Enrique González: What should employee wellbeing look like in 2020?

2020 is not just any other year; it is the start of a new decade full of challenges. We are living at a time when people are demanding more just and equal societies, promoting equal opportunities for everyone, and a more sustainable world in all aspects: environmental, economic and social.

Employers cannot be detached from these demands, and we must work hard to ensure that our best asset, namely our people, form part of this paradigm shift.

So far, traditional talent management has been focused on training and professional development. Both aspects are, and will continue to be, very relevant; without a doubt, though, other factors will set the agenda in the coming years, factors that are more related to an organisation’s culture. Of these, I would call attention to three key items.

First will be the need to have a purpose and common values, shared by all employees, to guide decisions and behaviors.

Second, it will be essential to continue promoting a diverse and inclusive workplace. It has been proven that teams consisting of people with different ways of thinking, taking on problems and making decisions get the best results.

This also has a very positive impact in terms of employee engagement, wellbeing and satisfaction. Therefore, progressing towards becoming an inclusive organisation, capable of bringing together different kinds of profiles, is going to be critical to business success.

At BBVA, we have been working on diversity plans for quite some time now, with measures aimed at fostering, among other issues, gender equality, and training our leaders to identify unconscious biases to eliminate stereotypes and prejudice in our way of thinking.

Finally, I would like to underscore the need to promote work-life balance. Almost three months ago, BBVA launched Work Better and Enjoy Life, a plan aimed at improving our teams’ productivity and work-life balance. The first data sets we have gathered attest to the initiative’s favorable reception: more than 60% of BBVA employees in Spain have told us that it has helped them boost both their productivity and their work-life balance.

However, we still have a long way to go. We need to keep strengthening a culture that promotes productivity, where work is organised according to goals while allowing employees to strike a healthier balance between their personal and professional lives. Managers play a pivotal role in this whole process, because they are a crucial lever to activate the cultural shift we want to achieve.

It is time for people to start reaping the benefits of the age of opportunity, and we, the employers, need to start working to ensure that they can.

Embedding a set of values across the whole organisation, nurturing a more diverse and inclusive workplace, and promoting work-life balance will be our key lines of focus in 2020.

Enrique González is head of culture and employee communication at BBVA

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