Groupama and emlyon: a look back at 10 years of customized transformation
Published on 2023.06.19
Groupama and emlyon business school have been working hand in hand since 2010 to develop tailor-made training programs that make a real impact on the insurance group and its employees. The partnership began with the development of a flagship training program focused on leadership – the Formation Supérieure des Managers (FSM), or Advanced Manager Training.
A transformation program
"The 22nd class of the FSM program will be graduating this year,” says Kerry Costello, Head of Corporate and International Programs in Groupama's Group HR department. “In 2010, we chose emlyon to help us with the international side of the program. In 2013, the partnership was extended to include the French component, so we have now worked together to develop the talents of 11 cohorts and a total of 154 participants." The aim of the FSM is to increase the leadership skills of senior managers identified as potential future leaders of the Group's companies.
Groupama has had ambitious objectives for the program ever since it began, with the main aim being to develop leaders who are strategic, caring, effective and transformative. For Enrique Nunes, the program's educational manager and a teacher at emlyon business school, "the program is designed to transform people, rather than just to train them. For Groupama participants, it's about developing their capacity for strategic vision and the implications that has for decision-making, while also strengthening their leadership skills, cultivating their networks within the Group, and enhancing their analytical skills. In 2016, we decided to refocus the FSM on the subject of leadership, so that participants could go beyond their status as trainees." To achieve these new objectives, the program was structured around three themes: personal development, creating a high-performance team, and improving the strategic vision of future leaders.
Action learning for leadership
To achieve its objectives, the FSM program is based on action learning, a method where participants learn by working on practical issues related to their everyday work. At Groupama, participants get the chance to put their leadership and strategic analysis skills into practice with a team-based project. "Each new cohort is divided into three teams, who work on a strategically important subject chosen by company management. They then present their project to the Group Executive Committee. This type of learning not only provides a real test of their skills, methods and tools, but also reflects Groupama's desire to help individuals to transform themselves and find meaning in their work," explains Kerry Costello.
"Every cohort has made a positive impression and each of them has been unique because of the different personalities involved in each adventure,” she adds. In 2017, a team working on an insurance intermediation project took the action learning approach to the limit, building a life-size sales stand, complete in every detail, from scratch. A Groupama and emlyon "wow effect", as Kerry Costello puts it, the stand made their proposal even more real to the ExCom. Over the years, some teams have seen their recommendations put into practice by the company, such as a project to simplify the online customer journey for healthcare products, while others have become part of the Group's CSR strategy.
A challenge for participants and trainers alike
Overall, the results of the FSM program have been extremely positive. Kerry Costello and Enrique Nunes base that assessment on the participants' satisfaction rating of 4.5/5, along with feedback from both the senior managers to whom they report and from the ExCom. Feedback from participants about their ability to handle complex issues after taking the course is also taken into account. Further proof of its success since refocusing on leadership is provided by the fact that 60% of past participants have been promoted within the Group. "The success is due in particular to the program's approach of leading by example. The teaching team walks the talk, gets challenged on issues just as much as the participants, and must constantly challenge itself. This is one of the key features of tailor-made solutions," notes Enrique Nunes.
Other projects have been developed by Groupama and emlyon in recent years, thanks to the trusting relationship that has built up between them since 2010. These include the ‘Being Stronger Together' training course and the ‘Défi Stratégique' (Strategic Challenge) module for elected members of the boards of directors of Groupama's regional mutuals. The latter course is also provided for elected members taking part in national training courses organized by the Institutional Relations and Mutual Orientations Department. As a laboratory for educational experimentation, these transformation programs have led to a wide-ranging collaboration between the two organizations that focuses on personal development.