Marie-Françoise Damesin is the Alliance Executive Vice President for Human Resources, and Executive Vice President, Group Renault Human Resources. In this interview, she talks about the key talent priorities for the auto industry, how the industry is changing in the context of digital disruption and the Alliance’s (Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi) plans for the future.
1. What are some key talent imperatives in the automotive industry in 2018?
There are three key trends that are critical focus areas in our industry:
1) Attract & Retain tomorrow’s talent: In a talent led economy, the employee experience has never been more critical to attracting the best & brightest. Getting it right is even more challenging now, in a more diverse workplace that must embrace five generations with different norms & expectations. The interactions that candidates have during the interview, how employees engage with others in the organization during their tenure and how they are treated after they leave – these are vital opportunities to shape the ‘experience.’
2) Agile Culture: Vertical hierarchies are now replaced by simpler horizontal organizational structures. This pushes the decision-making authority further down the chain, compelling employees to be self-reliant and skilled enough to independently make day-to-day decisions. This requires a shift in how we support our talent at different stages of readiness, career, management and work status.
3) Developing diverse skill-sets – Whether through external hiring or internal development, assembling talent with a diverse set of skills allows organizations to pivot in response to market demands. Tenacity & resilience are not things to be learnt in the classroom; instead, they require hands-on experience and trial-and-error, whether through internal mobility or immersion learning. By creating a culture that fosters these traits, organizations can build agility and tolerance for an ambiguous future.
Vertical hierarchies are now replaced by simpler horizontal organizational structures
2. There’s a lot of excitement about autonomous or self-driving cars today. What are the implications for talent and jobs?
With the advent of technology, we still can’t do away with the human factor which is needed to develop the technology. Our major focus will be to ensure that our employees are re-skilled and up-skilled.
At Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi we focus on integrating right resources & skills. As HR, we ensure skills for the future while keeping our competitiveness at the core.
3. A PwC Report on the automotive sector notes that the rising cost of safety and environmental regulations are causing serious concerns for the industry. What is your take on it? And how is the HR department supporting the innovation mandate?
Our President and Chairman Carlos Ghosn regularly states that the objective of the Alliance is to generate synergies between the three groups (Renault, Nissan, and Mitsubishi) and accelerate technological change to deliver better value and service to our customers. This is particularly important at a time when the automotive industry is facing a number of technological revolutions, such as electrified and connected cars, shared mobility, cars equipped with autonomous driving systems. Instead of having Renault, Nissan, and Mitsubishi each develop these technologies, innovations, and synergies are shared between each member company. The current strategic plan, Alliance 2022, reflects these goals: we aim, for example, to sell more than 14 million vehicles and to increase our use of common platforms, with nine million units based on four common platforms. The plan will also extend the use of common powertrains to 75 percent of total sales.
We also plan to collaborate, enhance our collaboration on electrification, connectivity, and autonomous technologies. 12 new pure electric vehicles are to be launched during the plan: they will eventually have a range of more than 600 kilometers.
HR plays a very vital role to boost synergies and support Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi 6-year Alliance plan.
4. What are some upcoming plans for the Alliance in India?
India is a key market for the Alliance with 15,000 employees. In terms of HR, we continue to hire top talents, develop future skills, empower people and develop and engaging work environment. We have incredible opportunities in terms of people power, space, resources, skills, dreams, hopes, and ambitions. Alliance has always invested in this opportunity, and in the long run, we want to help it grow and reach new heights.