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INTERVIEW - COLINE DEVOUCOUX, DIRECTOR OF HUMAN RESOURCES AT FOUQUET'S PARIS: "THERE IS A REAL NEED FOR PRECISION AND EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE" (France)

While the Barrière group is aiming for the Palace distinction for its Parisian flagship, the teams at Fouquet's Paris are organising the property's move upmarket.

INTERVIEW - COLINE DEVOUCOUX, DIRECTOR OF HUMAN RESOURCES AT FOUQUET'S PARIS: "THERE IS A REAL NEED FOR PRECISION AND EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE" (France)

While the Barrière group is aiming for the Palace distinction for its Parisian flagship, the teams at Fouquet's Paris are organising the property's move upmarket.

Category: Europe - France - Industry economy - Careers - Recruitment / Job / Training Sustainability - Interviews
Interview made by Vanessa Guerrier-Buisine on 2024-04-24


Coline Devoucoux HR Director Fouquet's Paris

Coline Devoucoux heads up the human resources department at Fouquet's Paris
Photo credit © Hôtel Barrière Le Fouquet's Paris

Coline Devoucoux, who has been responsible for the hotel's human resources since August 2022, is working in particular to implement integration policies, training programmes and initiatives to promote staff well-being. The aim of this strategy is to unite the teams and reinforce the “Parisian house” feel of Fouquet's Paris and its family spirit, to make the guest experience even more authentic.

The Director of Human Resources brings together the best of what she has been able to absorb during her career with groups such as Accor, Radisson, Baglioni Hotels, Oetker Collection, and even the law firm Hogan Lovells.

For Journal des Palaces, the HR Director talks about the efforts Fouquet's Paris has already made to attract and retain talent. She also shares with us the projects that are close to her heart and the CSR commitments that now punctuate the life of the company.

Journal des Palaces : Last March, you organized a job dating event. How did it go?

Coline Devoucoux: We truly enjoyed the job dating that took place on 27 March. The format was new, as we welcomed candidates in one of our Signature suites, with a view of the Champs Elysées. Candidates were surprised to discover that Fouquet's had such suites.

Our heads of department were on hand to welcome the candidates and talk to them, and two members of human resources conducted the interviews. We met candidates with relevant profiles, and we are currently finalizing the recruitment of these future employees. The day was a great success for our property.

We hope to organize another job dating event in the near future.

Are there any vacancies left at Fouquet's Paris? If so, which ones?

With summer and the Olympic Games just around the corner, there are always recruitment needs in all our venues.
We are looking for talent in the housekeeping department to support our project to move upmarket; we are creating positions such as assistant housekeepers, and strengthening the teams of first housekeepers and housekeepers.

In reception, we are also seeking guest experience managers and receptionists, as well as spa receptionists and spa practitioners for our spa.

Finally, we are recruiting to complete our restaurant teams. For our Signature restaurant, we are looking for profiles to ensure excellent service, from head waiters to clerks and barmen.

What do you mean by service excellence?

Service excellence is the very essence of a hotel property like ours. This level of excellence means that we can anticipate the guest's every need before they even call us. There is a real need for precision and emotional intelligence for our staff to provide a unique experience for our guests.

This means showing empathy, kindness and going beyond guest expectations. It's important to us that our staff bring their spontaneity and personality to guest service while respecting the standards of the luxury codes.

What values do you promote at Fouquet's Paris?

We cultivate a family spirit. We are a Parisian establishment, and we expect our staff to work as a team. Some of our colleagues have been with us since the hotel opened, and even longer for those who were already working in the brasserie. They have a strong attachment to our Parisian home.*

We also advocate love and respect for the guest. We want to surround ourselves with people who really love the service industry.

Likewise, we also guarantee respect for tradition, through our brasserie, emblematic of Parisian tradition. We promote this unique know-how, this French art of living.

Lastly, innovation is a topical issue within our company, as we are constantly looking for new ways to improve daily. We challenge our employees and rethink our internal procedures to meet our new service requirements as we move upmarket.

What efforts and projects are you implementing in terms of social responsibility?

As a company, we also have a responsibility in the labour market. With the Barrière group, we are taking steps to promote both inclusiveness and well-being in the workplace.

In particular, we help to recruit older people for certain fixed-term contract positions. We also work with Les Cuistots Migrateurs, an association that supports refugees. Our aim is to find talented people who will work for us, using both traditional and innovative methods. We also open our doors to attract different profiles. In particular, we work a lot with France Travail, to increase awareness of the hotel business.

For our people, we have put in place several initiatives to promote their well-being:
  • Presence of a social worker: slots available for employees who need them,
  • Organization of monthly events,
  • Organization of cookery workshops,
  • Introduction to yoga,
  • Training courses,
  • Live my life,
  • Five weekends a year guaranteed,
  • No more breaks
  • Senior leave: working time arrangements for those approaching retirement.

What do the monthly events consist of?

Our aim is to offer our employees an activity every month. These events range from “coffee with a GM” in a suite to a Spring party on our rooftop. Well-being is at the heart of these events, and we offer free one-day osteopathy sessions, for example.
We regularly organize breakfasts prepared by the pâtisserie to surprise our employees when they take their shift. Comex members are on hand to welcome them and chat with them. Since January, for birthdays, weddings and anniversaries, we offer a gift and a personalized card signed by the Managing Director.

There are also more targeted events, such as a day specially dedicated to our apprentices, where they play an Escape Game in the hotel or challenge a restaurant manager to a board game. We're in the luxury business, but we also know how to make things fun so that they can learn and understand the issues in each department.

We really try to support our employees in their professional and personal lives. These are things that are appreciated. It's very important for us to have a constant link with our employees and to offer them activities daily.

What about environmental responsibility?

We have set up a CSR committee, which meets once a quarter to ensure that Fouquet's has a positive impact on the environment. The committee is made up of various heads of department, including the technical director, the executive chef, the head of stewarding, the general manager, the head of the bursar's office, etc. The marketing director and I chair this committee together.

We have set up some initiatives:
  • Partnership with Unisoap to recycle soaps in rooms,
  • Involvement of our chefs in the 'Refettorio' solidarity restaurant,
  • Installation of a poll ashtray in the smoking area to give cigarette butts a second life in partnership with the Mego company,
  • CSR workshop training for all our staff and awareness training for disabled guests,
  • Recycling our waste with Suez (biowaste, paper, cardboard) and recycling Nespresso capsules,
  • Capsule partnership with Café Joyeux,
  • Partnership with the Wesh Grow farm to supply our aromatic plants, grown on the rooftops of Paris: a local and French choice.
Other initiatives are also being launched, as the committee works continuously to meet our commitments.

To ensure consistent quality of service and a continuous quality of life at work, you offer training throughout your employees' careers via the Barrière campus. Could you tell us about the training courses you offer, and those that have had the most visible impact?

Training is at the very heart of our HR strategy. The group's internal Barrière Campus enables us to have a catalogue of training courses available and to offer them to our employees, from all departments, so that they can develop throughout their career:
  • Parcours Manag & Moi in collaboration with Campus Barrière, specially designed to support managers in their functions, through eight training modules over 12 months, i.e. 13.5 days of training including topics such as public speaking, conducting interviews, employment law, etc.
  • Parcours RH, again in collaboration with Campus Barrière, which provides support for the human resources team over 12 months,
  • Training courses, provided by the Barrière Campus, on business and technical skills (oenology, conflict management, briefing/debriefing)
In addition to this Barrière Campus offer, we provide other training courses dedicated to our employees, such as:
  • First aid at work, provided by an in-house trainer,
  • Gestures and postures, integrated into risk prevention, particularly for the most sensitive professions such as valets, baggage handlers, chambermaids, head waiters, etc.,
In addition, our employees have been trained in interpersonal excellence to “embody the codes of luxury” to support our project to move upmarket. Our concierges and guest experience managers were also given training in the history and heritage of Paris and luxury. Finally, we were lucky enough to benefit from training provided by Forbes Travel Guide.

What career paths are open to employees within the hotel and the Group?

The development of our employees is one of the key elements of our HR strategy. An employee can progress rapidly within Le Fouquet's. There are many examples of staff who started out as apprentices and rose to managerial positions.
To support this ambition, we have introduced concrete measures:
  • An annual interview is compulsory for all employees regardless of seniority,
  • Transparency regarding opportunities, which are communicated to all teams,
  • An internal mobility procedure enables any employee wishing to progress within the property to apply for a vacant position. I then meet with them personally to discuss the possibilities open to them,
  • We anticipate departures by offering our employees career development plans. This is essential if we are to retain our talent,
  • We advocate versatility in positions, to continuously develop our employees' skills, taking them out of their comfort zone so that they can evolve rapidly.
At Fouquet's Paris, if an employee shows desire and interest, he or she has every chance of quickly progressing within the hotel initially, and then within the Barrière Group, a French, family-run group comprising 19 luxury hotels.
 

Fouquet's Paris, on the corner of the Champs-Élysées and Avenue George V

Fouquet's Paris, on the corner of the Champs-Élysées and Avenue George V
Photo credit © Fouquet's Paris




More about...
Hôtel Barrière Le Fouquet's Paris
46, avenue George V
75008 Paris
France
Groupe : Barrière
Member of The Leading Hotels of the World in 2023
Number of rooms and suites: 81
Website
https://www.facebook.com/hotelbarrierelefouquetsparis/  https://twitter.com/hotelfouquets  https://www.pinterest.fr/hotelfouquets/  https://www.instagram.com/hotelbarriere_lefouquets/  https://www.linkedin.com/company/h-tel-fouquet's-barri-re/  


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About the author

As a journalist and luxury hotel expert inspired by the men and women who embody it, Vanessa aspires to enhance and sublimate the beauty and elegance of palaces through her writing. "In a palace, simplicity serves the quest for excellence" she admires.

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