Seven Groupe BPCE companies have signed the charter drawn up by Cancer@Work, a network of companies committed to supporting and keeping people affected by the disease in employment.
At the Cancer@Work annual conference on February 2, the senior managers of the Caisse d'Epargne Loire-Centre, Caisse d’Epargne Languedoc-Roussillon, Caisse d’Epargne Nord France Europe, Banque Populaire Alsace Lorraine Champagne, Banque Populaire Auvergne Rhône Alpes, and BPCE SA signed the Cancer@Work network's charter, in the presence of Banque Palatine, already a signatory to this initiative. All these companies undertake to take concrete actions to integrate and keep people affected by cancer or a chronic disease in employment.
Supporting employees and their managers
Owing to the development of pathological conditions – but also thanks to progress in developing treatments allowing the infirm to return to work – and the increase in the legal retirement age, more and more employees are confronted with cancer or a chronic disease during their working lives. In France, of the 385,000 new cases of cancer diagnosed each year, 40% involve working people. This is a fact that companies must take into account in order to support the employees concerned as well as their managers. As pointed out by Philippe Salle, President of Cancer@Work and CEO of the Elior Group: “Just as an illness can make a person stronger, it can make a company stronger.”
It was on the strength of this conviction that a reflection was launched within the Group in 2015 at the initiative of three female BPCE SA employees, supported by Nicole Etchegoïnberry, Chairwoman of the Management Board of the Caisse d'Epargne Loire-Centre. Several executives and senior managers were involved in the process: Christine Fabresse, Chairwoman of the Management Board of the Caisse d'Epargne Languedoc-Roussillon; Pierre-Yves Dréan, Chief Executive Officer of Banque Palatine; Elisabeth Philibert, a member of the Management Board of the Caisse d'Epargne Loire Drôme Ardèche; Anne Cornet, a member of the Executive Committee of Crédit Foncier; Sabine Calba, Corporate Secretary of Banque Populaire Alsace Lorraine Champagne. Catherine Halberstadt, Chief Executive Officer, responsible for Human Resources and Group Internal Communications and a member of the Groupe BPCE Management Board, supported this work.
Heighten awareness, inform, and provide training...
In order to identify, directly or indirectly, the expectations and needs of the employees concerned, five workshops brought together sixty-three employees from fourteen Group companies in early 2016. They made it possible to identify “good practices” and to determine major areas of work, including the need to enhance collective awareness and provide information and training. As a result, Groupe BPCE's Human Resources Department is preparing to circulate two practical guides for managers and the employees concerned.
The signature of the Cancer@Work charter is a natural consequence of this approach. The signatory companies undertake to enhance knowledge and change attitudes about cancer and chronic diseases; to support the creation of an environment favorable to those affected; to promote managerial behavior and practices that comply, notably, with the principle of non-discrimination in occupational health and, more generally, to change the way people view illness in companies.
Cancer and work: an economically winning combination
The Cancer@Work conference was an opportunity to unveil the results of a study carried out for the association by Nicolas Bouzou, founding director of the Asterès firm, on the topic of “Working with cancer: making the willpower of some people an opportunity for all.” This research aims to demonstrate the relevance of measures to support infirm employees and maintain them in employment.