March 14, 2019

Through its Strategic Workforce Planning (SWP) initiative, now completing its pilot phase, BNP Paribas Cardif is seeking to identify the professions of tomorrow in order to support the growth and development of the company while giving each individual the opportunity to evolve in their profession or learn a new one. Today and even more tomorrow, artificial intelligence allows us, and will allow us more, to automate many document and data processing tasks in all company departments: back offices, front offices and support functions. Roles will be redistributed between people and robots.


BNP Paribas Cardif is preparing for this revolution: “In the digital transformation, the insurance sector has not been a leader, but rather a follower”, argues Nathalie Doré, head of acceleration and digital expertise. “But when it comes to human transformations, we are one of the leaders.”


BNP Paribas Cardif has made the close link between human beings and innovation one of the pillars of its strategic plan (“a company focused on people and innovation”) by developing a programme dedicated to developing and supporting its employees: the Strategic Workforce Planning. “We even use this name – often shortened to SWP – in French,” explains Nadège Gaspard, who is in charge of the initiative. “Our employees took to using its name very quickly. In a nutshell, it’s a strategic approach that aims to identify the skills we already need and those that we will need in the future and to support our employees so that they can acquire these new skills, which will be useful to the company and recognized on the market.” Preparing the future of work is very much on the agenda in large groups. “We decided to build SWP under the joint sponsorship of Sophie Joyat, Director of Human Resources, and Stanislas Chevalet, the Executive Vice President heading Development and Transformation,” continues Nadège. “It’s neither a brand new HR initiative nor an isolated exercise in projecting business scenarios. It’s actually a combination of the two, on three time scales: here and now, by 2020 and, longer term, by 2025.”


There is a double challenge for BNP Paribas Cardif. “On the one hand, we want to provide all our employees with the opportunity of taking advantage of a genuine dynamic of change and development of their employability,” points out Sophie Joyat, Director of Human Resources. “This is key to ensuring our teams’ commitment and it meets a clearly expressed wish for continuous learning. On the other hand, by diagnosing how our professions should evolve and by promoting capacities of agility and adaptability to innovations, we are giving ourselves the means to stay ahead of the field, incorporating these capacities in an intelligent way into our products and services.”


Schematically, it is as though the lines corresponding to certain tasks in the job descriptions of tomorrow were erased and new ones created. In practice, “we have developed a methodology that allows us to identify, along with business line experts and HR teams, how current activities are going to evolve as a result of robotisation, the development of artificial intelligence, new regulatory constraints, and so on,” explains Nadège. “We look at what skills are required today and those we will need tomorrow to carry out these new activities. Whenever we spot a gap, we hand over to HR, and they devise and design solutions to close the gap. We have already implemented solutions, particularly in training programmes focusing on up-skilling and re-skilling.”


This approach, which has to be applied to all employees, is now completing its pilot phase, which already shows the new energy that this initiative has inspired. Managers and employees who have taken part in the pilot are fully behind it and are convinced of the added value of preparing the future of BNP Paribas Cardif as well as their own futures. “This is completely unlike traditional training programmes, where you go back to your everyday routine as soon as it’s over,” Nathalie Doré explains. “The participants build projects, putting their newly acquired skills into action immediately. And the training programmes deal not only with technical dimensions, but also with resources and new methodologies linked to behavioural and relational skills: lean start-ups, the Agile Method, capacity to work in a multi-disciplinary context, presenting a project, and so on.” Among the solutions implemented to support employees facing an evolution, not to say a transformation, General Assembly, an international specialist in training courses that speed up company transformation programmes, has been chosen, with its constantly evolving catalogue including in particular such topics as UX design, digital marketing, product management, data science and cyber-security – five of the training programmes available as part of the SWP, which some employees have already taken in Europe and in Asia.


What is the result? “Six months after the partnership agreement was signed, approximately a hundred employees have been trained, and around a hundred more have taken part in two-day awareness-raising sessions. Not only are the satisfaction rates scores excellent, but the measurement of skills before and after shows the high impact of these courses, and this is true across all functions. The story is just beginning, because our partnership with General Assembly formally commits us to training 1,200 people over five years, so that takes us to 2022. We are starting to act as a learning company,” explains Nathalie Doré.


“Transformation also involves top management, with the CEO Academy,” adds Nadège Gaspard. “The leaders of our operational entities have received training and carried out study trips to Shanghai, San Francisco and Israel. And also through technical training courses, such as the one developed with the Ecole Polytechnique to train analytics managers.”


Recruitment is also playing an important part. Managers and HR teams are gradually learning to recruit not only specific profiles or expertise, but also skills and the potential to develop. Basically, there is no end to the process of skills transformation, it is a "living being" that will evolve over time according to the company’s needs and technology transformations.