Augmented reality, biometrics, drones, data analysis, and cybersecurity are terms we do not normally associate with EDP. But it is the reality of a Group that is going through a process of transformation and generational rejuvenation. In response to the digital revolution and the ever-changing needs of customers, the company has been integrating young people who perform more technological and more "out-of-the-box" activities.
João Sabido has not yet passed the "barrier" of 30, but already projects an image of confidence and success. With curious eyes, he speaks to us with enthusiasm about the profession he has occupied for two years at EDP Inovação.
What we do is bring innovations, startups or projects to EDP, all with a common goal: to give a competitive advantage to the company. We identify the needs within the company, match them with the projects that we find, and finally try to implement them in EDP.
João Sabido, Support Analyst for Entrepreneurship at EDP Innovation.
This was the case, for example, with the application of "futuristic" technology to power plants, which has made life easier for maintenance technicians through digital systems and augmented reality. On one hand, it allows them to easily locate the machines which need repair and, on the other hand, through augmented reality glasses, they can quickly obtain on-site instructions about the procedures that must be followed to resolve the incidents.
The use of drones to evaluate the state of the turbines in the manufacturing centers is another example of the application of innovative technology to the daily routine of a company that is already composed mostly of Millennials (36%); in other words, youngsters who were born between the beginning of the 80s and the end of 90s.
A time during which power station machinery was controlled manually on analog panels is long gone. The evolution of time has brought a big challenge to EDP - ensuring that the knowledge of previous generations is not lost, while integrating young collaborators, technological innovation and new ways of working.
At the corporate level, the company created the Valuing Experience Program with the purpose of taking advantage of the knowledge and experience of the most senior employees and transferring it to new employees before the senior ones leave for retirement or pre-retirement.
In parallel, some business units have defined knowledge transfer plans and developed Knowledge Management programs with a significant number of employees who are leaving the company. This knowledge is greatly appreciated by the new generations, who recognize its importance and its value.
Mafalda Costa was born in January 1984 and is Product Owner of an IT Analytics application in the DGU (Digital Global Unit), which was the former Directorate of Information Systems - The department's own name change reveals the transformation of the company. Mafalda highlights also its diversity in terms of people of different ages and levels of experience.
We have contact with different generations and it is interesting to see that "I am still of the time" when we did things differently. And I think that it is even funnier in technology areas because there was, in fact, a Digital Unit 20 years ago and there is a Digital Unit now, so surely we have people who have lived a reality that has nothing to do with ours.
Mafalda Costa, Product Owner at DGU
Learning from the experience of older generations is, in fact, a fundamental exchange for the proper functioning of any company, according to Eduardo Boratto, EDP Trainee.
"The people who are here from the beginning know how systems were built and how things started. And it is necessary for them to explain to young people, "look, this works like this, that works like that" so that young people can then think "how can we make this system work better, differently?" Without the knowledge base, the younger employees cannot situate themselves and bring new ideas, and without new ideas, the business becomes stagnant. So they are completely complementary."
In addition to defining strategies to value the experience of those who leave, the company has also taken steps to welcome the generations that are now entering. Recruitment is making a digital move to streamline the experience of the candidates, increasingly "digital natives" and coming from different countries - online tests and automated video interviews are among the tools employed.
I found the EDP Trainee program in the opportunities portal of my university (ESADE). When I went through the selection process, I was living and working in a consulting company in Barcelona, and it was difficult for me to do it in person. EDP allowed the whole process to be carried out remotely: tests (numerical, understanding of the English language, logic, etc.), a "Business Case", an interview with HR and with a Director of EDP... everything over the internet.
Marina Maldonado Martín, Senior Marketing Analyst at EDP Brasil
The Trainee Program is considered the best recruiting practice at EDP and a solution to attract differentiated talent that is also in constant evolution. For the 4th edition, starting in September 2018, a predominantly digital process was designed with which, out of thousands of candidates, the best 180 will be selected to interact with the company and they will present themselves in an assessment day hosted in three areas - Portugal, Spain and Brazil (it can also be carried out online, if necessary).
The diversity of people will join the wide variety of business areas available. Trainees can have various functions throughout the program, accumulating experience and knowledge until they reach the field where they will be received permanently by the Group.
This course is characterized by the amount of learning that participants can achieve through contact with several business areas and sometimes in different regions, with close follow-up through career counseling and an internal training process that enriches the participant's experience in the Program and prepares them for the imminent challenges that it will help to overcome.
In addition to the variety of experiences, a cultural change is underway at EDP that has also attracted the attention of Millennials. Employee happiness is a priority, so programs have been developed that seek to provide a special follow-up at various stages of one's life (during pregnancy, or after the arrival of a child, for example), as well as creating opportunities for more personal goals (even during working hours), such as volunteering.
There is flexibility. If, for example, I have an appointment and have to leave a little earlier or make an extended lunch hour, this is flexible. I think I can say that having defined goals and tasks is the most important thing - we have a certain amount of work to do and we have to deliver it.
Inês Vidigueira, Digital Expert at EDP
EDP's own leaders are being prepared to become "transformation influencers," that is, to increasingly stimulate an open-ended environment for questions, to be innovation enablers and to promote greater collaboration and process simplification.
The goal is to reduce the fears and potential frustrations of employees of all generations, turning their differences into capital gains.
In the case of new Millennial profiles (generation Y) that have been integrated into the organization, EDP believes that there will be "another opportunity to increase the agents of change, since they boost efficiency and optimization through their more digital and technological competencies."
Hence, there is great investment in policies for the reception, training and integration of these young people: a wide range of corporate university initiatives, teambuilding initiatives, libraries and online information platforms, knowledge-sharing sessions and even international exchanges.
In a Group as large and diverse as EDP - which is distributed across several geographical regions and integrates many professions - digital transformation is a great advantage: it enhances communication and streamlines processes, facilitating employees' lives and contributing to a culture of greater flexibility in general. But it is also a major challenge, particularly in regard to the ability of older generations to adapt.
Fortunately for all of us, intergenerational collaboration is seen very positively and collaboration is appreciated. In the words of Trainee João Sabido, "this is the good side of my job: it's about dealing with many people and, in fact, they have a lot to teach you and they are also open to learning."
The motto of the 4th edition of the EDP Trainee Program is "The world is filled with impossible ideas." For Eduardo Boratto, this message was gradually reinforced throughout his career in the company. He found "people who were willing to fight so that the impossible wouldn't exist. They were open to new ways of doing things, new tools, even new technologies."
In his opinion, it is that kind of collaboration within EDP that defies the limits and ultimately "makes it possible to reach a place that many people believe cannot be reached."