Up group & Disability: 10 years of measures and commitments

Le Groupe Up et le handicap : 10 ans d’actions et d’engagements

Back in 2011, Up group initiated its proactive policy in favour of integrating and maintaining employment for people with disabilities by signing an agreement concerning the fight against discrimination and the promotion of diversity. Ten years on, we have further consolidated our disability policy, which is now fully integrated into our corporate culture.

> An ambitious policy for a more inclusive company

Convinced that diversity is a strength, Up group has been implementing a proactive policy for several years now. In France, this policy has taken concrete form with the signing of an AGEFIPH* Agreement (2013) and then a first Disability Agreement in 2016 (renewed in 2020), followed by the opening of a specific team within Human Resources, known as Mission Diversité, as well as several local diversity correspondents.

Recruitment, job retention, training, employee awareness-raising, use of dedicated medical & social centres… These are just a few of the many measures taken to promote the inclusion of people with disabilities, and which are now bearing fruit: the employment rate of people with disabilities within Up group has risen from 0.9% in 2011 to 6.23% today (for private companies, the national average is 3.9%**).

* Fund management association for the professional integration of disabled people

 

> Offering the same opportunities to all

Beyond these statistics, we are committed to being an inclusive company by opening job positions to all talents, thus allowing all our employees to develop professionally.

Including fairs, forums and job-dating sessions, we run a number of different events in order to recruit people with disabilities. We are also proud to participate in the HANDIJOB Program in partnership with the Villeneuve-la-Garenne career centre: these joint meetings aim to provide to disabled people with greater confidence, and through them we have met many candidates.

Also, in partnership with the ARPEJEH* association, several of our sales representatives went to meet secondary school students with disabilities in order to help them find a vocation and to show them new prospects.

*Supporting study projects for disabled students

 

> Supporting all employees

Given that 80% of disabilities arise during the course of a person's life, maintaining employment for those in vulnerable situations is one of our priorities. Since 2016, over a hundred job positions have been modified to reflect this: co-financing for hearing aids, ergonomic equipment, psychological support, assistance in returning to work after a long period of absence, adjustment of working hours, etc.

These changes have been implemented in France and also in our international subsidiaries. For example, our Subsidiary Up Day in Italy has made it possible to benefit from additional days working from home.

According to Cherifa Messaoudi, our Head of Diversity, “we have been able to help employees who didn't even think that any modifications were possible!”

Employees with disabilities and their spouses or children with disabilities can receive employment service vouchers to ease their daily lives and help them better reconcile their professional and private lives. In 2020, 75 employees in France benefited from this scheme.

In France, six half-days off work are permitted for administrative and medical procedures.

 

> How to integrate disability into management practices

We are convinced that the success of these job retention initiatives also depends on raising awareness across the whole workforce. Managers have been specially trained and now integrate the issue of disability into their daily practices (detecting situations, interviews, etc.): “From now on, managers allocate a time during professional appraisals in order to discuss the employee's health and disability situation,” says Chérifa Messaoudi. “Over the past ten years, I have noticed a real change in attitudes and behaviour: managers are more attentive, they don’t hesitate to contact me if necessary as they know that we are here to provide them with solutions.”

> Breaking down preconceived ideas

This has been made possible thanks to an intensive awareness-raising policy involving the company's employees. Meetings with top sportsmen and women, introduction to sign language, music concerts with a disabled artist, exhibitions, theatrical performances, culinary workshops, online games... our awareness-raising measures and tools are translated into other languages, aiming to reach all our employees, whether they are located at the head office, anywhere in France or abroad. We are now focusing on digital and remote actions to have an even greater impact. All of these actions have created an atmosphere of trust about disability.

“During an awareness-raising session on dyslexia and dyspraxia, an employee came up to me and said, ‘Now I understand all the problems in my life,’” recalls Chérifa Messaoudi. Following an awareness-raising campaign, there can be a number of benefits for employees, allowing them to better understand both themselves and others and therefore to live together better.

Committed for 10 years now, GROUPE UP has had significant and tangible results in promoting the inclusion of people with disabilities. This encourages us to continue our actions and to disseminate them widely across countries where our group operates, while respecting the legislative and political framework in order to guarantee the well-being of everyone.