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What are the New Challenges for HR?

Thomas Vilcot, directeur commercial à GEM
Published on
16 November 2021

Thomas Vilcot has just joined Grenoble Ecole de Management as Commercial Director. He is also the author of the book DRH : le courage de l'humain ! Un nouveau cap pour l'entreprise, (Human Resource Management: Human Courage. A New Direction for Business) published by Editions AFNOR. In it, he describes his varied career path as an Operational Manager and Head of HR at two retail chains. He also points out the decisive challenges of HR for organizations. Here is the interview:

What motivated you to write this book?

This book, which was published on September 23, is the third in a series published by Editions AFNOR, dedicated to emerging trends in HR.

In 2013, while I was working as a Recruitment Manager at Casino Group, I published: Le recrutement responsable : pour ré-enchanter la relation candidats-entreprises.(Responsible Recruitment: Rekindling Relationships Between Candidates and Businesses) It seemed vital to me to address the subject of the candidate experience, knowing that 100% of recruiters are former candidates themselves! This was the moment when the recruitment industry had to finally break out of the technical dimension in which it had become stuck. In light of current events, we now have a better understanding of the strategic recruitment challenges that are faced by companies of all sizes.

In 2015, L'apprentissage responsable (Responsible Apprenticeships), co-authored with Yves Cimbaro, sent strong messages about work-study programs, a key issue for companies and for society as a whole. Apprenticeships are now finally being recognized as an excellent form of training which facilitates access to employment. They are no longer seen as an inferior choice, and that's a good thing. But gaining this recognition was no easy process?

Today, we are well aware that the human being's place in organizations is in turmoil: profound internal changes, numerous transformation projects, the search for meaning, changing habits and customer lifestyles etc. However, a company remains above all a team of people committed to a collective project.

Growing Together" is a deeply inspiring project.

How can we put people back at the center of the organization?

This is the subject of this third book, co-written with Admiral Olivier Lajous, former Human Resources Manager of the Navy and its 40,000 crew members! It is a "testimonial book" that centers around sharing experiences. We wanted it to be accessible to everyone.

More than ever, Human Resources Managers are being called upon to play a strategic role.
At GEM, we are there to support them, along with their teams, precisely because we know the challenges they are facing.

How did you go from being an Operational Manager and HR Manager of a large food retail group to the Commercial Director of GEM?

My professional career has led me to exercise numerous HR and operational responsibilities, notably within various management committees.
As a young Naval Officer, and then as a Supermarket Manager, I was able to move on to jobs as Regional HR Manager, HR Development Manager (training, recruitment, support for career projects, and mobility), Recruitment Manager for the Casino group, and finally HR Manager for local stores.

I have also managed the Petit Casino and Casino Shop brands, covering 1,000 stores: the notion of customer support is therefore firmly imprinted on my DNA!

At the same time, I was strongly committed to the subject of relationships between schools and businesses.  I chaired the Ain-Rhône-Loire and IFIR advanced apprentice training  centers successively. The governance of these apprentice training centers (CFAs) brought together CPME (the Confederation for Small and Medium Sized Enterprises), MEDEF (the Movement of Enterprises of France), and CCI (French Chambers of Commerce and Industry).

I also sat on the Board of Directors of the University of Saint-Etienne, and then for its IAE (Institute of Business Administration). I also taught numerous courses to students.

Accompanying GEM's sales management teams since September 27 is thus a natural extension of these various involvements in the world of management, HR, and the school/business relationships.

How do you view your mission at GEM?

GEM assists businesses in all their strategic challenges such as change management, skills development, training, and team recruitment, but also in work-study programs.

I would like to send a strong message to my former colleagues in HR and management: we understand your issues and challenges.
You can count on us.

Our teams will be able to identify the solutions that are right for you in a partnership that is both close and trusting, but above all long-term.

Let's meet.

What is the aim of your latest book published last September?

I think this book shows that we can easily rediscover the pleasure of common sense and simplicity.
In any case, it raises questions about living together in a company: how do we explain an organization's goal? How do we share it? How can we make each and every one of us an active player?
"Employees" have given way to "collaborators": what if an organization were to now bring together "contributors" committed to its foundational goals? With the power to make decisions situated on the ground - as close as possible to customers.
Readers will also find an invitation to rediscover the virtues of the "long term", as well as those of "building loyalty" in teams. This is all the more important in an environment marked by the increasing digitalization of our practices and tools.

This is a major concern for GEM, whose status as a société à mission is based on humanist values, social responsibility, and sustainable support, in conjunction with its stakeholders and ecosystem.
In this sense, GEM has established itself as an innovative, trusted third party, providing pragmatic solutions to anticipate and support change at the heart of companies. And it starts at the very beginning of the training!

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