International Day of Persons with Disabilities: diversity is a strength

By ENGIE - 03 December 2020 - 10:16

Fully aware of its social responsibility, ENGIE has made the inclusion of persons with disabilities one of the central themes of its action and a key challenge for today and tomorrow. For this year’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities, we take a look at how ENGIE adopts this policy and its practical implications both within and outside the company.


“A company like ENGIE, working for a diverse population in multiple regions, has a duty to resemble its customers in all their diversity.” This statement from Rachel Compain, Director of Social Development and Diversity, is a powerful summary of our inclusion policy, particularly regarding persons with disabilities. Having adopted a committed proactive approach for a number of years, ENGIE took a natural step in signing France’s manifesto for persons with disabilities in the workplace last year. “We play an active role in this group of companies and work hard to push forward crucial projects, like digital accessibility and developing ties between the French Department for Education and the business sector” – two of the leading themes in the 2020 edition of the European Disability Employment Week, says Rachel Compain.


Disability: new forms of recruitment

At a time when the French government is setting a recruitment target of 6% of workers with a disability, we are looking to improve our recruitment methods. To achieve this, we are working with agencies specialised in sourcing, such as TH Conseil and Humando Pluriels. The second of these agencies is helping the Group find young recruits for its work-study programme. This is a key driver for ENGIE, as it is aiming to employ 10% of its workforce in this programme by 2021, a third of whom will be persons with disabilities. We have also signed an agreement with a business school in Grenoble to recruit people with Asperger syndrome.


Actions to boost the inclusion of persons with disabilities

Of course, this inclusion policy does not only concern our recruitment policy. To change mindsets and fight against certain stereotypes, we have taken part in the Europe-wide action DuoDay for the last few years. Employees volunteer to partner a person with disabilities in order to share their experience. Due to the pandemic, this year’s DuoDay was switched round to give ENGIE employees the opportunity to spend a morning working in a centre for assisted employment for persons with disabilities (ESAT). Our foundations – FAPE, Fondation agir pour l'emploi, and the ENGIE Foundation – are also committed to this inclusion policy, supporting a number of organisations working with persons with disabilities, including Handicap International. Another important example, this time in the sporting arena, is Team ENGIE’s active support for the table tennis champion Fabien Lamirault and cyclist Raphaël Beaugillet, both para-athletes who are aiming for gold at the next Olympics in Tokyo.

Day after day, the Group makes determined progress in its inclusion of persons with disabilities. “Diversity is a strength and we need the skills of everybody”, Rachel Compain says, smiling, before adding, “although mindsets are changing, the road ahead remains long. I am optimistic about the future because dialogue on inclusion resonates more and more. But we should not relent in our efforts and must stay on track.”