Recruitment is just the beginning of the D&I value journey, writes Marlène Larsonneur, human resources (HR) director at CCR Group, who highlights the advantages of greater equality to business and society.
A focus on D&I can mean a tangible advantage
A focus on greater diversity and inclusivity (D&I) in recruitment and beyond is driving innovation and development here at CCR Group, giving our established re/insurance industry institution a tangible market advantage.
When I consider CCR Group’s D&I strategy, it isn’t just our initial recruitment process where we aim to embed greater equality—we have also committed to supporting recruits throughout their onboarding, job integration and career paths.
The benefits so far are clear: CCR Group as a whole has low staff turnover, loyal teams and high commitment to the firm.
For the past five years, we have strengthened our teams by recruiting from more multicultural talent pools. This is one of the key drivers of our HR policy. Increasingly, we are hiring qualified candidates of different nationalities, depending on the operational needs, and supporting them throughout their integration.
We understand that living and working in a different cultural environment can be complex for some employees, depending on their level of proficiency in French. To ease the adaptation and integration of our foreign employees, we provide a tailor-made programme based on the employee’s needs.
This takes several forms. Language training courses to learn French are available both face-to-face and remotely, for example.
This type of recruitment goes hand-in-hand with our strategy of strengthening our markets by hiring expert employees from The Netherlands, Turkey, Germany, Latin America and Asia, in particular. All in all, more than 15 languages are now used in our organisation.
Opening the business up to new talent
Future development at our company is directly supported by initiatives that foster open-mindedness, which promote D&I internally and open the business up to other cultures and working methods.
In 2020, we launched a young talent contest designed to promote the best initiatives of young experts aged between 20 and 35. Twelve teams took part and presented their projects to a jury of Executive Committee members.
The winners were announced during chairman and chief executive officer of CCR Re Bertrand Labilloy’s New Year address at the beginning of 2021, and the projects were rolled out in the second half of the year.
In the same year, we set up a sponsoring programme with a collaborative recruitment method based on human relationships. This approach was designed to confirm and formalise trust, mutual respect and direct relationships that are the basis of interactions between our company and our valued employees.
By letting employees recommend desirable characteristics as part of the recruitment process, we increase our chances of attracting qualified and diverse candidates, in line with our commitment to the Diversity Charter.
Employees involved in our sponsor programme become ambassadors of our knowhow, expertise and values.
Challenges remain - but we are ready to tackle them
Historically, there has been a lack of diversity in the wider insurance industry. Here at CCR, we acknowledge that many challenges remain despite increased awareness, government policies and legal obligations initiated by the state, networks, foundations, and schools that are working to promote D&I.
But the industry is battling to be better. By fighting against stereotypes and prejudices, discrimination, conscious or unconscious, in hiring, and the lack of representation in management positions in executive committees and in boardrooms, we believe the insurance industry will improve its much-needed collective awareness over time.
We know that D&I policy is a shared responsibility. Education and learning, training, mentoring, communication, policy, managerial leadership, and societal change will all help to bring out the diverse and unique talents in the industry.
But the responsibility lies first and foremost with the companies, starting with management and top executives. This approach also addresses issues of reputation and corporate branding.
The business benefits of greater D&I are well documented, but, here at CCR, we also try to highlight the broader societal influence it can have.
As a committed and civic-minded group, we put human issues and diversity at the heart of our activities and approach. We consider social, environmental and technological issues to be at the heart of our activities and approach. Our team management aims to enhance the skills of each individual and to promote equality and professional diversity.
A ethos we believe in - not a legal obligation
D&I is not just a legal obligation for us at CCR. It is far more. This philosophy represents a desire to bring together individuals from all social, cultural and intellectual backgrounds.
We believe that this diversity is the strength of the group. D&I are complementary in meaning and in practice. The word diversity refers to the idea of bringing in people from different backgrounds; inclusion means the full integration of people from diverse backgrounds to ensure they reach their performance potential.
Therefore, we pay close attention to the inclusion of new employees in our company.
Next generation D&I - new barriers to push through
In recent years, our HR policy as a group has covered inclusivity in a variety of ways. Gender equality, for example, has been enhanced by developing work-study programmes and inter-generational mentoring.
As an organization, we know plan to further maintain and pursue professional equality by increasing the mix of different professions and levels of responsibility within our company.
This will include increasing women’s career advancement, ensuring equal treatment in the assessment of objectives and taking steps to ensure fair treatment in terms of compensation.
We are promoting networks where women can share career experiences and make professional connections.
Such a proactive approach is part of our D&I policy and aims to fight against discrimination.
Efforts to seek out people with different backgrounds and profiles from those of more traditional hires has helped improve equality, as have efforts to integrate employees who qualify for the right to work in jurisdictions where we operate.
We have also focused our recruitment efforts on different countries and continents beyond Europe.
This diversity in all areas of HR policy contributes to our group’s culture. In 2020, the fight against discrimination, which included the development of inclusive management, was a main driver behind our decision to sign the Diversity Charter, which is renewed annually.
Supporting young people into our business
Our first commitment was to young people, who were actively supported throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, our business welcomed a significant number of interns and 27 work-study students in pre-recruitment for training in one of our 32 business lines.
A welcome and integration process helps them to join our company, as well as regular monitoring of their experience in our teams.
We also champion a skills sponsorship project with the association Un Stage et Après to develop internship mentoring and get our employees involved in supporting high schools.
As part of action to overcome barriers that can prevent more disabled people gaining employment, we have also partnered with Agefiph, which works to find jobs for disabled people.
We raise awareness of disability at work and actively participate every year in the Insurance Profession Training Institute’s (IFPASS) Disability Club forum by promoting the inclusion of its participants in our businesses.
Committed to change - on many fronts
We are committed to continuing our efforts on disability issues. In 2022, we are going to set up corporate theatre sessions to raise awareness among our employees.
In June 2022, we also signed the LGBT+ Commitment Charter represented by L’Autre Cercle, a leading non-profit organisation that works for the inclusion of LGBT+ people in the workplace. Values of team spirit, respect, involvement, service, honesty and responsibility engendered by this charter are all values shared by the CCR Group.
We now plan to launch a webinar together with L’Autre Cercle to raise awareness among our employees about the fight against LGBT+ discrimination.
Our ongoing D&I efforts include showing support and demonstrating to all that everyone should feel free and proud to be as he/she/they are.
By signing the LGBT+ Commitment Charter, we want to remind everyone that we welcome all talents within the CCR Group without discrimination.
Here at CCR, we have worked hard to improve and expand the impact of our D&I policies, but there is, of course, always more to do, particularly across the industry and wider society.
Thinking about the next five years, we plan to integrate D&I objectives even more into our company culture. They could even be taken into account in targets for setting company directors’ bonuses, in the same way as climate actions. This would extend the role of our companies in the community even future.
Marlène Larsonneur is HR director at CCR Group. She can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org