François Bitouzet – Voyages-sncf.com – Creating a company esports team

Does the company you work for have an esports team? Voyages-sncf in France is well regarded as a firm which looks out for its employee happiness. Its latest move to this end is to launch Team Loco. 

We spoke to François Bitouzet, Director of Communication and Brands at Voyages-sncf.com, about why the company made this move, the logical thinking behind the investment and the potential of the team itself. 

Esports Insider: Tell us more about the idea behind Team Loco. Why do you think this will help you attract and retain younger employees?

François: In 2013, we created the ‘I Feel Good’ employee welfare scheme.

This involved getting Voyages-sncf.com employees participating in different initiatives from teleworking, cooking courses and photography classes, all in an effort to boost their morale and wellness. With the introduction of Team Loco and our first targeted foray into the esports area, it’s a natural next step for ‘I Feel Good’.

“Our team will be competing at the Gamers Assembly and DreamHack France later this year”

Employees at any company spend a large part of their day at work and younger employees are now looking to enter careers where companies offer a little bit more than the standard monthly pay cheque. By continually looking to do the unexpected and offer our teams the best, we believe that new employees entering the workforce with desirable skills will find a home at Voyages-sncf.com, somewhere where they can grow, make a living, have a social life and develop their own professional and personal skills.

Esports Insider: Which titles will the team be participating in? FIFA, Overwatch and League were mentioned…

François: Yes, so Team Loco will compete in several esports tournaments where they will play FIFA, Overwatch and League of Legends. In France alone, there are estimated to be around 4.5 million esports players so the competition is tough.

“Our team members come from every walk of life, male female, young, old, from across Europe and the company”

Some members of Team Loco also have a hidden talent for games such as Clash Royale so we will always look at how best the team can compete. Our team will be competing at the Gamers Assembly and DreamHack France later this year.

Esports Insider: How ‘professional’ will it be? Will the team have coaches for instance?

François: Every member of Team Loco is an employee of Voyages-sncf.com and there are 17 members in total. Our team members come from every walk of life, male female, young, old, from across Europe and the company. One of the team comes from Brussels and we even have engineers and train drivers involved.

 

Those in the team who are semi-professionals in esports will be coaching their less advanced counterparts to ensure the team is as strong as it can be. Team Loco have a dedicated, state-of-the-art gaming room within the Voyages-sncf.com HQ where they will train ahead of events, and at tournaments the team will wear the colours of Team Loco on their custom-made uniforms.

We will also cover the transportation costs and registration fees for the team at tournaments.

Esports Insider: You’ve an excellent record for ‘employee happiness’. You’re clearly invested with some expensive initiatives. How important is this to Voyages sncf and how much does it tend to seep into how employees interact with customers on behalf of the company?

François: By investing in innovation and development, we’re able to keep our position as the leading pan-European rail travel provider. Although some HR initiatives can be expensive to implement, Team Loco is relatively low-cost.

“Team Loco have a dedicated, state-of-the-art gaming room within the Voyages-sncf.com HQ where they will train ahead of events”

Overall we wouldn’t be investing time and resources into such initiatives if we didn’t think it was the right thing for the business or we weren’t seeing a beneficial return on investment. By nurturing developing talent in a way that many start-ups do, we’re able to keep the same soul and attitude we have done since our creation.