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Sophie CAPERAN, head of ACTIA HR, talks about the ACTIA human resources policy

March 2018 Focus News

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ACTIA has embarked on developing its activities and professions in order to fulfil the new expectations of its global customers. Sophie Caperan joined the group in early 2017 as head of HR. She is looking back on the strategic challenges and the way in which the human resources policy has adapted to address them.

Can you describe the ACTIA group’s growth?
The company was created in France in 1986 with around thirty employees, marking the beginning of a human and professional adventure that has been continuing for 31 years. The group now has 3,425 employees across 22 subsidiaries and 16 countries, including 800 engineers. Particularly committed to its independence, it is under stable family ownership. The group has been constantly growing since it was first established, and has adapted and responded to challenges related to mobility and advanced technology.

What are your main HR challenges?
Organising, recruiting and integrating, training and developing, and supporting growth within all areas of activity are daily challenges for my team. Last year we welcomed 134 new employees with permanent contracts at ACTIA Automotive, in 2018 we will be managing the recruitment of around 100 employees, for either replacements or new positions. We pay close attention to the integration phase for new arrivals, which is a key factor of success for long-term collaboration.

What is your recruitment policy?
As we believe that the diversity of our personnel is an asset for our company, we offer opportunities to both young graduates and more experienced professionals.

After a systematic in-house search in order to prioritise internal mobility, we recruit through: posting adverts on online job boards, participation in various trade fairs and exhibitions, the involvement of recruitment agencies, and the use of professional social networks. We are also developing partnerships with AFPA [government body promoting adult vocational training] and Pôle Emploi [French job centre]. For young people, we work with numerous schools and every year take on almost forty students as part of vocational sandwich courses, apprenticeships, or international work experience within our subsidiaries.

What are the cornerstones of ACTIA’s commitment as an employer?
Entrepreneurship and innovation is in our DNA, and it can be seen internally with a considerable degree of independence given to employees, and initiatives taken at all levels. The corporate culture also attaches great importance to humanity, in line, of course, with efficiency and profitability objectives. Care for individuals remains a genuine concern and workplace well-being is highly valued. We have initiated a Quality of Work-Life plan on the basis of collaborative projects that are open to all, such as the project “ENSEMBLE pour co-construire notre cadre de travail” [TOGETHER to jointly develop our working environment].

What is the focus of your HR policy?
In terms of priority, the HR policy places emphasis on training, by improving career path visibility for our staff. We are planning to offer a three-year training schedule in order to address technical and technological professional development. A structured path is essential to ensure overall consistency and prepare for the future. We are also working on developing alternative and accessible digital training for when it could be useful, such as MOOCs, etc.

The second focus is “Knowledge Management”, or sharing and capitalising on knowledge, which involves identifying talents with the aim of ensuring continuity and passing on skills.

What is the predominant management style at ACTIA?
The rapid technological transformations with which we are faced in our professions are conducive to creativity, initiative, and the desire to experiment. We work closely with all managers and use streamlined processes. This agility on a day-to-day basis is a real asset for the whole organisation as well as our customers.

How do you manage the group’s international aspect?
Our customers are all over the world, and the group achieves 70% of its turnover internationally. It is essential to combine the group’s forces to win markets and address the challenges to come. This internationalisation manifests itself in particular through a change in the way we cooperate within the group, internal coaching, recruiting international staff, etc.

What do you think makes ACTIA unique?
Without a doubt, it’s the employees’ loyalty to the company and their unfailing commitment. This is reflected in the significant involvement in company-wide projects, strong displays of solidarity in addressing challenges, and an emulation effect... what incredible energy!