A pioneer in Spain in the development of the ‘Do-it-yourself’ lifestyle, Leroy Merlin arrived in the country in 1989 and, since then, it has grown at an average rate of more than two stores per year. On the first day of EAE Business School’s Talent Week, the students from the Madrid Campus had the chance to gain an insight into this French multinational, particularly with regard to the Company’s training program for Sector Managers.
Belonging to Groupe Adeo (Leroy Merlin, Aki, Bricoman and Welmon), the company focuses on the end consumer, offering products and solutions in the fields of decoration, gardening, do-it-yourself and construction. José Manuel Suárez, Director of Human Resources for the Central Region, highlighted the ambitions for growth, both in Leroy Merlin and in the Group in general. “Our goal is for everybody in Spain to have a Groupe Adeo store within half an hour from their house”.
“Over the next five years, we want to open a minimum of 10 to 12 more work centres”, explained José Manuel. Each new store involves an average of 120 people hired, reaching a total of more than 1,200 employees, “plus 20 managers per store, 200 people on the Board of Directors, Sector Managers, salespeople, etc.”, clarified the director of the company.
The presenters gave an overview of the company’s philosophy and values, with the ‘key value being the people’. As they explained, it is a company without much of a hierarchical structure, with participation policies that involve all of the team in the decision-making process and the company’s results. With this in mind, the company differentiates between four key pillars:
- Sharing the passion, upholding the values, such as teamwork, professionalism and performance, with the aim of offering the very best service to the customer.
- Sharing the knowledge. Leroy Merlin is committed to training its new employees so that they can challenge themselves, improve and grow personally and professionally.
- Sharing the power, participating in decision-making and the quest for solutions on a daily basis.
- Sharing the success, “if the results are achieved between everybody, the profits should be shared between everybody”.
José Manuel highlighted that Leroy Merlin is the best company for people who are looking for a company with “options for national and international development”. In line with this philosophy, three years ago, the company launched the Young Graduate Program, with the aim of detecting and retaining talent. “First and foremost, it focuses on knowledge of the business for future managers within the retail business, or, in other words, the figure of the Sector Manager”.
The program runs for two years. The requirements include having a Bachelor Degree, being under 30 years old and keen for national mobility. “Experience is important but is not the be-all and end-all. First and foremost, we are looking for people with competences”, key examples of which include being customer-oriented, having initiative and a consolidated capacity for entrepreneurship. “Over the course of the two years, we want them to hold different positions, from the sales assistant in order to know the business and the store, then Section Manager as a middle manager, before ending up with a position of responsibility as a Sector Manager”.
The selection process starts with an initial virtual phase online in order to gain a little insight into the candidate’s profile. Afterwards, if the person is suitable, we move on to an in-person stage with group activities, psychometric tests and personal interviews. The Director of Human Resources for the Central Region explained that the goal is for the selected candidate to be able to join the project by the end of a month.
José Manuel also discussed the commitment and the policies that Leroy Merlin has in place with respect to young talent acquisition and retention. “The feeling of belonging to company at more than just a salary level”, he explained. “At a Human Resources level, we have to find and develop contexts and ecosystems in which there are opportunities for real development, where a person becomes a project leader, and joint responsibility is fostered, etc.”. In this way, commitment is generated, in the words of José Manuel. “With respect to the new generations, you have to attract them with the opportunity for self-development in the company and the added value that they can contribute, rather than approaching them simply in financial terms”.
This is the differentiating factor that Leroy Merlin offers. It is a company in which, although the candidate does not have much experience, they will be given the opportunity to grow personally and professionally. “Ours is a company undergoing change, transformation and constant growth, where, with a consolidated knowledge of the business, you can reach as far as you want to”.
With respect to Talent Week, José Manuel Suárez highlighted how useful these initiatives are and underlined the importance of being in close contact with the students through training centres such as EAE Business School. “This week, the students have the chance to get to know and compare different companies, gain an insight into the market they operate in and see that there is a reality out there that they can fit into. It is a win-win situation: they win because they get to know the employment market and we win as we have the chance to present our project and hear their concerns”.