My work placement has been a great, insightful and enjoyable first experience in the working world. I cherished working for and being part of a company which has respectful valules, an incredible culture and an ambitious mission of "bringing health through food to as many people as possible". I felt trusted and respected very quickly by my peers and manager and felt challenged on new projects and responsabilites on a monthly basis. Moreover, Danone has a great working ethnic which promotes initative from all employees and I've greatly improved my critical and self-thinking from this experience.
Danone is a very open and welcoming place, and all employees share and treasure Danone's core values being Humanism, Openness, Proximity and Enthusiam. I personally directly felt welcomed into the Danone world, whether it be within my inner team or the whole Sales team. Directly from the start, I felt trusted by my manager and started getting more and more responsabilities quickly. I relish the fact that, at my young age, my colleagues valued me and counted on my work. Moreover, my manager was always there to challenge me with new responsabilities and listen to my thoughts, wishes and challenges.
Danone has a great support scheme put in place and all employees are very open to help with anything. I had a 1:1 meeting every monday with my line manager where I could share my thoughts, concers and accomplishments. My manager challenged me quickly with new responsabilities and adapted my work with what I wanted to accomplish throughtout my placement. I felt trsuted and valued very quickly by my team although I was the youngest.
I was a Category Placement on Asda. I was busy from 9am to 5pm everyday with different challenges depending on what the account and internal team had going on at that moment in time but I never felt overwhelmed by work and always had time for a lunch and coffe break. I worked on severeal projects for Asda such as updating Promotional reports and presentation, supporting heavily on Range Reviews and creating category reviews. When the account was a bit calmer, I worked on several internal projects such as developing an internal report to quickly identify drivers of performance in Asda which I had to update monthly with a commentary, and I developed a Space to sales tracker for the company.
I felt trusted and valued quickly by my peers and manager during my placement. I started by updating reports and trackers where I got to understand better the nature of my role and once I felt confident and up to speed with everything, I got to own several projects and presentations which I got to present internaly as well as in front of customers. I got to create the range/space recommendations presentation for Asda's range review and actually presented part of the deck to Asda. I also worked on important internal projects such as developing an internal Space to Sales Tracker across all acounts which I got to present in our team meetings. I always felt encouraged by my manager and peers for doing more.
Danone offers great support, guidance and "tracking" of your own work development. In one year, I've learnt a lot about my strengths and weaknesses and greatly developed my critical thinking, personal skills and analytical skills. My manager challenged me monthly with new responsabilities and projects and pushed me to work on my weak spots which has been very helpful on getting to know myself better. I've learnt a lot on working alone which helped me improved my self-thinking, as well as working part of a group and how to adapt my working ethnic with different people. I've also greatly improved my story telling and presentation skills which will help me throughout the rest of my career.
As a company, Danone values openness, humanism, enthusiam and proximity and these values are greatly felt within the office on a daily basis. All employees are very open, approachable and welcomig and open for a chat. The Danone office is a great open space and promotes "hotspot desking" which gives you the opportunity to change seats on a daily basis and interact with different people. I really enjoyed this element of the office because it eliminates the formality that other working places can have as well as the work routine. The office also has a great open space called "connect space" where you can hold meetings, have a coffee catch up or share lunch with employees. The office has always a great positive vibe.
Overall, the work placement was well organised, every placement has a proper distinctive role in a team and is well supported by their respective line manager. I think the scope of each role is flexible/maniable depending on the ambitions and goals of the respective placement. At the beginning of the year, I filled out an objective form and learning plan with my manager where I got to discuss what my ambitions from the placement were and what key learning I wanted to get out of it. Througout my placement, my manager was always open to chat about my future goals and concerns.
In terms of personal training and development, the company greaty invest in you. I had regular catchups with my manager on my goals, accomplishments, strengths and weaknesses. I set up a learning plan with the help of my manager where I got to focus on improving my weak spots. The company really tries to get to know you and helps you to get to know yourself better. Every employee gets an insight profile, which shows what color energy preference your personality encloses and you get to learn more about your personality, strengths and weaknesses. Throughout the year, we had several team mettings where we got to share our insight profiles to learn how to work better as a team and to know how to interact with other peers. Overall, Danone believes that employees development and satisfaction lies at the heart of the company's success.
Working from home
Future employment prospects are very appealing within the organisation. As a placement, I was encouraged to apply for the Graduate Scheme program, was fast tracked to the second assessment day and got a position as a Graduate!
There was a very good social scene amongst colleagues. Danone hosted several events (eg: Christmas Party) where the whole company got to interact amd enjoy some time off work together! Moreover, the company hold a 2 day conference in Dublin where we got to bond cross functionally. There was a lot of opportunities to go fro drinks after work by the end of the week.
Danone is located in London, which has high rents and is quite pricey for socialising. But London is big and there are ways of saving money and finding good cheaper spots!
Danone is located in Chiswick, London which has a calmer nightlife compared to other places in London. Central London is full of good nightlife! I thought it was nice to be in a calmer area at work with some pubs/bars around if needed and to have the option of going out more into central/east London on weekends!
There are endless brunch places, bars, clubs and restaurants in London! The list of things to do is infinite. I greatly enjoyed my London experience, I got to meet a lot of people at work and I also go to meet up with a lot of friends outside of work!
Placement Year (10 Months+)
30th May 2017