We woke up on Tuesday morning to more rain in Paris. Lucky for us, we had some great business visits lined up, so the majority of our day was spent indoors. We first traveled by subway and on foot to the world headquarters of L’Oréal, where we met with Valérie Ferial, Europe Director of Talent Sourcing. In her position, Valérie plays a vital role in the corporate human resources department, where she is responsible for finding, recruiting, hiring and training the key members of the L’Oréal team. Valérie emphasized the importance of the employees at L’Oréal and was quick to point out that a company is not made up of walls, but of people, people, people. Valérie also talked about L’Oréal’s strategy of acquiring companies and improving them for its end customers under the L’Oréal umbrella.
After Valérie’s presentation, Zvi Goldfarb discussed some of the tactics the company implementing via digital means and social media channels to find and recruit potential L’Oréal employees. To top the visit off, the L’Oréal team treated us to a nice lunch in the official L’Oréal “canteen,” where we were able to eat a traditional French meal and further our discussions with other L’Oréal employees about the differences between business in Europe and America.
After our visit with L’Oréal, we made our way across Paris to meet with John Hall at Mercer. John is a BYU graduate and member of the LDS Church that lives and works in Paris. He and his wife originally went to France on a three year assignment. Thirteen years and five children later, John is a dual citizen of the U.S. and France and plans on staying right where he is for the next little while at least. John provided the group with an overview of Mercer and specifically discussed compensation and benefit trends around the world and among various workforce segmentations, including Millenials, Gen Xers, and Baby Boomers.
The rest of the day was time to spend as we wanted. We all had different plans that involved visits to various landmarks within the great city of Paris. A big group of us had an amazing steak and French fried potato dinner at the famous Le Relais de Venise L’Entrecôte. At “Le Relais,” you have to be there 30 minutes early to get in when it opens at 7 p.m. or you’ll end up standing in line. In addition, you only have three options on the menu – rare, medium, or well-done. J We ate well!!
After dinner, the weather had cleared some, so we went to the Eiffel Tower. The lines from the day before had gone down significantly, so we bought passes to go to the top. We made it up the tower just as the sun was going down. We enjoyed the view as darkness enveloped Paris and the bright lights of the city appeared. We took many pictures and had a lot of good laughs. As we reached the bottom of the tower, it started to rain again, so we raced to the metro for a ride back to the hotel. Overall, the day was a good one made up of both “business” and “pleasure.”