Connecting back-to-work employees with the corporate world

"All roads lead to man" is the motto of ARES, Association pour la Réinsertion Economique et Sociale. Anyone can get back on his feet and recover his dignity by participating in social and economic exchanges. With this in mind, ARES currently works to improve the employability of handicapped persons in the logistics sector, and to connect its back-to-work employees with the corporate world.

Social and Employment

Ile-de-France, France

Christian Dexemple

€35,000 to the Selection Committee at 2013/10/15

Project leader

Ares Group - Log'ins

"Log'ins has been handling the storage and distribution of the group's magazine for several months with professionalism and efficiency. This adapted agency has succeeded in little time in expanding its customer portfolio and, above all, finding lasting jobs for a portion of its personnel. Its project to expand its activities further deserves to be supported and encouraged."

Christian Dexemple

Created in 1991, ARES is a group of workforce development agencies that offer work and social counseling tailored to the needs of people outside mainstream society. ARES has 350 employees, 220 of them on back-to-work status, and an annual budget of nearly €13 million.

The foundation has already supported ARES projects, sponsored by employees of the Veolia Group. Bridges have thus been built with Veolia Environmental Services and Veolia Water, who call on ARES for subcontracting services. Since 2006, a score of employees completing their back-to-work phase have been recruited at Veolia in the Ile de France area.


Log'ins, a door to companies in the competitive sector

The ARES Group combines 5 workforce development agencies, of which Log'ins, the latest, was created in 2011 for the logistic professions (preparation of orders, public-promotional marketing, e-commerce, etc.). As a rule, in this type of company, handicapped persons perform their tasks at an "adapted" workstation and barely advance towards "conventional" company status. Hence the idea of forming a mixed "adapted/back-to-work company" structure to make it easier for handicapped persons to volunteer for and land a lasting conventional job.

So why logistics? The back-to-work employees at ARES are unprepared for these trades, although many of them are now leaning toward this durably vibrant sector. Created in 2011 in partnership with logistics specialist Norbert Dentressangle, Log'ins has already garnered big customers: L'Oréal, Beiersdorf, SFR, Canal + and Axa. Some of them are aiming to offer the employees completing their back-to-work phase jobs with their subcontractors in the competitive sector.

To avoid stigmatizing a handicap, Log'ins operates on the principle of staff mixing: half of the teams consist of handicapped persons, who work daily with the ARES services workforce development professionals on the Log'ins site in the Val-de-Marne area.


A comprehensive approach

Log'ins has created a kind of halfway space, between exclusion and inclusion, dedicated to helping its employees gradually build a brighter personal and professional future. An employee's career at Log'ins begins before he or she signs the work contract. "Our vocational guidance officer recruits people on the basis of an assessment of operational needs and the candidates put forward by the temporary employment agency dealing with social inclusion issues, attached to the Cap Emploi branch of Dammarie-lesLys", explains Sabrina Adjaoud. Recruitment is therefore based not on skills or a CV, but on the applicant's motivation.

The vocational guidance part takes off once the work contract has been signed. "At the professional level, the aim is to identify any limitations resulting from the handicap and to find out which activities match the employee's profile," Sabrina Adjaoud points out. "We approach this question from the angle of contra-indications (transportable weight, stand-up workstation, etc.), the idea being to adapt the workstation to allow a gradual build-up of skills."

During their working time, the employees also benefit from individual social counseling (accommodation, budget management, legal and administrative aid), which is invaluable in the event that they are able to find a job in a conventional company.


More training and bridges to corporations

Log'ins started with 3 employees; in 2012, the figure rose to 24, accompanied, particularly thanks to the grant from the foundation. Log'ins' goal is to accompany 80 persons per year by 2015, making a total workforce of 100 persons including the full-time staff, with a first target of 30 employees at end 2013. This project demands every effort to welcome a growing number of handicapped and/or sidelined employees while consolidating the social counseling. To do this, Log'ins moved in summer of 2013 to new premises at Coudray Montceaux (Essonne), the largest logistic facility in France.

This new site requires major changes to improve the accessibility of the various parts of the building and to optimize the storage needed by the e-commerce business, particularly with the construction of a mezzanine. But it also means acquiring appropriate equipment, enhancing for the personnel, efficient and professional, to ensure the profitability and hence the permanence of the project. For example, an automatic auxiliary forklift pallet truck helps automatically adjust the weight of the package loaded on the pallet truck; the warehouseman no longer needs to bend down.

This type of equipment optimizes the arduous workstations and helps focus on those offering added value for the employees, so that they can acquire skills that are valuable and transferrable. The same applies to the ergonomically designed seats, adapted workbenches, forklift trucks including one retractable to reach the highest pallets and one with an auxiliary forklift to assist the employees with a load carrying disability, the seven manual forklift pallet trucks, the specialized forklift trucks for book collecting, storage shelves and adapted shelves dedicated to the preparation of book orders, the pallet wrapping machine and the freewheel conveyor that the back-to-work agency plans to acquire. Moreover, to facilitate and optimize the social and professional counseling of its employees, Log'ins is acquiring a management software (GDI - gestion des interventions).