GrandVision is a purpose-driven company and our aim is to continue delivering superior quality and affordable eyecare services to more consumers around the world. Our people are inspired to share this same purpose. In turn, this enables us to attract, develop and retain employee talent, enhance career growth and offer employees opportunities to gain global leadership experience in eyecare and customer service. This is why our P&C team established several key initiatives to support these needs.
Attracting and recruiting talent
We attract people who share a passion for eyecare, and then help them grow and develop their expertise and careers. There is strong competition for this type of specialized talent, as the demand for trained opticians around the world is high. However, there is an ongoing decrease in the number of professionals moving into this field.
To counter this trend and establish a pipeline of talented opticians, we have been working with universities and other higher education institutions worldwide to train and develop future eyecare experts. These partnerships help us recruit top talent and contribute to the UN's global agenda to increase access to healthcare. And it aligns with the UN SDG 3 to promote good health and well-being.
As of 2020, more than 20 of our retail brands, or about 70%, partner with universities and vocational programs to prepare students to become some of the field's leading professional eyecare providers. Programs range from 15 days to three-and-a-half years and provide students with instore work experience, soft skills and technical training. These practical experience programs also lead to permanent job opportunities.
We strongly believe that young talent is the future of optical retail and our training programs were recognized in 2020 with the following industry acknowledgements:
- U.K. Vision Express was ranked in the top six programs for all large employers in The Commonwealth.
- Germany's Apollo Optik was awarded 'Best Apprentice Training Company' by CAPITAL for its training and apprenticeship programs.
When we recruit talent at the retail and corporate levels, we prioritize internal promotion to fill open roles before sharing them externally. In 2020, GrandVision launched an internal job board to increase development opportunities for our employees. This way, internal candidates enjoy earlier access to GrandVision job openings and can establish direct dialog about open roles with the P&C team and the hiring managers.
Professional training and growth opportunities
We offer equal access training opportunities for all GrandVision employees through GV Academy, our global community of expertise for continuous learning and development. It features a blended learning approach, such as e-learning, classroom lessons and on-the-job training. And our integrated Learning Management System facilitates sharing best practices and adapts content to meet local needs and circumstances.
GV Academy programs cover three topics:
- Enabling our strategy, e.g. sales and marketing
- Local business needs, e.g. new product launches in specific markets
- Global business needs, e.g. leadership development and EU MDR compliance
The training content is localized to specific requirements and targets all commercial and retail employees and includes: retail training, optical, sunglasses and contact lens expertise, our customer journey and store management. Each topic has specific KPIs and targets and our global P&C team is responsible for following up on each of them.
In 2020, we refreshed our GV Academy training platform to improve training structure, increase digital support for users and further share best practices. We also implemented our global-local operating model, which established standardized processes and procedures for trainings held across retail brands at local levels. The model's framework is part of the ISO 13485-GrandVision certification and is globally recognized and approved.
And in 2020, GV Academy also launched several new digital modules in our extensive learning curriculum that cover topics like store and people management, sales and customer service techniques, optical health and eyecare and our products. These sessions can be adapted in three ways to meet specific training needs:
- Sharing fundamentals
- Converting theory to practice
- Continuing education for a deeper dive into a topic
In 2019, we launched the GV Academy mobile app to ensure that the right knowledge is at the fingertips of our instore employees. In 2020, we continued roll-out of the app to the U.S., Argentina, Colombia, Peru, Brazil, Spain, Chile, Uruguay, Russia, Greece, Cyprus, Italy, Switzerland, Sweden, Portugal and the U.K. In 2021, we will migrate the GV Mobile Academy app to our retail brands in 13 additional countries.
In 2021, GV Academy will also further increase cooperation with suppliers to better support our stores. We will focus on global and local training harmonization, and implement measures to better understand the training impact on our business results.
Consistent training for exceptional professionalism
Our global store employee training program ensures excellent customer service at our stores around the world by fostering a high standard of professionalism. It is segmented in three levels: Bronze, Silver and Gold.
Within six months of joining GrandVision, 100% of our store employees pass the mandatory Bronze level program. Employees can continue to develop their skills and professional ambitions, based on specific business needs by taking Silver and Gold level training.
Our store employee training program also focuses on our omnichannel customer journey. We are also developing our digital capabilities to improve the customer experience and to implement our strategy.
Total and average training hours (estimated)
Total training hours
Average training hours/FTE
The total training hours dedicated to our employees and their specific functions reflect our strategic, local and global business needs. In 2020, our employees took more than 766,000 hours of training, an increase of nearly 30% compared to 2019. The significant increase in average training hours per FTE can be attributed to the important role that training played in our response to COVID-19, the appetite of employees to acquire new skills while working remotely, and the launch of large number of global training modules to support the further roll out of our strategy. We also introduced live webinars, which were attended by approximately 2,000 employees.
Additionally, the role of training was critical in our COVID-19 response. We rapidly developed training materials for store employees about our safety protocols and new ways of working to ensure their own safety, as well as our customers' safety.
We also needed to quickly move our office-based employees into a 'work-from-home' mode. Training was necessary to ensure leaders could successfully manage their teams remotely and that employees could collaborate using digital tools and technology.
On a global level, we provided an average of 23.0 training hours per FTE. Store managers and their employees generally received more training hours than non-store employees due to their daily contact with customers.
Talent development with functional and geographical global mobility
At GrandVision, our internal mobility practices and global mobility policies support the development of our talent pool and enable global careers. They encourage the exchange of best practices among operating units, enhance GrandVision’s culture and prepare our future eyecare industry leaders for success.
GrandVision continues to benchmark our mobility policy against international best practices, which consist of three employment types:
- Long-term assignments: last from three to five years, ideal for career development, green field operations or to backfill key positions.
- Short-term assignments: last three to 12 months and are project-based.
- Transfer assignments: roles for talent who transfer permanently from one country to another.
In 2020, COVID-19 impacted global mobility programs across all industries, as there was an unprecedented restriction of movement worldwide. Despite this, we continued our focus on our international talent mobility strategy, which resulted in several international transfers.
Encouraging talent with our Leadership Lens Profile
GrandVision leaders share several attributes. They put the customer at the heart of all of their decisions. They create a shared direction which energizes our people and brings out the best in them. They are entrepreneurs at heart with a focus on delivering excellence in execution and results today, while preparing our organization for tomorrow. They lead with integrity and self-awareness, championing diversity in our workforce and an inclusive workplace.
These attributes in the GrandVision Leadership Lens Profile are embedded in our recruitment and selection process and in our talent management processes. They are also at the heart of our suite of leadership development tools, which create more self-awareness and cultivate these attributes in our leadership teams.
Further strengthening talent management at GrandVision
GrandVision’s talent management program has created a culture of dialog and development with our employees. This helps us match our company’s current and future capability requirements with employees’ individual aspirations. Our program is a bottom-up process with regular talent reviews for every level of professional experience. It includes team discussions, succession planning, goal-setting and formal performance feedback sessions.
During a challenging 2020, our employees' safety and engagement remained our top priorities. We focused on our people by strengthening succession planning, internal recruitment and desired leadership culture. We also focused on embedding our GrandVision Leadership Lens Profile in all P&C practices, continuous performance feedback and talent development.
In 2020, GrandVision strengthened the quality of our talent pipeline by focusing on our succession planning and retention management. This included a stronger focus on gender, age, nationality, diversity as well as the mobility of our top talent. And we introduced a global performance appraisal and a mid-year development discussion for managerial levels of our organization.
In 2021, we will continue to strengthen our talent and leadership development efforts to:
- Enhance gender diversity balance in senior leadership positions by implementing a global recruitment process for senior leadership roles, which ensures both a diverse slate of interviewers on the selection panel and short list of candidates for roles
- Invest in a global leadership development program
- Embed the GrandVision Leadership Lens profile in our organization
- Strengthen our high performance culture