7 minutes with Silvia Fradera
Silvia and I met about five years ago in the HR community led by Sylvia Taudien. At that time, we had just left our corporate positions behind and were just starting out in entrepreneurship. We are united not only by our work experience in corporate and our entrepreneurial life, but we both agree on the key role that, now more than ever, the People & Organisation areas represent within business structures. In addition, Silvia and I share 100% the way we establish relationships with our client community: helping and giving honest service from experience. I guess that’s why we do so many projects together ?.
1.Tell us how did you decide to create your platform, Ready for People, and what’s its purpose.
During my time in human resources, I realised that the development needs of people and teams were continuous in the organisation, there was constant change and it was very difficult to plan. When I was looking for external partners, I was faced with several obstacles: firstly, I could not find solutions that were a bit different, experiential, practical and at the same time easy to implement. On the other hand, I would have liked to be able to find different options in one place to choose the one that best suited the moment, the team, the context and to speed up the selection and purchase process. This is why I started Ready for People, to make innovative and impactful development experiences available to all organisations in an easy and agile way.
2.What are the advantages of becoming an entrepreneur at 40 and with a long previous corporate experience?
Starting a business after 20 years in a multinational was an adventure that I wanted to experience. I wanted to get to know and experience other ways of thinking and doing business that I would never have experienced in a corporate environment. The advantage of the experience and the asset that I bring to Ready for People is that I know the needs of companies, HR and managers very well, because I have been in their shoes. It is easy for me to understand them and I love to help them. At 40, not only did I discover that I wanted to be an entrepreneur, but that my purpose is really this, to facilitate development in organisations in an agile way in line with the world we live in. There is no time for rigid and over-detailed plans that are never fulfilled! We’ve been there, haven’t we? Now I am also very aware of the things I can’t do so without a super team and the fantastic partners we have today I wouldn’t be telling you this.
3.What is the consulting style (to use a standard word) that you do at Ready for People?
We like to work closely with our clients and with the mindset of helping them with their challenges. I also like to clarify that we do not work on strategy. We leave the strategy to the management of each organisation, it is up to them to set the course. Instead, we are here to help our clients to “make it happen” and to provide innovative solutions in a fast and agile way. We try to anticipate what companies need at all times to offer “Ready” solutions that we contextualise and adapt to each organisation’s needs.
4.What are the main challenges that organisations are currently facing for which they need external help?
The pandemic has accelerated a paradigm shift and has generated important challenges that, at the same time, can be transformed into great opportunities for organisations. If I had to choose 3 issues that are on the table today, I would say: managing the “Back to (new)normal” after so many months, optimising the customer experience and generating value in a sustainable way.
In the return to (new)normal we have to take into account that there is an emotional and mental toll on organisations. Taking care of people’s physical, mental and emotional well-being is an immediate priority. In addition, teams need to reconnect, re-establish trust and realign with purpose and vision. We now know that the “back to office” will be hybrid models that will evolve. But the first imminent challenge is to combine flexibility with the operational needs of the business, to do so within the legal framework and to respect fairness in labour relations. It is not easy! In addition to having the appropriate space and technology, which is taken for granted and not always obvious, from a more structural point of view, the key to successfully implementing hybrid models will lie in the maturity of the organisation and its leadership.
The second major challenge facing organisations is to optimise the customer experience. To have a customer centric culture at all levels and in all areas, which allows us to create, innovate and provide value on an ongoing basis. Today we know that this is not possible without a clear focus on people and without employees who are aligned and committed to the organisation’s purpose.
And finally, there is a growing awareness that companies play a fundamental role in building a more sustainable planet and a more equitable society. To this end, more and more organisations are looking to generate value not only from an economic point of view, but also taking into account the impact on the environment, people and society. That is why issues such as Diversity, Equity and Inclusion are on the table in many organisations, not only to meet ratios but also because we see the real contribution of a diverse and inclusive culture.
5.You interact with all types of industries and organisations of all sizes and nationalities… What type of organisation is evolving best in the current environment and what lessons can we learn from them?
Oops… This is a difficult question because if we look only at financial results, there are companies that, due to historical inertia or because they are in markets with high barriers to entry, are performing well, but some are doing so with serious consequences for people, society and the environment that will penalise them in the mid term. These dysfunctions have surfaced even more during 2020 and continue… The organisations that are best responding to the 3 challenges I mentioned above are those that are evolving towards more adaptable models, more agile ways of working, that integrate continuous learning and decision making through self-managed teams and very close to the customer. This is only possible with inclusive leadership that inspires and empowers teams and generates the necessary trust and psychological safety. Of course the adoption of technology and mastering data is critical, but this will only be consolidated if the right culture and leadership is in place in the organisation. Soft skills – the development of people and teams – are the key to make all of this happen in an effective and sustainable way. Today we talk about creativity, resilience, influence, critical thinking, self-leadership, collaboration, feedback, personal productivity, etc… Development never ends, it is always moving and needs arise every day.
I believe that real change in companies starts from the bottom up. The human capital of a company is like a gear: if you are able to start the transformation from the bottom, you will achieve the change you are looking for. Giving the keys and the autonomy to your people to generate this change. In this way, we develop more aware and adaptable people and a culture that fosters collaboration, innovation and creativity. I think we are very much aligned on this Emma… #powertothepeople!
Of course! Thank you very much for sharing your experience and perspective with the Shaker Community, dear Silvia!