Strategic HR management is today the organization's
circulatory and lymphatic system

Opinion article by Ângela Santos, Board Member and responsible for the development of Human Capital at Abaco Consulting, for Human Resources: https://hrportugal.sapo.pt/angela-santos-abaco-a-gestao-estrategica-de-rh-e-hoje-o-sistema-circulatorio-e-linfatico-da-organizacao/

Faced with a year of uncertainty, Abaco intends to continue to recruit and grow internationally, paving the way for its people to do what they do best, complementing the various talents in a team focused on a common purpose.

In 2004, Abaco was born in Porto. In its genesis, the desire of six consultants to adapt the SAP Software, until then always associated with large companies, small and medium-sized companies (SMEs). Almost two decades later, the company is present in three countries, in addition to Portugal – Brazil, the United Kingdom and Switzerland -, with 230 employees, 140 of whom are located in the national territory. Its mission is to offer the best vertical solutions to its customers in different areas, namely engineering and construction, clothing, footwear and textiles, food and automotive sectors.

Ângela Santos, Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) of the company, notes that “Abaco Consulting has a different positioning based on three vectors: vertical positioning of the market, technological innovation and human capital”. He explains: «Vertical positioning because our offer is focused on four business sectors where we have in-depth knowledge of business processes, managing to close the knowledge gap between the end customer and the implementing company, resulting in a risk reduction, relevant to both parts; technological innovation, always being one step ahead in the use of SAP tools; and in human capital, the differentiation lies in the organization’s culture, its values and the way it interacts with its customers, employees and partners. »

It is here, in people, that the main cause of Abaco’s success lies. «Without our people, we would not be able to respond to the challenges of an increasingly competitive market, which is why we have always invested in continuous valuation and in hiring the best talents for our projects, with our teams composed of highly qualified professionals and with extensive experience in the market», he guarantees.

The pandemic did not jeopardize these objectives and, despite the high uncertainty, Abaco continues with the recruitment processes. CHRO reveals that they intend to hire 40 new talents throughout the year, for the different geographies in which the company operates, in areas such as Human Capital Development & Management; Operational Management Controller, Architect & Business Analytics Solution Designer, as well as for the different consulting areas. And you know it won’t be an easy task. «We remain deficient in qualified professionals in the information technology sector, both in Portugal and worldwide. This is also why we will continue to reinforce our investment in Abaco Academy, with the aim of training new consultants, both to integrate our staff and for the market in general.»

They value in their professionals “the“ drive ”, passion and motivation with which people move, as well as knowledge and experience. At the same time, we also value assertiveness, pragmatism, speed of action, a taste for the transmission of knowledge and continuous learning with others, the ability to analyze business and design solutions, as well as the resilience and appreciation of teamwork » , continues Angela Santos.

From afar, do close
If managing people has never been an easy task, in the context of the current pandemic context it has become even more difficult. The official does not hide that there have been several challenges over the past 10 months and that they will continue in 2021. «We remain faithful to our values and principles, especially that of developing relationships; being able to, in the midst of uncertainty, point the way while maintaining tranquility and passing confidence; collect information and seek to share data, points of view, ideas and actions with other people and other sectors, putting them into practice with our people” says Ângela Santos.

Maintaining regular contact is also something that is in the organization’s mindset. «Teleworking forced us to be closer to our teams and to discover that, even physically far away, we managed to deal with unexpected and urgent situations, but also to find within us the positive force that guides us and that allowed us – and continues to allow – to reinforce our organizational culture », underlines CHRO. And he has no doubt that “companies with a strong culture are the ones that most trust their talents and give them the autonomy to improvise and, thus, adapt more easily”.

He adds: «It is essential to connect and bring employees together around relevant discussions and share critical information about the organization, never forgetting that each person is unique, has different experiences and expectations and can contribute in different ways, so it is necessary to know them well to be able to lead them. A good Human Resources manager articulates his people, opening the way for what they do best, complementing the various talents in a team with a focus on a common purpose.

These premises will be all the more important when you have teams dispersed internationally. And internationalization is an important part of Abaco’s future, in the medium and long term. «The investments we have been making to open offices outside Portugal allow us to strengthen our capacity to expand in world markets and, at the same time, to contact the best international practices», shares Ângela Santos. On the other hand, it allows «to strengthen Abaco’s leadership and capacity to be able to implement, not only nationally, but also internationally, fundamental solutions for the most efficient development of an organization».

In addition to consolidating its presence in the geographies where it is located, Abaco also intends to evaluate new ones. «This choice will always be linked to the assessment of the conditions for opening foreign investment in general, and to two specific aspects, tax and labor, in addition to the prospecting of business opportunities and local partnerships», he explains, also sharing: «The strategy da Abaco will always be based on the exploration of the vertical sectors where it is strongest and on the conquest of international customers for its support center, in Portugal. On the other hand, our commitment to excellence in the solutions and implementations that we have been developing is the best business card we have, in addition to the satisfaction expressed by international customers. »

Each country where Abaco opens offices presents an additional challenge in terms of People Management, first of all due to cultural differences. «For everything to go well, we need to know how to adapt to the culture and traditions of each country, but above all to know what each culture has most positive and capitalize on as a general contribution to the culture of the group. Nevertheless, the values on which Abaco bases its culture are universal, thus making the process of adopting the culture much simpler », notes CHRO.

Far or close, the key is to ensure close, confident and transparent leadership. «Proximity has always been our prerogative, and this is achieved with some routines and involving people», says Ângela Santos, who recognizes that communication is now a greater challenge. “It is necessary to pass on more information, give more context, be clearer.”

The official believes that “the strategic management of Human Resources has gone to another level, it is today the organization’s circulatory and lymphatic system. Efficiency, productivity and the management of technical skills are fundamental, but they are part of the most basic level of management and leadership. If we want a healthier, faster, stronger and better able to adapt quickly to changes, we need a strong culture and the right people who, in addition to being committed, see in the organization an extension of themselves and their life.

This article was published in the February edition (nº.122) of Human Resources Magazine.