“We are maintaining a steady recruitment flow”
GBH is a partner of the third edition of the Job Fair. Despite the health crisis and economic uncertainty, the Group will advertise about 50 job opportunities during this event held at the Nordev exhibition centre.
Interview with Michel Lapeyre, Managing Director of GBH’s Indian Ocean zone, in JIR (Journal de l'île de La Réunion)
How is the GBH group approaching this fair in the rather strange climate of the health crisis?
“This is our third year in a row at the Réunion Job Fair. We’re very attached to this event. At a time when the tools we have let us collect, sort, and select job applications, and conduct remote interviews in good conditions, we thought it important to maintain a direct link with candidates, while of course respecting protective measures and social distancing.
In this uncertain economic climate, are you going to advertise as many job offers as previous years?
There won’t be as many offers as last year for obvious reasons. But despite the health climate, our subsidiaries are rising to the challenge. Judge for yourself: 15 subsidiaries are represented. They will be offering almost 50 positions in numerous business sectors.
If we add up previous editions of the Job Fair, how many employees have you recruited?
We were very pleased with last year’s attendance numbers. We recruited over a dozen people immediately and in the days following the fair. We kept over 50 CVs on file to contact candidates later, which also led to some recruitment. GBH subsidiaries in Réunion recruited over 60 permanent employees in 2019.
Since the start of the year, numerous sectors in which GBH operates have suffered the effects of the health crisis, the automobile sector, for example. What are your thoughts on employment prospects in the territory in the short, medium, and long term?
Prospects vary depending on the subsidiaries. The health crisis has affected their activities in different ways. The Carrefour stores have remained open since the beginning of the crisis, sometimes in difficult conditions. Other business sectors, including the automobile sector, remained partially open or had to close because of government directives. Car rental activities, linked directly to tourism, were of course heavily impacted by the health crisis. I’d like to thank all of the employees of GBH subsidiaries who were there during this strange time. They really got heavily involved to maintain customer service while obeying health regulations. Like all Réunion businesses, our subsidiaries have entered a high-turbulence area and must face up to a complete lack of visibility as the health crisis is far from being stabilised at a global level. Caution is required in this most uncertain climate, but with regard to jobs — with the exception of sectors particularly affected by the health crisis — we are maintaining a steady recruitment flow. Moreover, our subsidiaries have hired over 40 permanent employees since the start of 2020.
After taking over the Vindémia group, Carrefour is growing rapidly in mass retail. Does this open the door to new rounds of recruitment?
We are delighted to have finalised this acquisition which symbolises the strong involvement of GBH in Réunion’s economy on an ongoing basis for over 35 years. We have bright prospects for development with the Carrefour chain and it begins this year with a large investment plan to renovate all of our stores but also to improve our teams’ working conditions and step up their training. Beyond the strength of our chains, we are convinced that development comes first and foremost from the quality of the commitment of our teams’ on the ground to serve our customers as best they can. People are at the heart of our actions and as such we can continue to offer recruitment and career opportunities to candidates interested in our chains. Apart from recruitment, I want to highlight our internal promotion and continuous training policies, which help our employees to keep learning and progressing within our subsidiaries through long-standing partnerships with schools and universities. As such, 70 employees have been promoted to supervisor and manager roles in GBH subsidiaries in Réunion since 2019. This dynamic of internal promotion is a characteristic of our group and is properly sustained even in times of crisis.
Is it always this difficult to find certain management profiles in Réunion? What would need to change for better local recruitment?
I’d like to underline that the vast majority of our employees are recruited locally. Our third year in a row at the Fair shows our desire to prioritise local jobs. We occasionally run into difficulties with local recruitment for some professions, for various reasons (training courses, lack of experience, high-demand business areas, etc.). But it’s not a foregone conclusion. We’re continuing to develop actions to encourage local recruitment of qualified employees. For example, we’re currently working on a degree training course project with an important player in Réunion. This project should enable us to recruit and train apprentice employees, and prepare them for positions of responsibility in Retail. We also have a partnership with the EGC Business School, which is celebrating its tenth year. It has allowed us to welcome 75 interns and to hire 20 students from the EGC Business School for GBH subsidiaries in Réunion. With this same objective of developing local jobs, and manager roles in particular, we have built an exemplary partnership with Bellepierre Secondary School and the local education authority in Réunion since 2004. Its aim is to encourage the success of young Réunion students in their examinations at prestigious business schools. Over 16 years, more than 800 young people have benefited from this innovative programme that has been praised for its exemplary role in bringing national education and business closer together.
What advice would you give to candidates who want to join the GBH group?
Joining a GBH subsidiary means joining a fast-growing Group that offers numerous professional opportunities, in Réunion of course, but all over the Indian Ocean and beyond with an eye to international horizons. These career prospects in various fast-growing environments require enthusiasm, independence, a taste for quality service, and a strong entrepreneurial spirit, qualities reflecting GBH values. These are the qualities we look for to strengthen our teams and provide the best possible service to our customers. We look forward to welcoming candidates as part of this Fair because recruitment is one of the key phases in a company’s life”.
INTERVIEWED BY JULIEN DELARUE
“MOREOVER, OUR SUBSIDIARIES HAVE HIRED OVER 40 PERMANENT EMPLOYEES SINCE THE START OF THE YEAR”. “RECRUITMENT IS ONE OF THE KEY PHASES IN A COMPANY’S LIFE”. “PEOPLE ARE AT THE HEART OF OUR ACTIONS”.