What is diversity and what are real examples of its implementation at Credit Agricole? How does the bank develop and takes into account special characteristics and needs of its staff? What global challenges are addresses by the Charter of Equality, and why it is important to promote the culture of diversity? Find the answers in the interview of the HRD Olena Urusova. 

1.What does diversity mean for Credit Agricole?

The principle of diversity is closely connected to the Charter of Equality signed by the bank last year.

We guarantee equal rights and opportunities to all our employees. We understand that we are all different, we accept our differences and respect our colleagues.

We undertake to follow the values that include diversity and equality regardless of the gender, age, health conditions, race, skin color, ethnical or social origin, language, religion, political views, etc. We are the employee with flexible approach, we offer comfortable working conditions to our team, hear the needs of our employees, and respond to the market changes.

Remote work and hybrid work format is a bright example of following the diversity at the bank as it was tried by nearly all employees of the Head Office of the bank.

Practicing remote work, we care about the safety of our staff and help them and their families balance their private lives. Working from home, we save on time and money to get to the office and have more time to do more. We focus more on the productivity of employees than on a strict requirement of mandatory presence at the office. The bank also benefits from the hybrid format: office premises are vacated, and we transform them into creative spaces for work and rest, such as a modern Digital Factory co-working located at the Head Office.

"We are the employee with flexible approach, we offer comfortable working conditions to our team, hear the needs of our employees, and respond to the market changes"

Of course, due to work peculiarities, employees of the bank branches have to be at their work places to serve customers. For them, we assure safe working conditions and monitor epidemiologic situation on an ongoing basis.

As part of implementation of the diversity principle at the bank, we support the development of young professionals, and implement a range of programs for their adaptation.

This year, we have launched theYoungProfessionals project within which we engage talented youth to digital transformation of the bank. We provide all possible conditions: mentors who help them gain IT skills, we plan their development, and elaborate on the appraisal and selection system. We are going to onboard the second wave: 15 second and third year students who will be trained as future analysts, IT professionals, and process robotization specialists. To compete successfully in the market, the bank should develop its digital channels and engage young professionals to this area.

The bank supports employees on maternity leaves. We expanded the package of health insurance, in particular, increased the item “Newborn care”.

2.Please give the numbers and the brightest examples of observance the diversity principle at the bank

A bright evidence of gender equality is that 39 percent of top management of the bank are women. We observe age diversity: 24 employees under 20 y.o. and 86 employees in their 60s work for the bank. We support those who needs it: 4 employees stay in the ATO zone. Being governed by the principle of inclusiveness, the bank employed 112 people with disability.

We respect motherhood: 214 employees are on the maternity leave now.

3.These are the examples of diversity universal for the entire international group Credit Agricole. Does the bank have any particular examples that are unique for Ukraine?

Yes, there is one matter typical for Ukraine. Though it seems to be less acute now, we should keep it in mind. We almost never talk about the people displaced from the ATO zone and Crimea. This topic is still relevant even if it stays in shadow. There are people who found themselves in very difficult circumstances in 2014 and were obliged to leave their homes, people who required special support, including in the process of adaptation in the team.

Then, in 2014, the bank helped nearly 100 employees from the ATO zone move to the peaceful territory, employed them in various regions and, at the initial stages, helped them rent housing.

This is very difficult, and there plenty of such stories throughout Ukraine. We do not keep the statistics of the number of such employees at the bank, but it is very important for us that they feel home in their new locations, new environment, and be confident that the bank assures them equal rights and opportunities for work and development. 

4.You have already mentioned the Charter of Equality. How does diversity correlate with the principles of equality stated in the Charter?

In fact, these categories are inseparable for us. Equality means equal opportunities and protection of our staff against discrimination. Diversity means acknowledgment that each employee is individual and deserves respect. Another principle is inclusion: when the bank employs people with special needs, such as people with disability, and provides them with comfortable working conditions.

Following all such principles, we create fair relations at work where everyone has equal rights and opportunities.

5.What does it mean that each employee is individual, and how does the bank consider this, and why is it important for the bank?

We have a fresh case in this respect. We have recently faced a candidate with a very good and highly demanded STEM profile: analytics, processing of big data bulks, and mathematical type of thinking. He has excellent background and skills, fluent English, and interesting experience of working abroad. A dream of any employerJ. But in the course of interviewing him, we noticed one peculiarity: some social withdrawal. It is difficult for him to interrelate. Usually this is a matter of concern for employers because he is different for them. However, we are not afraid. I personally support him a lot and hope he will join our team.

6.Does it mean that the principle of diversity helps you make good acquisitions in the market?

Yes, and this is especially important for the youth. Social responsibility of the employer is crucial for them. We have a high level of engagement in various social projects, environmental initiatives, and volunteering. Almost all candidates ask us about the possibility of remote work. This became a “must have”.

7.Does the bank have any  target indicators/thresholds on diversity? Which ones?

We agreed some indicators at the Group level. More than 40 percent of women in management (levels В-1 and В-2, including directors of commercial sectors and corporate business).

In terms of remote work, the Head Office in the new flexible style is intended for the ratio of 70 percent of people at the office and 30 percent working remotely. However, taking into account the changes in epidemiological situation, we normally maintain 50/50 ratio and don’t insist on anything more.

8.Is diversity culture connected with global trends in the labor market?

According to the expert opinions, Ukraine lacks 2 million of working people. One of the probable scenarios for the country in the nearest 5 years is to engage employees from Pakistan, Iran, India, etc. Thus, the development of social and cultural diversity today is the key to stable and productive relations in the team in the future.

The bank has been following the principles of equality and diversity since the start of its work in the Ukrainian market, which is already 28 years. Nobody could foresee such trends at the international labor market, it was just our choice determined by the high level of social responsibility of the Group.

9.Why is it important for Credit Agricole to follow the principles of diversity? Many banks work successfully without them.

Any team forms its corporate culture, whether the organizations want it or not. If not organized and directed, the culture develops chaotically and does not generate any added value for employees. For us, corporate culture, observance of equality and diversity principles is a response to the today’s challenges and needs of our team.

We believe that thanks to its respect and support of human rights and nondiscrimination policy, the bank facilitates the development of the society, ensures its own resilience and sustainable growth, and improves its performance.

10.Is Ukraine behind/ahead of the European leader countries in observance of diversity and equality principles?

We are definitely not ahead, as we started to talk about equality and diversity and formalize such principles relatively recently. Instead, in Europe this topic has been a priority for a long time. However, we picked up on this trend and we move forward with confidence. 

11.As part of the Human Project of AIR2025, one of the objectives is diversity management. How do you plan to implement it?

We will promote the diversity topic more actively, and carry out educational events during theDiversity month, to have the whole team on the same page. We plan to implement special programs for employees who are on maternity leaves and want to come back to work. We develop special programs for the talented youth – Young Professionals, employment fairs, online platform for internship. We will enhance our policy of social protection as part of the TakeCare program.

Credit Agricole is the employer you can always rely on!