Jean-Pascal Tricoire, our Chairman and CEO at Schneider Electric had a conversation with Glassdoor after being awarded Top CEO in France and Canada about his leadership style, his challenges, what it’s like to work at Schneider Electric, and more. Read along for a Q&A originally shared on the Glassdoor blog in French here.
Glassdoor: How have you adapted your leadership and organization during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Jean-Pascal Tricoire: We haven’t adapted, we have just strengthened the principles of our organizational and leadership model. The pandemic reinforced two key principles of our organization: trust and accountability of local teams. Before the pandemic, we had built our organization around autonomous regions, each in charge of their decisions. This model – called the multi-hub model – has been a real asset throughout the pandemic. It has enabled our employees in the field to respond with agility, in response to their local situation. We saw that the pandemic caused very different reactions from country to country. With this model, our teams were able to respond locally, following local stakeholders. The pandemic confirmed just how much this model is at the heart of our culture, our leadership, and the commitment of our teams. Who wouldn’t want to be in charge of their destiny and have an impact on their environment?
GD: What initiatives did you put in place to keep your employees healthy and productive?
Jean-Pascal: First and foremost, we prioritize health and the balance and flexibility between personal and professional life. On top of this, we offer our employees three key things:
- A mission with meaning: one that provides energy to everyone in the world, while also being one of the companies with the technologies and solutions to reduce carbon emissions and combat climate change. Beyond a meaningful purpose, we also offer a workplace that makes a meaningful impact, being one of the leading companies in the field of corporate social and environmental responsibility. We’re one of the companies closest to the ESG standards defined by the United Nations Global Compact.
- A tolerant, inclusive, and equitable working environment, which is rich in people of diverse origins. There are very few companies globally that are as international and diverse as Schneider Electric. We had no trouble adapting to the working conditions imposed by COVID-19, as we were already working in hybrid and flexible mode, combining work at the office with work at home.
- Finally, a working environment where our employees are empowered, and can and must decide for themselves, with a very significant level of delegation to local teams.
The career aspirations and the way people work in 2021 are very different from what they were twenty years ago – and also unique to each of us. Of course, many elements make it possible to achieve this, such as workplace policies (flexibility at work or pay equity, for example), and training and development programs, to name a few.
GD: Why do you think employees have responded so well to your leadership and the strategic direction of your business this year?
Jean-Pascal: At its heart, it’s a coherent and consistent sharing of a strategy and mission we announced loud and clear 15 years ago while remaining transparent about our successes and challenges in the implementation of this strategy. This has ensured our employees believe in the purpose of our company, which is to “empower all to make the most of our energy and resources, bridging progress and sustainability for all”. When your employees believe that they are contributing to something meaningful, they’re fully committed. Last year, at the height of the crisis, we worked to ensure that hospitals, food and beverage cold chains, data centers and computer networks, electricity and water networks continued to operate when it was absolutely essential that they did. Today, as we begin to emerge from this crisis and we have all realized, to what degree the climate threat our world is facing, our employees are fully mobilized to help our customers and partners transform themselves to build a more sustainable future for all.
GD: What has been the biggest challenge for you and your management team?
Jean-Pascal: The unknown and the speed of change. This isn’t just a challenge for Schneider, it impacts all of us. I believe today we all understand why our society needs to change, what the threats are and what we need to do, but we are not acting fast enough to address them. Speed and agility are the most important attributes of a company. We really benefited from our strong presence in Asia; the first region to face the COVID-19 crisis, which enabled us to anticipate and react well across the rest of the world.
GD: How do you approach diversity and inclusion at work? Is this a big reason people join and stay with your company?
Jean-Pascal: It’s not just about inclusion, it’s inclusion, equity and diversity. Inclusion is a core value for Schneider, but I think our strength is that we see it as a process of continuous improvement. We have a great team working full time on our culture of diversity, but we know that each of our people is responsible for building it. We all need to keep learning and challenging ourselves to make real change. On gender equality, we have made great progress. Our executive committee and board of directors are now very close to parity, and pay equity is guaranteed for over 99% of our organization. But we know there is still some way to go, not just on gender, but in all forms of diversity. We’re very open with our employees about our goals and our progress — and I believe there is a lot of enthusiasm as it is a collective commitment.
GD: Is Schneider Electric currently recruiting, and if so for what type of positions? What type of profiles are you looking for?
Jean-Pascal: At Schneider, we say that great people make a great company. We are constantly on the lookout for new talent, in all sectors and in all generations, who can help us achieve our purpose and mission. We’re growing very strongly in software, digital, and electronics, which now represents half of our business.
We believe in skill sharing and that you don’t have to meet all of the criteria in a job posting. We value daring and disruptive profiles, who have the desire to learn and the drive to help our world become more sustainable, more inclusive and more technological. If you think you fit this description, go to the career page www.se.com/careers
GD: What interview tips can you give to candidates looking to get a job with Schneider Electric?
Jean-Pascal: As part of our multi-hub strategy, recruitment varies by country or region. No matter where you are, you have to be passionate about what you do and what interests you. We’re looking for people who share our vision of the world and who have the different skills required to achieve it.
We’re hiring! Join our #SEGreatPeople team! Search for open jobs and opportunities at www.se.com/careers. Want more of an inside scoop on what it’s like to work at Schneider Electric? Check out our profile, employee reviews, and more on our Glassdoor page.