THE ACCELERATION OF SKILLS
By the Editorial staff
In a world that is increasingly complex and constantly undergoing a process of transformation, the real challenge for all companies is that of attracting talent and valuing its resources. The skills Decathlon looks for have always been closely linked to the company’s mission of making the pleasures and benefits of sports accessible to a greater number of people, and to our shared values: responsibility, generosity, authenticity and vitality.
The digital acceleration has imposed on us the addition of new roles with specific competences, which support the evolution of our business model but also, more generally, the transformation of the market and the outside world, which stimulates companies to evolve how they work and acquire new skills. In recent years, for example, the sales advisers in our shops have completely overturned their job descriptions. Our customers are no longer just “physical” customers; relating to them long-distance has become as important as face-to-face interaction and the main tool for sales advisers doing their jobs (inventory, looking up products and prices, printing labels, etc.) is now their mobile phone, through the company app, which makes it possible to monitor the customer’s experience. This requires specific training and constant support for existing employees and the search for individuals with new skills outside the company. Over the course of four years, our company has seen the creation of 37 new jobs. When we look for “tomorrow’s talent” today, we are looking for individuals who are flexible, independent, curious, and if necessary, who have specific skills. The overriding and differentiating theme remains that of enhancing skills and talents on a day-to-day basis, in an inclusive environment. Skills and attitudes are in fact best expressed within an inclusive company culture and working environment.
At Decathlon, we are strongly committed to putting “the person” at the centre of the project and to making them happy to come to work every day, in an environment that’s healthy and comfortable, so we asked ourselves if all of our employees are best positioned to reach their full potential. We contacted a major scientific institute to share our thoughts and to start an analysis of our workplaces. The aim of the project? To challenge ourselves, improve our working environments, enrich them and, if necessary, rethink them to make them truly inclusive. We prioritised focusing on people with disabilities, but also pregnant women and older workers. We began with concrete and tangible needs with the objective of valuing different attitudes and perspectives in a welcoming working environment that meets everyone’s needs. Thanks to the new and diverse perspectives, which allowed us to start with the real needs of those involved in the project, we identified a margin of improvement and began a process of “renewal”. Among all the new things that we introduced, particularly in the retail sector, is a new aluminium trolley that is extremely light and manoeuvrable, which is used to transport stock that needs to be shelved. The trolley has a tilting bottom that rises as the trolley is emptied so that the content is always “at the top”. This is to help employees who use a wheelchair, as well as older employees, but also younger employees who can thereby avoid potential future problems. This example shows how important it is to value and support different perspectives and to never stop supplementing everyday life with tools that can enhance skills and help with the long-term performance of work. A small table on wheels, used as a support surface for folding clothes, is another example of a tool that has made it easier for us to carry out certain tasks in the company. This extremely simple tool has enabled several people with cognitive disabilities and others to be supported in carrying out tasks that are more complex or complicated for them, and it becomes a skills accelerator, giving greater confidence to those who need it and making the task at hand easier and more effective.
It is about considering new and different perspectives, getting to know and understand how many and what types of diversities we are living with every day in workplaces, and changing mindsets. With certainty. Discussing these issues with your co-workers allows you to learn about difficulties and new perspectives and to more easily identify tools to promote inclusion, enhance different talents, and release the potential in each and every one of us. When these aids are accompanied by awareness-raising activities, awareness and perspective change and are enriched, facilitating the creation of an inclusive culture.