Invest in talent – like Zegna Group, Loewe Foundation, LVMH Group and Lexus

Yolanda Regodón. Associate Director of Communications. IE Business School

27 May 2014

In a world where innovation now plays a major role in success, companies increasingly need to discover, attract and recruit talent, because that is where the key to the future lies.

Talent is now a strategic priority for any company. Passion, responsibility, dedication and collaboration play a key role in innovation, which, coupled with commitment and investment in talent, is a business model on which leading business organizations are now built. The Zegna Group, for example, is set to allocate 34.3 million dollars to the promotion of excellence in Italy.  This exercise in responsibility will serve to attract some of the best talent in the world. Some weeks ago Paolo and Gildo Zegna, president and CEO respectively of the Ermenegildo Zegna Group, launched the Ermenegildo Zegna Founder’s Scholarship. Although it will be awarded to only 10 lucky people, the initiative has set the ball rolling. The 10 talented young people they select will receive up to €50,000 per annum to fund the program or research project they want to undertake, for 3 to 5 years. The ultimate aim is to contribute toward the growth of the Italian economy.

The Zegna Group is not the first company in the luxury sector to invest in education, innovation and employment. In order to avoid ageing, a company needs to be constantly learning and evolving, and what better way to rejuvenate the group than by educating young talent? It is important to develop talent and attract the world’s best to the company. This is, without doubt, the way to guarantee corporate growth and job creation.

Lexus also rewards students who come up with creative solutions to environmental problems. The Lexus Eco Challenge awards 500,000 dollars to young people who are committed to saving the environment, while the LEXUS 2014 design award serves as a platform to showcase the level of design talent among new generations.

Meanwhile, the LVMH group runs a competition to find new talents in the world of fashion. Led by Delphine Arnault, the Young Fashion Designer Prize awards €300,000 and a year of tutoring to the winner.

Loewe is another example of a company that rewards talent, in this case in the field of culture, in the form of its International Loewe Foundation Poetry Prize. It is one of the most prestigious awards in the field of Spanish poetry, and comes with a cash prize of €20,000.  In a similar vein, two years ago the Amancio Ortega Foundation created a scholarship program that enables a hundred young Spaniards to do a year of their schooling in Canada.

Looking to the future and focusing on tomorrow’s developments has to form part of a business organization’s DNA. The firm that invests time in seeking and improving its products and its environment shows its concern for the future, as well as its generosity. The Secretary General of the OECD, Angel Gurria, said recently that now is the time “to go structural,” which means centering on issues like education, innovation, or competences. He believes that these factors are among those that will help maintain growth levels in the mid and long term. He is absolutely right.

Seeking, attracting and recruiting qualified candidates is a source of competitive advantage for companies in the luxury and premium sectors, and in any other sector for that matter. Organizations are changing fast and innovation processes underpin the reinvention of management. It is increasingly necessary to launch new initiatives that permit the firm to regenerate and rebuild the fabric of production processes to guarantee sustainable development and job creation. The abovementioned initiatives will serve to inspire other entrepreneurs in the luxury industry and in other sectors to follow in their steps and seek out talented young professionals that stand out for their commitment, their global vision, and their capacity to adapt. It is time to invest in talent. It is an investment in progress.

Published by The Luxonomist

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