What Does A HR Learning & Transformation Intern At L’Oréal Do?

The definition of an intern is ‘’the position of a student or trainee who works in an organization, in order to gain work experience or satisfy requirements for a qualification’’. At L’Oréal the definition of an intern is that and more, it’s someone who takes a position in a role which they may have no experience in, grabs the opportunity with both hands, faces challenges full on and learns and transforms within the role. An apt definition for Pierre who is ‘learning and transforming’ in his position as HR Learning and Transformation Intern. Find out all about his development at L’Oréal and why testing and learning is better than not acting at all.

Tell us more about yourself:

My name is Pierre, I’m 22 and I come from Soultz-les-Bains, a very little village lost deep in Alsace, France. After a peaceful childhood and adolescence set to the rhythm of sport and evenings spent in front of an open fire in the country,(quite idyllic we say)I left my homeland to study in Grenoble Ecole de Management. There my life took a new dimension, as I discovered the business world, engaged in different associations on various functions, and seized the opportunity to spend a semester abroad in England. I am now at the last quarter of my gap year that I dedicated to two internships to strengthen my professional experience.

Why did you choose L’Oréal?

My life is paced by my curiosity. I like to understand, learn, and do everything. I constantly feel the need to discover new things — people, organizations, lifestyles, etc. — and to understand them. My goal was so to take advantage of my gap year to satisfy my curiosity and discover very specific companies. I was looking for organizations with strong culture, long history, particular ways of workings, specific environments. I actually wanted to discover unusual companies with a strong personality. I chose L’Oréal as it is probably one of the companies with the strongest culture in the world. It is a company of paradoxes: a huge organization but extremely agile, despite 86 000 collaborators it is focused on the individual, a 110 year old business with a start-up mindset.

What are your key responsibilities?

In change management, your missions have a defined beginning and end. You accompany change on different topics and with different objectives; therefore your responsibilities differ from one mission to another. There is no routine in HR transformation. For example, as I worked for the digital transformation project, I have been in charge of organizing a vast learning event to foster new ways of working that are emerging in the digital era. This responsibility included working with prestigious companies — Google and Facebook for example — that I invited to host conferences on their ways of working. The following day, I worked on a new training program for collaborators within the context of the evolution of their missions.

Describe your team

My team is made up of learning & transformation directors and learning managers of the four L’Oréal divisions, and the Learning Center of L’Oréal France. All these people previously belonged to others teams as they operated in different geographical sites. My team is young and it is a real pleasure to work with them. Everybody brings their own experiences from their own unique background. For example, before joining the Learning service, Nathalie opened the first cosmetic e-commerce website, whereas Henry he opened L’Oréal in Saudi Arabia, etc. The team is rich in experience and diversity.

What is the coolest part about working in HR transformation?

As I said my missions continuously renew, and with every new mission I have new challenges, objectives, responsibilities, and interlocutors. This keeps things interesting and no day is ever the same!

“Until the 50s, most of the basketball players shot free throws in the underhand style. One day someone arrived and shot for the first time in the overhand style. Most of players have probably made a mockery of him as his technique was abnormal. However his technique produced better average results and is now used by every player in the world.”

Working in change management requires you to be able to question habits. You should not set your ways of working by tradition, mimetism, or even lack of time. Working in change management invites you to think about your true objectives, to question your ways of working and to look around you to understand how others run. This is what I like most about HR transformation.

What has been the biggest challenge you have faced since you arrived to L’Oréal?

Sourcing homemade brie stuffed with truffle cream, allow me to explain:

To promote a start-up mindset and culture of innovation, we invited a start-up to work in our building for two weeks. They decided to organize in our office all the teambuilding they usually did in their own office space. One of them focused on food, and they insisted on having homemade brie stuffed with truffle cream! Fortunately the L’Oréal chef accepted the challenge :)

What’s the best advice to succeed you have got since you joined L’Oréal?

One day, I hesitated to undertake an action as I wasn’t sure how to go about completing the task. I feared of making a mistake or doing something unorthodix in terms of the job even if I was sure of the results.

Someone told me “It’s better to ask for forgiveness than for permission’’. What surprised me was that this person was a member of the Management Committee!

3 fun facts about you

Before L’Oréal, I worked on a nuclear plant. I told you that I am looking for unusual companies!

On my first day at L’Oréal, I arrived late, soaked, and got stuck in the stairwell… What a bad first impression…

I am a genuine cordon bleu.


Are you inspired by Pierre’s story? Why not check out our opportunity to be the next HR Learning and Transformation Intern working or our other fantastic opportunities as a HR intern or apprentice, here: