Frazer Jones was delighted to host the latest instalment of the HR Directors’ Circle on Wednesday 20th May 2015 in Paris at the La Trémoille Hotel. Led by guest speaker Yvette Stortz, the VP of Global Talent Acquisition at Schneider Electric. The discussion centered around employer branding, driving diversity in hiring activities and future talent programs, with Yvette specifically sharing Schneider Electric’s innovative global student challenge, Go Green in the City.
The fantastic La Trémoilles provided an intimate setting to learn more about the program and allow some thought-provoking debate on the programs structure, cost, growth and benefits. We were delighted with the input from a host of brands such as GE, Capgemeni, Rio Tinto and Sanofi and of course Yvette’s contribution in leading this discussion. Having joined Schneider Electric in 2000, Yvette leads the Global Talent Acquisition, Employer Branding, On-boarding and Mobility Programs for Schneider Electric at group level.
Schneider Electric at a glance
As Yvette said; “Schneider are the largest brand no one has heard of”, having grown extensively via acquisition, Schneider Electric are an energy management and technology business. They have 170,000 employees in over 100 countries, with a turnover of €24.9 Billion, 44% of which comes from new economies and currently 30% of their workforce is female. Despite being recognised as one of the “World’s Most Attractive Employers” and one of the “Top 50 most in-demand employers” they are certainly not resting on their laurels and are pushing to be even more recognised and well regarded.
In 2010 Schneider Electric launched an international innovation challenge for business and engineering students. The program was geared towards the BRIC countries to boost talent pools in the regions, in particular female participants. Commissioned by the ExCo to drive brand awareness amongst graduates, the program has grown significantly in the last five years and is now open globally to participants. Finalists in 2014 included participants from Turkey, The Philippines, Morocco, China, USA, France, Australia, India, Japan, Pakistan and Russia. Utilising effective marketing campaigns, university partnerships and social media, the program reaches an audience of 1.5m students globally. The registration process educates on the Schneider business and utilises gamifaction to engage students, encourage participation and sharing amongst peers. A well-designed and simple online submission portal and recorded video interview helps manage the high volumes of applicants. The top 100 teams are each assigned a Schneider Electric employee as a mentor to compete for the 12 finalist places. In 2015 the program had more than 12,000 registrations with more than 800 qualified submissions moving forward to evaluation.
The excitement within the business is phenomenal with mentor’s going the extra mile to try and get their team to the finals. Mentor participation is often part of an accelerated development program and has the added benefit of employees a diverse applicant pool which brings new perspectives. Finalists enjoy 3 days in Paris to present ideas with ExCo or senior leaders presenting to the winners. The winning team enjoys a paid for trip to any two global locations where Schneider Electric has an office as well as a job offer to join the organisation.
ROI and measuring success
Schneider Electric has developed a super streamlined and relatively cost effective global program. To date 174 finalists have been interviewed, 24% of these hired of which 56% are female. It is important to note the goal of the program is drive awareness of careers in energy management, Schneider Electric brand awareness and increase gender diversity in future hires. The actual hires from the program and engagement with and pipeline of potential graduate hires is seen as an added benefit, albeit a very valuable one.
The hugely positive effect on brand awareness and engagement is not only an external one. The level of excitement and engagement within the organisation and participation at all levels of seniority is hugely impressive. The friendly global rivalry within the organisation and the passion is infectious.
It’s hard to measure and be clear on whether the investment of resources and time is generating a justifiable return and extra ‘pull’ in the market for Schneider Electric. Only time will tell. What is clear though is that as the global talent pool continues to become more competitive and the need to hire a diverse workforce becomes more key, it will be critical for brands to stand out from the crowd. Something Schneider Electric is clearly doing well!