Kiabi's shared vision in 3 steps

Written by Hugo Chatel, on 09 April 2018

In 2010, Kiabi faced economic setbacks that worried its leaders. Instead of imposing their vision for the company on their employees, they made the bet that it was these employees who held the solution for better performance. After all, it was the Kiabers, who worked every day on the ground, who knew better than anyone how to react. But how to gather opinions and deal with proposals from 8500 employees?

The leadership team wanted to give substance to this noble idea often announced but rarely realized in many companies. Therefore, it was necessary to find an open and effective format for exchanges and discussions.

Firstly, there was the Long-Term Vision: this was generally determined every ten years (but could be modified earlier, depending on circumstances). All employees took part in the discussion during a day organized by a cross-functional team responsible for this project. Specific themes were selected, and the conclusions of the exchanges were aggregated globally and then presented in a booklet that each Kiaber received. This summarized the mission, ambition, and values determined during this particular day.

"If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea." - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

During the latest Vision day, three pillars were identified:

  • "Working in a Well-Being Environment"
  • "The Course is Common, Built, and Shared"
  • "Kiabi is a Cross-Functional and Agile Company"

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To define objectives for this shared Vision, Kiabi again relied on its employees. Every year, 200 voluntary representatives from all areas of the company gather for 2 days in the north to review the past year and set goals for the next five years. This allows the company to have annually updated axes to work on. This annual seminar is not limited to employees: to better inspire and open up the field of reflection, Kiabi invites customers, non-customers, suppliers, SME bosses, students... Diversity reigns for two days, reminding of the importance Kiabi places on a customer-centric approach. A coach facilitator is responsible for nurturing this diversity and maintaining a tight program over two days.

Lastly, to translate these objectives into concrete and local actions on the ground, each store, wherever it is in the world, develops its "roadmap." This involves enacting the renewed 5-year plan and breaking it down into on-the-ground actions that the stores will implement for the upcoming year. This roadmap thus ensures the realization of Kiabi's shared vision.

With such an approach, Kiabi rose to 3rd place in the 2016 Great Place to Work rankings for companies with over 5000 employees. And they also feature in Italy, Spain, and China!