Upskilling and reskilling employees helps companies better fill existing roles, while also making room for the roles of the future.


The Adecco Group believes that when it comes to upskilling and reskilling, responsibility falls on employer and employee alike. And we’re hardly alone: research from McKinsey shows that to emerge from the pandemic stronger and more resilient, employers must invest in this area. Upskilling and reskilling employees helps companies better fill existing roles, while also making room for the roles of the future.

In order to practice what we preach, we created the International Future Leaders Programme (IFL), an 18-month leadership development initiative for early-in-career high-potential talents. Samy Houpert, who completed IFL training and is now The Adecco Group’s Head of Finance in Portugal, said that while the programme is not for the faint of heart — “Sometimes it felt like I had two jobs,” he notes — but it was an outstanding career springboard.

Getting the call

Houpert had been in finance positions for a few years at The Adecco Group in South Korea before the Asia-Pacific Region’s Senior Leadership Team identified him as a promising candidate and his manager recommended him for the IFL programme. A grueling round of interviews followed, including one with APAC Regional Head Ian Lee. Sophisticated tests measured Houpert’s aspiration, ability and engagement.

“A couple of weeks later,” he said. “I was informed I’d been selected for the programme. I was very happy!”

When asked to describe IFL itself, the word Houpert comes back to is “intense.” The 18-month programme comprises three intense virtual learnings around The Adecco Group’s directive. Skill trainings including Agile, Product ownership, Design Thinking, Negotiation, Emotional Intelligence, are few of the skills on the curriculum and are taught by recognised subject matter experts and professionals.

Also on the curriculum are a pair of practical applications called Above and In-Market projects so all the professionals get an opportunity to demonstrate the skills leant on the programme before using them in their jobs. Working both individually and in teams, Houpert and his peers addressed actual Adecco Group visions such as colleague retention, launching a brand/business line in a new country, and ecosystem solutions.

Sound like a packed agenda? It was. Small wonder that Houpert said, “It was definitely an additional investment on top of my usual job, but it was a thrilling experience.”

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Settling in for a new experience

Asked how it felt to be upskilled into a different position, Houpert said, “Amazing! I was grateful for the trust in my potential. The programme definitely helped me with this career step.” Indeed, after a Christmas break with his family in France (where he hails from originally), he felt so able to tackle the new role that even on his first day, he was ready.

“I was definitely prepared by IFL for my new challenge in Portugal as Head of Finance,” he said. “I see this as an important career milestone, now that I am managing a larger and complex country with bigger teams.”

Houpert’s confidence and comfort during the transition is due to the support IFL provides for candidates not just during the programme, but afterwards . He was training, changing jobs, and moving from one continent to another during the pandemic — in a collaborative effort, the Group Mobility Team “was super helpful with all the logistics,” he notes, such as his apartment search and moving his belongings.

Looking ahead

As a recent graduate of IFL with a bright future ahead, Houpert is naturally asked how he would advise others who are thinking about re- or upskilling. He is both pragmatic and optimistic. “I encourage people to dedicate the time,” he said, “and to seriously work on personal and career development plans.” That means talking things over with your manager and knowing where you’d like to be a few years from now. “If moving into a new role will help you accomplish your long-term goals, make sure your short-term actions fit that plan.”

As to IFL itself, he is an enthusiastic supporter. “Keep in mind that if you’re part of the selection process, you have great potential — so be confident!” For those who’ve been nominated, he adds, interview preparation and demonstrating high motivation are key factors. And if you are selected, Houpert concludes, “Be prepared for a lot of hard work, but a very rewarding and unforgettable experience.”

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