In September 2021, Cegid, a leader in SaaS management solutions, identified 139 outstanding employees, who were provided with support for their development. A number of these employees were chosen to take part in the third annual Unleash Your Potential programme, a tailored training solution co-designed by Cegid and emlyon business school.

Invest in people and boost performance: Cegid's overarching strategy

The Cegid group, which has expanded strongly in recent years, is innovating. A specialist in building management solutions for finance, HR, accounting and retail, Cegid has put workforce quality at the very heart of its growth plan. “Cegid's approach is crystal clear: we want to capitalise on our talent. We are accelerating the career development of high-performing employees while at the same time addressing the need to boost company performances and foster strategic innovation”, says Aïda Scanzi, Head of Talent Development in Cegid's HR division.

It was with this goal in mind that Cegid first reached out to emlyon business school in 2019: “Co-designing a programme with an internationally-renowned business school was a way to ensure a quality solution, while at the same time leveraging Cegid's investment in employee development”, adds Scanzi.

Step one is to identify people who might be a good fit for the programme. For the last three years, Cegid has conducted an annual Talent Review to do precisely that. The 2021 review identified 139 employees and, in the end, 14 people from across a range of business units and core businesses were chosen to be part of the programme. People were picked for their performances but also for their soft skills and their presence within the company.

A programme that is reimagined each year to reflect Cegid's growth

The programme was initially set up in 2019 and reflected the firm's resolve to invest in key employees. But it was also devised to underpin Cegid's new strategic plan and impact the company's performance through talent development.

Cegid and emlyon have redesigned the programme's architecture to address the company's needs more effectively. For the 2021 session, we switched from a programme that was intended to function on a year-long basis to an intensive two-month programme”, says Éric Vogler, training manager for the emlyon business school programme. “The aim is to prepare participants so that they are ready to run large teams and potentially one day join senior management.”

Another big shift was the switch to using English as the working language: “As Cegid expands internationally, it is essential for us to use English so that we can welcome talented people from across all our regions”, says Scanzi.

Unleashing the potential of each employee to raise Cegid's performances

The programme was organised around three key stages, with a week-long intensive seminar followed by distance learning modules and a three-day bootcamp. Two personalised coaching sessions were also provided to address each participant's development goals.

Éric Vogler

The programme was paced and structured around three core ideas – Strategy, High-Performing Team and Design Thinking – with the aim of achieving immediate results

The immersive programme seeks to unlock creativity through operational tools that can be applied within the company: “Participants go away with methods that they can apply day to day”, says Leslie Saint-Marc, Executive Education project leader at emlyon business school. “The bootcamp then gives them the chance to put their new know-how into practice by working in small groups on specific strategic issues identified by Cegid's executive committee.”

Topics covered this year included how CSR can be a growth driver for the Cegid group and how to innovate in new client acquisition. During the first two years of the programme, each group, supported by a member of the Cegid executive committee acting as sponsor, presented its project to the company's full management committee, in addition to the sponsors. “The bootcamp is extremely intense. The teams reach an advanced prototype phase very quickly”, says Vogler. “Since the very outset, the executive committee has been closely involved in this programme. It is rare to see so many members of an executive committee turning out to hear participants' presentations.”

Cegid sees the bootcamp as a way to unearth talent. But another of the programme's goals is to ensure that the benefits are felt over the long term and impact the company's performances. “Everything that the participants learn, they will reuse and share internally, whether that be storytelling techniques when making presentations to their teams, design thinking approaches to devising a shared project for Cegid, or methods to enhance teamwork performances. These high-performing employees will help to spread practices that support innovation, strengthen teamwork and improve the company's performances”, says Scanzi. Cegid continues to invest every year in this programme and other development initiatives, as it works to foster employee loyalty and retain talent, but also to support the company's growth. The group's next Talent Review is scheduled for April 2022.