Decathlon - Retail
Brand Decathlon is already well-known for its long tradition of offering affordable and high-quality sportswear and equipment to all sports enthusiasts. However, their culture of nurturing internal talent and building a solid talent community within the company could be a novelty for many.
Recently, we had an opportunity to sit down with Mila, a Human Resource Generalist at Decathlon, to learn the specifics of hiring for such a big international company focusing on building a lifelong career opportunity for its employees.
The company currently operates with over 500 employees in the region, with stores in Croatia, Slovenia and Serbia. Since opening their first store in 2014. in Croatia, they have grown to 14 stores across the region and are not looking to slow down any time soon.
Due to having a large workforce with a frequent need for hiring new people and being spread across the region, some might think that having a team of only four members in the HR department wouldn't be much. But it's their unique hiring policy and company structure, which Mila says, enables them to be a smaller team without working overtime to cover all HR-related tasks.
So, what kind of structure are we talking about?
When we first started our conversation, the first thing they told us was: "At Decathlon, everyone hires the colleagues that they will be working with on their own!"
"We have our Decathlon Exchange Academy that all our team leads go through, and that is where they get educated about hiring future colleagues. After finishing their training they are all set to start hiring!"
"This way, our employees have the autonomy to choose their own future colleagues and aren't forced to work together with 'someone who was sent from the HR.'"
What Does this look like in practice?
In order to give their employees this level of autonomy, they needed a centralized recruitment solution easy to use with the possibility of collaboration of everyone involved in the process.
For that reason, a year ago, their Serbian office was the last one to join Croatia and Slovenia in using TalentLyft for recruitment. All their employees involved in hiring, besides going through the Exchange Academy, also have access to numerous videos explaining how the process looks like in TalentLyft to get adequately onboarded with the tool. In each case, teammates are assigned to a specific role within the TalentLyft tool and, if needed, overlooks the process and gives her own feedback within the tool.
"The possibility of giving multiple people access to use TalentLyft really made my everyday work a lot easier than it was before. This gives employees more freedom in hiring and leaves me more time to focus on other aspects of my job, which makes everyone happy at the end of the day."
Working as one!
As already mentioned, Decathlon offices are spread across the region, but everyone at the company needs to work as one. This means that the HR team not only takes care of the applications in all three countries of the region. This kind of structure calls for a great collaboration between the HR team and everyone involved in hiring in all local stores.
"TalentLyft enabled us to create a good synergy between all local stores and us working in the HR department. Whether it is because of publishing a new job ad or working on other projects, we are connected through the tool."
"We are all the same but different in a way"
Even though the team works as one on a regional and global level, each job market is still pretty unique. This made the team reach the decision of creating separate career sites for each country they operate in.
"As much as we all work together and collaborate well with each other, I do believe that job markets are slightly different in each country. Therefore, to take care of our differences, it was very convenient for us to tailor our communication for candidates from different markets separately."
"Having the ability to create separate career sites for each country made it easier for us to take care of local languages and the specific messaging for each country while keeping in mind all of our global guidelines. "
The features that made the difference
Open application system
In addition to creating different career sites for different countries, the HR department took advantage of creating open application forms for each country. By doing so, they created a continuous source of quality applications regularly revised by specific team leaders.
"The thing that I found particularly useful and helpful in optimizing our hiring process was the ability to create multiple open applications and assign them to dedicated team leaders. Every time there is a need for hiring a new employee, they first look among the existing applications before we create a new job ad and start promoting it across channels. I think that this is truly amazing because we can save our resources and time and team leaders become entirely independent in their hiring. "
Leveraging Internal Talent
Another thing they are proud of at Decathlon is making the most of their internal talent. All up until a few years ago, it was impossible to even get a job higher than a team leader operating in a store as a person from outside of the organization. This means that all of their employees now working in the HQ, had to first work in their stores to eventually reach higher-level positions.
More specifically, Mila mentioned:
“ About two thirds of our current marketing team members originally came from working in the store. We are proud of building a culture of lifelong career opportunities, and we always put our own employees first when there is a new job opening at the company. Very often, we end up hiring someone internally to do the job. "
"Our goal is to give our employees growth opportunities by exchanging their knowledge and to place them in positions that would suit them the best while complementing their growth. Having a tool like TalentLyft helps in turning these efforts into reality because it enables us to collaborate across our offices!"
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