CHRO of the Year Award for Marie-Françoise Damesin, human resources executive VP with the Renault-Nissan Alliance and Groupe Renault--
Marie-Françoise Damesin was voted CHRO of the Year by a 25-member jury comprising leading human resources experts along with heads of human resources at major companies.
I feel proud that Mrs Damesin gets this prize from her peers. Her function encompasses over 470 thousands people, located on all continents. A huge diversity then, within which she has been able to create cohesion. For the last three years, Renault has been displaying good sales results and growth records, thanks to the strong motivation of its employees. Enthusiasm, motivation and performance go hand in hand, and Mrs Damesin succeeded in establishing such a balance." Carlos Ghosn
What does this CHRO of the Year Award mean to you?
Marie-Françoise Damesin – It’s a great honour, and I’m really very proud to have earned this distinction. But the real credit for it goes to our HR teams, for their very considerable achievements. I share this prize with them.
The prize also rewards Renault’s distinctive conception of human resources. Renault is and will remain a profoundly human company, that places a strong emphasis on commitment, passion, open-mindedness and labour relations dialogue.
Could you tell us about some of the recent challenges taken up by the Groupe Renault HR function?
M.F.D. – I’m proud of two achievements in particular. First of all we’ve helped turn Groupe Renault into a competitive international company that has weathered the crisis and gathered strength in the process, without compromising its identity or its culture. In the past few years we’ve developed a unified HR framework with common references across all countries, while keeping a solid anchor in our French origins. We’ve also enhanced our competitive standing, through agreements with the unions for example, and upheld what is a very fair HR policy. Judging from our good results, our heightened personnel engagement(1) and our current worldwide recruitment drive, we definitely seem to be on the right track.
Second, we’ve helped build a solid HR basis for the Renault-Nissan Alliance. Because the Alliance, with its worldwide workforce of 470,000, is the only organization of its kind, each successive step forward is a rather like a leap into the unknown. Our first challenge here was to help the two partners work efficiently together. And we’ve also provided HR solutions to develop convergence in certain functions, including the HR function itself, where I’m eager to develop further synergies and good practices.
And what about the challenges to come?
M.F.D. – The major HR challenges are constant; on crucially important issues such as personnel engagement, social cohesion, and transformation of individual talent into collective achievement, we can never take anything for granted.
What is new, I think, and this will doubtless be a decisive issue over the coming years, is the growing need to make the company more agile, and more capable of learning. Agility, meaning the capacity to anticipate, adapt and cooperate, is increasingly important in a business environment undergoing rapid and unrelenting change. The pace is intensifying, and frontiers are fading, between nations, between grades on the careers ladder, and between traditional business functions. This means we must provide people with the means for keeping informed, staying in tune, and training up to address emerging skills needs. And this is more a question of culture than of systems. It’s all about state of mind, new reflexes to acquire, curiosity, self-motivated learning, staying alert, and keeping skills sharply honed to each new development.