Case study

Talent management and the succession pipeline

By Alain Beaudoin

Working closely with the HR team, we developed a strategy, a program and the appropriate support materials. We trained the HR team, the recruits’ line managers and the recruits themselves throughout all 8 modules.



The St-Hubert Group comprises around 10,000 employees working in 2 departments: St-Hubert Restaurant division, which consists of 120 rotisseries and a call centre and St-Hubert Retail, which runs 2 food-processing factories and 2 distribution centres. To develop a talented succession pipeline to fill its key positions, the St-Hubert Group decided to introduce:

  • A mixed strategy for developing internal talent
  • A strategy for accelerating development
  • A strategy for learning how to operate “just-in-time”

Basing their decisions on the needs of the business plan combined with HR tools and processes, managers were asked to identify employees in their department who “show a high level of performance and potential”.


  • Develop a corporate talent pool to fill employment opportunities
  • Attract and retain talent
  • Develop the talents of employees who have been identified as offering high performance and high potential


FORMATION was selected because it offered:

  • A practical approach focusing on their business reality
  • An innovative vision
      An approach that involves all age groupsA strategy focused on learning by doingA program that uses existing company projectsA collaborative platform
  • Ongoing support and guidance
      Senior staff involvedCoaching in mentoring recruits

Working closely with the HR team, we developed a strategya program and the appropriate support materials. We trained the HR teamthe recruits’ line managers and the recruits themselves throughout all 8 modules.

Our solution : LIA

A pilot scheme was introduced in the form of a Leadership in Action program (LIA), conducted over12 months, with a cohort of 15 supported by the project’s key conditions for success. The program is based on leadership development best practice and uses our PLP strategy (Prepare – Learn – Put into Practice), which comprises a variety of learning activities. Group learning workshops are only one of the training strategy’s many different elements.

Development program

Self-learning component (Weeks 1 and 2)

  • Reading with recaps and questions
  • Webcasts
  • Surveys
  • Critical thinking exercises

Exploratory workshop and teamwork (Weeks 3 and 4)

  • Follow-up since last meeting
  • Practical workshop
  • Application of learning to project the learner is assigned to

Global transfer (Weeks 5 and 6)

  • Putting learning into practice
  • Taking action in own work-related projects
  • Sharing concepts and ideas
  • Coaching others
  • Contributing to our ‘sharing’ website 

Program modules

Each 6-week module is a self-contained unit with a specific objective focusing on one of the following 8 themes. 

  1. Introducing LIA including DiSC profiling and taking charge of self-development
  2. Feedback, the key to performance management
  3. How to generate creative solutions
  4. Achieving success through effective change management
  5. Learning to use 3 significant levers of influence
  6. Controlling your reactions so that they don’t control you
  7. Managerial courage, a positive approach
  8. Becoming a coach!

Everything they need to succeed

Various elements of support were put in place to ensure that the pilot project was a success:

  • Strong commitment from senior management.
  • A strategic HR vision, a practical approach aligned with the business strategy.
  • HR working in association with all sections of the company.
  • Specific criteria for identifying talent.
  • A large-scale communication plan.
  • Key messages and FAQs to help line managers manage the expectations of both selected recruits and non-selected staff.
  • Advance meeting with recruits showing potential, including signature of letter of commitment.
  • Team meetings to explain the program and how recruits will be selected.
  • Introductory activity to launch the program with recruits, their mentors and management.
  • Training and a guide provided for immediate line managers.
  • Coaching course for HR team assigned to the project and acting as mentors.
  • DiSC psychometric tool used to assist self-knowledge and improve communication with others.
  • Strategic projects identified as fields of application for what has been learnt.
  • A collaborative platform for sharing experience and good practice.


Talent management and the succession pipeline at the St-Hubert group. A midterm review revealed the following impacts:

  • Preparatory work was appreciated and met expectations.
  • What has been learnt is put into practice both in day-to-day situations and in specific projects.
  • There is always a meeting between line-managers and recruits after every workshop.
  • Mentoring is highly appreciated, with some recruits even saying that they would like to mentor future cohorts.
  • Workshops are participatory and practical. There is clearly synergy and collaboration between IC and St-Hubert.
  • Learning activities are varied and targeted.
  • Recruits feel that they have grown both personally and professionally.
  • Recruits recommend that the program should be continued and new cohorts identified.
  • Recruits demonstrate a strong desire to stay with a company that has invested in their professional development.

With Nicole Vachon (IC FORMATION) and Ginette Longchamp, Vice-President, Human Resources, St-Hubert Group

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