“This acquisition makes it possible to reach a critical dimension in digital char”

By Philippe Guerrier | ang | In the meantime

“With the acquisition of Side, the Randstad team wants to strengthen its position in the digital temporary work market,” said Christophe Montagnon, Chief Digital Officer of the Randstad France group.

Christophe Montagnon, Chief Digital Officer of the Randstad France team – © DR

The digital interim is gaining momentum and the behemoths of the sector are taking a stand. After Adecco acquired Qapa, here is the Side falling into the lap of the Randstad.

Created in 2015 by a quartet of entrepreneurs (David Benkazen, Gaspard Schmidt, Pierre Mugnier and Hugo Michalski), Side has become an online recruitment specialist connecting more than 2,000 employers and 300,000 candidates. It mainly works in the logistics, trade and service sectors.

“We have identified Side as a key player in our competitive field. In May 2021, we directly began discussions for an acquisition. This external growth operation ended on May 12.”Explain Christophe Montagnon, Chief Digital Officer of the Randstad France group, in an interview.

During its autonomous development phase, the start -up raised 6.3 million euros during 2016 – 2017 and changed its model in 2019.

Behind Frank Ribuot (President, Randstad France) from left to right: Pierre Mugnier (Side), Christophe Montagnon (CDO, Randstad France) and David Benzaken (Side) - © Rémi Barthas
Behind Frank Ribuot (President, Randstad France) from left to right: Pierre Mugnier (Side), Christophe Montagnon (CDO, Randstad France) and David Benzaken (Side) – © Rémi Barthas

(Excerpt from an interview broadcast on News Tank RH on May 18, 2022)

Since 2016, Randstad has been operating its own digital interim channel: Randstad Direct. What are your new ambitions in the digital interim with Side?

We want to strengthen our position in the digital interim market. Taking Side allows us to have a top-of-the-range product and thus reach a critical size in this highly competitive digital recruitment market.

The group aims to make “Side by Randstad” the leading platform in this market.

The technology developed by Side is unique because it is stable, fluid and elegant at the same time. It offers users an unparalleled experience. These assets are important, both for attracting talent and retaining them, but also, on the business side, for simplifying the recruitment process and the associated administrative management.

What synergies will you put in place?

The acquisition of the Side recruitment platform is fully in line with the Randstad group’s “Tech and Touch” strategy, which consists of putting the best technology at people’s service. It’s the right combination of the two that creates additional value, for our customers as well as for our talents.

Experts from Randstad Direct and Side shared their knowledge. Today, Side teams consist of approximately sixty employees. They should grow to about forty people in the next few months.

What experience did you have with Randstad Direct?

We started the Randstad Direct activity in 2016 with one goal: to offer our VSE-SME customers access to our group of candidates through a website.

We then expanded our offer with a catalog of services that was more focused on large companies and mainly re-focused on the sectors that are most attractive to digital recruitment: commerce and services.

Today, Randstad Direct’s offering also covers logistics, retail, events, hotel and catering, industry and tertiary sectors.

How do you distinguish the approach of physical branch networks from digital?

The ways of working are different because the targets, their expectations and their issues are different.

We offer an offer that ranges from the hosted agency (i.e., we are physically present in our customers ’area at Randstad Inhouse) to a fully digitalized offer at Randstad Direct and now Side.

Our clients and our talents tend to choose what suits them best. We now cover the full range of experience. These different networks are not competitors but complementary.

Does the rise of digital lead to the reorganization of agencies deployed in the territory?

We have over 900 agencies and offices throughout the territory and we continue to strengthen this network. We have a desire to offer agencies, as online, a user experience at the highest level.

Randstad examines the start-up ecosystem, including France

Through an innovation fund, Randstad has made approximately twenty investments in start-ups around the world. In France, beyond taking the Side, minority stakes were taken in:

• Safebox (electronic archive),
Illuin Technology who helped build the Randy chatbot operated by Randstad.

“Working with start-ups irrigates our value chain and allows us to understand changes in our environment early on”inspire Christophe Montagnon.

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