Llanos Micó: "Industrias Alegre is multiplying its capacity to adapt to the changes demanded of us by the automotive sector and society."

The current director of Human Resources at Industrias Alegre took up her position when we were beginning to emerge from the confinement caused by the pandemic. She found a sector that was going through a chain of crises and a society that had discovered new fears and insecurities. Faced with this situation, she is clear about the challenge: a more flexible, more open, more responsive company. More open to innovation and capable of attracting the best people.


Question: You are in charge of the team at Industrias Alegre but you also have some academic activity, how has your career been until you got here?

Answer: My career has always been closely linked to people because that is what motivates me. I like to develop myself and be updated, contributing to people's development. And since I have always liked the business environment, everything has led me to the Human Resources area. On the other hand, my teaching activity is focused exclusively on business schools and master's level training or higher courses, where teaching becomes a space for exchange with a very professional approach that is very enriching for both parties. I see it as a way of sharing the experiences that nourish you day by day and that you need to pass on.

Q: In your career you have experienced a radical change in Human Resources, which has gone from being the department that does payroll to becoming responsible for the well-being of a team. How do you experience such a transformation?

A: I started in human resources consulting at a time when some companies still had a head of administration on whom the staff depended or were in transition. Chief Talent Officers, Chief People Officers or even Chief Human Resources Officers were not even called that. And when the question began to be raised that something needed to be done for people, in organizations, the only answer was standard training. That was the beginning of the change. Then, this interest in people's development has been changing, going from technical aspects, basic and technical knowledge to soft skills aligned with the company's values and strategy, until we have reached this moment in which we have the responsibility of detecting talent and getting these talented people to contribute that special value to the company. It has certainly been an evolution that I have experienced firsthand and that I have enjoyed.

Q: At Industrias Alegre you have set up a very special talent development project, is that right?

A: Yes, with the accumulated learning and the support of many people at Industrias Alegre we have launched our Talent Academy, a program that forces us to identify talent within the company and develop it. The entire management team participates in its design and then Human Resources is responsible for its development and implementation.

Q: What does this Academy consist of?

A: It is a two-year training program with thirteen modules spread over 16 working days to work mainly on soft skills: results orientation, communication and negotiation skills, strategy, time management and finance for non-financiers, for example. We have very top teachers, from the best business schools, and always in English, because it is aimed at people from both the Poland and Albal factories.

Q: It is a very demanding program both for the company and for the people who participate in it, as you point out.

A: Of course. We are talking about training prepared exclusively for a group of around eight people, so once the program is underway, we require full attendance at all the modules. That's why we spread them out over quite a long period of time - we try to do it quarterly - and we deliver the calendar on the first day.

Q: Having completed the first edition, what is your assessment?

A: The results are very satisfactory, both for the company and for the participants. We have carried out evaluations of both the modules and the teaching staff and the response has been excellent.

Q: In addition to this project you have many challenges on the table, what are the most important ones?

A: The most important is that Industrias Alegre is multiplying its capacity to adapt to the changes demanded by the automotive sector and society. For this we have our annual training plan, like any other company, and powerful training programs that we customize according to the needs of each department. Sometimes even for specific individuals. The idea is that if we empower people to make their daily lives easier, this will benefit the company. And the possibility of designing a Performance Evaluation System to measure people's contribution and create spaces of trust to give feedback, for conversations that orient, guide and reinforce performance and performance improvement. A happy person is more motivated and performs better.

Q: In the end, we are talking about productivity, but also about feelings and illusions.

A: Of course. We talk a lot about illusions and the possibility that the company provides you with mechanisms to improve yourself. And we're not just talking about the Talent Academy, because all staff have access to training. There are programs and activities for executives, for middle management and for specific departments. And we have training and information activities on occupational risk prevention, which I consider very important, especially after the pandemic, because during this time we have changed the way we think about health and this has also had an impact on the workplace and absenteeism. The pandemic has highlighted our fears and that is why, starting in 2024, we want to work on a corporate wellness program in which we can incorporate improvement actions in all physical and mental areas, psychosocial aspects. This is one of our next challenges.

Q: Let's talk about innovation, the great driving force of this company. Can this department do anything to activate it?

A: From Human Resources, our contribution is to encourage people to participate in spaces of trust to allow ideas to emerge, and we also work to ensure that good ideas are rewarded. In fact, when our R&D department developed the Núvol tool, we in Human Resources supported it by providing its protagonists with tangible recognition and prizes. Beyond this, we encourage circles for the exchange of ideas and seek to involve people in the projects because, if they remain at the management level, they cannot be enriched by the vision of those in the rest of the chain. On the other hand, we need to incorporate all the innovations and update our own department, digitizing this service to promote talent, selection and training.

Q: Are we talking about digitizing Human Resources?

A: Of course! We have always gone around the company with papers and bulletin boards, and today we have an employee portal, an intranet. And we must continue to move forward because it is a more effective way to manage and enhance talent.

Q: The sector is going through one crisis after another, how do the people who make up the company experience all this?

A: The whole sector is going through difficult times. But we know that we have to resist and, as we said on our anniversary, continue with the same enthusiasm as on the first day. And that means working internally with people: setting up a new intranet, a talent academy, giving visibility to the training plan, attracting talent from outside to help us develop the business... all aimed at generating greater stability. We would also like to work on compensation policies, such as flexible compensation; for the moment we have only incorporated the health insurance product. These are not good economic years for Industrias Alegre or for the sector, but we must continue to involve our professionals and, if not with a real salary, then with an emotional salary.

Q: What is the big challenge you see ahead for this department?

A: I think of several challenges. But the most important is that I am looking for a cultural change. Moving from a traditional way of working to a more flexible and more dynamic company. To deal with the new ways of working (new schedules, flexibility, work-life balance), to address internal communication and to encourage openness, breaking down siloed departments to create more common spaces. In the end, I hope that people will be elbowing each other to work at Alegre.

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