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To build a wide-reaching, open ecosystem like the one developed by ADEO and become a genuine platform, it’s necessary to know how to support and promote diversity. For a long time now the majority of pioneering ADEO companies have worked with different countries on numerous progressive diversity initiatives, as seen in Brazil. Two years ago, ADEO drew inspiration from all of these initiatives to define a Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) strategy at the global level. How does this strategy support its model and purpose? How is it applied in practical terms, including at the local level? We discuss these topics with Ophélie Leboucher, ADEO Diversity & Inclusion leader.

You’ve said both “Diversity & Inclusion”?


For the ADEO collective, these two concepts go together.
Diversity is the sum of all of the visible and invisible elements in each human that go far beyond their gender, skin colour or sexual orientation to make them a unique person. It is essential to ensure that this diversity is a central part of the ADEO collective while also working to embrace an inclusive outlook in our daily lives. It’s a matter of making sure that each of the ADEO’s 150,000 leaders has a voice and a role in this collective, ensuring that the collective is united and that each person counts. Since inclusion cannot come about by decree alone, it has to be put into practice. It’s a feeling that each person must have and that the collective must strive to bring about every day through concrete actions.

Diversity & Inclusion: real performance challenges

The concern over diversity and inclusion is much more than just an HR issue. It has a much larger impact on our overall performance. “Our employees must reflect society. They need to resemble the people in the community that they serve every day because by resembling them, we are better able to understand their needs and offer them solutions”, Ophélie Leboucher said. Having a more diverse and comprehensive collective means being able to develop more inclusive products and services for ADEO companies.


Numerous studies have shown the links between diversity and performance, particularly the study conducted by McKinsey in 2020: the most diverse companies financially outperformed other less diverse companies by 25%. This trend proves to be even more true when companies are more ethnically diverse. This idea is easy to understand: the more a person feels respected, included and listened to, the more comfortable they will feel to be themselves, propose ideas and innovate, making them more committed to their work. This is thus a real overall economic performance lever for the ADEO brands. “It’s a business concern that should be treated as such with a strategy, objectives and an action plan”, Ophélie Leboucher said.


25 % and 36 % : These are the financial outperformance figures linked to greater diversity in gender and ethnic backgrounds, respectively, in companies
(McKinsey & Company, « Diversity wins, how inclusion matters » 2020)

Raising awareness, promoting involvement and monitoring the efforts of the collective

ADEO has set out a double objective: to increase the representation of diverse profiles at all levels of the company and to develop a genuinely inclusive company culture. And to progress in real terms on issues of diversity, the collective needs to prioritise professional gender equality and greater inclusiveness among people with disabilities.


“In addition to these 2 overall priorities, each company also needs to address the issues that are more meaningful and important to their local communities. For example, sexual orientation is not treated the same way in Russia as it is in Brazil. Similarly, the subject of ethnic backgrounds does not have the same value in South Africa as it does in France”, the Diversity & Inclusion leader said. “On the other hand, we know that when we focus our efforts on subjects of professional gender equality by making our HR procedures fairer, this also benefits all the other diversity concerns. It’s a strategic gateway!” she added.


Working on diversity is essential, but it is meaningless if we don’t also develop an inclusive company culture at the same time. And a company is, in the end, no more than the sum of individual behaviours. So, not just employees, but also managers and senior executives need to be involved in the effort.
To do this, several levers have been activated, including a training programme intended for the top 350 ADEO directors to turn them into genuine sponsors, ambassadors and players. More broadly, an e-learning module is being provided to the 150,000 ADEO employees to educate them on these subjects and give them the tools needed to become more inclusive on a daily basis.


Additionally, just like any other business concern, ADEO decided to monitor the initiatives and make all the leaders more accountable through the “ADEO POSITIVE index”, a human and environmental performance measurement tool. To manage, determine and monitor the progress, ADEO has set up a D&I Strategic Committee, bringing together executives, internal stakeholders and external experts, while also appointing a D&I leader in each company.


Inclusion in action… to encourage inclusive behaviour!
“What is inclusive behaviour? How can I apply it in my everyday life? When do I organise a meeting? When am I going to have lunch with my colleagues? When do I prepare the schedule?” ADEO put these questions to 500 employees participating in some fifty focus groups around the world!


“We wanted to listen to the leaders and hear about their daily lives! There were more than 850 contributions, which we collected and placed in three major inclusion principles (the “Inclusion Boosters”): genuine listening, promoting differences and involving others. We illustrated them with questions that each person could ask to challenge their own habits because there is no single way to be inclusive”, Ophélie Leboucher said.

Major initiatives in each of the ADEO companies

RStrengthened by this global forward momentum, ADEO companies are making concrete progress.
Concerning initiatives for people with disabilities, it is worth mentioning the ambitious agreement signed by Leroy Merlin France. It meets four objectives: raising awareness about workers with disabilities, recruiting them, keeping them employed and developing partnerships with the disability inclusion sector. To apply these objectives on all levels, there is a leader responsible for overseeing the strategy at a national level, and a “disabled persons representative” has been appointed at each store, ensuring local anchoring for this national strategy.


As for Leroy Merlin Spain, the BU set out the goal of doubling the legal rate for inclusion of people with disabilities, increasing it from 2% to 4% in 8 months. To meet this objective, they signed numerous partnerships with local and national associations and foundations. They’ve also placed 2 employees in charge of full-time recruitment and raised awareness throughout their workforce on these subjects.


Among the professional gender equality actions, ADEO wanted to conduct a thorough review of the HR and managerial practices, processes and tools in 3 pilot BUs (Leroy Merlin France, Leroy Merlin Portugal, and ADEO Services). “The objective is to see if there are any biases in our processes and where they are found. When we look at our global workforce, we have 40% women, but no more than 27% of them are in executive positions. We want to understand and identify the obstacles and break the glass ceiling”, Ophélie Leboucher said. To bolster this commitment, ADEO is also a member of the UN’s Women’s Empowerment Principles.


female directors and site managers

by 2025

150 000

more aware

of Diversity and Inclusion


top directors trained

to play the role of sponsor and make concrete commitments


Diversity & Inclusion leaders

to promote these subjects around the world