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“At Decathlon, we are looking for sporty, proactive people without experience and who share our values”

“Accessible sport for everybody”. This is one of the well-known slogans of Decathlon, the French-founded company specializing in the sale of sports material, which took part in the Employability Workshops organized within the framework of EAE’s Talent Week

Wednesday, 15 de March, 2017

Last year, Decathlon celebrated its 40th anniversary, consolidating its status as a company characterized by constant growth, with Spain being the third leading country in terms of the number of stores. Of the more than 60,000 employees that the company has around the world, 80% of them work in Europe, with the company taking on more than 6,000 new employees a year. The logistics department is one of the company’s key features as it is not outsourced. “We always need new staff because the company is expanding, and we are continuously holding interviews to take on new candidates”, explained the company’s Directors of Logistics and Human Resources, Francisco Javier Castro, Manuel Muñoz, Lara Álvarez and Nerea Bahón to the students over the course of the sessions.

The profiles that they currently require are: full-time logistics managers, part-time logistics operators, full-time customs managers and profiles looking for part-time internship programs. At Decathlon, they are not looking for people with experience. “For us, the most important factor is that they are in line with the company’s values, including responsibility, vitality, proactiveness, decision-making and a passion for sport, as new recruits are trained in each department”. The employees that took part in EAE’s Talent Week, young millennials working in the company’s logistics department, explained their experiences, starting from the bottom and working their way up to take on a range of duties, from logistics to HR, as it was they themselves who conduct interviews and decide whom to contract. They highlighted the fact that this is one of the values required when working for Decathlon, “we have the ability to make decisions, which makes us feel fulfilled. For instance, since I joined the company as a logistics operator, I have taken on a great deal of responsibility in order to grow and make my own decisions”, explained Lara Álvarez. 

In terms of talent retention at the company, they emphasized that the company gives its teams suitable tools “so that they feel that they are evolving, that they are not just standing still and, above all, that they can balance their personal priorities with their professional goals, to be happy at both a professional and personal level”. Moreover, they acknowledged that, in order to work at the company, “you have to enjoy daily challenges and be able to adapt to a changing world”.

The Directors of Logistics and HR at Decathlon advised students not to limit their options by wanting to do a specific job. “A Bachelor Degree or Master is not an end in itself. It has to provide a foundation on which you can apply what you have learned in various positions within a company, so that you can successfully tackle difficult situations that help you to grow”. They added that starting as an operator enables you to climb up the ladder of positions within the company. “I decided to study teaching and I started as an operator at Decathlon, which, in theory, was not my intention, but it later enabled me to make my way up in the company. We shouldn’t rule out any options”.

The employment market is changing and, at Decathlon, they have been adapting to the new reality for a long time now. “We do not believe in a job as a stagnant position, or labels. We think that employees should be able to take on a diverse range of tasks, depending on their capacity and motivation”. They presented the case of employees who contribute what they know how to do and have learned, from a sales assistant who displayed good abilities for HR, to a logistics operator who became a salesperson.  Project-based work is an increasing trend and it is applied throughout Decathlon with the aim of remaining a dynamic company and providing daily challenges. With respect to EAE’s Talent Week, the directors agreed that it is an extremely positive initiative. “It lets us see what students think and look for, and what position they are in, while also enabling us to improve”.

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