Investing in HR: the NTV case in Italy

I recently posted The courage to invest because I believe that core business of a company should be developed investing also in quality human resources. At the same time the attitude, still inadequate, of Italian governments should quit old ideological schemes and especially should not allow young professionals to be levelled out by our frozen job market. Our politicians should remove, first of all, immediate obstacles that hiring companies are affording: the high labour cost and the unsustainable fiscal and welfare gap.

In Italian current affairs, a good case history is the NTV HR policy. The company is the first Italian private railway transportation provider, that entered the free market after deregulation laws in public transportation system. The company starts its activity in 2006 through the cooperation of several Italian entrepreneurs, with famous big names like Della Valle and Montezemolo.

NTV had to face several troubles due to monopolistic heritage of the authorities still managing the rail network, that slowed down its services launch. Now it’s operating, and continues to grow launching new routes, services and brand new stations, offering its marketing added value that comes from its innovative offer, trying to provide comfort and customer care previously a prerogative of air transportation.

HR scouting and selection is managed by Studio Staff, an Italian recruiting company, that deals with structured selections involving thousands of applicants in the whole national territory for several professional positions: from stewards to train conductors and technical professionals. A quite interesting feature is the high qualification level required for passenger assistance personnel. The recruiters require a fluent English, a proven and high customer care attitude. It builds right from the selection preliminary steps, the focus features of a winning marketing strategy based on innovative services, quality and customer care added value.

If pricing strategies can easily be replicated or vanished, a new concept in the railway transportation is going to make the difference. Especially in the opening battle for customer fidelity and the growing competition with air transportation, every day less convenient, in particular for some business routes and purposes.

Applicants are generally under low age limits, a young oriented attitude that some often criticized (in my opinion without solid reasons). They have to pass several interview steps with different HR professionals and recruiters, to finally attend training courses (often in other cities), with a solid profile and duration.

This is a company that focused its marketing strategy key factors to customer care and quality of service, investing in HR quality. How many SME could do the same? How many positions, even with higher qualification requirements, are now levelled out by the generation gap of last years in Italy?

Looking at a present case it’s every day stronger the vital importance of labour market efficient measures, and active policies. Italian economy needs dare measures removing immediate obstacles that are freezing the labour market: the high employment costs, the huge welfare and fiscal gap, the placement inefficiency of our universities.

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