BNP Paribas has complemented its actions in favour of Diversity by entering into partnerships with specialised associations.
Creating Opportunities to Promote Professional Equality
Diversity in business begins by recruiting individuals with a variety of different talents and skills. BNP Paribas also ensures diversity in the workplace by taking preparatory initiatives. For example, it provides education and training opportunities for young people from all walks of life, which will open doors for them in the world of employment.
- In France, BNP Paribas attaches great importance to the development of work-study training programmes and actively assists suburban youth in finding work. Since 2009, the Group participated in the collective sponsorship of Nos Quartiers ont des Talents Association (an association in charge of finding youth sponsors) with more than one hundred individual sponsors among the Group’s employees.
- BNP Paribas is also a founding member of HandiFormabanques, an organisation that trains people with disabilities in various areas of banking.
- In the United States, the Group has entered into a partnership with the Prep for Prep Association to fund the education of students from minority communities.
- In Italy, the Group works with the Libera Association to facilitate the integration and autonomy of the children of immigrants
- Further initiatives related to schooling, knowledge transfer and training are also being developed in other countries such as Turkey, India, Morocco, Poland etc.
Synergy with Associations
The Group works with many associations that specialise in Diversity, such as the Association Française des Managers de la Diversité (French Association of Diversity Managers), of which BNP Paribas is a founding member, the Observatoire de la Parentalité en Entreprise (association specialised in parenthood subject) and the Observatoire sur la Responsabilité Sociétale des Entreprises (association dealing with Corporate Social Responsibility topics).
Within this context, the members of the BNP Paribas Diversity team participate in working groups that enrich discussions and initiatives within the Group, and collaborate in the publication of “White Papers” and practical guides on the subject of Diversity.
As part of its gender equality policy, BNP Paribas supports female entrepreneurship by sponsoring numerous associations such as Women Equity for Growth, Women Business Mentoring Initiative, Paris Pionnières and Normandie Pionnières.
Laurent Favre, a Business Manager at CIB France, works with the association “Nos Quartiers ont des Talents" (Our Neighbourhoods Have Talent) to help young people launch their careers.
“From my own experience, I know that having skills isn’t enough to get hired by a company. You also need to know the codes, the things that go unsaid – all those things that you don’t learn in school or at university”, explains Laurent Favre. After ten years at BNP Paribas, he felt that it was time to share his experience. He first came across the association “Nos Quartiers ont des Talents" (Our Neighbourhoods Have Talent) in an internal magazine. He was struck by the interesting and dynamic approach the association has to organising mentoring for young university graduates to help them in their job search. So, he signed up.
First Mentorship, First Success
His first mentoree was 25 years old, with a DESS (a Master’s degree plus a subsequent post-graduate certificate) in Finance. He was intelligent and highly educated, but didn’t have a good grasp of corporate operations and rules. And it’s not always easy to find a job when your name is Mohamed and your degree is from the Université de Saint-Denis, located in one of the poorer suburbs of Paris. They met once a month for a year and then every two weeks, to decide on a job strategy, draft a CV and prepare for interviews. In August 2011, Laurent’s mentoree was hired as a permanent employee by a major bank.
A Beneficial Relationship for Young People…
Laurent’s role is not that of a tutor or a recruiter. He treats his mentorees as friends or family members who are having a hard time finding their way. He provides a methodical approach, advice and contacts. Regular meetings with the Diversity manager help him to regularly reassess his approach to mentoring. His second mentoree, younger but with a more specialised profile, landed his first job within two months … Laurent is about to begin working with his third mentoree.
… As Well as for Laurent
Mentoring has little in common with Laurent’s day-to-day professional activities, but for him it’s a breath of fresh air. Through his relationships with young people who are facing uphill battles but who are nevertheless extremely brave and motivated, Laurent not only feels that he has a better understanding of the importance of diversity, but has become convinced that hiring people with backgrounds and education like those of his mentorees creates significant value for companies.
Created in 2007 by eight banking institutions, Handiformabanques provides disabled people with banking training to help them find employment in the banking sector.
The Handiformabanques association acts as interface between the banks, as potential employers, and individuals with disabilities. Like other businesses, banks seek to promote the hiring of employees with disabilities and to diversify the profiles of their employees. For their part, disabled people face an unemployment rate that is twice as high as that in the able-bodied workforce, and do not always have the required level of skills. Handiformabanques has designed a mechanism to reconcile these factors.
An Innovative Approach…
The association makes the connection between the needs of banks and the requirements of disabled people in order to pre-select job candidates. Once hired, they are offered pre-training before starting a one-year professional training programme for a career as a bank receptionist or telephone advisor. The association ensures that support measures are put in place, especially with respect to adapting workstations to their needs. “It's a good formula, both innovative and reassuring for recruiters and well-suited to candidates who already have experience in the workplace”, said Jean-Michel Malé, management and human resources manager at BNP Paribas.
… And One that Works
Olivier Baduel is one of the people who has benefited from this approach. Previously a salesman in the horticulture sector, he was looking for a new career following his recovery from a long illness. “The role of a bank receptionist seemed to be a good point of entry into a sector that’s both stable and progressive”, he said. An 8-week pre-training programme prior to the start of his work-study course in Toulon helped him approach the banking curriculum with more confidence. “It’s an excellent approach that enables two types of people who might not ordinarily encounter each other to meet face-to-face: senior recruitment professionals and job applicants with atypical career histories”.
Jean-Michel Malé adds: “This approach can also introduce a greater diversity of profiles to the bank receptionist role, which is generally entrusted to young employees at the start of their careers. It brings us motivated employees who are aware of the career development prospects that exist within our Group.”