If you work at L’Oréal, the company’s meals, gym, massage service, concierge service, day nursery, and around three months’ salary in profit-sharing schemes may seem a good reason to be very satisfied with your job. Indeed, L’Oréal is among the most sought-after companies to work for, with 1 million applications every year. The 2015 Universum survey, which is conducted yearly in 12 European countries from a sample of 168,000 undergraduate business school students, ranked L’Oréal as the second most preferred employer in Europe. Innovative recruiting tools such as REVEAL, Brandstorm,
and Talentube support L’Oréal’s reputation as an employer of choice by raising youngsters’ positive attitudes toward its brands. According to Bocco Chen, Recruitment and Integration Manager at L’Oréal Hong Kong, what makes Brandstorm an efficient assessing tool is that competing teams
of students from renowned business schools and universities play the role of a brand manager by analyzing market trends and creating product packaging so that they experience real work situations at L’Oréal and can connect with their potential future jobs. In France, 90 percent of all new
recruits at L’Oréal were interns, the reasoning being that internships serve to build future employees’ organizational commitment. Before taking up any managerial position, new recruits are all sent on the road for six to twelve months to stack products on shelves at 5 am in supermarkets. It is an ordeal. Candidates are reportedly thrown in at the deep end and forced to learn on their own. The job allows little time for socialization outside the organization. Being part of L’Oréal has been described as “cult-like.” In-the-field initiations serve as filters. You must be highly engaged in your job even if you feel a lack of organizational support, or you will be seen as weak—and the weakest do not last. Everyone has key objectives and accountabilities. To ensure that employees will be devoted to their job and
perform up to its standards, L’Oréal has five Development and Learning Centers worldwide. Each Oréalien has personalized access to learning modules that enable them to meet the needs of each function. To track and promote the most talented Oréaliens, L’Oréal has a sharp management and performance appraisal process. Managers with strong potential who have completed several successful
projects will be promoted every two or three years. Indeed, at L’Oréal, careers can be built quicker than elsewhere, but you have to first survive several challenges. Managers can be intransigent with employees who are dissatisfied with their jobs and also underperform, for staff satisfaction surveys at L’Oréal show these employees often exhibit behaviors that demotivate their colleagues. Twice a year, the L’Oréal international brand directors present their launch campaigns. Through this presentation and several others, top managers aim to spread a so-called “healthy worry” among Oréaliens. They also make and break many careers. One Oréalien said that she understood what humiliation really meant when she saw a colleague publically fired during one such meeting. And yet, to her, “L’Oréal is worth it.”
3-11. What positive and negative outcomes can L’Oréal expect from its Oréaliens’ devotion? To what extent do you think employers should require their employees to be totally devoted to their company?
3-12. How would you react if one of your peers were humiliated and then fired by your common supervisor during a meeting?
3-13. How can companies satisfy their employees? Should companies offer their employees the best work conditions or the most challenging responsibilities?
Sources: H.J. Hong and Y.L. Doz, “L’Oréal Masters Multiculturalism,” Harvard Business Review, June
2013; B. Iyer and T.H. Davenport, “Reverse Engineering Google’s Innovation Machine,” Harvard Business Review, April 2008; E. Botta, “L’Oréal, la machine à fabriquer des cracks,” Management, November 2010; M. Durin-Valois, “Il était une fois… L’Oréal,” Le Figaro Magazine, August 2009; loreal.com; glassdoor.com; universumglobal.com.