Irene Merino
Head of Human Resources
Decathlon Mexico
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Expert Contributor

The Elements of Engagement

By Irene Merino | Mon, 10/26/2020 - 13:30

I have been in Decathlon for over 13 years and I could say I couldn't be more happy and proud of the company I work at, but why is that? First of all, Decathlon has a purpose as a company, a commitment, a reason for being: To make the pleasure and benefits of practicing sport accessible to the greatest number of people and in a sustainable way. In addition, we have established a series of company values, inspired by the sports spirit that all the collaborators have ingrained in our DNA which we apply in every aspect of the business, from the production chain to the communication strategies. Those values are: vitality, responsibility, generosity and authenticity. 

The starting point of our management is to work with people who share our company values ​​and the objective is that the decisions made by each employee contribute to the purpose of the company. For instance, we establish a series of individual and collective milestones that allow us to accompany the collaborator in making decisions. Every collaborator has their role to play and therefore their own responsibilities from Day 1. Their integration, development plan and monthly decision meetings with their manager allow them to develop and make decisions for themselves. We want people who want to learn, progress, improve and take responsibility. We deeply believe that your determination and passion for the sport are essential for success.

We believe that the most appropriate people to make decisions are those who are closest to seeing the consequences. In this way, knowing if the decision taken was good or bad is faster and the ability to react is greater. It allows us to work constantly under a trial-error scheme. In this way, in a store, the salesperson in the swimming area will make all the decisions regarding this sport in this store. That is your perimeter of responsibility. He knows the sport, the client's needs and the meaning of Decathlon.

Therefore, management as an accompaniment to decision-making is of great importance within the company. Each collaborator will experience with their leader periodic individual meetings in which they will analyze the results of past decisions and establish future actions, collective meetings where they can share their good practices with other collaborators or where they can receive information on a global strategy and align objectives with the rest of the team members who gives valuable feedback from their specific area of expertise. Finally, annual meetings where they can evaluate the results of a whole year and reflect on the development of the person in that period of time and their motivations within the company to establish a development plan that allows them to follow their own path.

Knowing the game is essential in this managerial scheme. We carry out reflection groups with all our collaborators so that they internalize the sense of company, live the values ​​and get to know the business model with the aim that their decisions are increasingly winning and contributing to the vision of the country.

This entire managerial ecosystem focused on the development of people through decision-making on a specific perimeter of responsibility gives rise to a network of conscious collaborators whose opinion is essential to define the company's great strategies. In this way, we can reverse the usual process of strategic construction in which a few people with a lot of information are in charge of this process and face the challenge of making it available to the rest of the company's collaborators. In our case, all the collaborators with all the available information are in charge of building the strategies and putting them into operation. The work on their communication and internalization is exponentially reduced, as is the time to take action. 

Many of us came to Decathlon by chance but most of us have decided to stay because of the company culture we live in that not only allows us to continue practicing sports, but also encourages us to practice it, providing benefits in gyms, classes and many other other initiatives. For all collaborators, being passionate sportspeople, this represents a very solid pillar of engagement with the company.

Sharing specific values ​​and mobilizing ourselves, naturally, toward a series of purposes and a clear mission give meaning to all our decisions. This is how an ecosystem of more than 100,000 collaborators working around the world has been generated and motivated to make the pleasure and benefits of practicing sport accessible to the greatest number of people and in a sustainable way. These purposes are our main element of engagement.

Photo by:   Irene Merino

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