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GENERAL NEWS / 10-10-2023


“We have created a Psychological Support Service to offer our staff an advanced health and wellness framework”

GRUPO ARANIA’s People Director, Jorge Lanchares, is very sure of the role that people play in the group's business, especially when it comes to handling the difficulties and incessant change that have arisen over the last few years for a variety of reasons: people are the Group's “most important asset” and “the strength that allows us to take on new challenges”. That’s why the Group has launched an innovative Psychological Support Service to offer the staff an advanced health and wellness framework”. According to Lanchares, the goal is to give people the support they need to help prevent or overcome anxiety, depression, stress and grief, among other situations. “The Group needs to be there,” he said.

“Commitment, honesty, sustainability and adaptability to change are the values that best represent us”

Question. How has GRUPO ARANIA’s personnel policy changed, considering not only the international climate we’ve experienced since 2008 (the financial crisis, COVID, war in Ukraine), but also the demographic, social and technological changes we’ve dealt with?

A. Indeed, all of these events have led us to reinvent ourselves and make decisions in contexts where we lacked experience or contexts with a high level of uncertainty. We've managed this panorama with a friendly, people-centric approach to overcome with strength and unity, and we've had to do so while coexisting in a regulatory environment requiring us to adapt quickly to new regulations. At GRUPO ARANIA we're working toward an ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) model in line with what we internally refer to as the 3 Ps: People, Project and Planet.

We want to be a group that offers its current employees and new hires a project with values they identify with, one offering professional development and in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

Q. What do people mean to GRUPO ARANIA today?

A. The more than 1,000 people who make up the Group are our biggest asset, the force that allows us to take on new challenges. They are also the ones who help preserve and maintain the culture and values that have defined us for more than 80 years, the ones handed down generation to generation.

“The more than 1,000 people who make up the Group are our biggest asset”

Q. How has the Group been able to marry its immersion in technology with its commitment to employment?

A. In the last 15 years, we have gone through difficult situations that have affected the corporate environment and society as a whole. And that has an impact on people. I truly believe that we have come out of those situations even stronger. Thanks to the Group's social commitment, we have grown and continue creating high-quality jobs. Technological adaptation, digital transformation, research and development are the basis needed to continuously improve and offer our stakeholders the very best. However we need to remember that people will always be the ones to guide the use of technology onto the right path to achieve our goals, using their technical know-how and skills, in line with their values and to the benefit of society.

Q. What does belonging to GRUPO ARANIA mean for its people? What commitments does it involve?

A. It's a point of pride that the Group’s main strength is its people. They internalise the values set out in our code of conduct and those values play out with behaviour and a commitment both as an individual and as a group.

Q. The Group has many values. Which ones would you highlight as the most representative?

A. I’d call attention to the shared values. For that matter, I'd highlight commitment, honesty, sustainability and the capacity to transform and adapt to change.

Q. What progress has been made in terms of equality?

A. GRUPO ARANIA views its commitment to equality as a fundamental right and that is how it is respected and applied in all human resource processes (promotions, hiring, training, development and compensation). With the approval of the equality plans in the agreement with social representation, the Group gave company-wide impetus to equality with actions related to a wide range of fields: harassment, occupational health, psychological support, protection of victims of gender-based violence and work-life balance.

“We gave company-wide impetus to equality with actions related to harassment, occupational health, psychological support and work-life balance.”

Q. What role does philanthropy play in the Group's philosophy?

A. It plays a major role in an ESG model and its action plans. GRUPO ARANIA has no doubt that corporate profitability is compatible with giving some earnings back to society. It demonstrates this by sponsoring community events and working with a food bank, for instance.

“We have no doubt that corporate profitability is compatible with giving some earnings back to society”

Q. Occupational safety is critical for an industrial group dedicated to steel processing. How has that evolved over the years?

A. Guaranteeing our people’s safety is absolutely crucial. Most investments are allocated to improving facilities and machinery, but they are also allocated to PPE, occupational health, training and sensitisation. We should also thank the health and safety committees for their hard work in this regard.

Q. What about worker training?

A. Training at the Group has never stopped growing, both in terms of number of actions and in terms of number of participants. The goal is clear: enhance technical know-how and the skills contributing to people’s personal and professional development. In 2022 alone, the Group carried out 263 actions with a total of 12,755 training hours and 1,031 participants, with an average of 12 training hours per participant. These indicators show the strategic importance of training at GRUPO ARANIA.

Q. One of the Group's sustainability goals in terms of social impact is a commitment to people's health and wellbeing. ¿Do you have any initiatives planned in this regard?

A. We’ve launched a number of worker health and wellbeing initiatives, but this year the key project we have really thrown ourselves into is the new Psychological Support Service. It's a service aimed at people who need psychological support for either personal or work-related reasons. It offers absolute confidentiality and complies with personal data processing regulations.

“We’ve created a Psychological Support Service aimed at people who need it for personal or work reasons, with guaranteed confidentiality”

Q. Why did you launch this specific initiative?

A. Simply sensitivity. What we're seeing in society, which therefore carries into organisations, is that mental health is one of the biggest concerns we need to handle. Studies indicate that this will become the leading cause for taking time off work in the next few years. With the idea of providing proactive assistance, we are trailblazers launching a service of this kind and building an advanced health and wellbeing model.

“With this service, we’d like to provide proactive assistance because mental health is one of the biggest social concerns and it will become the leading cause for taking time off work”

Q. When did the idea for this initiative come about? We are coming out of a pandemic that has notably affected many people’s mental health. To what extent was this related to COVID?

A. That’s right. The COVID situation has had deciding influence on many people’s mental health. What we’re doing is taking that social reality and getting out ahead of it so as to prevent those personal and professional issues from getting exacerbated. This is a preventive emotional support service with a fundamental objective: if we can help our Group’s people when they're dealing with anxiety, depression, stress, grief, etc., GRUPO ARANIA needs to be there for them.

“If we can help people dealing with anxiety, depression, stress, grief, etc. GRUPO ARANIA needs to be there for them”

Q. Who will provide the service?

A. An experienced psychology practice specialising in health and clinical psychology.

Q. Questions may arise about confidentiality. How is the anonymity of the people using the service guaranteed?

A. It's quite simple. First, the People Division is not interested in learning who requests psychological support, but rather in helping people improve their mental health when they’re dealing with the issues described above. Second, the data protection policy notwithstanding, confidentiality is guaranteed because the people using the service are going to request via a QR code. They will send the psychology practice the header of a payslip as proof of identity and company. Finally, the bill for services rendered will never detail the names of the people assisted.