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Best practice from Portugal on skills development: O Valor de Tempo

O Valor do Tempo, “The world has never been so Portuguese”. O Valor do Tempo Group was created in 1994 in Seia, and its first public expression came in 2002 with the opening of the Bread Museum. The group currently owns 15 different Portuguese brands and is a business focused on customer experience. Remaining faithful to the Group’s values, the brands are based on a legacy of Portuguese history and heritage and honour the past and traditions that time has preserved. The brands don’t want to sell a product; they want the customer to go into the shop and feel absorbed by the atmosphere and take away a memory. They want to leave a memory in the customer’s mind.

Background information

O Valor do Tempo is a Portuguese group of companies that works with the best that Portugal has to offer to the world, especially in the fields of history, culture and tourism. A human-centered economy that is based on sharing and collaboration. There is a strong focus on the quality and uniqueness of their products and services, which could attract more customers and employees who value the Portuguese heritage and culture. The group also have a diversified portfolio of brands that cater to different segments and markets, which could reduce their exposure to specific risks and increase their resilience. O Valor do Tempo Group also claim to have a human-centered economy that is based on sharing and collaboration, which could foster a positive work environment and a loyal customer base.

Analysis and overview

At O Valor do Tempo Group, authenticity is a choice, not a consequence. That is why the company values loyal people with a well-developed sense of ethics, who contribute to a happy and harmonious environment in the workplace. O Valor do Tempo Group believes in the value and power of people as an essential asset for the success of their business. The organization wants every individual to develop their potential and believe there is always room to overcome and reinvent oneself. Commitment, innovation, creativity, dynamism, a proactive approach, and humility are the values that motivate over 700 employees at O Valor do Tempo Group, who work passionately as a team, every day, spontaneously transmitting this passion to their customers. The inner talent of their employees is considered their greatest asset; it is an essential source of energy for the group and a strategic pillar for the business activity.

Examples and case studies

O Valor do Tempo Group offers a challenging and valued professional career as part of a relationship that is based on mutual high standards, encouragement, and respect. How did the company create an organizational culture focused on people management?

I. Training
Factory of Dreams – the Training Academy – is aimed at all who work in the O Valor do Tempo Group and it is for all brands and for all jobs. The trainings use the brand name to exploit the different possible meanings of the word: “Value of time”; “Being the value of time”, “Sales with value”, “Leaders with value”. Trainings for continuing professional development in the various company departments seek to enhance their employees’ professional skills and excellence in customer contact. With a training room equipped with audiovisuals, rest and leisure areas, a meeting room and a space for practical training that simulates a store environment, the academy also has accommodation with capacity to host up to 20 people simultaneously so that our people can stay comfortably installed during training periods. More than a training centre, Factory of Dreams reflects the group essence, helping to reinforce their brands’ concepts and instigate everyone’s creativity and self-improvement.

II. Open communication
Internal communication channels with their employees are a preferred means that allows the company to identify opportunities for improvements in performance, spaces and working relations.

III. Recognition of merit

Identifying individual skills and promoting dialogue are key to enhancing the best in each person and serve as a stimulus for development and professional excellence, rewarding each employee’s performance impartially and transparently. Potential pitfalls and challenges O Valor do Tempo Group has grown a lot in recent years and there was no structured Human Resources Department. In 2022, they decided to create a new Human Resources Department (where each brand has its Human Resources manager) and the Factory of Dreams, the group’s training academy. They hired a Chief Happiness Officer that helps promoting the mindset change, so that people stop seeing work as an obligation, something they must do, and start seeing it as a source of personal fulfilment. At the end of the day who is responsible for happiness at the workplace?

First, the group believes that the main role lies with each individual. Secondly, everyone is responsible for happiness at work. However, managers have an additional responsibility. They have an obligation to promote an environment in which people feel safe. It suggests that the quality of the manager-employee relationship is a significant factor in employee retention and satisfaction. Finally, the group implemented a Smiling Culture, a way of welcoming and attracting customers to their stores.

Benefits and outcomes

The main benefits of creating a people-oriented organizational culture are clear for O Valor do Tempo Group:
● The employees become great ambassadors for the group’s brands;
● Workers know on a daily basis how much they’ve already achieved in bonuses because they access an app that gives them this information in real time (Casting app). Productivity bonuses bring a valuable return: they help the company grow and also empowers and benefit the employee with knowledge about the organization;
● Some employees who leave the company sometimes return;
● There is a professional progression within the company; the group prioritises internal recruitment first.
● Employee´s Happiness increases (reduction of absenteeism and turnover; increase in productivity and sales).

Measuring success

O Valor do Tempo Group success can be assessed by its internationalization strategy. In August 2023, the group opened the first ‘The Fantastic World of the Portuguese Sardine’ shop outside of Portugal. They have ventured to live the American dream, bringing one of Portugal’s most important business cards to Times Square: canned fish. It’s one of the new attractions in Times Square, one of New York’s most visited tourist attractions.

Source: Imprensa de Nova Iorque rendida a nova loja portuguesa em Times
Square – SIC Notícias (sicnoticias.pt)

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