The year 2021 marks Awair’s seventh as a Hogan distributor. During this time, the company has experienced rapid organizational growth and success. After focusing on the Italian market for the first two years, Awair expanded into Spain and France, adding to its already diverse and impressive portfolio of clients and services.
Awair was founded in 2012 by a group of partners, each with 20-plus years of experience in the industry and a clear vision of creating a one-stop shop for personality assessments in the Italian market. Since then, Awair has sold more than 60,000 reports and certified more than 925 individuals.
Adaptability, strong leadership, and a lot of enthusiasm led Awair to where they are today and will carry them into the future. With all the knowledge and experience the Awair partners and consultants possess, they’ve become a major thought leader in the market, and with their focus on innovation and excellence, they’ve created an exciting virtual platform to support clients in adapting to the future of work.
Italy was hit hard by COVID-19 — how did you manage to adapt quickly to the new circumstances?
What has become clear since the early stages of the pandemic is that a new kind of leadership is needed to navigate the challenges and uncertainties of the current business environment. We realized that if we wanted to continue to help organizations discover and develop leadership talent, particularly at the speed that is necessary today, we needed to radically rethink our assessment processes and development tools. We have developed a new competency frameworkthat reflects the new leadership challenges, particularly concerning critical thinking, humility, and agile execution.
We have created a digital assessment and development platform that supports a more immersive and engaging experience, mirroring the new “phygital” (i.e., physical and digital) way of life. And we have expanded our development portfolio with a series of virtual workshops aligned with the new leadership framework. This pandemic certainly has been challenging, both from a business and human perspective, but it has also granted us an incredible opportunity to pause and think, be creative, rekindle our passion for the work we do, renew our sense of purpose, and strengthen the ties that bind us together at Awair.
Was there a valuable lesson learned from expanding into Spain and France?
The most important lesson, if there was ever any doubt, is that the key factors in success are people and collaboration. Our intention, from the very start, was not to have separate Italian, French, and Spanish teams, but rather one distributed team of like-minded, engaged individuals, who work together beyond national boundaries. In a team of 23 people, we have seven nationalities, with people living in seven different cities. Working virtually had been a reality for us even before the pandemic. It’s complicated sometimes, but it’s also extremely enriching.
The other lesson we’ve learned is that it takes time to get people onboard, and that we need to invest a lot of time and energy in getting people up to speed with products and services. In this respect, the resources provided by Hogan, the trainings, the daily support from the distributors’ network, and the constant flow of information from the data science team, are invaluable.
The third lesson concerns the importance of marketing and communication in establishing credibility and brand awareness in the market. This is the area where we need to focus now. We have taken some steps in this direction, but there’s still a lot to be done.
Tell us a little more about the technological innovations you’ve been focusing on.
AVA, the digital platform we have been developing, is a virtual environment for talent assessment and leadership development. Primarily AVA is a holistic assessment environment where all key dimensions of current and future performance — from potential to readiness, from career aspirations to leadership experiences — can be evaluated to spark an honest, meaningful conversation about talent between all parties involved.
Secondarily, AVA is a virtual space where you can build custom development journeys, combining different types of learning experiences like building blocks: individual coaching, virtual workshops and events, curated content, or other resources.
Finally, AVA is a dynamic database that stores and organizes relevant talent information to provide HR professionals and leaders with an objective “big picture” of available talent and support them in executing and fine-tuning their people strategy.