— 31 August 2023 | Portrait
Together We Are Ubisoft Québec: Mélanie, International Mobility Specialist
A decision that seems, at first, quite trivial, what can it change? If you ask Mélanie Boulanger, international mobility specialist at Ubisoft Québec, she might answer: “a lot”!
Nearly 10 years ago, freshly graduated in social work, Mélanie was looking for a job, “something permanent somewhere.”
Contacted by an employment agency, she was offered a (very) temporary receptionist position at Ubisoft Québec: a two-week contract to replace a sick leave. It was a far cry from the “steady job” she had originally hoped for.
“I took it anyway, and finally… the receptionist never came back. And after three months in replacement mode, I was offered a permanent contract at the reception,” she recalls.
Next year, Mélanie will celebrate a full decade at Ubisoft Québec. And after various mandates within the studio, notably in communications and then as human resources coordinator, she now holds a position that she is passionate about and that allows her to make a difference in people’s lives every day.
Which just goes to show that any decision can take you a long way!
In International Mode
This being said, it’s no coincidence that Mélanie is the international mobility specialist on the Ubisoft Québec team. Far from it!
As early as Cégep, she began to look beyond the country’s borders. First, with two long trips that would take her to a good part of Europe, then with other escapades in Turkey, Israel and Greece.
Meanwhile, in the background, Mélanie completed a bachelor’s degree in international studies and modern languages at Université Laval. And as if that wasn’t enough, the rest of the time… she was working at the Auberge Internationale de Québec in the heart of the old city.
“I was just surrounded by travellers visiting Quebec City! It was really a time when I was moving around a lot,” she recalls.
All that was missing was for Mélanie’s personal life to take an international turn, which happened when she met her partner… from Belgium! This led her to live in Brussels, with a working vacation permit in her pocket.
This was an opportunity for Mélanie to discover more about a country that she now considers “a bit like [her] second nationality.” After a year abroad, she and her boyfriend, however, came back to settle down for good in Quebec City.
“I love to travel, but I wouldn’t live anywhere else but Quebec City. My year in Belgium taught me that. Belgium is really a country where I could have seen myself living, but I think we are really good here,” she emphasizes. “And that’s why I love my job so much. I love welcoming people here. More than welcoming them to the studio, it’s welcoming them to Quebec City.”
Saying she is “proud” of her city and its culture, Mélanie loves to share it with Ubisoft Québec recruits who come from abroad to settle in the national capital. And it’s a good thing, because it makes her the ideal “guide” for our newcomers discovering Quebec City.
Inform, Guide and Welcome with Kindness
Although a large part of Mélanie’s role consists of preparing the arrival of new foreign employees in Quebec City, her job begins long before a work contract is signed between a candidate and Ubisoft Québec.
Together with the recruiting team, she is in charge of evaluating the profile of potential recruits to see if they are eligible to obtain a work permit in Canada. It is also important to ensure that candidates are familiar with Quebec City and its particularities before committing to settle here.
“We don’t want to scare people, but we try to really show them what the reality is. We send them as much information as possible about the city, the cost of living, the cost of housing. I tell everyone that this is a 100% French-speaking city. You can get by in English, but we don’t make people believe anything,” she says.
Once the person has officially chosen to join the Ubisoft Québec team, the immigration and relocation procedures follow, also managed by Mélanie.
Applying for a work permit, a visa if necessary, booking flights, renting an apartment, accompanying the rest of the employee’s family: it goes without saying that there is a lot to do. And this is sometimes even several months after the arrival of a recruit, when the time comes to renew a permit or apply for permanent residence.
One thing is certain, no matter how big the task, it is essential for Mélanie to take the time and, above all, to always put people at the centre of the process.
“It’s a lot of calls. We talk, we answer certain concerns of the employees. We have to be reassuring about the relocation that is going to happen. We must not forget that, for many people, this is surely one of the biggest things they will do in their lives until now. It’s a huge commitment! So I think it’s important not to trivialize it and to really take an interest in their process, in their journey,” she insists.
In that sense, it’s not just a matter of making sure that the candidate is a good fit for the studio, but also that the studio is a good fit for them.
“Everything I do, I do with kindness. I want people to feel good about the process. That’s why, with the recruiting team, we try to understand the person’s motivations for moving here. We don’t want it to be necessarily just for a project, but that there is a real immigration objective behind it, so that it works well for them here,” says Mélanie.
Making a Difference
So, does this patient and human approach work? When we ask Mélanie to tell us about the success stories of international mobility at Ubisoft Québec, there is no shortage of examples.
Tales of integration that went perfectly, immense love for Quebec City, entire families that are flourishing in their new lives: the proof is in the pudding, as they say.
“There are people who really come here to find a family life, security and it works. I think that’s great,” says Mélanie, who adds that she feels she is making a difference not just in people’s professional lives, but also on a personal level.
“I really feel like I belong, that I’m where I should be. It’s going well in mobility, and I feel the need is there,” she sums up.
Good news for the studio’s future foreign recruits… and for Quebec City, which will continue to be able to count on an unparalleled ambassador!
Your go-to comfort food?
“Sugar shack food!”
The first CD you bought?
“Les B.B. or Julie Masse…”
The first app you open in the morning?
“That would be Instagram…”
If you were not an international mobility specialist, you would be…?
“I would probably be working in the community, something to do with immigration.”
Console or PC
What do you put in your coffee?