French feed group looking to build a pool of experts to help it ‘design the future’

'The challenge often is not how to retain talent but how to attract top caliber employees' - InVivo NSA

‘We are taking an unusual approach to recruitment,’ said InVivo NSA as it launches two career days in France.

In an effort to attract ‘high potential’ employees to the animal nutrition and health group, it is looking for experts in a number of fields, either from the feed and livestock sector or other industries, to come and present both their professional and personal projects to its directors either in Paris or in Rennes in June. 

“We want to build a pool of experts that will help us design the future. Applicants will present for 20 to 30 minutes each - in groups of four - in front of our executive committee.

But we want to create a non-competitive atmosphere so each group will contain a mix of different areas of specialization - from marketing to supply chain to IT to nutrition,” said Olga Sieber, international recruitment manager at the France headquartered group.

The HR expert, who worked in the pharmaceutical and medical devices industries previously, said this kind of talent engagement strategy, common in many other fields, was unusual for the feed sector.

“The agriculture and animal nutrition sectors are probably around ten years behind other industries such as pharmaceutical or car manufacturing in terms of maturity – they still need to play catch up in the use of state of the art technology, automation, management and other areas, but these kind of knowledge or expertise gaps call for creativity, and, in that respect will help the sectors secure new talent,” she told us.

Securing talent

The company is also setting out its stall to candidates, which will be 200 in all following an initial screening process.

“The challenge often is not how to retain talent – we have a very low turnover rate – but how to attract top caliber employees to begin with. It is not always about salaries – it is about what a company can offer long term.

So we will also be plugging our move from being a regional player to a group firmly focused on international markets, and one that has just generated an additional €215m in investment capital and is intending to double its sales in the next ten years.

We will also be playing up our dynamism, the development of our innovation hub and the technical expertise to be gained working in teams spread across subsidiaries located in 28 countries,” said Sieber.

International roll-out

She said the career days are being rolled out in France first and then globally. The company has job opportunities in all divisions from operations to finance to marketing to IT to projects and innovation to R&D.

The company employed 100 new staff in 2014 and is currently looking to fill another 20 positions.

“The French campaign, which involved adverts in the mainstream and specialist press, along with a dedicated InVivo NSA website is the first phase of our innovative recruitment process – it kicked off on Monday and we have already received around 300 applications – but similar career days will be rolled out in Latin America and Asia from September to December this year,” said Sieber.

InVivo has also been partnering with academic institutions globally ‘providing its vision on the future of animal nutrition and agriculture’ to ensure the curriculum at the various establishments meets its needs on engineering and animal nutrition formulation. 

“Often French animal nutritionists are trained in the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA) feed formulation system and their US counterparts in the National Research Council (NRC) equivalent. So we see the need to collaborate with universities worldwide to encourage familiarity in not just one but many formulation systems to ensure graduates can work in a range of markets,”  she said.

InVivo NSA actively targets schemes such as the French internship program, VIE, that is government funded and enables local companies to send a young person between 18 and 28 years of age on a working assignment abroad for a flexible period of 6 to 24 months. “This is a good source of talent – it currently has more than 50,000 applicants with high level profiles registered - and we have integrated many interns into the company after they have served their time abroad,” added Sieber. 

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