53% of the CEO
1 person found this helpful
I have been working at Lafarge North America full-time for more than 10 years
Pros – There was a time that the company was making good decisions and gave credit to the actual working class, ie less than manager.
Cons – Everybody for themselves. Your good ideas get taken away and given credit to who ever is the most dominant. There is very little opportunity to advance in the company, training is virtually non existent. Seems like nobody but the current managers are capable of doing a good job. Try using a 10 year old lap top to get work done. 2% raises are considered very good.
Advice to Senior Management – Lafarge has put pure managers in place and has NO leaders. The constant negativity and finger pointing needs to stop. Where is the team.
No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company
2013-07-17 17:36 PDT
1 person found this helpful
I worked at Lafarge North America full-time for more than 10 years
Pros – Salary and benefits were excellent and comparable to the very top USA companies. If you can get to a reasonalbe retirement age those benefits would have been excellent in retirement as well. As an Executive or Senior Manager in ones field there was the opportunity to interact with global counterparts (often with travel to various European countries) and learn views from around the globe was a positive.
Cons – The control from France is so overbearing that it makes working in North America a real challenge and prevents thinking and acting in a manner that would be best for North America. While it is natural to expect that the executives of the parent company will determine and control the strategic direction of the organization, it was very frustrating to be a VP in North America and have little, if any, input to those decisions and directives. This is particularly frustrating when what may work in Europe may not in North America. It makes it difficult to get the rest of the North American organization to buy into those strategies when they do not fit all that well in North America. This results in dissention among the North American company and distrust/resentment of the French leadership.
Most of what Lafarge owns in North America came by acquisition and thus, many of the former senior level Lafarge North American staff were executives in those organizations prior to Lafarge’s acquisition and were experts in their field. After acquisition those North American experts’ inputs were often ignored and the direction was dictated by a less experienced person in France.
The other major problem is that few if any North Americans are offered the opportunity to take on a job in Europe, France in particular. Without that time in Europe your career is very limited in North America. Thus, by the time you get to be in your late 40s or 50s your opportunity for advancement in North America is limited. If you are in a senior level job you are often viewed as a block in a career path opportunity for a younger person, often from Europe and will go back to Europe in several years. This results in the ongoing issue of forcing North Americans ten years before an expected retirement to take a separation package or early retirement that creates all kinds of long term job seeking challenges.
Part of the problem is that it is very difficult for Americans to fit into a European culture and we have a real foreign language deficit. Europeans that are potential senior managers often look forward to a North American assignment and since English is the primary business language they have multiple language skills and can interact at all levels in the North American company. An American going to Europe may be able to communicate with senior level personnel that have English language skills but will have great difficulty in communicating with operating levels and in the community where only the native European language are spoken. Still no excuse for the French to not try to fix this issue when North America was once about 25% of the Lafarge SA business.
Advice to Senior Management – Encourage and accept input from North America about North America. Recognize that there is real talent at all levels in North America. Advise North American staff of career path opportunities and foreign culture/language requirements throughout their career. Provide foriegn language learning opportunites for North Americans (more than just the CD individual study programs) so North Americans can develop additional language skills (French, Spanish, German, etc.) that will open the door to European expat opportunies.
Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company
2012-10-15 08:35 PDT
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