An interview with Joan Manel Álvarez, Chief People and Culture Officer at Voxel Group and Former Head of People at Voxel. Joan Manel shows how easily he has adapted to the new needs of society at work and how he foresees the future when it comes to managing people.
While we interviewed him, we realized how many innovative initiatives he has applied. With the aim of improving the lives of his “Voxelian” employees and encouraging both professional and personal development. For this interview, we would like to leave aside the Q&A to focus on his good practices. Since we believe that Joan and Voxel are a great example to follow in terms of transformation and renewal in a People department.
First things first, what is the bavel-Voxel group and why do they exist?
Founded in 1998, Voxel develops technology solutions for large and small companies with the aim of helping clients digitalize 100% of its billing processes. The company has a strong commitment to efficiency, processes improvement, and innovation based on information technology.
For 20 years, they have been growing nationally and internationally. They have seen this growth as an opportunity to contribute to our society. For this reason, Voxel has a purpose beyond business: the main purpose of the company is to create a happy business network. This implies our employers, but also our clients, providers, partners, etc.
“Don’t choose your company values, let your people choose them”
With these values in mind the People department takes quartely action. Each Quarter they focus into the development of a specific value, for everyone to focus on improving it.
In the middle of all this growth, some customers told them they were losing the essence. So, they stopped and rethinked: What is the DNA that has to lead us here? They decided to start a collaborative process with all their employees to identify those values that best define Voxel and make them their everyday mantra. For them, it was important to define the values together with their employees, and not a top-bottom decision. Voxel 4 values are:
- People Freaks: “People are the fundamental basis of the company and that’s why we are People Geeks.”
- Challenge Maniacs: “we love challenges and we love learning how to overcome them as a team.”
- Change Lovers: “we are not afraid of changes, we love them and we love improving from them.”
- Funtastic team players: “A person may go faster, but a team will go further.”
From then on, one of the main focuses of the People department became to ensure that everybody lives by these values. To take action, each quarter they focus on the development of that specific value by organizing activities, conferences, debates, 1:1 meetings, etc.
At the same time, their People Team goal is to make all workers happy. Also, aligned with the company’s objectives and values. For the People and Culture department, the only way to have a successful business depends on people. Everything that contributes to know them better, and to understand their way of thinking, will help to achieve the company’s objectives. Instead of seeing working with a group, the People and Culture department prefers to focus on every individual. That is why they are using the Business Partner figure. This figure is not administrative but strategic, as they expect them to be able to work as PC managers but from smaller areas with a mindset of closeness, leaving bureaucratic processes aside.
The 4 H of a healthy workplace
Workers’ interests are changing. As society evolves, its interests evolve too. In a workplace, it is no longer enough to have a good salary or stay in a comfort zone but to have a purpose beyond that. Nowadays, a job must include the role and tasks a person will develop but the company’s purpose. Employees want to know, from the very first time, how to develop their career in a company, how to grow professionally but also personally, and, above all, they want to be happy.
This change has led Joan to squeeze his brain to achieve a balance. At Voxel this is applied with a model that aims to create a healthy and purposeful organization with the 4 Hs (Healthy, Honesty, Happiness, High performance). Healthy in terms of finances and high performance while having happy customers, providers, and employees while staying honest and humble.
How will offices be for Voxel in the future, according to the People and Culture approach?
This crisis has forced many companies to work from home. Even though it is not fully established, working from home will be usual soon. While “forced” work from home has led us to be more humane when working. For some, it has reminded us that work is part of life and not vice versa. Then, offices will change their concept: the office will become a place of cohesion between people, “to make a family”, because to work or meet we will have several options.
#1: A bigger cause makes people fall in love with a business.
#2: Remote working is here to stay. We must accept this and change the use we give to our offices.
#3: To make a perfect team you must find the a common set of values and make them yours.
Joan’s tip: Remember to have fun. Even if this sounds like a clichè, sometimes we must have someone or something, which makes us remember why we are working.