Corporate Wellness

HRD Summit – Interview with Duarte Ramos: The future of HR

16 May 2018
Last updated on 1 Jun 2023

The HRD Summit, one of the most important gatherings in Europe for the HR community, is just around the corner. The event is taking place on May, 22 and 23 in RAI Amsterdam, bringing together great leaders from all around the world. The agenda is full of inspiring leaders, including a special presentationfrom Duarte Ramos, Vice President of People & Performance for Wellhub Europe. In his keynote session, Duarte will share his vision about why physical activity should be your next corporate benefit.

Our editorial team sat down with him to discuss his vision for the future of HR, his challenges and how he thinks this department will be a key player in the future of organizations.

Enjoy the reading!

Can you tell us a bit more about your background and what led you to decide leaving the USA and moving back to Europe to join Wellhub?

Before I joined Wellhub I was working for the world´s biggest retailer in the Talent Acquisition function, supporting the International part of the business. Wellhub came as a dynamic and disruptive Company, where I could be part of the strategy formulation. I think it was a great career decision and I was impressed by the high caliber of my colleagues.

What does Wellhub represent today? For you and for the industry?

Wellhub represents a mission, rather than a job. We partner with companies to create better work environments, to empower wellness across companies and create sustainability. It’s great to be able to work everyday with this clear vision about what we are aiming together as a team. We are a business but serving a greater idea: helping people find an activity they love. This is about happenings and better places, which is really meaningful.

What challenges is the HR department facing today?

My HR department is facing internal and external challenges. Internally, as we are creating centers of excellence, we are building a new infrastructure. This means investing in new technology and processes, different ways of working and challenging the way we do things. Externally, we face the pressures to attract and develop remarkable talent within countries and markets that are, in their majority, very competitive for talent.

What are the HR strategies implemented to solve these challenges?

Challenges are not threats. They are opportunities to rethink processes and reinvent the organization. The strategy at Wellhub is to embrace the new normal and create processes around the new ways of working, the new technologies and the new skills in the market.

What are the major programs that you have or will launch in this context?

New systems to have accurate HR data. Make the decision upon data analysis. New L&D tools and ATS, and HRIS.

How do you evaluate your Corporate Wellness approach today?

Well, we sell corporate wellness. However, we know that what you sell does not define what you do. And even though our employees have a tremendous discount on our platform, we are working on to become empathic with its usage. We need to separate productivity from intensity. That’s our path.

Do you have a recruitment policy limited to young talents?

Not at all. We are very serious about diversity in all forms and meanings. We want to have different ways of looking at problems because we know that companies who do that perform better. We want to champion all kinds of diversity in our workforce, and our employees should be from different generations.

What actions do you have in place to engage your employees?

Well, I think that’s the million dollar question for any organization. We naturally attract ambitious and bright talent. So our challenge is to constantly remain meaningful for them. This is about better communication, alignment and transparency. These cultural attributes may seem simple, but maintaining their integrity within such a fast paced environment is not easy.

How do you envision the future of the HR function?

HR is already becoming a different area from what it was 5 years ago. If I would guess what is going to happen in the coming years, I would see HR as a strategic enabler of the strategy, rather than a support function. HR will be instrumental to connect the organizations to a gig workforce, and changing demographic patterns. It’s more an about adding value to design the business talent plan in the early company stages, rather than supporting the execution of strategies.

What´s your vision for the future of quality of life at Work?

I personally do not believe in separation of work and personal life, or even in balancing them. I believe in blending them.

Continuing on the subject of quality of life, what are your results so far?

We are betting heavily on blending the above mentioned elements by having the right technology to eliminate physical barriers between our colleagues. We believe that good tools combined with flexible and remote policies are a great way of creating the foundations so that we really support harmony in everyone’s lives.

What advice would you give to a newcomer to the HR function?

I would say that the HR is a communication role. If you’re looking for an area where you need to constantly rethink your processes, measure your added value to the business on a regular basis and influence decision making using data, this will be a career for you. If you see HR as an administrative function, this is probably not the right path for you.

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Wellhub Editorial Team

The Wellhub Editorial Team empowers HR leaders to support worker wellbeing. Our original research, trend analyses, and helpful how-tos provide the tools they need to improve workforce wellness in today's fast-shifting professional landscape.