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Joan Carles Cifre (Rituals): “The experience of working at Rituals must be like that of our clients, excellent”

Joan Carles Cifre (Rituals): “The experience of working at Rituals must be like that of our clients, excellent”

  • March 10, 2020

Joan Carles Cifre is the Director of Human Resources for Rituals Spain and Portugal, a dutch brand for body and home cosmetics that combines natural ingredients and ancient traditions of oriental beauty. With more than 15 years of experience as director of Human Resources in international companies, Joan Carles tells us how special is the selection process at Rituals and what are the keys to managing people carried out by the company.

The worker’s experience with the company begins from the moment he signs up for the job offer. What makes your selection process special?

One of our principles is that, just as our clients’ shopping experience is excellent, that of working at Rituals must also be so and this begins with the first contact in the selection process. It is not that we do magical or very different things, but we try that for the candidate this authenticity and this personalized treatment are seen from the beginning. Whenever a person comes to interview, we give them a small gift: two mini bath foams, one for him and one to give as a gift, because we believe very much in giving to the people you love. Many people tell us: “you will take me or not, but I love this company and this brand.” It is a strategy designed so that the candidate can be a client and the person to whom the gift is given, too. In addition, it is a way to publicize the brand. Beside this, we have on the web the “Ritual Match Identifier”, a tool that aims to make the candidate know us in depth.Here are videos about the brand, its origins, how we work, images of the offices in the Netherlands, some test tests, and it has a work experience, such as a simulator in store. Candidates register on the web, go through this RMI and, if selected, come for an interview. That is to say, when they come to the interview they already know enough, they have been explained what the company is like and how it works and they have seen a quite real experience of working in a store, which consists of a role play in store with complex questions, 3 or 4 options, which show how far the person goes and how close their way of working is with that of Rituals.

In addition, at the RMI, there are many questions to meet the candidates and see if they fits into the Rituals values: what they values, what gives they energy, how they disconnects, what they concerns are, what makes they happy… And a personality test.

We also work to improve the interview process by taking it out of context, because the conventional interview is a much prefabricated process, where everyone knows their role.

For example, take the interviewee to a store or ask them if they have experience in selling, selling the product, activating it by attracting customers from the street, participating in a mystery shopping, that is, going to one of our stores and telling us what you see, or visit the stores with the area manager area and comment on how you see the teams, what is your experience…

The essential thing for us is that in the selection process there is a personalized and humane treatment, at the height of what the candidates deserve. In all the selection processes, the direct Manager and usually the immediately superior Manager are involved apart from HR.

How it is performed such a personalized selection process in a company with your dimensions?

Focusing on everyone in our company being “recruiters” and as such we transmit the Rituals values ​​from the first moment. The General Management and Human Resources, Area Managers, Store Managers and teams in each country also share the company’s values. We share tools for the selection processes, although each country has autonomy. And a two-day on-boarding process for welcoming employees, the Rootcamp, which is an inspirational program. In it, both trainers and managers transmit these values ​​and the company’s philosophy: what Rituals is, what we want to achieve, how we want to treat the client and how we want to work here.

When starting with us, every worker knows the general manager of H.R, Marketing … Each of them explains what Rituals is from their department and their personal experience in the company.

They are also told about the promotion standards that they have, the head of retail explains how life in stores is, what indicators we want to achieve, how the indicators work, what is the most difficult and easiest, how we want to treat the client… Each one explains his vision and makes himself known and the CEO gives a more global vision.

The Rootcamp is very dynamic and has many group dynamics. For example, a safari shopping in which you go to a competitor or sector store as a team, for purchase and evaluate the experience. Then in the classroom, work on it. It is a very experiential program, very inspirational and with a point of fun.

We organize ourselves with central training classrooms, to which all new employees go between their second and fourth month of incorporation, in groups of about 20 people.
In Spain, for example, it depends on the geographical area they come from, they go to Madrid or Barcelona and those from Portugal go to Lisbon.

Two days for all this equipment is a great investment, you have to display people in flight, there are dinners, a hotel and all expenses paid to new hires for two days. But it is a worthwhile investment to preserve this DNA as part of our human team that they are from the first day and to give them a personalized and special treatment. It also serves to humanize the company and invite them to feel that they are not entering anywhere but in Rituals, where we serve them as if they were a guest.

We also do a lot of pedagogy about the values ​​of Rituals, they are integrated into everything we do and this helps us preserve culture against the danger of dilution due to growth.

How do you transmit your values ​​day after day after on boarding and how do you get them to be credible beyond the power point?

Values ​​must emanate from the property or management of the company so that everything that is done is aligned with them. This way it looks very fast when there is a dissociation. They are very present in the conversations, in everything we do.

To converge, for example, with our value of “interior and exterior beauty” we have image standards to be uniformly faced with the public. But we also want workers to feel balanced, to be able to treat customers authentically and to be themselves. It is the best way to offer a relaxing experience, a sales ceremony in which the customer is not pressured.

This coherence is also helped by the fact that we are a flat company and any worker can speak normally with the director, a manager area, HR, marketing …We also ask workers to have clear communication and to directly expose any problems in order to resolve them.

We practice by example, we are consistent and we do what we say. Our values ​​are very basic, very understandable, and we try to put them into practice every day. There is no other secret than this.

What are your values, the main ones that everyone has to share, your DNA?

  1. Meaningful, which means that all things have a meaning, what we do, what we sell, that each person’s work has a meaning for itself.
  2. Accessibility, that is, open, transparent communication, speaking directly with people and not from people.
  3. Inner and outer beauty. The personal image as a brand that we are of facing the public is very important. But almost as much or more important is the inner image you give, your coherence, your balance, being well, being authentic with the sales ceremony …
  4. Authenticity, in the sense of being yourself, being honest and sincere with yourself and with others.
  5. And the last two, more related to business, are innovation, being product innovators, with our jobs… We invite workers to be creative in their work, to try different ways of doing it, without fear of being wrong.
  6. And the best in class, something like excellence. We want to be the best from the first moment, do it better than anyone and be a referent in the market. But also internally, to do everything the best that can be done, to improve.

When I go to the rootcamp and explain the values ​​to the new employees, I use a shower foam, which they have every day in the store, to make a mnemonic game that helps them keep the values ​​in mind every day. Values ​​can serve as a guide to act in situations in which we do not know.

  • What did you want to be as a child? Film actor.
  • Which is your favorite book? La fiesta del Chivo, by Mario Vargas Llosa.
  • What television series do you follow? None, I don’t like series.
  • What movie would you recommend? Up in the air.
  • What is your biggest hobby? Run.
  • And your greatest virtue? The honesty.
  • For a vacation, do you prefer beach or mountains? Beach.

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