“We are accredited by DIRECCTE (regional French business regulator), which demonstrates our objective of helping disabled people enter the workforce,” says Director Anna Levêque. “We took over the company with the belief that by reconciling strong values with a performance-based logic, we would obtain both client satisfaction and the reintegration into the workforce of disabled people”. The company went on to open sites in Tours, Chartres and Lyons. The group now has a staff of 250, with its headquarters in Ile-de-France. Its objective is still to help disabled people back to work, with specific goals around recruitment and integration, but it also functions like any other company – it expects good results and skills development. “The people we hire come from all walks of life, with different experiences, which enrich us”. The company’s offer has been enlarged with a service issuing reminders for unpaid debts along with client services for health insurance companies, companies and medical institutions, as well as telephone surveys and operational marketing.
The company had been seeing good results since 2018. Then the crisis hit. Business was little impacted. There was a clear decline in revenues, but not enough to threaten the company. “Of course it bothered us, but we anticpated it. As soon as announcements were made, we asked 200 employees to telecommute in the space of 48 hours. We delivered workstations to our employees, we all helped each other and organised it between ourselves”. The situation has naturally led to a greater spirit of collaboration. “Our management was somewhat top-down but, in the last two years, we have reversed that and created a more agile style of management based on trust and collective intelligence. This allowed us to take decisions rapidly when faced with the crisis. This period has pushed us towards greater collaboration, uniting employees virtually to ensure they keep in touch. Given some of the employee profiles we have, we might have thought that the cutting of social ties would cause more damage. But in fact, people gained in autonomy, flourishing as business continued”. And Handicall has been very helpful in helping health organisations, handling a large number of calls to the Robert Debré Hospital in Paris. “We adapted our business to suit hospitals, who were already clients. For our health insurance clients, we also developed courtesy calls for older people to create a link with isolated populations. We are working for social cohesion, the values we share with health insurance companies are strong, and we are acting accordingly throughout this crisis”.
The company is participating in the VISES programme set up by France Active Centre Val de Loire, which aims to measure the social impact of social economy companies. In this extraordinary period, it is conducting participatory evaluations, involving stakeholders including employees and government service for employment. “We are curious to see the results. If our social impact is significant during this extraordinary period, we will have much to think about for the future regarding ways to continue working towards our goal of creating sustainable and qualified employment for disabled people,” concludes Anna Levêque.
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