Having joined the company on 1 September, he introduces himself as a fan of teams and of people, and he started his voyage at TAP by promising to create the right conditions for performance excellence that will transform TAP’s Clients into TAP’s fans. As far as TAP’s new head of human resources is concerned, people are what make a company and it is his department’s job to get the best out of this asset.
In his interview with WHAT’S|UP he lets us know a little about himself and his long career while setting out the lines that will guide his actions now that he is in charge of the TAP Group’s human resources.
Who is Pedro Ramos? What distinguishes you and what did you do before you got here?
I am a professional with more than 20 years’ experience in HR Senior Management at a number of large companies.
I began my career in Training and Personnel Development, and quickly assumed greater responsibility for the integrated management of people in the companies where I worked. In addition to working for Groundforce, where I was an Executive Director and head of human resources, I was also in charge of human resources at CARRIS, the ETE Group, OGMA and the Imprensa Nacional-Casa da Moeda, among others. There was a “common thread” in all these projects: in each of them I was involved in managing a process of change and transformation.
I would say that what sets me apart from other professionals “in this line of work” is that I have never lost sight of deepening growth through a commitment to my academic training (it is because of this that I remained a student up until a year ago, when I defended my doctorate in company economics in Madrid), associated with the fact that, whenever possible, I have participated in educational events in academia, either as a speaker or as a facilitator in the areas of people management and leadership. These activities have greatly assisted my professional growth, with the strong relationship between companies and the outside world in terms of their human resource processes and practices.
You came to TAP from Groundforce where you were head of human resources. How will you use this experience in your new role at TAP?
For the past few years I was head of human resources at Groundforce, but for 30 months I was also an Executive Director with oversight of the Human Resources, Operations, Commercial and IT departments. This provided me with a much more integrated view of what could be a concept of personnel management in perfect alignment with company strategies.
My previous experience and my time at Groundforce enabled me to assume several roles in interacting with the TAP Group, since I was (personally and simultaneously) a TAP client, service provider and a very special partner in various contexts and processes that were under way.
As Groundforce’s director of operations and commercial, TAP was my main client and focus, in terms of the involvement of the various teams in providing an excellent service to TAP. I followed TAP’s operations on the ground very closely each and every day. As executive director and head of human resources I could benefit from the services provided by TAP Serviços in many aspects of the administrative management of HR, as well as the services provided by UCS and Megasis, for example. I was also involved in or coordinating processes alongside excellent TAP Group professionals.
Needless to say, this knowledge and experience will stand me in good stead in my new role at the head of the TAP Group’s HR department.
In your opinion what value does HR have overall for a company?
I am not particularly keen on the expression “Human Resources”, precisely because people are, without a doubt, TAP’s most precious asset.
It is our people who make the difference in providing a service of excellence to our passengers, it is our people who add value and give our Client the best experience of their life... Our people are much more than a “simple resource” (that can be managed...), our people are the life and soul of our company! Every hour of every day (somewhere in the world!) it is our people who make things happen and who bring with them the inspiration, the positive energy, the motivation and the enthusiasm that makes them the real business agents of our company.
From the perspective of your previous jobs, and taking the closeness of the two companies, how will you use these skills now in another Group company?
I think I’ve already answered that question... however, allow me to restate that it is exactly my intention to inspire a deepening of relationships between the different companies within the TAP Group. Eventually, this aspect is more important to me today (or, at least, the desire to encourage this greater interaction) given the duties I exercised in the many roles I held in the past. As for the policies, practices and processes of managing people, there are several good examples of cases that have been tried and tested at several Group companies. So, we don’t all need to reinvent the wheel... We can share, integrate, work as a team and build on things that others have already started... to benefit us all and the Group.
What are some of the projects you have been thinking about in the short- and the long-term?
TAP is a company in transition, going through one of the most challenging periods in its history! This presents an enormous challenge for managing people at TAP who are much more than employees of the Human Resources Department.
There is a great need, alongside the company’s existing strategy, to design, redesign, structure and implement a new set of processes concerned with strengthening the more positive aspects of the organisational culture that commits to and reinforces performances that can transform our Clients into real fans of our company.
Clearly, to achieve this we need to help streamline processes, facilitate access to means and processes related to the management of our people in a quicker and more efficient way, and to encourage the rapid growth of the talent, internal know-how and skills within TAP Group companies. All of this will be implemented through a number of projects that will be developed when possible with the support of the Group’s excellent human resources team.
What is your vision for the company in terms of recruitment, training and internal mobility?
Recruitment is a “factory” of talent processing within the company... the doorway to skills – soft and hard – within our organisation. It must be viewed as a noble area to the extent that it must be at the service of the organisation, providing a response to the ever-greater demand for core skills and qualifications. It is a supplier and a privileged operational partner and works in interaction with the process of “permanent reconstruction” within the many functional profiles.
Training and development is one of the key items in processes for both personal development and, especially, for company organisational processes. It needs to go much further than the basic and mandatory requirement for certification and ought to position itself as a “key partner” in preparing people for short- and medium-term challenges. It must be in the forefront of the development of new levels of proficiency in the many skills and be clearly committed to the preparation of future leaders of the company at all levels.
Internal mobility often has a negative connotation... From the management of the “excluded” we must reverse this view and to make it a part of the company’s DNA. Internal mobility is understood to be a way to develop people and teams, to encourage growth and local change and transformation processes.
Finally, these three processes are only some of those that contribute, in an organised way, to the company’s strong “Employer Branding”.
How do you intend getting close to TAP staff?
I am by nature “very restless” and communicative. I like to roll up my sleeves and go to the “shop floor” and speak to people and get to know what is important to them. I intend to get close (in person and digitally) in order to establish a stronger link between our people and our internal organisations as part of the search for the best solutions that will allow us ALL – each one to the extent of their ability and in their specific context – to provide an excellent service to our Clients.
I will also help TAP’s good practices and actions towards our people and teams resound externally. You can also count on me to do this!
What would you like to tell TAP staff about yourself?
That despite having responded in the “first person” during this interview, I am a fan of teams and of people... I believe that people are the best of a company, but that they can also “be the worst of a company”... The role of an HR manager is to encourage and enhance the “best” and to work towards “reducing or minimising the worst” to provide the organisation an overall direction and foster a suitable and positive relationship in the people and business equation.
I like such words and expressions as: Confidence, Enthusiasm, Mobilisation, Cohesion and, especially, the focus on people in order to achieve results.
I like to learn and to share, to help make the most of experience and to celebrate success.
What can TAP staff expect from their new head of Human Resources?
TAP is the best company in the world. So, its staff can expect a head of HR who is a partner, facilitator, communicator and someone who is committed to helping with the transformation and change processes. I am also a privileged interlocutor between the various internal stakeholders capable of overcoming obstacles and challenges.
But, to rephrase the question, this is what staff can expect from the HR department - from the whole team without exception - since I do not believe in the deeds of “one man alone”, but rather in team achievements. And this is just the beginning of the journey... and I know that I am in good company!