Never stop questioning your social footprint: challenges taken up by Crédit Coopératif

Crédit Coopératif is a French cooperative bank. Its customer-members provide the bank’s capital and thus contribute to its operation. They are also represented on the Board of Directors.

The General Management has integrated inclusion and diversity in its corporate project, setting indicators and binding objectives for diversity and well-being at work. An HR Project Manager Diversity and QLW oversees the Diversity and Inclusion policy so that it is real and an integral part of the corporate culture.

Offering support for illness and disability in the workplace.

In addition to signing the charter Cancer @ Work, a network of companies bringing together stakeholders in the working world concerning the employment of people suffering from cancer and chronic illnesses, Crédit Coopératif has set up practical initiatives to support cancer patients in the workplace. Staff awareness nowadays allows for the better accommodation of illness in the workplace. “Some people affected by cancer wish to continue working so as not to be “trapped” in the status of the sick employee who must stay home. They do not accept this situation, which forces them to break off all social interaction,” explains the HR Diversity and QLW Project Manager, Virginie RENON.

To support its employees, Crédit Coopératif has set up a job retention unit which has two objectives: prepare as soon as possible for the return to work of employees after a long period of absence, and for the continued employment of a person with a health problem that threatens their ability to carry on working. This mediation between employees and managers should allow them “to not arrive with a feeling of dread at the company”, Virginie RENON continues. This individual and monthly follow-up, with the support of Mission Handicap, the HR Manager, the manager, and internal and external contributors, allows people affected by illness or disability to remain in their jobs.

Employees also have access to the “Handi’Ecoute, the disability mission by your side” service. These are one-to-one confidential meetings with Mission Handicap to inform them of their rights, to support them if they encounter difficulties in their daily work life due to illness or disability, or if they wish to prepare an application to be recognized as a disabled worker.

Finally, the Crédit Coopératif managers’ course will include training on disability from this year. Employees with disabilities can, if they wish, be supported in order to communicate more easily about their situation to the company thanks to a training-coaching programme (1/2 day in a group and 1 hour individually with a professional).

“Raising awareness and training to deconstruct preconceived ideas is a prerequisite for disability policy. In principle, we all agree. However, as soon as we have to take action, there are many obstacles. There are differences in perception from one person to another, fears, taboos, misunderstanding and sometimes embarrassment. The job of changing the way people look at illness and disability is a daily challenge. “ adds Virginie RENON.

Commit to professional equality between women and men.

Various development schemes dedicated to women exist within Crédit Coopératif to promote professional equality. Indeed, many women face glass ceilings preventing their career progression, as well as glass walls that confine them to particular jobs.

A third company agreement on gender equality in the workplace has for this reason been negotiated, with targets set for 2024. In particular, Crédit Coopératif plans to promote women’s access to positions of responsibility, encourage men to take up jobs with a high proportion of women, and continue to eradicate sexist behaviour and sexual harassment. Today, Crédit Coopératif bears the Equality Label, awarded by AFNOR, which reflects a strong political will to promote professional equality at the heart of organizations.

Firstly, the programme “Develop her confidence” aims to support women in their personal development in create career goals. A second programme proposes mentoring every year for ten women who want to achieve their career aspirations or embark on a new career path. Finally, a further scheme will soon be launchedto identify and train women who will be able to run a business centre within 6 to 24 months.

With regard to parenthood, Crédit Coopératif supports the balance between professional and personal life. For example, the bank wished to extend paternity leave by five daysbeyond the statutory allowance, and grants days of leave for the care of sick children in addition to traditional leave. Finally, the platform My fairy godmother is available to parents and future parents and offers services to help with parenthood and provide support at all key parenting moments.

“We are faced with two difficulties when talking about professional equality between women and men: we live in an illusion of equality and we often limit ourselves to inequalities faced by women. The challenge is to shatter this illusion and make men understand that they too are affected and that they have everything to gain. Some employees have a tendency to minimize this subject, whereas our internal findings show, on the contrary, a need to talk about it and to act,” says Virginie RENON.

Integrate young people into the world of work and improve the end-of-career stage.

From the age of 58, to transition between working life and retirement, employees are offered two options: a part-time end-of-career schedule or an end-of-career leave. Without having to justify it, experienced workers are thus able to modify their position and working hours, with a reduced impact on their salary.

These employees can also choose to carry out a skills sponsorship before retirement, in order to transfer the skills acquired through their professional life to an organisation that needs them.

Crédit Coopératif is also committedto integrating young people into employment. To this end, 80 work-study students are recruited each year and around 100 young people are given a job for one to three months each summer. Some of them come from priority city districts, or are disabled, in order to allow for diversity. Finally, Crédit Coopératif offers internships every year for secondary school students, in partnership with secondary schools in priority education areas (high-priority education networks and reinforced high-priority education networks).

Continue to assess its social footprint.

Crédit Coopératif was recently able to evaluate its social footprint, the results of which are published on the Mixitywebsite (click here). It includes an evaluation of professional equality, policies for the integration of young people and seniors, and the retention of disabled people in the workplace. The results enabled the banking group to identify issues that had not been identified until now. “For many, religion at work and the well-being of LGBT people in the workplace are not perceived as professional issues because they are primarily personal issues. However, we realize that everything is connected: a sense of unease at work can sometimes be linked to a personal situation that is not known and/or not understood.”. Crédit Coopératif has therefore decided to work on multiculturalism and the inclusion of LGBT people in the coming months.