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Our digital talents go international!
August 18, 2020

The “war for talents” has been a crucial topic for companies all around the world. In fact, this expression started to be mentioned at the end of the 90’s/ early 20‘s. Many authors predicted that the success or failure of a company for the years to come would be their ability to attract, develop and retain talent. Finding and hiring the right talent is key for us. This is why we have decided to develop a V.I.E. Talent program! I will discuss below how our digital talents go international with Carrefour.

Carrefour’s international opportunities

At the Group Talent Management Direction, we realized that we already had a good base to “fight with” in this so-called war for talents. For over 20 years, we have been proposing international opportunities to young candidates but, sometimes, we were not able to largely communicate about them.

In France, we have an “International volunteering program” which is administered by the national agency “Business France”. It is 100% financed by French companies such as Carrefour. This program is called “V.I.E.” for its French acronym (Volontariat International en Entreprise). The aim of the program is to offer young professionals opportunities in French companies all over the world, with a fixed term contract. It is a great way to attract talents!

At the Talent Management Direction we have decided to transform this “volunteering scheme” in order to build our customized international talent program.

Our improvements

Taking into consideration that Carrefour is already in a transformation plan, we decided to adapt and improve our existing HR strategy regarding international talents. Indeed, our goal was to reshape the V.I.E. program policy and turn it into an asset for attraction, development and retention of new talents in Carrefour, especially digital talents.

To ensure that the message was clearly received, we took the time to explain to each stakeholder individually, the main objectives and make them understand the benefit of Carrefour’s Talent Program. A communication campaign was specifically designed for launching the new strategy.

Our new Talent program policy

The first change in this program was to evolve from the “V.I.E assignment” concept to “V.I.E. Talent Program”. The expected impact was to switch from a “short term experience” and “short term objectives” to a long term solution.

It is essential for us that our colleagues and managers understand that our recruitment strategy changed. We are expecting more than a regular talent for a regular job. From now on, we expect candidates to have even more potential and aim to evolve and grow within Carrefour with an adapted development plan and good management skills.

The long term solution

For the past years, we have witnessed that Carrefour needed to work on its employer brand. Thus, we introduced important actions to increase our attractivity both externally and internally by thinking about our assignees careers. Last year, we only recruited 21% of the assignees. After having interviewed many volunteers who, at the end of their 2 years contract, decided not to continue their career within Carrefour, we clearly identified what “young talents” search in their future jobs. Thanks to this insight, we were able to reshape our talent program’s strategy.

By analyzing the interviews, we discovered that, for most, the job content was the most important aspect for them regarding a job offer. They look for jobs where they could feel challenged and continuously evolving. Additionally, the career projection appears to be fundamental to stay “motivated”.

This information led us through the conception of a talent program which can offer perspectives and a career path. In order to ensure stimulating job contents, we decided to connect even more with the business needs and we have involved some executives at (Board) Group level.

With Board’s sponsorship, we can now be closer to the business priorities and better identify the real needs of our company. As mentioned previously, it is key for the future V.I.E. job openings that the content of the job is challenging enough. Additionally, the job content needed to be evolutional and aligned with the Group’s objectives.

The follow-up was also reinforced and the HR Talent teams involved for upgrading the program.

The sponsorship  

With the board being involved, not only do we have more impact and liability on the quality of the jobs, but we also have more credibility and better opportunities for V.I.E talents at the end of their contract.

Asking for the executives’ sponsorship has a double positive impact, they will help us identify the most relevant jobs as well as help us find career opportunities for those who have shown their potential.

The business lines

To increase this initiative’s potential of success, we have splitted the job opportunities per business line, and that is when the “V.I.E. Digital Talent program” was born.

After sharing the new objectives with all the branches, we started to receive some requests to host V.I.E. for e-commerce, innovation and many other digital projects.

Starting in 2020 and despite the Covid-19 context, we expect to recruit 27 young graduates this year, of which, 23% will be in Digital & e-commerce areas.

What are our assets?

For the candidates joining our talent program, we offer: 

  • A 2-year international experience, 
  • A personalized follow-up during the entire duration of the contract,
  • A career interview organized 6 months before the end, to identify internal job opportunities. We also grant the VIE graduate with personalized coaching for a better orientation.

Candidates can also benefit from customized training, personality tests and language lessons.

Of course, despite the improvements needed for the V.I.E. Talent program, we already have important achievements such as our gender equity. Indeed, historically, our V.I.E Positions are occupied at 48% by women.

The expected outcomes

Carrefour’s International Talent Program is highly attractive and empowering for our future graduates. We truly believe that this initiative will have a positive impact on Carrefour’s employer brand. The most valuable aspect for us is this opportunity to train and develop our future leaders.

Our next steps 

As mentioned, the program makeover was launched in mid-2020. We are still working on increasing visibility of the program, and our current V.I.E are becoming our strongest ambassadors, sharing the benefits they value from the program.

“This is not a sprint, it is a marathon”! We still have a long way to go! However, we will be able to follow the improvements over the next two years.  The key success factor is the involvement of all parties by contributing everyday in the human development of our future V.I.E. talents, including our digital talents.

Interested in HR subjects? Check out the other articles related to People here.

About the Author

Group Talent Program Manager Her main objective is to manage an international Talent program and turn it into a talent incubator.

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