Continuing to work together but from a distance
We were faced with a colossal challenge: How can tens of thousands of employees continue to work together when physical meetings and travel are impossible?
This was the complicated situation that quarantine imposed upon our Group, as it did with numerous other companies around the world. Forced to respond urgently, our IT teams handled the problem with great efficiency, allowing our varied activity to be maintained.
At L’Oréal, we are convinced that in order to grow and develop, we need everyone's qualities and skills. We believe that working together is a powerful force. Although quarantine has completely changed our habits across the world, it hasn't stopped this energy that inspires us. And this is all thanks to the support of our IT teams.
In a very short period of time, they were faced with a drastic change in needs. During the second half of March, the number of virtual meetings organized within the Group and with our partners rose from 30,000 to 150,000: an increase of 400%!
Despite this exceptional demand, all applications that were essential for us to continue our activities remained available. "I am extremely proud of what the IT teams are doing right now," says Etienne Bertin, our Group's chief information officer. "They have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to supporting L'Oréal teams around the world."
Despite this unprecedented crisis, our IT teams have "shown they are a pillar of our Group, and that they can be counted on in good times and bad," he adds.
Cyber security is a shared challenge
As various cyber-attacks disrupted businesses during this period, staying vigilant was more important than ever before. In this context, it is vital "that everyone makes sure they have followed the online training on cyber security," says the chief information officer. "We don't want our individual actions to put the whole system at risk."
Events planning has been just one of the many areas that has had to drastically change. Since it was impossible to bring together a large number of people in one place, this department had to re-imagine its activities overnight.
Major events including Chinese New Year, the Summer Party and VivaTech, the trade fair for entrepreneurs and start-ups, all had to be canceled. And then, we had to re-imagine the way to hold these events, which are so important for both our internal and external community, in a new virtual way. Once the cancellations were managed, our employees looked at how to maintain the link between teleworking colleagues.
Behind every digital action, there is always a person.
A technological transformation
Digital technology clearly plays a key role in the solutions provided. To enable the rapid organization of online events, the IT team proved to be "a key contact, who was able to respond quickly and efficiently", says Corporate Events Manager François Godin.
"The team listened to our needs and problems to provide us with tailored solutions, such as the provision of the Teams Live Event," explains the manager. This collaborative tool provided by Microsoft allows thousands of people to participate from home. This option was due to be available towards the end of the year, but the teams worked to deploy it urgently in less than a month," he adds.
We are already learning lessons from this situation: technology and quality of content have been cornerstones of this new activity. "It's clear that the connection quality is key and that technical tests and trials are essential," emphasizes François Godin. And in terms of content, it's important to take special care in terms of format, length, subject, etc. "It's even more difficult to keep the participants' attention behind their screens, so it means there needs to be a good pace, short sections and lots of interaction."