Meeting with Marie-Angélique Rault

July 28, 2020

Marie-Angélique has led the Learning & Development team with boundless enthusiasm since joining BNP Paribas in Switzerland a year ago. Lifelong learning is a key priority for the company and an integral part of our commitment as an employer to the continuous professional development of each and every staff member.
The training we offer is constantly adapted to address employees’ skills gaps and career objectives, and it has proven more important than ever in 2020.
Marie-Angélique spoke with us about the challenges she has faced this year and how she succeeded in overcoming them.

Please could you introduce yourself in a few sentences ?

After stints working for other banks, I joined BNP Paribas in 2013 in Canada as part of the Cash Management team. I moved into L&D in 2015 and then transferred to Switzerland in June 2019 to head up Learning & Development for the Swiss region within the HR Change Management team.

What does a typical day at L&D look like for you?

Day to day, my role is to define, build and implement programmes to develop the skills of our staff in line with the Bank’s strategic priorities. I am also responsible for fostering a culture of lifelong learning.

What difficulties do you face?

Personally, I would say that the main challenge stems from the fact that we need to constantly adapt to the ever-changing environment in which we find ourselves.
That’s why it is vital that we help our staff and managers to prepare for the future as effectively as possible in terms of both mindset and new technical and digital skills.

The goal is to help keep the teams engaged, bolster their performance and enable them to acquire the skills of tomorrow that will be key to our transformation.
The only way for us to meet these challenges is to develop the skills of our employers and managers in a number of areas. We have completely overhauled the training we offer to achieve this. We have identified the themes that will make a vital contribution to the success of our transformation (including change management, innovation, digital culture and the management development programme).

We have also sought to open up access to this range of training options by selecting the most suitable formats, including short formats such as workshops. Lastly, we have decided to draw on our internal resources and develop a “Social Learning” approach. As a matter of fact, we have a number of internal experts who are happy to pass on their knowledge to other members of staff. I think this is a very powerful approach in terms of engagement at this turbulent time

Has demand for training among staff members changed at all since the start of the year?

My feeling is that demand among staff members has risen over the months. We have noticed that they are spending time on their development not only to meet a specific need but also out of a simple desire to progress. Equally, our community of “internal trainers” has expanded. I think that they are noticing the benefits of sharing their expertise and the value of highlighting their work.

How have you and the L&D team continued to support staff members during the lockdown and now that lockdown has been lifted?

Throughout the COVID-19 period, all of our classroom training sessions were put on hold. We worked with the Change Management/L&D team to find an alternative, though, because we thought that it was essential to keep in touch with our colleagues. That led us to set up remote training on a wide array of topics linked to what we were going through as a workforce (parenting while working from home, digital tools, time management and priorities in a home office, the impact of COVID-19 on mental health and more). These short-form sessions were an instant hit and, in the end, even after lockdown, we’re planning to continue offering them.

What was this period like for you personally? What will you remember about it ?

Personally, I had a very positive experience. The Change Management/L&D team managed to bounce back very quickly, stay present for staff members and continue to help them to develop. I find it very interesting that we’ve lived through this period in which, practically overnight, we’ve had to adopt new working methods, make better use of our digital tools and just work together more effectively.

Are there any positive experiences you would like to share? Or a specific message?

I have two messages. The first is that I hope that this enthusiasm for development continues and grows and that the L&D/HR team will be there to help. The most important thing is that every member of staff takes the time to think about their needs and makes an effort to draw up their Personal Development Plan.
The second is that I’m obviously always on the lookout for new “internal trainers”! The bank is bursting with experts in every topic under the sun and we want to make the most of their expertise!