The European Disability Employment Week (EDEW) offers a unique opportunity each year to raise disability awareness in the workplace. This year, we continued our campaign to challenge stereotypes from November 15th to 19th, 2021, as we again encouraged our staff to put themselves in other people’s shoes in our “Role reversal” campaign.
Putting ourselves in someone else’s shoes and developing empathy is a very powerful driver for inclusion
Christelle Room, Head of Diversity at Natixis
A wealth of talent
We actively strive to be an ever more inclusive company, where differences in terms of identity should in no way present an obstacle to a career in our business lines. Christelle Room, Head of Diversity at Natixis, notes “Putting ourselves in someone else’s shoes and developing empathy is a very powerful driver for inclusion and the development of a secure and inclusive environment. This observation provided the idea for our campaign, which encourages everyone to reverse their roles and create an alternate world where the challenge is to conceal able-bodiedness rather than a disability.”
The goal of the campaign is very straightforward – highlight the subtle prejudices and ill-judged expressions that reveal the influence of stereotypes on our perception of others in general and of disability in particular. By applying them to employees without a disability, we can better understand what our co-workers may feel or experience when living with a disability that can sometimes be invisible.
This year, season two in our Role reversal series comprises three new episodes and offers a light-hearted take with comedian Krystoff Fluder and a group of other actors.
Taking extensive action
Including staff with disabilities and supporting them to remain in the workplace is a key pillar of our Diversity and Inclusion policy. We have taken proactive steps to challenge perceptions on disability in several ways over the past 10 years:
- Supporting access to recruitment and the workplace by taking part in specialized forums such as Hello Handicap
- Taking practical action to support staff with disabilities: adjustments to workstations and working time, transportation help, funding specific equipment (hearing aids, interpreting, etc.)
- Developing the use of the protected worker sector
- Challenging prejudices and changing mentalities on disability.
We draw on this range of initiatives and our programs to raise awareness on disability, and every year, an average 50 staff registering their disability with the company, accessing specific support programs to help them experience the best possible working environment.
Disability is not synomous with a reduced set of skills, yet it is still too often perceived in this way. On the grounds that 85% of disabilities occur during professional life, we definitely all have a role to play.