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09-03-2021 - Mark Rice - 0 comments

In a recent interview with McKinsey, Björn Annwall, lead of Volvo's business in Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA), outlines the importance [to Volvo] of building the capabilities of all their people. He expressed the value of competency development and for companies to think through individual career planning and career pathing 

Annwall spoke of his belief that younger people no longer want to have to climb the corporate ladder, to make an impact; and for organisations to provide opportunities that supports new hires to develop the skills and capabilities to meet this.

He went on to identify how Volvo plans to attract people by embodying the values that meet those of new hires in order to attract them to the company. One way Volvo has done this is to not only talk about the purpose but to have purpose at its core.

In other words, by walking the walk. Demonstrating purpose through action.

Contrast this with the comments of Goldman Sachs boss, David Soloman, who in a recent conference address, describes their business as an "innovative, collaborative apprenticeship culture" and how working from home is "an aberration [they're] going to correct as soon as possible".

Later, in the BBC post, an employee of Goldman Sachs described how he's enjoyed working from home and described "lack of understanding and support from older generation of directors" to be really difficult.

So, what's the difference? Both businesses, each of them with very strong brand values, enjoy huge successes and might be considered desirable places to work for many.

However, for me, the vision Annwall speaks about is that of a coaching culture with an awareness of the results it brings. Something supported by the CIPD and many others. It's also a vision that speaks to the changing relationship people are having with work due to Covid-19. Whilst many commentators are focusing on whether you're in team 'back to the office' or team 'work from home', the actual conversations I'm having with employees is more nuanced. Like the Goldman Sachs employee, many are hoping their employers offer a flexible approach; and one that supports their personal development.

This feels like a pivotal moment of change; it remains to be seen whether employers will take notice and how they will respond.

Volvo's vision is courageous, progressive and futureproofing. It's focusing on the what's next instead of how we've always done it. If a global brand can make this change then so can any business. It just takes the desire and courage to do so.

One final observation from Björn Annwall's interview. In it he understands that Volvo are not only competing against other automotive manufacturers for new hires, but with all companies. That includes yours. So, how will you respond?

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