A helping hand
Posted on: June 11, 2020
From participation in a local audit to assess levels of homelessness in the city of Grenoble, to a long-term relationship with a local charity and the recruitment of a Syrian refugee. A win-win story for all concerned.
BioLogic first found out about Un Toit pour Tous (a roof for all), a local charity in 2019, as part of its annual audit “La nuit de la solidarité” (a night of solidarity), which gathers volunteers to walk the streets and assess levels of homelessness in the Grenoble conurbation. This initial contact has since grown into a long-term relationship with the charity and has led to the recruitment of Ahmad Al Shaar, a Syrian refugee, who has become a hard-working and much-respected member of BioLogic’s production team.
Un Toit pour Tous (a roof for all) was established in 1983 is based near Grenoble has 100 volunteer workers and over 170 members. It is a local charity, whose objectives clearly reflect its name as it aims to combat homelessness and provide accommodation for the estimated 1757 homeless in the Grenoble area.
In 2019, 756 households, made up of 2067 people (including 1067 children) were housed through the actions of Un Toit pour Tous. These activities include supporting French families with limited financial resources, and immigrants seeking asylum. The charity also provides professional support to this second group by helping asylum seekers find employment, and integrate in local companies.
After an initial contact, it became clear that the charity’s values of solidarity, autonomous living, and co-operation resonated with BioLogic’s own corporate values and this has led to what is now a long-term relationship.
BioLogic and Un Toit pour Tous: A relationship forged on shared values
Having learnt more about the actions of Un Toit pour Tous, BioLogic decided that the best way to support the charity would be by helping accompany the charity as a future employer. However, this action had to work for everyone concerned, for BioLogic, its staff, its management teams, and last, but by no means least… the new recruit.
After discussions with the Human Resource department, the production team, and an interview with Ahmad Al Shaar, the decision was made to move forward with the project in the form of a temporary contract, supported by the Isère Social Services Department.
The company’s HR team organized an onboarding plan to ensure that Ahmed’s arrival would be as stress-free as possible. Training courses and integration meetings were put in place and the new recruit was appointed a mentor, Product Manager Mohammed Reffas, whose fluency in Arabic would be an obvious asset.
Initially recruited on a six-month contract, Ahmad has since become a much-loved and well-respected member of BioLogic’s production team. His teammates and managers were aware of how hard his integration would be. Language was an obvious barrier, but culturally the new role would be very difficult for him too.
A new job. A new start…
“We made a decision to ease him into the role. He started carrying out basic, but important tasks, building product surrounds for our BCS-805 and cabling. But Ahmad is really keen. And he soon moved onto much more complicated tasks. He made progress quickly. He now oversees the entire production process for BCS-805/810 battery cycling systems, from production to testing and battery cycling.” stated Pierre Guillemin, Production Manager at BioLogic.
The language barrier created problems initially, but Ahmad developed a close relationship with Younes Azzaz (Assembler/cabler) and the two have developed a close professional bond. Younes is more than a colleague. He has become Ahmaad’s unofficial French teacher and has seen him make progress quickly. The French language is notoriously difficult to learn and the team made a decision early on to let him speak and not to systematically correct him, but rather debrief him at the end of the day. It is an approach that has paid off and Ahmaad is making consistent progress.
Ahmaad’s enthusiasm and diligence have been rewarded with an extension to his initial contract of six months, with potential plans to make this more permanent. BioLogic is also supporting Ahmaad with professional French lessons.
A helping hand and a win-win story for one and all
The precarious times that we find ourselves in, due to COVID-19, are a personal reminder of the difficulties that thousands of refugees, the homeless, or people at risk have faced for many years.
“Sometimes people need a helping hand, it doesn’t take much to transform someone’s life for the better and the case study of our relationship with BioLogic proves this”: Stated Veronique Mangin (Project Manager), Un Toit pour Tous. “BioLogic took a bet on Ahmad and placed their faith in Un Toit pour Tous with this recruitment, but its investment is now paying dividends, as the company now has a new, hard-working, and very enthusiastic team member! If other company leaders are interested in finding out how they can help, we would love to talk to them”.
Francois Goy, BioLogic’s CEO, stated: “The personal investment made by BioLogic’s teams (Human Resources, Managers, Staff) together with the contributions made by Un Toit pour Tous and local government offices in Isere have, together with the enthusiasm and motivation of Ahmad, paved the way for what has been a really satisfying project at both a personal and professional level. It’s a win-win story for everyone and one we are all really proud of”.