Uncertainty, volatility, the lifecycles of business and political and economic change have never before occurred at such speed as in recent years. And one thing is certain, the speed at which the changes are occurring is here to stay.
How does this affect the labour market? In the resulting scenario, to successfully follow a career, professionals will have to understand the world in a different way; they will have to live change and seek opportunities in it, for change will be the maxim that will govern every product, service and job. Some professionals, such as the Millennials, already come with these values as standard, but some of us have to make an effort to develop them.
This will equally be the case with businesses, for they are the other side of the coin. To survive and attain success, they have to seek a competitive advantage in change, and this will be driven by two pillars: technology and employee talent.
Many experts have discussed technology on this blog (Some thoughts on the role of information technology in enterprise), so in this article we will focus on people and on the search for and development of talent. And what do we understand by talent? At Ferrovial, it is both the capacity to learn more quickly and the ability to successfully apply what has been learnt to new situations. It is, in short, having the best capabilities to confront change successfully; it does not involve being prepared for a specific scenario only but rather being prepared to capitalise on any possible scenario.
To succeed in building a staff that is fully oriented towards this goal is no simple matter. It requires us to focus on:
a) Developing employee talent. Talent is not innate; it can grow or decrease, it can languish or expand to its full potential. To achieve this it is imperative that we act both through the organisation and through the professionals themselves, as both sides benefit from this development. The organisation has to teach how to increase the capabilities for learning (corporate university, training, transmission of key knowledge, etc.); it has to create opportunities for learning (mentoring, internal mobility, multi-departmental projects, assumption of greater responsibilities, etc.); and it has to develop a culture of ongoing learning (driving innovation forward, top management leading by example, tolerance of error, etc.). Equally, professionals have to be responsible for their own development, assume that development occurs when going outside one’s comfort zone and that this is not always easy or pleasant, as it requires courage, dedication and effort.
b) Seeking out new talent: Talent is a scarce asset and can be a bottleneck for development, both in the most ambitious infrastructure projects1 and in any other economic sector. Companies compete in the market for this scarce asset and the best-positioned ones will be capable of fully developing their projects if they are assured of having a flow of talent; hence the highly relevant competitive advantage of being able to attract the best professionals and succeeding in engaging them in the projects to be developed. Concepts such as Employer Branding, (being the benchmark employer), selection through the social networks and the involvement of the employees themselves in developing and disseminating the company’s value proposal are now key elements in a strategy that maximises an organisation’s ability to attract and engage.
In the words of our Chairman Rafael del Pino: “Ferrovial has above all distinguished itself for its magnificent professionals. Their effort, good practice and creativity have allowed us to overcome complex challenges and to make the most of opportunities, transforming individual capability into collective achievements”.
Retaining our leading position in the infrastructures sector will consequently depend on the art and the science of knowing how to combine the development of our employees with our ability to attract the best talent.
Learn about job vacancies at Ferrovial in our People section of our website