Back to the testimonies
Elodie Prunier-Taveirne
Élodie Prunier-Taveirne

Deputy Director General HR at Haropa Port

My first memory of the School was in Le Havre on a rainy day in September. I had come to do the qualifying exams and didn't know the town at all. 

At first, the town seemed rather sad and cold to me. It seemed complicated to live there for 3 years. But this first impression quickly disappeared.

From the start, I made friends with a lot of people. There were a lot of people from Le Havre in my class. I realised that the city was much more dynamic than I thought.

On the contrary, the first moments at the School were very warm.

I very quickly made a band of friends who have remained the same throughout my three years of study, and still today 20 years later.

From an internship to an employment contract

I did an internship at the Port Autonome of Le Havre because I was interested in human resources. It was the early days of GPEC (forward-looking management of jobs and skills) for autonomous ports.

They were looking for someone to work on the definition of functions and the skills repository. I worked on this mission throughout my internship.

This experience went well and I really liked this establishment. I was offered a job at the end of my placement.

I came back to the School to finish my few months of courses before graduation. Directly after my studies, I was hired by the Port of Le Havre.

First steps at the Port of Le Havre

At the very beginning, I had to get interested in the port professions, of which there are many. There are all sorts of professions with quite varied missions, both in development, in works, in infrastructure, in receiving ships, in property management...

My first job was to put these different professions into words and to draw up skills repositories to gain visibility of what existed.

This also made it possible to visualise what was missing in terms of skills. I also worked on bridges between each other's professions.

The port of Le Havre is a major employer in the Le Havre basin. Once people have joined this organisation, it's quite rare for them to leave. I'm living proof of that because I'm still working there.

It's important for a company of this size to allow its employees to forge a career path.

Even if you're working in good conditions, it's important to maintain some interest in your job. When someone gets bored, it's both annoying for the employee and for the company because productivity drops. 

I really enjoyed my first job because I had to travel to all parts of the port. I met virtually all the employees, who generally like to talk about what they do. It was a really great first experience.

Going back to school

I'd been interested in psychology for a very long time, especially working in human resources. Quite quickly, I became interested in recruiting gantry crane operators, the employees who handle the load break between ship and shore.

There is no initial training for this job. So we have to recruit employees with certain aptitudes to become gantry crane operators, which we assess using psychometric tests. These tests are based on psychological studies. That's why I decided to specialise in occupational psychology.

I resumed three years of correspondence studies with the University of Paris 8, which is a fairly reputable university in psychology, and in particular cognitive psychology.

I did my Master's in 2 years face-to-face. Then I did my Master 2 in Rouen in the occupational psychology sector.

It was the perfect time to start studying again because I was young. It would have been more complicated to do it later on with a family and children.

It was the ideal time to go back to study because I was young.

Showing determination

I devoted all my holidays and weekends to this training. I didn't have the head for immersing myself in my courses in the evenings after work. During this period, I missed out on certain things in my life but I have no regrets. I'm glad I was able to do it.

At the end of my Master 2, I took full responsibility for recruitment and career management.

The dual skills with my course at EM Normandie and my psychology degree built my career in HR development. 

A few years later, I also took charge of professional training, an area I knew nothing about. And then finally, I took on all the target organisation reviews, i.e. on the organisation of the company. I act as an advisor to management to build the organisations best able to meet the objectives set.

Development within the Port

I've stayed with the same company since leaving School, but I've ultimately had three lives within the company. Firstly, I joined an autonomous Port under an old status dating back to 1925. Then, in 2008, it became a major seaport. We've gone from a public service to a more entrepreneurial organisation.

In 2012, an initial economic interest grouping was formed with the ports of Paris, Rouen and Le Havre. This was a highly innovative approach at the time, as it was the first GIO in the port sector.

The first GIO was set up in Paris, Rouen and Le Havre.

Quite quickly, the idea emerged to merge the ports with a single command in June 2021. We have become the largest river-sea port thanks to this union of the three ports. 

Making the choice to evolve with your employer

On a personal level, I've also benefited from this merger, as I was previously in the HR department at Le Havre's territorial management. I've now become the deputy to the CEO in charge of human resources at head office level.

I have a role in harmonising HR policies between the three territorial departments because the three entities have quite different cultures. I'm also in charge of internal communications.

Accompanying a merger requires a strong change support policy as well as a managerial policy and internal communication.

Seeking opportunities in change

I have the feeling that I've stayed very young in my head, insofar as I'm in contact with employees and the people I recruit. I get to rub shoulders with different people every day. That means you can't rest on your laurels.

This constant contact means you can deal with constant change in a positive way. I've always seen the Port's evolution as a period of abundant creativity. And that's why I'm so happy to be in this position today.

I've always been in the position of accompanying change rather than lagging behind and being subjected to it.

I've been lucky enough to be Vice President of the Alumni for the past 5 years. It's a great opportunity to see the new classes that arrive each year and to attend the graduation ceremony. It also allows me to take part in all the events organised by the network.

Back to the testimonies