Case studies

Voyages-sncf: 'You can't attract the best young candidates with yesterday's methods'

24 May 2017 By Marianne Calnan

How offering ‘gaming time’ has engaged a ticketing firm’s millennials

The problem

As one of Europe’s leading e-commerce and e-tourism businesses known for innovation since its 2000 inception, Voyages-sncf.com has always strived to develop innovative recruitment strategies that attract younger workers. But generation Y, or ‘millennials’ – those born between the early 1980s and early 2000s – presented it with a whole new challenge. “Millennials are different – they have grown up in an entirely digital world,” says HR director Eliane Barbosa (pictured above). 

But with younger workers tending to want more from an employer than just a pay cheque, the company realised it needed to adapt its recruitment methods. “We can’t attract the best young candidates with yesterday’s talent recruitment methods,” says Barbosa. “Businesses must adapt talent acquisition strategies in line with this or can expect to be left behind.”

The solution

To engage its millennial (and older) staff, Voyages-sncf launched an initiative offering off-duty workers ‘gaming time’. The perk, launched in 2013, allows a specialised team known as Team Loco to take part in e-sport competitions during downtime in its Paris office.

“When we realised we had very good gamers working for us who wanted to show their talent, we thought the best thing to do was help them in following their passion,” says Barbosa.

Voyages-sncf’s office features a state-of-the-art gaming room, equipped with all the necessary equipment for their training and play, and the firm covers any competition expenses.

As well as being a flagship feature of its employer branding strategy, the HR initiative helps staff develop skills that are vital to the business’s future, including coding and ‘soft’ skills such as collaboration and teamwork.

Alongside gaming time, Voyages-sncf has also invested heavily in wellbeing, setting up its ‘I Feel Good’ programme that encompasses everything from teleworking to ‘kids at work’ days, exchanges of job roles (known as ‘live my life’) and courses to help employees enhance the skills required for their hobbies, such as cookery and photography.

The outcome

By striving to recruit more of the best young jobseekers and offering quirky perks, the firm now has “some of the best and brightest talent to help deliver new and exciting innovations”, says Barbosa. “Gaming time is great from a recruitment perspective and is a continuation of our efforts to support employees’ personal and professional development.”

Team Loco has increased morale and team spirit across the organisation, meaning staff will now always go “one step further to innovate”, she adds.

Because the competition for talent in both the travel and digital industries is so great, Barbosa says it’s essential that the company “continually looks to do the unexpected” for its employees, relying on innovation to engage and nurture them: “By developing our talent in a way that many start-ups do, we’re able to keep the same soul and attitude.”

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