Interview of the Chief Human Resource Officer by Adecco Mauritius

” Hello Sandrine, FORGES TARDIEU is an Engineering group, which has evolved over the past 166 years. How do you ensure that the Human Capital Strategy is aligned with the High Growth of the Group?

Aligning the Human Capital Strategy with the High Growth of the Group undoubtedly requires a thorough understanding of operational and business constraints so as to be able to anticipate and/or respond promptly to obstacles which may alter the achievement of business imperatives on the short, medium and long term. In order for this to become a reality, it is essential for the Human Resource team to be actively involved in the development of the business strategy.

As you so rightly mentioned, Forges Tardieu is a group which has a very long and rich history; over the past 166 years, the Group has evolved from being a simple mechanical workshop and foundry to being an EPC/EPCC/EPCCM Group (Engineering, Procurement, Construction, Commissioning and Management) offering specialized engineering services to the cane, oil & gas and marine industries, amongst others, in Africa, Latin America and Asia.

Our Group invests a lot in the development of our people by providing them with world-class trainings and development programmes, formative experiences on various projects and exposures to different business contexts and environments. This is essential for us to ensure that we have a professional high-performing core team ready to intervene on different types of projects.

With the view of renewing constantly this talent pipeline, we have also identified, during the last few years, a shortage of qualified professionals in skilled trades, such as welding, boilermaking or turning, on the local market. For this reason, we have decided in July 2016 to launch a Workforce for Excellence Programme in collaboration with the MITD so as to hire youths and train them in those skilled trades. A section of our workshop has thus been converted into a training centre which can welcome some 10 youths per year. These constitute a few examples of how we strive hard to adapt our Human Capital Strategy to serve business imperatives.

The FORGES TARDIEU Group is composed of 13 subsidiaries, located in 7 countries including Africa and Asia. Does the HR department interact with the African and Asian subsidiaries? If yes how?

Forges Tardieu Group has 13 subsidiaries out of which 10 are actually active. The HR Department obviously supports all active subsidiaries, be it in Mauritius, Africa or New Caledonia whenever the need arises. For example, our overseas subsidiaries do not employ a large number of permanent staff; as such, whenever major projects are launched, our HR department may be required to help in the workforce sourcing and/or in the handling of any HR-related issues. Depending on the size of the projects, we may be required to hire as many as a thousand additional staff.

The Human Capital Strategy which is developed from Mauritius is also deployed in all subsidiaries, where applicable, to ensure a coherent approach throughout the Group. We therefore look after recruitment for high-level positions, reward policies, development and succession plans for our key team members.

Being an international group, are there opportunities for your employees to develop their career path in other international branches?

Forges Tardieu has started doing business in Africa as early as in the 1960s. We therefore have a long experience of working in Africa and our employees are used to this culture. As mentioned, since most of our business is done outside Mauritius, mobility is very important within the Group.

Besides a flexible pool of professionals which we can hire on contractual basis for specific projects, Forges Tardieu employs a core team of some 425 permanent employees throughout its different subsidiaries and these team members are aware of the fact that they may be called upon to work on overseas assignments as and when required for definite periods of time. Mobility forms an integral part of the contract of employment of our Project teams and of our skilled workforce in our workshop for example. We rely on their expertise in every project that we undertake.

It is also very enriching for our teams to share their knowledge and skills with foreign teams as well as to learn new work techniques from these foreign colleagues. Most of our employees are very fond of such international exposures as they definitely constitute valuable formative experiences for them. We should however note that long-term expatriation (3-5 years) in our subsidiaries is less frequent due to limited number of openings for the time-being. This is mainly due to the nature of our business.

What do you do in your free time?

During my free time, I enjoy a nice play, going to the movies or travelling and experiencing new cultures. If not, a nice restaurant is enough to make me happy.

What is your favourite music genre?

In terms of musical genre, I listen to almost every genre except techno and house music.

Your favourite movie?

That’s a tough one! Je suis bon public… I’m a great fan of Jane Austen so I’d say that one of my favourite movies is the adaptation of Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth! The King’s speech with the same actor was a very good one too…

Your favourite quote?

‘’Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.’’ – Oscar Wilde

Interview article by Adecco Mauritius