thinking and understand the richness that a non-conformist, irreverent and anti-establishment attitude harbours. It should identify skills traditionally stigmatized as intelligent disobedience and create spaces where this comes forth to generate value.

  1. Promote knowledge over the net

There is an imperative need to identify the knowledge lodged within the organization and to define mechanisms for its dissemination through the existing formal and informal networks. One of the essential functions of the people management area is to promote knowledge exchange using social technology and virtual communities. The ability to generate value is directly proportional to the ability to promote the knowledge management over the net.

  1. Reclaim the role of emotional management

Within a context in which business reaction will occur through people, HR must recover the importance of emotional intelligence as one of the main mechanisms for exerting leadership. One of the priorities of HR will be to re-educate the organization on the importance of emotional management as the main mechanism for transforming emotions into action, and in turn, into results.

  1. Promote branding as a fundamental practice

The brand and its management must cease to be understood as a “marketese” issue. Interactions with external talent, transmission of cultural values and communication processes to the community are developed through branding. From this angle, HR professionals must build all the necessary initiatives so that the brand is a vehicle at the service of the new value proposition, and thus they become key brand ambassadors.

  1. Establish a culture of conversation

The HR function should abandon its role as "internal communication manager" to become a conversation architect. When HR is aware of the knowledge held among the professionals within the organization, shows leadership over the social technology processes, and acts as the main driver of transformational leadership, then it will become a true generator of the culture of conversation —a vital culture model in the knowledge economy.

  1. Promote integration over exclusion

We live in an era of integration and inclusion—not exclusion. The people function is called to encourage hybridization and integration processes for options and alternatives... It will become an area that leads the marriage of new concepts and innovates through inclusion and integration. In an increasingly complex world, whatever is excluded detracts value. In contrast, whatever is integrated increases value. If HR professionals wish to take on a leading role in our business reality, they must promote integration processes within the organization.

Re-build to lead re-action, remake to promote re-construction—a statement that hides much more than a just a play on words...

An exercise in self-criticism must start as soon as possible to allow HR professionals to make progress in the creation of a new paradigm within people management. A new model that flees from fads and trends, and above all, takes on a key role accompanying the business in this time of change.

Working towards this direction is not even an option; it is the only possible alternative for the HR function to lead its own evolution, practice self-criticism, and develop a new paradigm that allows for value generation in an organization that now literally inhabits a world under construction.

Andrés Ortega

Andrés Ortega es Licenciado en Sociología en la Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Master en Dirección de RRHH en el Instituto de Empresa, y Executive Coach por la Escuela Europea de Coaching. Experto en gestión de personas y procesos de gestión del cambio en Organizaciones. Su actividad profesional desde el año 1998 siempre ha estado ligada al área de gestión de personas. Ha liderado la función de RRHH en entornos locales y multinacionales en diferentes empresas: ALSA & National Express (Transporte de viajeros) como Director de desarrollo de RRHH y Adjunto a Dirección de RR.HH. Sandisk Corp. – Director de RRHH en la Mobile Network Division, en Maersk Logistics (División Logística del Grupo AP Moller Maersk) cmo Director RR.HH para Iberia, Francia y Maghreb y liderando proyectos europeos y globales en procesos de innovación en RR.HH. También ha desarrollado su actividad profesional consultoría estratégica de gestión de RR.HH. como Director asociado en Humannova consultores y como profesional independiente desarrollando proyectos de innovación en gestión de talento y trasformación digital. En la actualidad es Head of Talent & Learning en ING Bank para España y Portugal. En paralelo a su actividad ejecutiva en el área de RR.HH participa, co-lidera y dinamiza diferentes proyectos: Gerente de Innovación en RR.HH. en la Fundación Personas y Empresas del Grupo BLC. Miembro de la Comisión de Innovación en la Asociación Española de Directores de RR.HH. Co-fundador de The People Club, iniciativa de gestión del conocimiento multidisciplinar a través de las personas, co-organizador de TEDxAlcarriaSt y Profesor asociado en The European University y en el Senior Management Program in Digital Talent de ESIC.

Andrés Ortega holds a BA in Sociology from the Universidad de Complutense in Madrid, and a Master’s in HR Management from the Instituto de Empresa business school, and trained as an Executive Coach at the Escuela Europea de Coaching. An expert in people management and change management processes; his career ever since 1998 has always had close ties to the people management field. He has held posts in HR Management in various local and multinational companies in different organizational environments, ALSA and National Express (Travel Transport) as HR Development Manager and HR Deputy Manager (1999 – 2006) Sandisk Corporation as HR Manager in the Mobile Network Division (2006 – 2008), Maersk Logistics ( Logistics Division of the AP Moller Maersk Group) as HR Manager from 2008 to 2013 for Iberia, France and the Maghreb and leading European and global projects in HR innovation processes. He has undertaken consultancy work in strategic HR management with Humannova Consultores as Associate Director and also as an independent consultant developing innovation projects in talent management and digital transformation. Currently he is Head of Talent and Learning in ING Bank for Spain and Portugal. Parallel to his executive activity in the HR field he participates, co-leads and stimulates different projects: HR Innovation Area Leader at the Fundación Personas y Empresas of the BLC Group. Member of the Commission for Innovation in the Spanish Association of HR Managers (Asociación Española de Directores de RR.HH). Co-founder of The People Club, an initiative for multidisciplinary knowledge management through people. Co-organizer of TEDxAlcarriaST and Associate Professor at The European University and for the Senior Management Program in Digital Talent at the ESIC Business and Marketing School in Madrid, Spain.

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