Developing talent at Electrolux

Electrolux was recently awarded the Top Employer award in four key European markets – being recognized in particular for its strength in talent management and development programs.

We spoke to Pascale Gimenez, Electrolux SVP Human Resources & Organization, Major Appliances EMEA to find out more about the company’s approach to developing talent.

1) As a top employer, how does Electrolux stand out as a great place to work?

We’re a very diverse, globally connected company. Our employees have the unique experience of being able to interact with people sitting in different functions in different countries. Our working conditions and atmosphere also have a very Scandinavian flavor. We’re a flat organization with easy access to senior leaders and our staff have a certain level of freedom to act.

Of course, it’s the opinion of our employees that really matters. A year ago we conducted an internal global survey and what came across most clearly is that our employees enjoyed working for Electrolux as we are passionate for innovation, we are truly global and they can take ownership in their work.

2) How do we invest in our people through development programs?

We believe at Electrolux in the importance of the ’70-20-10 rule’, meaning 70 per cent you learn on the job, 20 per cent you learn through assignments where you are exposed to new ways of working and 10 per cent is through more traditional learning and development activities.

We have a job rotation program for staff who have been identified as having potential to grow within Electrolux, offering small assignments between 4 to 6 months – ideally in another country and in another position – to enable them to develop themselves and accelerate their careers.

To help develop young talent at Electrolux we run other types of initiatives including hackathons, and Electrolux has a very successful partnership with youth-led organization AIESEC to attract and develop talent into future leaders – with 80% of those who join us being retained.

Of course we also offer more traditional training at group level especially for leadership, as well as regional programs in soft skills, communication, remote management and so on.

3) And tell us more about Electrolux mentorship programs?

Mentoring is very important as a way to learn from shared experience – it’s about advising and guiding – and we have a mentoring program which takes different career stages into consideration. We offer a leadership program for young talent where my colleagues from the EMEA leadership team and I guide our mentees on any development needs they might have. This has been very successful and we’re launching the second program now. There is also a mentoring program for newcomers to help them understand how Electrolux works.

4) The market and Electrolux is undergoing significant digital transformation where different skills and competencies are required. How does this affect talent management?

This is a top priority. Digital transformation is happening now and the competition for talent is tough. It’s very important to look at how we are perceived as an employer, as applicants want to know what kind of company they’re joining, what is the culture, how they will be empowered and so on. This is why it’s also important to be recognized as a Top Employer and be awarded other similar certifications.

Of course digital transformation requires different jobs, different business needs and different skills. However the most important consideration is the competencies and behaviors and here there is a commonality. We look for people who have a certain level of curiosity, adaptability, mental agility – and as we’re working for the consumer, we’re looking for employees who have a strong consumer focus. These behaviors anybody can have. It’s more an attitude.

5) You mention that Electrolux is diverse. Could you expand on our gender diversity?

In EMEA we are 60 per cent male, 40 per cent female. Unfortunately we have a male dominance in both sales and R&D. I would love to have more female engineers contributing to our innovation, so we’re working with the R&D team to help us connect with them through job fairs and universities.

6) Tell us why you enjoy working at Electrolux?

What I like at Electrolux is that it’s changing fast. We have many projects and when you have buy-in from the business then a project can move quickly. I enjoy delivering to the managers and employees a new way of doing HR, through innovative solutions and approaches.

7) And finally, what are your five top tips for getting ahead in your career?

  1. Be spontaneous and take opportunities when they are appear
  2. Be curious
  3. Like change
  4. Take risks
  5. Learn from your mistakes