How Duo Day helped us learn more about disabilities

Operation Duo Day is a day organized by the French government, which offers companies the chance to meet up with people with disabilities. The aim is simple: to help overcome prejudices and make it easier for people with disabilities to get integrated into the workplace. As a key part of L'Oréal’s diversity and inclusion policy, we’re very happy to join the event for the 2.

We took 24 L’Oréal employees with us who all volunteered to spend a day with a disabled professional or student. To find out how the event went we hooked up with Blandine Thibault-Biacabe, HRD for L’Oréal France.

Why do events like Duo Day matter?

Taking part in Duo Day is a clear reflection of our commitment to diversity and inclusion. This should come as no surprise when you remember that L’Oréal creates products for all types of people across the globe. In fact, diversity and Inclusion is a key value in L’Oréal. It’s a core part of being a responsible company and helps us be even more creative and innovative.

As Blandine says, “to ensure that our products meet the needs of every form of beauty in every culture, our team members must be as diverse and inclusive as the world itself.”

What do you learn from the Duo Day?

The beautiful thing about Duo Day is that it allows you to really get to know someone with disabilities. Blandine was paired up with Ikram.

“I met a wonderful person, Ikram, who definitely has a sensibility and empathy – qualities that are both necessary and complementary to one another to allow us to engage more deeply with others inside and outside the business world,” says Blandine. “What she showed me was that it’s the human side that really makes a difference with other companies.”

Duo Day is a special day because it allows the participant to share their everyday experiences. Blandine didn’t change her normal schedule and Ikram joined Blandine for team meetings, as well as interviews with collaborators and business meetings. This helps raise awareness not just with participants, but with employees and managers too. Blandine believes this is a great way to help people integrate better, while enhancing individual and collective performance.

“We have talked freely about the barriers slowing the recruitment of people with disabilities and how Duo Day really helps us better understand differences as well as change perceptions about disability,” says Blandine.

Ensuring L’Oréal is a disabled-friendly company

At L’Oréal it’s one of our policies to create a workplace where people with disabilities feel welcomed and valued.Recently, we organized a TEDx conference to raise awareness for invisible disabilities and to learn how to talk about them. What’s more, we’ve also created events such as the Dark Lab where employees blind tested L’Oréal products. In addition to this, we offered our collaborators sign language classes to help them be even more inclusive on a day-to-day basis. Last, but by no means least, we work closely with our recruiters who participate in job fairs for disabled people. In addition, we work directly with providers that employ exclusively disabled people.

“It’s thanks to initiatives like this that we currently have 633 people with disabilities working with us in France in 2018,” says Blandine. “We expect to do even better in 2019. Globally, people with disabilities represent 5.15% of our direct workforce.”

Highly-motivated disabled people should apply

If you’re highly motivated then you really should consider a career at L’Oréal. The most important thing for us is your skills and how to help you use and improve them in the best possible way.

“When we worked with Arpejeh to help underprivileged and disabled young people, one of these students told us ‘now I know that later I will be able to find a job at L’Oréal as you accept everyone’,” says Blandine. “This was really satisfying to hear.”

In short, we know that as a company we have as much to learn from disabled people as they do from us, if not more. Therefore, our advice lies in a single phrase: dare to join us !

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