Welcome onboard and abroad

Feb 22, 2023 | V.I.E. Blog

How are V.I.E candidates onboarded in a company such as Safran? In this article, Julien Da Silva, currently supporting the Operations Manager at Safran under a V.I.E contract, and Philippe Garnier, CEO of Safran Landing Systems Kentucky, share their experience.

Safran Landing Systems Kentucky produces wheels and brakes for various models of Boeing and US AirForce aircrafts. More than 350 employees work on site, including many V.I.E candidates as part of the Engineering, Supply-Chain, Operations, Finance, Continuous Improvement and HSE departments.

Philippe spent his whole career at Safran (half in France and half in the US), working for various teams (Quality, Technical, Supply Chain and Operational Management) before becoming the head of the plant in Kentucky, in 2015. Today, he shares his knowledge about the aircraft industry with young talents such as Julien.

After a successful internship at Safran in France and two international experiences, Julien moved to the US a year ago thanks to the V.I.E program. His two previous international experiences had made him eager to work abroad and this opportunity came at the right moment for him. Today, he works on topics such as digitalization, performance optimization and continuous improvement, alongside the operations manager.

The V.I.E program at Safran

Safran US has been working with the V.I.E program for about 8 years. Since then, Safran has hosted more than 20 V.I.E total, usually hosting 4 to 5 volunteers at a time at its Kentucky site. About 75% of these candidates are identified during internships in France. Interns who are successful and have a “discovery mindset” are encouraged to apply to V.I.E positions if they wish to keep learning within the company while working abroad. The other 25% are recruited for a specific need or project. The V.I.E program works especially well for these positions, as candidates must speak French to work efficiently with the headquarters team in France.

As volunteer assignments last for a set time, they usually represent mean temporary additional support, ideal for transformation or continuous improvement projects. The nature of their jobs allows them to interact frequently with local employees, making it easier to integrate both V.I.E and local profiles. To lead successful assignments, V.I.Es must learn to adapt to the local culture and collaborate in a larger team.

V.I.E candidates’ onboarding at Safran

Philippe treats each new V.I.E the same way as any brand-new employee. Each month, a week is dedicated to their onboarding in Walton. The onboarding team organizes weekly meetings to fully introduce Safran to all newcomers (from 2 to 15 at a time). These training sessions cover a large range of topics such as risks, compliance, security, quality, or IT systems.

Philippe never hesitates to provide support to volunteers when required, but he also believes that it is extremely important to let the volunteers handle their move as much as possible.

“Finding a place to live or dealing directly with social security
organizations are part of the learning journey.”

Julien remembers his first days being a bit challenging. Among other things, he had to settle in, pick up new habits and start his mission. To blend in with local employees, he remembers adopting a more casual way of dressing in the workplace. Within his role, he got up to speed as quickly as possible, wishing to accomplish as much as possible throughout his assignment. Being efficient while dealing with all tasks when you move away from your country was one of his biggest yet most interesting challenge.

Advice for a good onboarding process

Philippe highlights one important piece of advice for V.I.E candidates: truly come with an open mind. Being ready to embrace a new culture, accept different perspectives and being open to a new way of working are undoubtedly the most important key success factors.

Overall, Julien advises future candidates to prepare in advance, in order to feel as comfortable as possible when landing. When moving to a new country, receiving support from colleagues or other V.I.E candidates going through the same process (such as finding a home) and knowing who to contact in case of concerns not directly related to work can be extremely comforting. For instance:

  • Managers can share the information of previous volunteers and people arriving at the same time as the candidate.
  • Volunteers can get in touch with local employees before the start of their assignment.

Julien also recommends that new V.I.E candidates find a hobby or sports team as soon as they get settled to interact with local people. It is the easiest way to meet new faces outside of work!

Exciting perspectives for the future

Overall, Safran wishes to keep working with V.I.E recruits who have always fit the company’s needs.

For Julien, the future seems very bright. He received excellent reviews, and the company might offer him a permanent position in Safran’s network. In fact, most volunteers have been permanently recruited by the company at the end of their assignment. Whatever may happen in the future, he believes that this experience will be a great asset when hunting for a new job. The strong network he built both inside and outside the company will also help him further his career. He is especially looking forward to joining the Club V.I.E to stay in touch with the program alumni.