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DigitalRetail Academy: develop digital competencies for all!
March 1, 2023

Digital is for everybody, not only for tech experts. At Carrefour, we believe that every one of our colleagues has a role to play in our digital transformation. Hence, in support of our ambition to become a DigitalRetail Company, we launched early 2022 the DigitalRetail Academy to welcome 100% of our associates into Carrefour’s transformation.

Digital has transformed our consumers’ habits, as much in their daily lives as in their shopping. Their expectations are evolving towards more digital and personalized experiences, both online and in the store. 

To keep up with their needs, Carrefour is going through an intense period of transformation, working hard to become a DigitalRetail Company, in which digital is at the core of the daily business. A change that gained traction on November 9th, 2021, during Carrefour’s Digital Day.

During this event, our CEO explained the need to get all our employees on board with digital, from store and warehouse operational staff to top management, and stated the ambition to upskill all our staff with digital training by 2024. To make this ambition a reality, we decided to create the “DigitalRetail Academy” in early 2022.

Defining our ambition

This DigitalRetail Academy has one goal: train our 330k+ employees in digital.

Let us take a few seconds to put this ambition in perspective. Reaching this volume of employees, company-wide and impacting multiple international countries means we had to perform something no other retailer had ever done before, and challenge ourselves.

To make it happen, we defined three core objectives:

  • Deploy a comprehensive digital learning program, tuned for grocery retail.
  • Develop a digital culture and the talent attractiveness of our company.
  • Support synergies as the first global learning initiative.

You can see that the DigitalRetail Academy goes beyond learning. It is in reality a comprehensive platform to spread digital to the whole company and a major transformation initiative. Do you want to know more about these objectives? Check out our interview with Jérôme Nanty, our executive director of human resources.

Bringing to life such a program is not something that happens overnight. It has been made possible thanks to a close collaboration between HR and digital teams. The first task was to define our targets, to make sure that we could meet everyone’s needs. We identified four target populations: operational employees, business managers, digital experts, and top management.

Our second task was to identify the digital domains in which we wanted to focus our learning content. We structured the effort around four major “disciplines”.

First of all, we wanted Carrefour people to become proficient in e-commerce, gain the business know-how on how to develop digital sales and service, understand how to improve the digital experience of our customers, develop new digital business models and understand the basics of digital marketing.

Tech & data are the essential engines of our digital transformation. Topics like mobility in the store, analytics for merchandise, smart supply chain, cloud, digital workplace, or DevOps are some of the topics we are trying to address with these two disciplines.

Finally, beyond “hard” skills, enabling digital ways of working, reinforcing our digital culture, and leading digital change through and with digital, are also part of the essential competencies of Carrefour’s DigitalRetail associate.

Finding common ground across countries

In our experience, modern training programs combine a variety of pedagogical methodologies to answer diverse learning objectives: master classes, in-the-field experiences, peer-to-peer, and of course digital learning.

The last point proved to be a challenge. How do you make learning experiences homogeneous and scalable in eight countries with independent learning platforms? Crossknowledge in France and Italy, Bizzpils (isEazy) in Spain, and SuccessFactors in Belgium are only some of the examples.

As a first step to unify the digital learning offer of the Group, every Carrefour country created a “digital learning channel” and branded it in line with the DigitalRetail Academy, gathering both existing and new modules into their channel. This decision helped to create a consistent go-to-market for digital capability building and proved to be essential to roll out our first global content.

Growing our “library” of digital content

With the question of the technical platform solved, it was now time to think about content. We worked closely with training and digital teams from across our eight integrated countries to list each one of their tech & data courses and efforts to develop DigitalRetail competencies. This allowed us to create a (huge) map of what was available in every geography, thus allowing us to identify the white spots and the priorities we would have to put our efforts into.

This map was not only a useful guide for countries to develop new local contents, but also an enabler of Carrefour’s first global digital trainings. 2022 saw a number of global initiatives take place, demonstrating the power of the Group to “develop once, re-use many”. This principle is particularly true for digital learning, with competencies that are becoming more and more global.

With this in mind, let us go through four concrete examples: Kokoroé, Google for digital experts, data trainings and “Tous digital !”.

1. Kokoroé

The attractiveness of content is essential. This is why we partnered with Kokoroé, a provider of smart courses, to offer 20 short modules on digital awareness.

The strength of these modules is to present technical content in a fun way. For example, have a look at “What is the cloud?” below (French version). It explains the essential principles of the applications, platforms and infrastructure as a service through a series of short videos and fun quizzes, accessible to all levels!

2. Google trainings for digital experts

Our digital transformation cannot happen without digital experts! This is why we decided to develop a specific learning program from them, so that they keep up with the always evolving digital innovations.

Who better than Google to help us train our tech and data experts! That is the purpose of our “Tech up, stand up – boost your skills” learning program. With 12 specialized learning paths, we have already supported 500+ digital talents. We also proposed -to hundreds of them- an official professional certification of these new skills. The success of this first edition told us that we were going the right way. We therefore plan on reconducting this journey in 2023.

We also wanted to demonstrate that capability building is not necessarily online and individual. The 24th of June 2022, we organized our first Cloud Hero learning challenge. It was simultaneously held in Google’s Parisian offices and via Google Meet for all the other Carrefour countries! 800+ digital experts from from Brazil to Taiwan were able to “compete” in real-time through a series of fun challenges on Vertex AI, Data Studio and BigQuery.

Although the objective was not to win, rather learn and have fun. To spice it up a bit, we even had winners, including Carlos Rodrigalvarez who won the first prize.

3. Data trainings

Extracting value out of the vast set of information held by Carrefour is one of our top priorities. That’s why we developed a broad set of contents on data, covering all our populations.

We decided to start this journey from the top: Making our executive directors the first ambassadors of digital was a key objective of the Data4Executives program. A C-suite that is well-trained in digital is critical for the success of our DigitalRetail Company.

Over two very intense days, we reminded our executives how data is at the core of all good decisions. Whether they lead our omnichannel commerce, our merchandise, our marketing or even support functions such as finance, data is their daily bread. In Data4Executives, we also shared various business-oriented data projects. We explained how collaboration with data teams is game-changing for grocery retail.

In less than a year, we organized five Data4Executives sessions, in partnership with the business school HEC Paris. The photo below was taken in Sao Paulo at the end of 2022, in the session held for Carrefour Brazil and Carrefour Argentina.

In complement of Data4Executives, we gave ourselves the objective of upskilling in data a broader population of business users. This is why we created, in partnership with OpenClassrooms, our Data4Business program. Data4Business includes five distinct paths adapted to different levels of proficiency, and it is delivered through two different learning methodologies. 

The first methodology was self-learning, providing broad introductions to data as well as first steps into SQL queries and data visualization. All this is supported with videos and 100% online exercises. As a result, business representatives -think about a category manager, a marketer or a franchise representative- learn to use data to improve their daily work, enact data-driven change in their business area, and identify analytics opportunities in their field.

The second methodology combined self-learning with mentoring. We applied it to deal with deeper topics like data analysis or machine learning, and included practical cases which required a more important academic investment. The final objective was that learners could produce data-driven insights by themselves and play key roles in data analytics projects.

At the end of the 2022 edition of Data4Business, 550 employees attended the self-learning courses and 120 went through the mentored path. Every one of them received a certificate of completion during the graduation ceremony held in February 2023 and -the cherry on the cake- their own NFBee, a wonderful digital gift that supported the cause of protection of the bees!

4. Tous Digital !

One of our biggest challenges with the DigitalRetail Academy was to reach out to all our employees. This challenge was first addressed in France, where Carrefour achieved something great with the “Tous Digital !” program in October 2022. During three weeks, we trained 60,000+ (60,000 !!!) associates.

One thing was clear: We had to make it fun and engaging. This is why we applied extra brain juice to design, in partnership with Emeraude Escape, a corporate game. In this collaborative experience, following the steps of the “Martin” family. Any employee of Carrefour could realize that digital is already everywhere in their lives, gain a basic knowledge of the digital services provided by Carrefour and better understand the impact of digital on customer experience. We also demonstrated that every Carrefour employee has a role to play in data quality. A stock error doesn’t just impact the store, it spoils online sales. On a larger scale, it also damages the supply chain and even our suppliers with inaccurate forecasts.

Following the success of this training in France, we are now looking to replicate it in other countries this year.

To wrap it up…

All in all, the DigitalRetail Academy has already trained more than 160,000 employees! One year ago, we would have thought it was impossible. But in fact nothing is impossible in Carrefour, a company that wants to use digital to blend the best of traditional retail with modernity.
What comes next? By the end of 2024, we committed to 100% of our associates going through this type of learning, so they gain on digital dexterity. To make it happen, we will deploy many more actions in the next months. Stay tuned!

About the Author

Digital change director - Carrefour Group Véronique graduated from Paris Sud University and has a master’s degree in management and finance. She has broad experience within Carrefour, having worked in several departments including tech, organization and methods, internal communication, supply chain and e-commerce. Early 2022, she became the global director of digital change. During weekends, she loves to play golf and playing piano and, between two sessions she also finds time to paint with pastels.   HR transformation director - Carrefour Group Quentin graduated from ESSEC, Sciences Po Paris and has a law degree from Paris Assas University. He joined Carrefour at the beginning of 2021 as the chief of staff to the executive director of HR and global director for the HR transformation. In his spare time, he cooks with his four children.

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