Luc Fayet

« I was Smile's first HR Director in 2015! » An interview with Luc Fayet, recently appointed "Group Chief People, CSR & Transformation Officer"

December 7th, 2022 by Rayene Imane Chikhi

Luc Fayet shares with us his career path and the main challenges of his new role at Smile as "Group Chief People, CSR & Transformation Officer".

Discover his word!

Rayene Chikhi: Can you introduce yourself?

Luc: I am Luc Fayet, current HR Director of Smile Group. I'm 62 years old (an almost "canonical" age for Smile Group when our average age is around 34, but hey ... I'm still 34 somewhere in my head!). 

I live in Montpellier and commute every week between South and Smile's headquarter in Asnières-sur-Seine, Ile-de-France. 

Rayene : Tell us a little bit about your career path? 

Luc: Throughout my career, i have worked in human resources, covering almost all functions. From recruitment officer at the very beginning, to HR development (training, career management...) and finaly Human Resources Director positions since the 90s. 

Rayene: Have you always worked in the digital sector? 

Luc : Not only there. I've worked in a wide variety of fields, including computer manufacturers (Zenith Data System and Dell), service sector (Adecco), food industry (Schweppes and Orangina Schweppes drinks) and, of course, digital and IT service companies like Smile.

Rayene : I'd love to know how you got to Smile. Tell us your story!

Luc : My history with Smile is quite singular! Indeed, I already worked here from 2015 to 2017 as HR Director. I was even the first "real" HR Director at Smile, which did not exist before 2015, even though an HR team was already formed. Then I came back as an interim manager in February 2022 to replace Emilie Dubout who had left. We have since decided with Marc Palazon, the Group's President, that I would raise the HR function within the Smile Group over the long term, and not just as an interim manager.

Rayene : You probably guessed my next question! What made you want to stay at Smile? 

Luc : What I found very exciting and above all, motivating, is the new governance of the Group that is currently being implemented, which Marc has already told us about, and which he will have the opportunity to introduce in more detail during our next convention.

Rayene : Can you tell us a little more about this new governance within the Smile Group? 

Luc :  When we conducted the study leading us to define a new governance within the Group, one of the elements that came out was that the HR function was historically undervalued or underutilized at Smile. It was too often considered as a "recording room" of the decisions taken by the management, and not perceived enough as a partner, what we usually call a "business partner" 😉. 

Moreover, given Smile's history and roots, Smile France, being both the parent company and the largest subsidiary of the Group in terms of size, had a propensity to manage everything. Including HR function which is very "French centric" and not much "Group wide", in the sense of being concerned with all the branches and brands, both French and international.

It has therefore been decided to split the existing HR function - the one held by Emilie or that I have held as an interim manager since last February - between a HR function for Smile France, for which Anne Brouzeng-Lacoustille, has been appointed on December 19th, and a Group HR function that I now hold. 

Anne report to Emmanuel Tornini, Smile France CEO, and manage all Smile France HR teams, whilst I will report to Marc Palazon.

In this context of great change and mutation of the function, I decided to continue the journey with Smile Group. 

Rayene : So, what are the main challenges of this "Group Chief HR, CSR and Transformation Officer" who will be your role at Smile?

Luc : Well, let's try to be synthetic but complete 😉

The responsibilities attached to this new position are in line with the strategic ambitions of Smile Group.

First, we are a Service Group and therefore a company made up of teams of men and women, who make the Group successful. Human capital is critical for future of Smile and preserving and developing it must be our main concern.

As an example, we are going to work on developing the Group's employer image, to make it even more attractive. We have major recruitment challenges, as we all know, but we also cannot be satisfied with our current attrition rate, which is often called turnover rate. We must also demonstrate that Smile is a quality employer and thus make people want to stay. A new Intranet will therefore also be launched in 2023.

We will work on career paths and mobility within the Group, both functional and geographical, including international. We know that we need to make progress on these topics. For example, by making all employees aware of all the positions available within the Group, and thus enabling anyone to apply to new jobs. 

We also plan to update our job mapping, at Group level, which will enable each employee to better plan his/her career development and career paths, all over Group locations. We sometimes recruit externally for positions for which we could offer an opportunity to a Smilian.

In this position, I am also responsible for the quality of social relations within the group and in particular in Smile France. To do this, I will be supported by Gaelle Torrini, who is responsible for social relations whithin the group. 

We also have a management skill challenge. The idea is to support all Group's managers anywhere in their ability to manage their teams better and to give them common management values such as exemplarity. A development program will be designed and implemented for all managers in 2023 or, at the latest, early 2024.

You will also have noticed in the job title the "CSR" acronym i.e. Corporate Social Responsibility (RSE in french). This involves designing and implementing programs aimed at reducing energy consumption and globaly, Smile's carbon footprint. It also looks at developing a policy of inclusiveness and openness to societal issues such as minority rights, gender equality, employment assistance for people with disabilities, quality of life at work, etc. A CSR Strategic Committee already exists at Group level to coordinate these actions. We have already carried out numerous actions since 2021 and are considering new programs for 2023.

Eventually, even if this is not reflected in the job title, i am now responsible for developing internal communication within the Group, relying on Corinne Fontaine, who will spend 50% of her time on Marketing and External Communications, and Rayene Chikhi, CSR and Internal Communications Officer.


An ambitious program that we have there, to carry out all together 😉