Topic 1 Presentation of best practices in Portugal and discussion, main take aways, key elements to adopt, similar case studies in Portugal

I. Reaching out to our stakeholders

As part of our project, we were able to reach out to several relevant stakeholders in order to know a bit more about what is their insight on some of the best practices we could implement in order to integrate TCN working women in the labour market.

One of suggestions that came to us was brought by our Stakeholder EL CORTE INGLÉS

El Corte Inglés Grandes Armazéns is a reputed Spanish department store that started operating in Portugal in 2001 and, since then, it  has led a revolution in the retail trade. On a daily basis, the company is committed to offer quality products and services to their customers. To give meaning to this mission, the company considers that they need the best people to collaborate with them, in the biggest daily challenge – to be specialists in any business area. The company’s culture is built  by each worker. The principles of the company are: dedication, loyalty, diversity, equality, social responsibility, education, resilience, innovation, and above all, as they state: “we are passionate about everything we do and build”. Since December 2021, El Corte Inglês is also the first company recognized as Inclusive Employer Brand – Excellence, for inclusive management and practices for people with disabilities.

Photo by Alexander Suhorucov:

II. Best Practices – a living experience

In this area, EL CORTE INGLÉS implemmented a very interesting project: Pesca project: training fishmongers

Photo from the practice

PProjecta o teu (go fish your)
EEmprego (employment)
SSeguro (safe)
CConstrói o teu futuro e (build your future and)
AAprende uma profissão (Learn a profession)

Photo by Alex Green:

This project is about the professional integration of immigrants by learning a profession with a high degree of employability.

These women were unemployed, started the recruitment/selection process, and were integrated first in a 3-month paid internship/training context and then with an employment contract.

The company members involved are HR, OSH Services, Supercor managers, and tutors in the work area.

During the working period, supervision by chiefs and tutors was always ensured in order to guarantee their complete integration, follow-up, and professional development.

The communication used to promote the practice was the disclosure in our corporate portal and the company’s linkedIn.

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto:

The PESCA project aimed to integrate immigrant women in Fishmongery, an area with excellent employability.

For the  candidates chosen, the common denominator was the motivation to learn a profession and the goal of professional stability. They carried out a training program in Fishmongery and were later hired for this area. They are now specialists in Fishmongery.

So far, 6 women have participated in this project in the past three editions. EL CORTE INGLES are currently preparing the beginning of the 4th edition, which will start this month with 4 more participants. In addition, and because of the implementation of this practice in the stores, all employees of these stores are somehow in contact with the practice.

Internally, 98% of employees have access to a corportate portal, called NEXO, in which they can consult the publications and texts published every two weeks, and sometimes weekly, on inclusion and diversity. In the case of this project, a video in which the employees themselves wanted to give their testimony was released.

So far, this project has been implemented at a local level, in the Lisbon area, covering the El Corte Inglés Supermarket in the São Sebastião store and the 3 Supercors in the greater Lisbon area (Restelo, Beloura and Parque das Nações).  In the near future, the company’s goal is to implement it at a national level.

With this practice, the company was able to cross-reference the needs of professionals for the operation areas, with this target group of female migrants who are job seekers and are open to areas that are less attractive to workers from their own country.

  • Involving other immigrant associations in different geographical areas near stores and other work centers;
  • On the other hand, it is simultaneously adaptable to other target audiences, equally discriminated or in minority, such as the long-term unemployed, older people, homeless people, low – educated, or in any other situation of vulnerability;
  • Replicate it internally to other Supercor stores nationwide;
  • Replicate it internally to different supermarket sections, especially perishable departments;
  • Replicate it to the Food Retail sector (Fishmonger’s), as part of the professional training of the immigrant population, engaged in the active search for employment.

III. Key achivements

EL CORTE INGLÉS carried out a 3-month internship that trained these female workers for a career, giving them direct access to the job of operator, which already requires the mastery of several skills. Therefore, the impact on the target public is unequivocal because there is whole care, protection, and coaching that is guaranteed, providing an environment and a life with respect and dignity.

For the organization, the benefits are evident because by having among employees, people who do not belong to the established social standard and who come from minorities and risk groups, they  feel that it is following its mission and commitments to “give back to society part of its profits and benefits“.

Having a workforce that mirrors miscegenation, for example, reduces the imbalance in the composition of teams and makes the organization fairer and more democratic. The benefits of inclusion are tangible for society, which will see the company exercising citizenship, but also for the included professional, who will have access to consumption and will be able to meet tax obligations while developing their potential.

By promoting equality in access to professions and job openings, the company assumes a commitment to minorities and acts with social responsibility, resulting in more committed, involved, and productive teams. We are aware that diversity also promotes the oxygenation of teams in smaller stores, which can directly and positively influence the business outcome.

IV. Other best practices

  • Training programs for women in several areas, like sales, learning the Portuguese language and culture
  • Employability programs specifically directed for Migrant Women Victims of Domestic Violence (together with APAV, the Portuguese Association for Women Victim of Domestic Violence)
  • Providing legal and psycho-social support
  • Providing cultural orientation
  • Adult Literacy Courses
  • Female Empowerment and Gender Equality training
  • Vocational guidance
  • Support for active job search
  • Development of partnerships focused on employability
  • Employer awareness

Open reflection

Open floor for discussion

Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán: