Alejandro Tavera is the Human Resource Director at Workwear Outfitters LATAM. An engineer by degree, he currently works in HR with almost 24 years of experience in the sector. He firmly believes that HR is a great sector as there are several opportunities to do things that improve the employees’ and their family’s life, due to the information, the awareness, the consciousness, and the culture that is created inside the organization, these activities can really make a positive difference in what they take into their homes and personal life.

What are some of the major challenges that you see impacting the HR space lately?

With the increase in turnover during the pandemic, candidates have had more opportunities in different companies. The change from one company to another, affects the stability of a company. This is a huge challenge for companies because it increases the cost for safety, quality and delivery eventually affecting the efficiency ratio. Nowadays, in order to have a candidate to accept a position, sometimes you have to offer different schedules, different hours of work, different days of conclusive benefits, which at the end increases the risk of managing correctly, and impacts the labor environment. We do find a lot of socially conscious candidates, they want to make sure that the company has this governance, social and environmental mindset, in order to accept a position. But at the end, they are trying to break the way that the business is set up which can mess a little bit with the origin of the business.

One of the other challenges is the attitude, the lack of interest in our full time positions. Some candidates say they don’t really want to get stuck in a company where they have to be there for eight hours a week because it will interfere with their personal needs. So it is difficult for companies to accept this change in candidates who don’t want to be tied into a regular schedule. I guess we’re seeing a misconception of what it was to prepare for a future. Right now the younger ge have to be there for eight hours a week because it will interfere with their personal needs. So it is difficult for companies to accept this change in candidates who don’t want to be tied into a regular schedule. I guess we’re seeing a misconception of what it was to prepare for a future. Right now the younger generations don’t really need specific jobs to be attached to and spend half of their life. So this change in the mindset of the younger generations, which is not wrong, probably they are doing right. But for companies, it’s going to be a huge challenge to accept.

Can you tell me about some of the trends that you see in the HR space today?

We have many powerful tools to manage our policies and procedures. Some companies are at the edge in technology, their process of hiring, interviewing, onboarding, training, performance evaluations, and everything is done remotely and some task even without direct personal communication. This trend can save a lot of money and time spending but at the end, we are losing the warmth and the human touch. This impacts negatively in employee engagement as it wasn’t build a social string or relationship commitment with the supervisor or manager affecting the company reputation. If there is a better opportunity next door, they will not hesitate for a second in taking the opportunity. This trend is harming work environment and social relations within the companies.

“The most important asset any company has are their employees. Whatever we do as HR’s has to be thinking about how we benefit our employee’s environment, conditions, well-being making them know we are taking care of them. A well-treated employee will care for the company and so for its productivity, quality, safety, and all others kpi’s we manage.”

What are the latest projects and some of the technological and process elements that you have leveraged to make that process successful?

We just went into a company sale process in which our employees were very nervous, had many doubts and didn’t knew what was going on. At the same time, we also had to change the company name. What we found to be very useful, and a great tool was to maximize the use of internal communication channels to share and explain what was going on in the company making them feel safe and secure. started sharing information about everything that the company was doing, the trainings, the company name change, the NOM35 survey results, The COVID vaccination programs, the union legitimation process, etc. As we started sharing content, we found that our employees felt much more engaged, and have a sense of belonging. Besides that, we created social media content in Facebook and LinkedIn to be more in touch with our community and employee’s family. For us, this mixture of communication apps, and platforms has enabled to be more involved with the community and our workforce. We also created QR surveys, with which we started inviting our teams, to express how they felt about the hiring process, the services we provide, the cafeteria, and the transportation. employees can take these surveys at home, or wherever they feel comfortable, anonymously, in their free time. And this has increased the confidence of employees who are participating. It's a very simple tool, but it helped us a lot.

What are some of the technological trends which excite you for the future of HR space today?

Devices and applications like tablets, laptops, cell phones, and platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Tik Tok, and Instagram, increase our approach to communicating with our employees being much more efficient. Daily management tools, and apps to digitalize and make much more agile the function of HR, enables one person to do a lot of things and HR functions like talent, compensations, time and attendance, etc. But again, all these changes in the way we process our work and become more digital is reducing or eliminating human touch and direct contact. We will find ourselves more involved in what content we upload on our social media, instead of taking care of our employees and their needs. There is a saying: “social media brings the far away ones closer but drives off those who are close to us”. we need to be close to our employees and make them feel that “my company is my second home”. If we lose engagement, happiness, and well-being we will eventually lose our company. So, top  much technological trends worries me a bit, everything must be balanced.

What would be your piece of advice for the budding entrepreneurs in the space?

My piece of advice; we must be very clear about what we do in human resources, we don't only manage policies and procedures and make parties as some might think. We are the area of support, communicating and understanding the needs of the most important asset of the company, the employee. To be in HR, you must have very good people skills and use them.!, close communication face to face, and eye contact are a must of HR with our employees. Again, we must always find the way to balance employee needs with company needs. We cannot be behind a desk managing policies and not being in contact with our employees, at the end, if we will lose touch, we lose the trust, with out trust your function as HR no longer exists.