Adela Jansen: Competitiveness in the context of European resilience – new values post-pandemic

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“Competitiveness should be the keyword, in the business area as well as in the human resource area – a concept that takes on new importance after the pandemic started in 2020, but also and in the context of European resilience. A fact is here to stay: both quantitatively and in terms of talents, there is a structural labor shortage,  which I believe is a problem of national security”, said Adela Jansen, Board Member CCIFER, partner Druid AI, at an ONLINE conference organized by Energynomics.

We all need to capitalize on the lessons of 2020, and to accelerate its beneficial effects, says Adela Jansen. The speed of implementation of remote work has increased 40 times, gaining 7 years according to a McKinsey study, which also mentions that products and services were digitized in proportion of 20% in 2017-2019, a percentage which increased to 58% in July 2020.

Strategic planning

She stressed the importance of Strategic Workforce Planning. “It is a tool that refers to the number of people and the skills we need, starting with the projection of business needs for the next 2-3 years, from which we do a retro-planning in the human resources strategy… Business models are changing, critical skills are no longer always assimilated to existing roles; once the real gap is identified, a gap we never know exactly, we need to integrate them into the learning parks. Cutting training budgets in crisis, in times of intense change, is not good. I lived in such times that were moments of opportunity for me, when I continued to seriously invest in people”, said Adela Jansen.

Organizational design

Organizational design is an important topic. “The processes must be redesigned, to give people autonomy to be able to react faster. Classic flowcharts, which reflect clear hierarchies and competency matrices, will surely exist in the future, especially in highly regulated areas. But we must have the courage to adjust them, to coordinate the activity with smaller, agile teams, for faster results. We must pay attention to prioritizing and guiding our colleagues in using their freedom wisely when the decision is theirs”.

The new way of collaboration

Another category is related to the hybrid mode of collaboration. “Here I would emphasize something that is not always aligned, but will have to be taken into account. Studies show that 80% of employees want to stay in remote work for at least 3 days a week. Those who want to come to the office are often the managers”. In other words, in addition to a real estate equation and savings that can be generated, we are talking about the collaborative interaction reflected in remodeling workspaces, meetings meant to attract colleagues to pleasantly combine office work with work from home, how we want to interact constructively and pleasantly in the long run, maintaining team spirit.

Leadership and redefining the role of middle management

Leadership is a topic that will always remain relevant. Automatization and the accelerated pace of the last period determine us to talk more and more about another type of management that knows how to manage delicate situations, such as burnout of our colleagues. It is also necessary to redefine the role of middle management. “Before 2020, we talked a lot about increasing their involvement in performance management, in rewarding employees. Many of their tasks are subject to automation now or in the future, while we want to keep them motivated and grow as successors to current leaders. In other words, we must find solutions for them to participate constructively in change, to develop them, to maintain them in the succession plans in order to be the leaders we want in the future”. In talent management we must continue to look for technical skills, especially in specialized fields such as energy, but we must also value the ability to learn quickly in a constantly evolving world, said Adela Jansen, and systems evaluation must enter a new paradigm, as the annual evaluation is outdated.

Organizational culture remains important

Organizational culture has been and it must remain a strategic concern for all companies. “According to a recent study, it seems that the degree to which the importance of organizational culture is appreciated has decreased, from the top 2-3 to 7-8. Probably forced to reconsider the priorities, mostly working remotely, the companies somehow deprioritized the organizational culture. I think we should keep it in the top of our concerns because it is the winning strategy in the medium term. Employee experience must be redefined, throughout life, not only at employment, with a clear, impactful communication, adapted to telework.

Finally, she highlighted some labor market trends. According to a McKinsey study, there are 10 predominant medium-term skill sets that can be divided into several categories: 2 technical, 5 problem-solving, 2 self-management. and one of working with people.

“Flexibility, transparency and communication are important. Here I mention several notions such as structures, processes, mode of relationship, type of collaboration or contract. For example, in Europe the number of freelancers is growing; they dedicate an average of 5 hours a week to self-improvement, thus releasing the pressure on training budgets. I add education at all levels and the encouragement of lifelong self-learning, leadership and redefining middle management, organizational culture and revisiting values that are convincing for young people, as attracting them is becoming increasingly complicated.”

Adela Jansen also mentioned to the business organizations she belongs to, such as CCIFER and CDR, which are actively involved through working groups dedicated to education and the labor market, and also concerned with technical, vocational education, and especially dual education; she believes that these forms of education should be further supported and promoted, including through campaigns aimed at attracting young people, those who are so necessary even in specialized fields such as energy.

The conference “Human Resources – 360° Approach” was organized by Energynomics in order to encourage the exchange of ideas between human resources specialists in the energy industry. We also presented the Energynomics Learning Center initiative aimed at providing all stakeholders with information about the training and specialization courses available to them. Over 120 people have registered on the MyConnector platform to participate in the dialogue. The recording is available HERE.

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Bogdan Tudorache

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