Why focus on international diversity?
Because it reflects the reality of our organization and because our talents mirror our product portfolio: diverse, high performance, innovative... Which is why we want to develop them around the world to support Arkema’s growth. We employ over 20,000 people in 55 countries. Let's make the most of this diversity and seek talent everywhere by diversifying nationalities, cultures, profiles... Not only is it most rewarding from a human standpoint, but it also opens up broad horizons for us in terms of know-how, business and innovation. We are working on this diversification in several ways. By being more inclusive.
What I mean here is gender diversity as well as geographic and cultural diversity. Each employee must be able to contribute their difference. By ramping up the skills of our local talents whatever their professions, through training and mentorship, by promoting mobility so they are in a position to keep on advancing their careers, as fully exemplified by our international mentorship scheme which allows talents from outside France to be mentored by senior Group executives.
This is the minimum quota of employees of non-French nationality to fill Arkema's senior management posts by 2030 through diversified hiring and in-house promotion.
What does the program entail and what is its purpose?
The idea is to boost the visibility of our young talents from all the Group's countries, help them express their potential and bring forward their career development to promote diversity in management and executive positions.
The principle of mentorship consists in pairing a mentor and a mentee outside the traditional management line relationship. The former are executives. The latter are high or very high potentials credited with an initial successful professional experience. This framework is conducive to promoting direct and authentic exchanges in complete confidence. Mentors, who often have significant international experience, can provide mentees with keys to succeed and progress in the Company, gain self-confidence, help them broaden their network, etc. A good mentorship relationship must create a balanced exchange for the benefit of the pair and of the organization.
Is the experiment conclusive?
19 pairs are being set up this year. In 2020, the scheme’s first year, there were 11 pairs. So we will have identified and supported 30 mentees in two years.
Feedback is extremely positive. We have mentees not just where we have big markets like in Europe, China and the United States, but in many other countries like Mexico, New Zealand or Russia, promising talents who often wonder what their “next step” can be.
Thanks to mentorship, they are unanimous in saying that the program has allowed them to better express their expectations, to open up the field of possibilities in terms of career development, and to expand their network both upwards and across all areas in different countries.
Arkema is a company that promotes a great deal of internal mobility internationally. It can be interesting for mentees to think outside their geographic area. For example, a talent identified in South Korea could perfectly well be called to perform their duties in France. If we don’t open up these prospects to them and don’t assist them, it’s difficult to dare even think about it and find the means to succeed.