01 December 2020

Our disability policy: how diversity is a precious asset for us all

Our corporate purpose, along with our strategic plan’s commitment to digital equality, guide our efforts to promote greater inclusion. We firmly believe that diversity is a precious asset for representing everyone’s needs and we value professional skills above everything else. That’s why we are committed to improving employability and inclusion for people with disabilities.

 

In France, someone with a disability is still three times less likely to be employed and remains twice as likely to be long-term unemployed than people without disabilities. One in two French employees will suffer a temporary or permanent disability during their working life. And in low- and middle-income countries, a chronic disease turns into a disability in two thirds of cases. In light of these statistics, which are a collective responsibility, we’ve long pursued a proactive awareness and recruitment policy in most of our operating countries.

 

Raising awareness

80% of disabilities are invisible, such as autism, schizophrenia, chronic diseases or musculoskeletal disorders. That’s why we raise awareness through initiatives that educate people about the different forms of disability and change preconceptions by fighting against stereotypes. Our dedicated “Mission Insertion Handicap” coordinators organise an annual event called “Semaine de l’hangagement” as part of the UN’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

This year, we’ve produced a special 3-episode “On the line” podcast to address the issue of disability and give the floor to employees, whether affected by a disability, supporting a colleague or manager, volunteering as a member of the Mission Insertion Handicap or acting as a caregiver.

 

 

Our mission is to compensate for the consequences of disability to reduce them and restore equal opportunities.

Christophe Morin, head of Mission Insertion Handicap

 

 

 Going digital is a factor enabling inclusion and empowerment. Orange offers tools to compensate for a disability that are also compatible with everyday tools.

Patricia Loubet, ergonomist, accessibility expert and accessibility helpdesk manager

 

I wasn’t very familiar with disability until someone affected by a disability joined my team. It got me thinking about how best to include them as part of the team.

Guillaume Burel, business sales team manager

 

 

At the same time, we’re setting up workshops and training courses throughout the year to remove barriers, raise awareness about disability and develop tools adapted to the needs of our employees. In 2019, we launched an internal campaign, “Orange is committed to supporting disability, are you?”, which enabled many employees to share their experiences. A film has also been produced, inspired by first-hand stories received during a call for contributions in ten Orange countries.

 

 

Promoting equal opportunities

To make sure no disabled person is left behind, we contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal #10 “Reducing inequality within and among countries”, which emphasises socio-economic inclusion and empowerment for everyone, equal opportunities and diversity in business.

In France, our sixth employment charter, which covered the period 2017-2019, set out how we include of people with disabilities and fight against discrimination. A new agreement for the period 2020-2022 is in the process of being signed off. In addition, in October 2019 we signed the Manifesto for the inclusion of people with disabilities in the workplace in France, an initiative led by the Secretary of State.

On an international level, since 2015 we have shown our commitment to the socio-economic inclusion of people with disabilities as a signatory of the ILO Global Business and Disability Network Charter and at the end of 2019 we joined The Valuable 500, which brings together 500 national and multinational private sector corporations to put disability inclusion on the business leadership agenda. We’ve also adopted the inclusion principles set out by the GSMA on 3 December 2020.

And, to support our subcontractor value chain, we spent €20.1 million purchasing goods from the protected and adapted sector, an amount that has steadily increased over the past five years. 

 

Promoting employability

With 5,247 employees declaring a disability in 2019 in France, an employment rate of 7.1%, we are proud to give everyone the same chance of success because it stimulates innovation and increases performance. We are pursuing our inclusion policy across all areas including recruitment, job retention, workplace accessibility and professional development. This means we proactively work on improving mobility, adapting workstations, facilitating access to buildings and allowing an extra five days of leave per year to caregivers who support people with disabilities. As part of this, we have increased our budget allocated to adapting workstations and IT tools for disabled employees by €2.5 million. 

 

Accessible technology

We’re also developing new technologies that promote inclusion. The Orange Confort+ solution helps people with motor, visual or cognitive impairments to search and read online content. Our E-Accessibility Solutions for Everyone skills centre, which supports a range of Group projects, provides tools to ensure our digital content – including editorial and web and mobile apps – can be accessed by everyone.

Finally, our “universal design” approach is geared towards customer needs. It includes the Autonomy initiative, which is managed by the Group’s Accessibility department and deployed in several Orange countries (for example Tactile Facile in France, Spain and Romania); the Autonomy catalogue (available in various forms in France, Spain and Poland); as well as separate customer service programmes underway in Jordan and Tunisia. In mainland France, we have a dedicated distribution network to support elderly, disabled or vulnerable people through a network of 24/7 “Autonomy” stores.