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Inclusion, ownership, empowerment: Pillars of L'Oreal Indonesia's talent attraction & retention strategies

Inclusion, ownership, empowerment: Pillars of L'Oreal Indonesia's talent attraction & retention strategies

Yenita Oktora, CHRO, L'Oreal Indonesia, shares about the culture of mentorship, an employer brand centered around real-life experiences, and more.

As one of the most populated countries in the world, Indonesia has no shortage of workers. What it faces a shortage in, however, is the relevant skills available in the talent pool across specific industries.

As Yenita Oktora, Chief Human Resources Officer, L’Oreal Indonesia (pictured above), points out, it is “a multifaceted issue that has significant ramifications across industries.”

“It poses a noteworthy concern as it directly impacts productivity, innovation, and recruitment processes, consequently hindering the growth and development of businesses and the overall progress of the economy,” she explains.

“Despite Indonesia's commendable economic performance and the swift pace of digitalisation and technological advancements, the development of a skilled workforce has not kept pace with the expanding needs of industries. Research conducted by Korn Ferry reveals a projected talent deficit of 3.8mn skilled professionals in Indonesia by 2030, impacting various sectors such as finance, technology, media, telecommunications, and manufacturing.”

This, she elaborates, is particularly evident in the era of accelerated digitalisation, where the labour market faces challenges in meeting the demand for specialised skills crucial for organisational success. Consequently, there is now an increasing need for professionals equipped with niche digital competencies.

However, the supply of individuals possessing these sought-after skills has not kept up with the rising workforce demand, resulting in a pronounced scarcity of talent within these sectors, the leader highlights.

“The talent shortage in Indonesia is a significant challenge that arises from multiple factors, with one crucial aspect being the need for a better alignment between the skills provided by educational institutions and the evolving needs of industries.

“While Indonesia has a sizable population, sheer numbers alone are insufficient to meet the demands of a rapidly changing job market.”

This is where fostering stronger collaboration and partnerships between educational institutions and industries can play a vital role in narrowing the skills gap, she adds. This entails engaging industry professionals, experts, and representatives to provide valuable insights and guidance on the specific skills and competencies needed in the current job market.

Seeing that this issue of the talent shortage prevails across industries, HRO’s Olive Goh set out to understand from leaders on how they are tackling this, and how the measures in doing so are helping attract and retain talent.

In this first part of a five-part series, let’s delve into L’Oreal’s approach, in our interview with L’Oreal Indonesia’s Yenita Oktora.

Tackling the talent shortage

L'Oreal prides itself on being an expert in the digital realm of the beauty industry, Yenita tells us.

In this effort, the company invests in employer branding expertise that centres around real-life experiences at L'Oréal, and strategically establishes its presence where its future talents are present. From this strategy, it highlights the company culture and values, and establishes its presence on platforms and channels that resonate with the target audience.

In addition to attracting external talent, L’Oreal believes in nurturing individuals within the organisation. Through investing in young leaders' programmes and fostering a culture of continuous learning, this provides internal growth opportunities for ambitious and resilient workers who thrive in dynamic environments.

In line with this, the team ensures its recruitment process is focused on a candidate's potential for development, while also ensuring integration programmes are in place for smooth onboarding and career progression.

Evidently, L’Oreal recognises the importance of maintaining a strong talent pipeline, and thus, Yenita shares, has developed a comprehensive strategy to meet both immediate and future needs, by:

  • Establishing a global ecosystem to access expertise required to meet industry demands.
  • Actively fostering talent growth through initiatives such as a robust talent succession plan, which prepares workers to fill key positions through internal mobility or external recruitment.
  • Performing regular talent reviews and actively networking with professionals in the industry, as an active approach to talent management.

These efforts have indeed paid off, with the organisation able to build stronger relationships and have in place a talent pool to meet future demands, as well as grow prospective talent with the desired skillsets.

In terms of efforts to retain existing talent, the leader and her team place importance on cultivating an engaging and inclusive culture, through activities that foster a sense of belonging and psychological safety among employees.

She explains:

"In line with this commitment, we promote a mentoring culture that serves as a cornerstone for supporting the growth and development of our employees. We have established mentoring programmes catering to different segments within our organisation."

“For instance, our management trainees are paired with mentors from the board of directors or senior management level, and our emerging leaders have the opportunity to access mentors across the SAPMENA region (Southeast Asia, Pacific, Middle East, and North Africa).”

L’Oreal also prioritises the ongoing development and relevance of its leaders by offering continuous leadership upskilling programmes. Through initiatives such as its 'Limitless Leaders Club', leaders are provided a platform to share insights, inspire one another, and foster their professional growth.

Yenita adds: "We also have peer-to-peer learning and collaboration called 'Pit Stop' to promote knowledge sharing among different divisions, enabling employees to learn from each other's experiences and expertise."

Finally, the organisation also provides personalised growth opportunities for employees – recognising that each one’s career progression is unique, enabling them to explore different career paths, leverage their talents, and find new avenues for advancement. “We actively facilitate internal mobility for employees to explore distinct roles within L’Oréal Indonesia, and an international mobility programme which offers the chance for employees to work in different countries and gain exposure to diverse markets.”

“We believe that fostering a great workplace culture and nurturing employees' growth are fundamental to maintaining a skilled and future-ready workforce.”

In that vein, as the leader points out, the organisation makes it a point to embody its philosophy of being a people company – a core value that she says is evident in every aspect of its operations.

She explains: “We have adopted a systemic approach to ensure that the people agenda is integrated into every touchpoint of the employee journey which enables us to create a workplace culture that values and supports our employees throughout their entire experience with the company.”

This ties in to how the organisation measures the impact of its strategies, when the team needs to take stock of what is working well, and what needs more refinement. A key strength in this, Yenita points out, lies in L’Oreal’s commitment to actively listen to employees' voices through pulse surveys, roundtable discussions, and one-on-one connects.

“This emphasis on listening humanises our approach and demonstrates a genuine interest in understanding employees' desires and needs. By valuing employee feedback, we foster a sense of inclusion, ownership, and empowerment within the workforce.”

The team also recognises the need for continuous improvement and to stay abreast with the changing expectations of its employees, by investing in leadership development programmes to cultivate leaders who can navigate the complexities of a diverse and multigenerational workforce.

In addition to this, the team also continuously refines its talent acquisition and talent retention strategies, to align with the changing demands of the modern workplace. This involves proactive monitoring of emerging trends and best practices, as well as leveraging feedback from employees to inform decisions. “By embracing an agile mindset, we can adapt our strategies to attract and retain top talent while maintaining our position as a leader in the industry,” Yenita notes.

Staying on top of the trends & challenges ahead

As Yenita peers into the future spanning the next three to five years, she envisions an array of trends and challenges that will shape Indonesia's talent landscape, including the growing emphasis on tackling the intergenerational culture within the workforce.

“Employees across different generations are increasingly seeking a sense of comfort, fulfilment, and overall wellbeing in their professional lives. This trend reflects the shift towards a more human-centered approach to work, emphasising life-work integration.”

Recognising this, she elaborates, L’Oreal strives to view individuals as whole beings with unique needs, fostering a culture that prioritises personalisation and care. In driving this, leaders are nurtured to “embrace the challenge of creating a psychologically safe environment where employees feel secure and empowered to perform at their best.”

Adding to that, the team takes steps to nurture its leaders to embrace the challenge of creating a psychologically safe environment for employees – a space where they feel secured and empowered to perform at their best.

Last but certainly not the least, comes a focus on employee wellbeing and health, for which L’Oreal has implemented a range of initiatives, including a comprehensive package of support comprising:

  • employee assistance programmes,
  • engagement events,
  • insurance coverage, and
  • flexible benefits.

The beauty tech company also has in place targeted interventions such as a domestic violence policy that offers comprehensive support to employees facing such worrying challenges, as well as a six-week paternity leave policy.

Yenita adds: “Importantly, alongside our yearly employee pulse engagement survey, we have instituted an invaluable feedback mechanism known as the 'Great Leadership Feedback'.”

This process involves evaluating all members of the Board of Directors based on assessments provided by employees and peers. “By employing this feedback system, we consistently evaluate and improve our leadership practices, equipping our leaders with the necessary tools to cultivate a workplace that is nurturing and centered around the wellbeing of our staff,” she concludes.


This is just the first in a series of interviews with Indonesia's CHROs on tackling the talent shortage - stay tuned for more!

Photo: Provided

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