In 2020, Groupe Renault signed the LGBT+ Commitment Charter of “L’Autre Cercle” in France. This association, created in 1997, works for a better inclusion of LGBT+ people in the professional world and every year rewards LGBT+ role models and allies in four categories: “leaders”, “allied leaders”, “LGBT+ leaders” and “LGBT+ young graduates”.
The 2020 edition of this event has rewarded 95 winners, who have in common that they are all working to ensure that everyone can be themselves at work, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, and that they are committed to change attitudes on a daily basis.
This year, among the four candidates from the Groupe, two were awarded:
ROLE MODEL 2020 OF “L’AUTRE CERCLE”, IN THE “ALLIED LEADERS” CATEGORY.
Allies at work, for “L’Autre Cercle”, are people who contribute, through their commitments, to developing a positive image of LGBT+ people and promote their inclusion in the world of work, without being or asserting themselves as LGBT+.
ROLE MODEL 2020 OF “L’AUTRE CERCLE”, IN THE “LGBT+ LEADERS” CATEGORY
In this category are LGBT+ members significantly contributing to the inclusion of LGBT+ in their work environment.
Valérie, can you tell us more about your commitment to the theme of diversity?
My commitment is driven by strong convictions: men and women are the driving force of the company and we must take care of them! If I can really be who I am at work, that means I will be more successful.
Striving to remain discreet about who you are generates an unnecessary and counter-productive mental burden. I realize that during all the years I have imposed on myself to keep a low profile, I have been walking through the doors of the company, leaving a part of myself outside. I adopted the saying “let’s live happy, let’s live hidden” without it echoing a reality, because it was rather a form of self-censorship.
This hypervigilance was a loss of energy, and it appeared to me that I could no longer continue to be on my guard. Being very attached to my company, it became obvious that I had a role to play in getting out of this posture. Finally, being “out” made me feel better and allowed me to devote myself fully to my work. I told myself that if I could set an example for others in the company, it would worth it.
Can you explain the progress made?
In 2012, an LGBT+ network was created within the Groupe: the We’R OustStandInG network. It was the first time the company sent a sign of inclusion to its LGBT+ employees. Even though I didn’t find out about it immediately, getting in touch with this network helped me. I felt ready to ‘make myself visible’ and get involved, and gradually I took part in its leadership.
For eight years now, within this network, a growing group of employees has been acting to help mentalities to evolve positively. I am proud of the work that has been accomplished. Of course, I associate all the members with these victories. Over the last two years, there has been an acceleration in the deployment of the actions implemented. The company is helping us to develop what we call affinity networks: these are employee-driven diversity networks. These networks are a source of proposals in the company, which facilitates their implementation.
Examples include the deployment of inclusive training for managers or the establishment of LGBT+ referents on industrial sites. Next year, we will be working on other sites: commercial, technical or tertiary
You have been recognized by “L’Autre Cercle” two years in a row. What meaning do you give to these distinctions? And what is the meaning for you of François Roger’s recognition, in the category “leading allies”?
“L’Autre Cercle” is an external recognition. What pleases me beyond this recognition is the impact of this nomination on the Groupe’s employees. I know that it contributes to the promotion of diversity and inclusion within the company.
The fact that our Human Resources Director, François Roger, has been awarded as a leading ally is a very strong sign. It shows that the top management of our company is in a dynamic position and that diversity and inclusion are an integral part of our values. It also confirms that discriminatory attitudes can only be counterproductive, and that invisibility is no longer inevitable.
How can we attract talented people if an employee is faced with a narrow world and feels discriminated against or devalued because of his or her sexual orientation or gender identity?