Beauty giant shines on employee mentorship and wellness, sustainability and community giving efforts
Keon Zhang is not your stereotypical millennial hopping from job to job in search of career challenge and fulfillment. He joined L’Oréal Canada seven years ago, at age 21, and hasn’t looked back, or away, since.
Mr. Zhang has instead moved up the ranks in the beauty products company, now holding the position of group product manager for its Garnier Haircolour brand for the past two years.
“I grew up here,” says Mr. Zhang, 28. “The people in this company are the reason why I stay. They have pushed me in so many different ways and they give me opportunities that allow me to challenge myself. There’s never been a day that I’ve been bored.”
Mr. Zhang says the work atmosphere, the training and skills development programs, and the employee perks and benefits are just some of the reasons why he enjoys going to work every day. These are some of the factors that led L’Oréal Canada to once again be named among Canada’s Top 100 Employers.
“I’ve grown tremendously professionally, but what I’m most proud of is how I’ve grown personally,” says Mr. Zhang. “That’s because of the mentorship and training I’ve had that helped me develop, and that I use now to train my teams.”
Eva Azoulay, vice president of human resources at L’Oréal Canada, says the company often selects ambitious employees to mentor and train to move up in the company.
“At L’Oréal, we like to grow our own managers, to take our employees and provide them with the appropriate tools to become leaders,” says Ms. Azoulay.
She says the training is also structured to meet the individual needs and goals of each employee.
“We don’t have a cookie-cutter formula,” Ms. Azoulay says. “The training programs are tailored to each individual.”
The programs include both in-house and online training programs as well as tuition subsidies and opportunities for international training in places like Paris and New York, which are attended by L’Oréal employees from all over the world.
Employee health care and well-being are also keys to L’Oréal Canada’s strategy to attract and retain staff, Ms. Azoulay says.
Through its worldwide “Share & Care” Programme, L’Oréal guarantees its employees the best social practices in four areas; social protection, health, parenthood and quality of life at work. That includes a wide range of benefits under each banner; life insurance, maternity leave top-up of 100 per cent salary for 17 weeks, subsidized on-site daycare, training from ergonomists and nutritionists, and alternative work arrangements such as flexible hours, telecommuting, compressed work weeks and early Friday closings.
“The goal is to provide care for our employees based on the highest global standards of social excellence,” says Ms. Azoulay.
Montreal-based L’Oréal Canada is a wholly owned subsidiary of L’Oréal Group, the world’s largest cosmetics company. The multinational company, which holds a portfolio of 32 international beauty brands, has also set a number of sustainability targets across its operations.
In 2013, the company launched its “Sharing Beauty With All” sustainability commitment, with a goal to reduce its overall environmental footprint by 60 per cent by 2020. That includes a 60 per cent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions at its plants and distribution centres and similar percentage drop in water consumption and waste across its operations.
L’Oréal is also involving its suppliers in the sustainability initiative, with a promise to select them based on their environmental and social performance and provide tools to help them boost their own performance. To empower consumers to make sustainable consumption choices, L’Oréal is also sharing environmental and social information about its products, and working to ensure that 100 per cent of them carry an environmental or social benefit.
Ms. Azoulay says the corporate social responsibility program is driven by both social and business considerations.
“Being a responsible corporate citizen is also a priority for L’Oréal,” she says. “We aren’t just doing it for employees and to win over consumers. It’s a sustainable business model that we know we must work towards.”
The global sustainability program also includes a commitment to help more than 100,000 people from underprivileged communities find work through mentoring and community education programs, as well as by hiring people with disabilities and from diverse backgrounds.
Ms. Azoulay says L’Oréal Canada has a very diverse workforce already, including staff from more than 60 different nationalities, which reflects the diversity of its consumer base.
“We strongly believe that diversity is a huge source of creativity,” she adds.
This summer, L’Oréal Canada became the first company in Canada to be certified with the EDGE (Economic Dividends for Gender Equality), which is one of the leading business certifications worldwide for gender equality in the workplace.
Overall, Mr. Zhang says he wanted to work at L’Oréal Canada for its people and its purpose.
“The people are bright and we are always challenging each other to push beyond our own boundaries,” he says.
Visit L’Oréal Canada’s website at www.loreal.com