Today On The Grill: Alex Isern – ISL CEO And Co-Founder
Alex is a mastermind oriented to success. His efficient business skills come from prestigious schools such as ESADE (Master’s Degree) and Winthrop University (Bachelor of Science in Business Administration).
Alex is also a professor at ISDE Law & Business School, where he teaches a Master’s Degree class. This month, his class will be about Risk Management and Human Resources, the trending topic itself considering the current global pandemic crisis and the second lockdown in many european countries.
So, we went ahead and asked him some questions about it:
Why is risk management important?
The increasing exposure to the effect of numerous risks, such as Covid-19, has made risk management a key activity in sports organizations. How a business identifies, evaluates, and faces the risk is crucial to overcome challenging situations.
What are your top 3 tips on risk management?
Create a risk aware culture
Continually re-assess risk
Plan, plan, and plan
How did you manage the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic at ISL?
The Covid-19 had a big impact in our organization, especially to our travel management side. Our priority has always been the health and safety of our team and our customers. That’s why we had to change how we do things internally, but also the way we interact with our clients and partners. We have embraced a digital ecosystem to offer more customized and enriched digital experiences. Some of our tradicional services have been on hold for several months but the adaptability of our team has been outstanding. We look forward to returning to normality in the next upcoming months.
What is the biggest challenge you had to overcome regarding Human Resources?
One of the main challenges we have as a sports organization is that we require a large workforce for an intense period of time. Every time we organize an event such as a tournament, a preseason tour, or a sponsorship activation, we need to hire new people that will stay with us for a few weeks or even days. The rapid increase and decline in staffing within a short period of time is a complex human resource challenge. Finding and retaining talent is also one of the most significant managerial challenges.
Are human resources a risk source or a solution/opportunity to avoid risk?
I would say both. As I said previously, human resource management can be very challenging in sports organizations. Shortage of staffing or a lack of training in our team can be a source of risk. However, thanks to our people we can also mitigate a lot of risks and solve challenging situations.
ISL has workers in 5 different time zones, isn’t that risky? How do you coordinate the teams and ensure everyone is on top of their game?
I wouldn’t say risky, but challenging. As a global company that operates in several countries, we have our team spread in different parts of the world. Having a great communication structure in place and setting up very clear individual and team goals is key for the company’s success.
What is your advice to successfully manage talent acquisition and retention?
In my opinion there are several key factors that we need to achieve in order to have a successful talent acquisition and retention process:
- Great leaders: we need to have people in our team that inspire and encourage the new hirings and also people that lead by example.
- Great company: the values, culture, and contributions to society are key to attract and retain talent.
- Great job: we need to make sure that the job positions are interesting, have an impact, and there is an opportunity to grow as a professional and as a person.
- Great rewards: economic rewards such as bonus, fringe benefits, medical insurance, etc. but also nonfinancial forms of recognition such as saying thank you or giving more responsibility.
Any other risk management and/or Human Resources examples you would like to share?
During this time of uncertainty, managers of sports organizations are being forced to make tough decisions to minimize the impact of the Covid-19. Most of the time we believe that reducing our staff is the only solution, but there are many other ways to face this economic downturn. We would be surprised how versatile our teams can be if we are creative and innovative. The ability of the managers to find new opportunities and adapt quickly to the new context will determine the future of the company.