Learning and development Engaging and empowering our employees

Learning and development is an essential part of engaging and empowering our employees if sustainability is to be something we do together, every day. We take a localised approach to our employee engagement on sustainability, which means we can focus on the issues that really matter in each region. 

Our 2017 performance

Our in-store colleagues are the ambassadors of our sustainability approach to our customers, making them a particularly important audience for training and engagement on this topic. Every customer-facing campaign we run at C&A is supported by internal communications and engagement, allowing in-store colleagues to bring our messages to life for customers.

Supporting employees’ development

We aim to support our employees’ personal and career development while they are with C&A. Across our markets, we make e-learning available to our employees on core topics, and run management development programmes that deliver additional training to managers with outstanding performance and potential.

In 2017, specific employee training programmes included:

New hire orientation:

  • C&A Europe delivers a monthly orientation programme for new hires that familiarises new employees with the business and includes an introduction to our sustainability commitments and actions. In 2017, C&A Europe welcomed 132 new hires through this programme.
  • C&A China trained 118 new employees on sustainability in 2017.

Function-specific sustainability training:

  • Our Sustainable Supply Chain (SSC) team in Europe trained 114 Product managers and assistants in Brussels and Duesseldorf on our SSC approach and their responsibility.
  • After the launch of our Cradle-to-Cradle CertifiedTM products in June 2017, C&A Europe delivered internal training on Cradle to Cradle from our Chief Sustainability Officer and our Global Circular Economy Specialist in both European head office locations. C&A Europe also engaged in Cradle-to-Cradle training for the whole organisation through internal communications.
  • C&A Brazil held a training webinar on our GOLD level Cradle-to-Cradle CertifiedTM T-shirts and our in-store take-back scheme for all employees of the 29 participating stores.
  • Also in Brazil, we promote Jornada da Aprendizagem (‘learning journey’), a program that invites employees from the head office to join SSC auditors for a supplier visit and verification trip. In 2017, 45 employees took part in seven learning journeys.
  • C&A China delivered three sustainability training sessions to 80 colleagues in the buying and design, store management and marketing departments.

New e-learning platforms:

  • In Europe, our intranet platform, Inside C&A, was revamped in 2017. The platform is a central hub for information, knowledge and engagement, and regularly features sustainability stories and activities.
  • C&A China launched company-wide online training on C&A’s commitment to sustainability in August 2017.
  • C&A Brazil released its corporate education platform, Academia da Moda, in 2017. This platform is a one-stop shop for all training and development initiatives available at C&A Brazil. 10,000 employees had been trained by the end of 2017.

Leadership and talent development:

  • At C&A Brazil, 116 employees took part in our talent development programs in 2017. Leaders were invited to participate in forums with our CEO and VPs for their development and received special mentoring sessions with market experts.

Other initiatives:

  • Cradle-to-Cradle training: In 2017, with the release of our GOLD level Cradle-to-Cradle CertifiedTM T-shirts, C&A Brazil held a training webinar for employees from participating stores to explain the initiative and encourage them to promote these products.
  • Also in Brazil, we created a Communication & Sustainability Committee to discuss and implement an employee communication plan for sustainability issues.
  • C&A China used WeChat, a popular instant messaging app, to raise awareness and understanding of organic cotton and C&A China’s Sustainability Commitment among its 1,466 employees.
  • C&A Mexico delivered training to all commercial department employees on Better Cotton and how can they play their part to increase its adoption.
  • At the launch of #WearTheChange, employees were given T-shirts that helped them to understand the campaign’s key messages.

Reporting on our progress

In 2017, our aim was to build on what we heard from the regions in 2016: that employees are proud to work at C&A, but that many felt we could communicate our work more strongly to customers. In line with this feedback, we developed our customer-facing #WearTheChange campaign during 2017 and launched it in Europe in February 2018, followed by launches in Brazil and China in April.

Where next?

Aligning sustainability with learning and performance management

For sustainability to truly become something we do every day, it needs to be embedded within training and objectives for those employees we trust with the delivery of our goals: our Sustainable Supply Chain (SSC) team, the Fabric team that works with organic and Better Cotton, and selected members of the Sourcing team in Europe.

Delivering on employee engagement plans

In 2017, we developed a global employee engagement approach for sustainability, and each region developed its own sustainability engagement plan aligned with this approach. These plans aim to:

  • Increase employee engagement in sustainability and pride in C&A for our actions in this area.
  • Foster a culture in which everyone contributes to our sustainability goals.
  • In the longer term, allow every employee to develop his/her own sustainability plan in order to contribute actively to our vision.

Execution of these plans has already begun with the launch of our global #WearTheChange campaign in early 2018, and will continue throughout the year.

Read more about #WearTheChange