Carrefour Belgium Diversity Committee's DuoDay: Pairing up disabled job seekers with Carrefour employees
At Carrefour Belgium, disability has taken a seat at the table: last year, Carrefour set up a Diversity Committee composed of the company’s top management and union members. The committee handles matters related to youth and seniors, gender and disability.
One of the Committee’s initiatives on the disability front is DuoDay. It brings Carrefour employees and people with disabilities together to form a duo and learn from each other.
During one to ten days, Carrefour managers and employees welcome disabled job seekers to work with them in a duo. Through a partnership with placement agencies for people with disabilities, the job seekers’ profiles are matched with those of the Carrefour employees who volunteer to participate. The employees become mentors and guide and work with their disabled counterparts through the working day, sharing with them their daily working tasks.
Following the DuoDay, 89 per cent of participants are willing to participate again and 50 per cent would offer a training period to the disabled people they shared this experience with. The Head office and 20 Carrefour stores in Belgium took part in the 2015 DuoDay.
This initiative has proven to be a clever way to raise awareness and make way for meaningful inclusion. Prior to welcoming their counterparts, employees were instructed on how to prepare themselves and their environment, including informing their colleagues about the initiative and explaining to them that disability is not disabling. Employees had to accommodate their working space according to the needs of their guest, pay attention to making it accessible for them and think about safety measures that might have been needed.
By engaging people in actual day-to-day work situations, lessons learned from this experience are concrete – employees learned inclusion by doing it, going beyond theories about what disability is and is not. Carrefour managers and employees also got to see their own jobs from a new perspective.
As for the job seekers with disability involved, they had the opportunity to discover a set of job requirements, a sector and what it is like to work at Carrefour. It allowed them to better understand their strengths and weaknesses, identify their professional orientation and, for some, it may initiate a training opportunity and become the beginning of a career.