The future of conventional offices

The traditional office concept is changing. The image of a place full of tables, cupboards, telephones, printers, etc. is becoming obsolete.

The technological advances of recent years mean that the way we work has changed significantly, as new technologies allow us to carry out our employment duties from anywhere at any time.

The direct impact of this flexible way of working – achieved through ICT – is not only a considerable increase in teleworking, with the corresponding increase in quality of life and work-life balance for employees, it also affects the management of space. In fact, more and more companies are opting for a different model, eliminating the traditional workstations assigned to a single employee to replace them with a higher number of shared spaces used for meetings and as meeting points.

In the very near future, we expect that each worker will no longer have a physical workstation assigned to them but instead will occupy any available workstation on the day they need to go into work. A gradual disappearance of conventional offices is therefore already upon us.

 

María Corces

Human Resources

How highly do you value experience?

There is a story about a hare and a tortoise. They challenge each other to a race. The hare has one particularly excellent quality – speed. Even so, will it be enough?  However, the tortoise lacks that quality he is, in fact, rather clumsy and slow by nature. Even so, he accepts the challenge.
Who do you think will win?

The tortoise wins the race:
• he identifies opportunities along the way (small short-cuts)
• he keeps spending under control (controlled energy consumption)
• he has experience (contact with the real world)
• he plans ahead, estimates how long it will take him to reach the finishing line.

The hare loses the race:
o His over-confidence distracts him from the goal
o He ignores his adversary because of his own skill and speed
o He doesn’t plan ahead and gets lost trying to find the right path He progresses by trial and error
o He gets to the finishing line but slowly and not without difficulty

Only those who are capable of converting their knowledge and past experience into practical results achieve their goals and obtain success in all their endeavours.

Laura Alcaraz Escribano
Development Dep. Recursos Humanos ACCIONA S.A.

One of the premises. Never stop learning

More and more frequently, we encounter news, posts and comments about “the professions of the future”, “the top 10 in-demand jobs for the years to come”, “future work skills”, etc. as we travel down the jobseeker road.

Allow me to share with you something I read recently in a book about learning. This book makes a comparison between birds and humans. Nobody has to teach the birds to fly south or how to get where they are going, while we have to check calendars, maps and GPS devices. Birds instinctively know how to look after their young, while we need to consult books on childcare, ask for help on nappy changing, etc. Birds instinctively know how to build their homes, while we need to learn how to build walls, ceilings and/or pay someone else to do that work for us. We live in a constant state of beta.
Even so, we humans are the creatures that rule the world, we build enormous skyscrapers to their feeble nests, we learn to look after our children better day by day and the human race becomes stronger, taller and healthier generation after generation.

There are a few conclusions to be reached from this metaphor: we humans are flexible and adapt to our surroundings – traits that are increasingly more important in a person and key to all present and future job candidates.
European jobs are not disappearing, as is sometimes thought. In fact, there are even estimates that say there will be more jobs in 2020 – with a special emphasis on qualified positions in professions with a high demand for knowledge and skill.

Because one of the premises is you, companies will keep searching for and recruiting the best talent that will enable them to maintain their leadership status and because we have decided not to be birds. Never stop learning.

 

José Miguel Baeza
ACCIONA Corporate Training Department

7 Advices for first day at work

One of the moments which could cause nervousness is the first day at work. To feel part of a company, as elsewhere, takes time, so a good starting is a point in favour.

In the event that you have doubts about what to do, we provide you some advices that will help you to face this day in the most competent way.

1. Be informed about the company: knowing about their business is always valuable, because is a sign that you are attentive and an interested person. This point will help you to understand some conversations where you will participate in that day.

2. Rest: Even if you’re nervous the day before, try to go to sleep as soon as you can, because lack of sleep is a negative factor for attention and mood.

3. Do not delay: For a good starting, study the route in detail and leave home with plenty of time in advance. To arrive before is better than making the person who will receive you wait.

4. Bring a notepad: being prepared to take notes is advisable during this day. Surely, you will feel that you are receiving a lot of information, so you will appreciate to have notes which help you to remember things later. Anyway, do not worry if you need to ask, your workmates also lived this experience and do not have problems to help you.

5. Ask for schedules: knowing what time your workmates eat is a way to engage with them and immerse yourself in the culture of the company. It is also important to know if the company keeps the same schedule during holiday periods.

6. Read company policy: Surely, the first day do not start with the tasks entrusted to your work position, so taking some time to read the company’s corporate documents will help to future possible queries.

7. Be grateful: Education is always an important value in human relationships, so please thank people when they help you or report on a topic. The fact that people see you as an educated person will improve their relationships with you.

 

Ana Gómez Regidor
Development Departament, Acciona S.A.

10 tips for a successful job interview

1. Be prepared
In an interview, the interviewer needs to notice a genuine interest on your part. If you want to demonstrate that interest, there is nothing better than devoting enough time to prepare the interview. This fact is the difference between good and not so good applicants.

2. Don’t forget paper copy of your CV (without crumpling)
It can be used as the guide for your explanation. If the interviewer has not printed the CV, you can always offer it to him/her.

3. Rehearse some answers, but do not memorize.
During your interview preparation you must keep in mind your main ideas you would like to transmit, but you have to avoid learning them by heart, because your performance could be unnatural.

4. They have all the information about you, do the same.
You must research some information about the Company. A good analysis of organizational culture, the position you are applying to and your career plan is important both for asking questions that are truly relevant for you and for making a good impression.

5. Arrive ten minutes before, not an hour earlier.
If you arrive too early, wait outside the bulding. In this way, you can avoid pressuring the interviewer.

6. Speak positively and as a self-confident person.
Your attitude in a job interview should be attractive to your listener. You must speak in a good mood, with positive sentences. This is how your body language will be perfect.

7. The interviewer could offer you the job.
Be nice with him/her, even if some the questions make you feel uncomfortable. He/ She is the person who decides among a list of applicants.

8. Take time to prepare your answer.
Do not be afraid of remaining silent for a few minutes to think about your answer. In an informal conversation, you take time to think, so it is not unreasonable in an interview either.

9. Breathe, breathe, breathe
Breathing is the only way to control those signs of nerves like turning red, sweaty hands, shaky voice… When we are in a tense situation, we hold our breath as frightened person does and it causes those signs.

10. Accept you can make mistakes
Perfect job interviews do not exist. You can make mistakes, so in that moment you must go on and keep your self-confidence.

Ana Castán
HR Analytics Departament
Acciona Human Resources

Corporate Social Responsibility and Recruitment

If we understand Corporate Social Responsibility to be a set of business practices based on ethical values and on respect towards employees, communities and the environment, then people management is a very relevant issue and, of course, so too is the whole question of recruitment.

In a way you could say that an organization that is responsible with its employees begins with its recruitment policies. Hiring should be based on competencies and should on no account exclude applicants on the basis of their sex, age, religion or any other kind of social prejudice that could be considered discriminatory. That’s why it is fundamental that businesses analyze thoroughly the post they wish to advertise and that, using this analysis, they are clear on the know-how, experience and competencies necessary for meeting the needs of the post, but without describing the “type” of person they are looking for, thus helping to apply the principle of equal opportunity to every applicant.

Looking for a candidate on the basis of competencies means focusing our attention on a person’s skill sets, attitudes and knowledge, in an effort to ensure an objective and transparent evaluation, and to make certain that the new hires bring together the best possible characteristics in terms not only of training and experience but also competency and efficacy: in a word, talent.

A transparent recruitment process, one based on a company’s real needs, ensures a good and proper selection and the richness that no doubt stems from a diverse workforce whose correct management is one of today’s major challenges for HR departments.

“Good employers, responsible companies”.

 

Maria Corces
Human Resources ACCIONA S.A.

 

Language skills: a huge plus for job hunters

In today’s global economy, language skills are increasingly in demand when you’re looking for a new job or getting your foot on the first rung of the employment ladder.

English is the worldwide business language and it has become a vital asset in today’s highly competive environment. According to a study by Trabajando.com España, a candidate with advanced English language skills has 44% more chances of landing a job. Clearly, then, a good proficiency in English is a fundamental requirement for obtaining a job and for making yourself a more competitive player in the job market.

The number of people with a good command of English is on the rise, so job-hunting is relatively easier for candidates with a third language. Currently, employers are on the lookout for people with a proficiency in German, French and/or Portuguese, mainly because nearly 60% of Spain’s IBEX-35 listed company revenues comes from non-Spanish countries. Hence the importance of a second or third language. Chinese is another language that is in rapidly growing demand (by business and students alike) and is gaining a foothold in Spain, be it for China’s economic development or its attractive culture.

The same study also finds that 39% of Spaniards speak a second language and 21% claim to be proficient in two foreign languages. When asked how they think this affects their possibilities of landing a job, 89% of those who speak a foreign language said that their language skills increased their chances, while 11% thought that it made no difference at all.

So a second language is undeniably an increasingly valuable asset in today’s environment. If we want to be competitive in the workplace and in the job market overall, proficiency in one or two foreign languages is a must.

What do you think? Have you ever been selected or hired for your foreign language skills?

The value of the past in interviews. The STAR method

For many people, looking back to the past has been an important way of predicting the future. Centuries ago, the Chinese philosopher Confucius (551 B.C. – 479 B.C.) advised humankind to “heed the past to see what the future holds”. His words of advice have been followed by many people and in a number of fields of activity and knowledge. For example, stock market specialists use “Technical Analysis” to predict future stock market movements, anticipating future share prices on the basis of current and past ones.

In the field of Human Resources, and particularly in the area of Selection, many businesses use competency-based interviews, i.e. structured interviews that set out to identify critical incidents, resting on the basic assumption that a person’s past performance is the best indicator of his or her future performance.

In this kind of interview, the Selection Specialist asks the candidate about real Situations that define Tasks, Actions and Results. This is known as the STAR method.

Drawing on your own personal experience in job interviews, do you think that the situations that you faced in the past serve are a reliable indicator of how you are likely to act in the future? Or do you think that more factors need to be taken into consideration, such as specific circumstances, situations or moments, or an individual’s physical and mental state?

Ramón Rodríguez Lago
ACCIONA Selection Manager

IQ Scores: Myth or reality?

Back in 1904, Alfred Binet and Theodore Simon drew up the world’s very first intelligence test. The test provided a score by dividing the subject’s mental age by his or her chronological age and then multiplying it by 100. They called this score Intelligence Quotient (IQ). Since then countless other tests have been developed that provide IQs in many areas such as performance predictions in classrooms and the workplace.

However, the recent Príncipe de Asturias award winner, Howard Gardner, claims that intelligence is not a quantity that can be measured by a number and he proposes a Theory of Multiple Intelligences. In other words, he says, there is no such thing as a single intelligence but rather there are 8 cognitive skills. Along similar lines, an article that appeared on 20 December 2012 in the prestigious journal Neuron published the findings of a study carried out at Canada’s Western University which analyzed the results of 100,000 participants and arrived at the conclusion that there is no single element capable of quantifying human intelligence and that the latter is a multifactor phenomenon.

If intelligence tests evaluate the individual in a narrow range of a series of concrete subjects, leaving out other possible analysis filters, do you think they are an accurate predictor of an individual’s intelligence? Or, on the contrary, do you think that they provide information that is relevant to determining an individual’s level of intelligence?

Some thinkers go a step further and wonder if intelligence tests are really biased by Western thinking and culture. Other cultures value highly aspects such as creativity and social intelligence. Do you think that other filters should be introduced to make a more accurate prediction of an individual’s intelligence?

Ramón Rodríguez Lago
ACCIONA Selection Manager

We’re betting on local hiring for ACCIONA’s expansion in Brazil

Brazil is a strategic country that holds a number of business opportunities for our main Divisions dedicated to energy, infrastructure and water. From the outset of our activities in the country, back in 1996, we’ve made a fivefold increase in local hiring, the business portfolio has increased twelve-fold and our local workforce has tripled. These are just a few of our main projects in Brazil, most of which belong to our infrastructures arm:

• Design and construction of the outer seawalls of the shipyard at the port of Açu (São João da Barra, Rio de Janeiro).
• The construction of Banco Santander’s LatAm Data Processing Center, in Campinas (São Paulo).
• The Design, Build, Finance and Operation concession for the BR 393 toll road, a 200km roadway that runs between the states of Minas Gerais and Rio de Janeiro).

Our team fosters the values of environmental respect and social responsibility; together with our innovative and pioneering vision, they enable us to help society grow and develop. We are looking for qualified people with a similar outlook and we’re betting on hiring people from where the projects are located and the surrounding area. This way, we aim to help create jobs in the region. If you’re interested in working at ACCIONA, take a look at the vacancies available and send us your CV through our Employment Channel.

Gerardo Lara
Human Resources ACCIONA S.A.