April 11, 2019

More than 50% of jobs are at risk of automation in less than 10 years. The idea of a global skills gap is a growing concern in modern societies. To that end, BNP Paribas Cardif has partnered with General Assembly to prepare the workforce of the future. Renaud Dumora, CEO of BNP Paribas Cardif and Jake Schwartz, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of General Assembly, share the first lessons on this partnership, on the occasion of a Forum on “the need for reskilling” they co-organised in Paris.



The future of work is at the heart of companies’ strategies. How do you both respond to this ambition?


Jake Schwartz: Today, with the rise of AI and automation, there is a high level of anxiety in society about the future of work and the skills gap. However, there are countless reasons to be optimistic as this new future presents to create new jobs and pathways to economic mobility! This is why we created General Assembly, which core mission is to equip people with skills to pursue the work they love.


Renaud Dumora: No jobs are safe from disruption in the coming years. Therefore, it is essential to provide employees with the necessary skills to embrace progress, rather than fear the future. Putting them first is very important to ensure an organization like BNP Paribas Cardif has the right skills in 5 to 10 years. This is why we try to anticipate which jobs would change and which would ultimately disappear.



What is the objective of this partnership?


J.S: We share the same vision and ambition: put people at the center of the set up. Our objective is to provide clear return on investment for employees and organizations. For this purpose, we anticipate the needs, adapt continuously the trainings to these needs and offer a model based on a strong “learning-by-doing” method, combined with expert instructors. With this approach, we’ve been helping a number of large companies to invest meaningfully in their employee’s skills and their talent pipeline, and we are very proud to be partnering with BNP Paribas Cardif to power their “Skill Up” initiative and to develop the talents they need.


R.D: Our employees are our first asset and we need to help them develop their skills to prepare themselves for the future. It is critical for them to be able to leverage new technologies like machine learning, natural language processing, Internet of Things etc. There is a real demand for learning and development, and this is why we chose General Assembly for a 5-year partnership. From now until 2022, our goal is to train 1000 employees of BNP Paribas Cardif. We open the sessions to BNP Paribas group staff as well as to our distributors partners, in order to develop their talents, and to embrace the transformation we are facing.



With this partnership, a joint project has been launched: The Skill Up program. Concretely, how does it work?


J.S: Our focus is to combine the best components of both graduate and vocational trainings. Concretely, we work with instructors who are leading experts in their field, so people can learn from practitioners with real business knowledge. In the case of BNP Paribas Cardif, all staff do not need to re-skill, but for a large-scale organization, it is also essential to help employees maintain their skillset current, and to help them understand the importance of these changes.


R.D: The Skill Up program has begun in June 2018 : we have chosen it to be an international program, as we operated in 35 countries. Our teams are being up-skilled or re-skilled on skills such as data science or UX design and with a focus on the customer centricity. This program is dedicated to our employees but it was also important to onboard their managers and even our executive committee, to make them experience the benefits of working with new skills and new mindset in a more agile culture.


To sum up, we first outlined the needs of the organization, and planned the sessions. Then, candidates were invited to write motivational letters and a process has been put in place, with managers, to validate applications. Furthermore, the benefit of this training is that employees can work on real professional projects, including projects co-built with partners.



What are the expected results for employees?


J.S: The success of General Assembly is based on starting with the ultimate goals of the companies in mind, and working backwards diligently to achieve them. This is eventually a win-win strategy for both the company and its employees, who benefit from cutting-edge learnings, and are thus more likely to stay.


R.D: Measuring the skills the company needed was a very important first step. The process is really just beginning and I am thrilled by the enthusiasm of our teams! We are focused on allowing our employees to adapt, to develop soft skills and to be committed to lifelong learning within the company.