5E (eng.) - Employing disabled: “Not a charity, they do a real job” Scott Burton

Three family companies were invited to the World Forum Lille to share their stories and commitments towards the disabled persons and their access to employment.

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  1. Max Burger from Sweden, represented by Pär Larshans, Bonduelle, a French-based company, represented by Stephan Fertikh and Dolphin Digital Technology (Canada) represented by Jamie and Scott Burton all have integrated the change in their companies.

    Max Burger’s leadership program, awarded “best practice” by the European Commission in 2007, emphasizes the importance of “self-awareness” for the managers to be ready to change. According to Pär Larshans, “responsibility is the future of any business”: Max Burger took that responsibility seriously and created the Delifresh meal (healthy burgers), in addition to being the first one to have put the carbon issue on their menu in 2008. Change isn’t something to be afraid of: Max Burger has become international, and is now the second chain of fast-food in Sweden.

    Stephan Fertikh, from Bonduelle, first had everyone to shake hands with their neighbours at the conference: “it’s all about creating dialogue and changing perceptions”.  Bonduelle goes way over the minimum of 6% of disabled people needed in a company: “it’s obvious that it is a richness to invest in diversity”.  Disabled people occupy the same post and are followed by a volunteer from the team; which federates the team.  These “small victories” are being exported in the other subsidiaries in Russia or Canada. Bonduelle believes in communicating around the disabilities in the work field issue: “For us, the real handicap is to NOT talk about it”

    For Scott Burton from Dolphin Digital Technology: “it’s cheaper to invest in an individual as a proactive measure rather than a reactive”. They innovated in order to make disability transparent with the first virtual office, work schedules that fits the various needs of their employees. “We focus on the ability rather than on the disability” claims Jamie Burton, and it worked: employees developed an extreme loyalty (no turn over, less sick days).

                    The aim of the World Forum Lille is to “highlight the good practices, to show people it is possible”, as Pär Larshans explains. Through the moving testimonies of Max Burger, Bonduelle and Dolphin Digital Technology’s representatives, we saw that changing is possible, and that solutions exists when discussing the integration and employment of disabled people. It’s a benefit for the employees in their own personal life, and for the companies that will make profit out of it: “we don’t employ them out of charity: they do a real job” (Scott Burton).


    Juliette Mille 

  2. World Forum Lille 2013 : Pär LARSHANS
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