Performance And Excellence Are Bigger Than Disability
Below is an article originally written by Patrice Caine, Chairman and CEO at PowerToFly Partner Thales, and published on December 3, 2018. Go to Thales' page on PowerToFly to see their open positions and learn more.
Today is International Day of Persons with Disabilities. It's an opportunity for all of us to remember that in France and around the world, half of us will face a disability at some time in our careers. Disabilities can be visible or invisible and may take many forms, such as debilitating diseases, physical or mental disabilities, chronic illnesses, vision or hearing impairments, and many others.
In addition to meeting mandatory disability employment rates in certain countries, we at Thales aspire to make our company a welcoming place to work and one where every employee feels their differences are valued.
Half of us will face a disability at some time in our careers.
Non-discrimination is of course the first step. It's a constant battle if we want to create a workplace in which people feel they are treated equally.
The second step is diversity. A company's workforce should be as rich and varied as society itself in terms of gender, age, generation, ethnic origin, social and educational background, sexual orientation, but also disability.
The third step is inclusion, meaning the ability of an organisation to value all profiles and enable them to contribute to collective success. In other words, our employees should feel that they can be themselves at all times.
We began our efforts in 1992 when we signed our first agreement to integrate people with disabilities into the company. We strive to share best practices across our different sites and entities to provide everyone with the best opportunities.
Then we revised our Human Resources policy to include disability requirements. To retain employees with disabilities, we are aiming for universal accessibility. We want to be sure that employees can get to work and access their desks or workstations, and that they have the IT tools they need.
We are also committed to partnership, like our recent partnership in France with the Aspie-Friendly network and Université Paris-Est Créteil (UPEC), and we put our commitments into practice by integrating and training employees with disabilities. We create partnerships with schools to bring young people into the labour market, and we are working with university researchers on ways to detect "weak signals" in the workplace that could indicate potential situations of professional exclusion.
Our aim is to adapt the workplace to people with disabilities, not isolate them. Practically, that means modifying workstations for the entire team when it makes sense, and informing, training and mentoring teams and managers, not only before a new employee with a disability joins the team but throughout their time at the company. We also provide management training to promote an inclusive environment.
Integrating people with disabilities is an opportunity and strength for our employees and for our Group as a whole.
I would like to share two examples of Thales employees who are making that inclusive company a reality.
Jean* was a young man training to become an electronics technician. Like thousands of young students before him, he needed to find a work-study internship in a company to receive his diploma. Jean is deaf. To integrate him into the Group, we installed technical equipment so he could communicate with his team, but even more importantly, we informed employees of his disability and provided basic sign language training for people in his team. Jean was able to complete his internship and has since joined the ranks of our 65,000 employees.
Pierre* was an engineering student on a work-study contract at Thales in France. Like all engineers in his class, Pierre had to complete an internship abroad to receive his diploma. Pierre has Asperger's Syndrome. Colleagues at his site in France came together to help him find an internship at Thales in the UK. In addition, his French internship supervisor went to meet with his internship supervisor in England, and Pierre had people to support him during his overseas adventure. Two employees, one English and one French, volunteered to help him — one in the UK and the other to serve as his mentor at his site in France. Thales even organised a visit for his parents so they could help Pierre settle into his new surroundings. Pierre has since finished his internship in the UK and has joined the Group.
Because Jean and Pierre were able to be themselves in these situations, and because they can count on their colleagues — and their colleagues can count on them — our company is becoming a place where sharing, mutual trust, open-mindedness and innovation reign. Integrating people with disabilities is an opportunity and a strength for our employees and for our Group as a whole. Disability is everybody's business!
* All names have been changed.
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For the boss you loved, the coworker you hated, and everyone in between
Two things are inevitable when someone leaves your team at work: there will be an abundance of sweet treats (I'm partial to those giant cookie cakes from the mall) and there will be a card passed around for everyone to scrawl the professional version of sweet nothings in. Depending on the "importance" of the person, you may get the bonus activities of farewell gifts and/or an all-team champagne toast.
If you are a New York based tech professional and you'd like to attend this event, please email your name and LinkedIn URL to email@example.com.
Whether you are a software engineer, fitness enthusiast or both, you won't want to miss PowerToFly's evening of product demos and networking with the women tech leaders and allies at Peloton.
Founded in 2012, Peloton brought top talent together in its Silicon Alley headquarters to create a new concept in fitness. In their words, "We loved cycling but had a hard time finding a workout that consistently fit our schedules, and our at-home workouts never felt quite up to par. So, we set out to create a world-class indoor cycling studio experience on your time, and in the comfort of your own home."
This event is your chance to hear directly from the women tech leaders and allies who make their revolutionary products like the Peloton Bike, Peloton Tread and Peloton App possible. We'll be devoting a large portion of the event to taking your questions and I know the Peloton team wants to hear from you!
The unique evening will take place on Wednesday, February 12th from 6pm to 8:30pm at 125 W 25th Street.
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