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Executive Education

Talent development enhances employer brand image

Based on an interview with Odile Bonhomme, Global Talent Acquisition and Development Director, ETAM Group
The Talent Masterclass Program, co-created by Etam and HEC Paris, enables employees to develop their soft and hard skills, while tapping into the group’s best practices across the globe. Odile Bonhomme, Global talent Acquisition and Development Director, explains how the program aligns perfectly with the Etam Group’s strategy to attract and retain talents. 

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 With a turnover of €1,297 million in 2015, the Etam Group (Etam, Undiz, and 123) employs 14,500 people in 51 countries. In Europe, the head offices have a staff of around 600 people, a size that lends itself to the identification of individual talents and defining personalized career paths. It is within this context that a tailor-made program for talent development was launched in 2013. 


The human scale of the headquarters makes it possible to support employees individually in the development of their skills. The challenge is to create tailor-made career tracks, such as that of an employee who needs to acquire retail experience to take over the management of a geographic area. By staying focused on personalized career paths, the Talent Masterclass Program is fully in line with the Group’s policy for attracting and retaining talent. Moreover, with the fourth promotion now being trained, Odile Bonhomme says that the program forms part of an internal marketing plan that actively encourages employees to take part in the program. 


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To optimize the potential of employees the program accompanies 15 European and 15 Chinese talents in a curriculum that adopts a cross-functional approach to the key issues facing the company (strategy, innovation, digital culture, creativity, client experience …), while at the same time developing their managerial and leadership skills. The European and Chinese participants come from all the different professions within the group (finance, sales, HR, design…).Back in 1990, Etam was in fact the first European retailer to start operations in China in 1990. The group now makes 30% of its sales there, and has very autonomous teams. 



“One of the main objectives of the potential development program was to bring Chinese and European teams closer together and to facilitate the exchange of best practices from all over the world.”

Another key goal is to develop open-mindedness, tolerance, and the sharing of experiences - which is one of the reasons why there is a broad mix of hierarchical levels. The Etam Group does not have an elitist vision of talent management. The diversity of the backgrounds of participants plays a key role in enriching the program. While group work serves as an incubator for ideas that can be spread throughout the group, the program also has strong individual impact.  

From an internal perspective it is seen as a form of recognition and the number of employees wishing to take part in the program is constantly increasing. The Group’s strong desire to invest in potential and talent also has a significant impact on its image as an employer. Recent recruitments show that the program plays an important role in an applicant’s decision to work for the Etam Group rather than another company.