This past May, PeopleDoc launched a social action initiative to support two organizations that are doing amazing work with youth and vulnerable groups. This week, I spoke with Yann Perchec, CTO at PeopleDoc about one of these organizations. Simplon is a France-based company that is working to train vulnerable groups living in disadvantaged areas in computer programming. Their goal is to provide comprehensive professional training to young people and other disenfranchised groups so they can successfully find employment or start their own business.
Can you tell me about Simplon’s work and why the organization’s mission is so compelling to you?
Yann: I love the work that Simplon is doing. They focus on vulnerable populations, such a refugees and the poor, and they’re having a real impact on actual people. They’re teaching skills that translate into jobs -- creating access to companies and to the workplace for people who might otherwise be excluded. And learning how to code can be an important key to a successful career. Computer science has been growing in ways that are really exciting. Computers used to be thought of as nerdy, but now coding is cool. You can find a really great, well-paying job as a coder. And we’re starting to see a gender shift as well, as more women are getting trained and engaging with computer science from an earlier age. So for me, Simplon has found a truly effective way to have a social impact while also confronting outdated ideas about what it means to be a developer.
How did PeopleDoc decide to support Simplon?
Yann: The work Simplon is doing is very much in line with the spirit of PeopleDoc. If you’re a developer at PeopleDoc, you’re driven by your work ethic and I think it’s likely that you truly enjoy your job -- we work for a great company! I think this kind of work environment and professional experience means that our developers are excited to encourage young people to learn programming so they, too, can find great organizations to go to work for. I’ve known about Simplon for awhile now and I think their work perfectly matches the enthusiasm and drive that I see at PeopleDoc as a digital company.
I know it’s still early in the relationship, but do you have a sense of how PeopleDoc will support and work with Simplon?
Yann: Nothing is decided yet, but I think there are lots of ways we could lend support. Giving donations could be one route, but maybe there will be room for other things too. For instance, we could help young people enter the tech community to find employment opportunities through a new network. Or we could introduce them into our HR community! We could invite them to HR events so they can meet with HR reps looking to hire developers. Or it could be more personal -- maybe through sponsorship or actually teaching students. I know that part of a student’s training is to spend time working at a company, so maybe PeopleDoc could host students for that. No matter what we end up doing, I think being able to engage Simplon students with our community is so valuable. For instance, when I was just starting in my career, having a professional community helped me define what I wanted to do and what I needed to do to get there. I think having that resource saved me five years of trial and error in my professional life.
And what kinds of outcomes are you looking forward to?
Yann: I think the teams at PeopleDoc are really excited to help other people. I think that having a social impact is really important for our work culture, and I think it could even affect our recruitment efforts. For instance, we are in the process of hiring a young woman on our team and she told me that she was looking for a company that she could be proud to work for. In this instance, the values of a new employee and our organization aligned, and the effects are positive all around. But ultimately, I think having a great job working for a great organization really makes people want to give something back.
Yann Perchec works in our Paris office as PeopleDoc’s Chief Technology Officer.
Nicole Lindenbaum is the Director of Product Marketing at PeopleDoc by Ultimate Software. Nicole leads the global messaging strategy for PeopleDoc by translating technology into business benefits HR can actually understand. With significant experience in HR technology, Nicole writes and speaks about HR service delivery, employee experience, digital transformation, and the future of work. Nicole holds a BFA from Syracuse University and an MBA from Washington University in St. Louis. She lives in Brooklyn, NY.