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Sorewards use case: cross interview with Sophie Groussard (Konica Minolta) and Amélie Foulon (Parangone)

Marine Hamelin - 18 April 2022 - •

In order to discover a use case of the Sorewards gift card for a company, we spoke to Amélie Foulon, Associate Director of Development at Parangone, and Sophie Groussard, Director of Marketing, Communication and Customer Experience at Konica Minolta. We met Amélie at the Produrable trade fair. Since then, she has set up this new synergy with Konica Minolta. Six months later, we take stock.

Sophie, can you introduce Konica Minolta in a few words, and your role in the company?

Sophie Groussard: Konica Minolta offers printing systems and IT solutions for professionals. The company is also developing many other activities, such as production printing (inkjet and digital presses), video solutions, and medical imaging. I am the marketing and communication manager, customer experience and I also take care of CSR.

How long have you been implementing your CSR policy?

Sophie: CSR at Konica is a long-standing issue as the group has had a CSR department in Japan for 50 years.

You could say that it was CSR before CSR!

Sophie: That's right. At the time, the group was a forerunner in environmental issues. Our circular economy process began 50 years ago with an initial focus on the eco-design of machines, and then on uses to consume less and better.

Today we even recondition our consumables (ink bottles) and of course we pay great attention to the recycling of our waste.

In France, when I arrived, we wanted to revitalise and restructure our strategy with the help of Parangone. We started by consulting and listening to our internal teams, which enabled us to enrich our diagnosis, and today we are in the process of deploying this new strategy.

Amélie, at Parangone how do you support Konica Minolta in its CSR approach?

Amélie Foulon: We implemented our approach with three effects. Firstly, we went in search of the company's nuggets, of which the employees were not necessarily aware. This is what we used to formalise and structure the approach, so that it would appear credible and authentic to all the stakeholders.

Illustration of Parangone's methodology carried out during the Webinar of 12 April 2022: Your business has hidden potential!

In a second phase, we will try to accelerate the process: this is the convergence effect. We identify actors such as Sorewards, to put in place concrete actions and allow employees to understand and contribute to the strategy.

The third effect is one that we will get to very soon! This is the influence effect. We want to give everyone the means to make the company shine through what they themselves can do, we want to give them the means to act, to be proud of what they do and to talk about it. CSR thus becomes everyone's business.

It's an interesting approach, and it allows us to respond to the problems often present in CSR. Many companies are criticised for prioritising the external.

Amélie: We believe that it is indeed necessary to allow employees, and particularly sales teams who are in daily contact with the company's customers, to take ownership of the approach in order to implement authentic communication, based on action and experience

Sophie: If we start externally, we run the risk of having a counter-productive effect, with employees saying "I don't believe it, it doesn't look like the company". By taking the time to allow them to appropriate the approach, each person can propose initiatives adapted to local needs and to their personal sensitivity. But it takes time!

You have set up a CSR e-learning programme for your employees. Why did you do this? How did you set up this training scheme? What are your results?

Sophie: Indeed, one of the first actions was to set up an e-learning module with several short videos to explain CSR to our employees. There are theoretical and historical modules, as well as a testimonial section which we are currently developing.

E-learning can be experienced as a constraint. This time, we didn't want that to be the case. We decided to open these modules in December, like an advent calendar. Each day, a video was available, with a short quiz. More than 600 employees took part, and those who answered best received a gift: the Sorewards gift card!

Finally, at the end of the module we put out a call for applications to recruit our future ambassadors. We received about twenty applications. This enabled us to give them a voice through a programme of "ambassadors' words" videos - including our e-learning manager!

You have integrated the Sorewards gift card into your training scheme. For what reason(s)? What are the feedbacks from your employees?

Sophie: What I liked was the consistency between the content of the videos and the reward. We are a commercial subsidiary, we already have an internal animation system, and it's true that we usually offer traditional gift vouchers, dinners etc. I wanted to do something different. I wanted to do something different. With Sorewards, we really give meaning to the approach, and offer everyone the possibility of contributing to our approach by making a donation to one of our partner associations.

In fact, I suggested it to the marketing department as well, given the success the gift card had had with employees. Moreover, it was very easy to use - I used it myself!

Amélie: What we find interesting about this proposal is that e-learning was the very first communication to employees, and from this first communication we gave them the means to make this approach concrete.

Sophie, Konica Minolta already supports some associations as part of its CSR approach: how did you select them and for what purpose?

Sophie: Konica Minolta is very committed to disability issues. We have a corporate foundationI have been vice-president for the past month. We do a lot of support for sports, cultural activities and professional integration for people with disabilities. In fact, we have just selected the twenty or so projects we are supporting for 2022!

How do you ensure that these commitments are shared by the majority of your employees?

Sophie: The company foundation federates a lot but for the moment benefits from little communication. It's a shame because it generates a lot of pride for the employees involved. Once again, it's a question of letting people know what already exists and what is going to be set up. We want to give everyone time to get involved, not only in disability issues, but also in the protection of the forest and the protection of biodiversity.

CSR is a long-term process. What advice would you give to a company that wants to start up?

Sophie: I think that today, initiating a CSR approach is no longer reserved for large companies. It's an approach that SMEs, and even very small companies, will have to adopt. And what was interesting in what we launched with Parangone was this notion of listening to employees, seeking out this richness, and co-constructing. We also listen to our customers, and our CSR strategy must take their expectations into account and be fully integrated into our business model
. Konica Minolta's historical approach of reducing our ecological footprint is a strong expectation of our customers.

Amélie: Yes, indeed, if we want a CSR approach to be truly useful and sustainable, it must start from what already exists and be designed to become an asset. We are not afraid to say that CSR must be a business advantage. That's how it will really progress. It is a transformation of the business, a transformation of the practices of employees, customers and suppliers. If we start from the heart of the business, we will inevitably take the right path, and we will get on board!

Sophie Groussard is Marketing Communication and Customer Experience Director at Konica Minolta. With over 20 years of experience, Sophie combines strategic vision and marketing project management in three sectors: B2C, B2B and B2B2C. Her career has led her to provide solutions to key issues: definition and deployment of a brand strategy, project management in marketing, digital, internal/external communication, design and launch of new offers with agile methodology. Today, she puts her expertise at the service of CSR development at Konica Minolta.

Amélie Foulon is Associate Director of Development at Parangone. Her career path has led her to take on the roles of salesperson, sales manager and associate director. She has been able to work in all areas of communication and marketing, and has worked for a long time on defining the sales and marketing strategies of many companies. Enriched by this experience, she is now working with the Parangone consulting agency on CSR strategy consulting and support missions.