Inclusive Recruitment at MC

What did you want to achieve? 

At MC, Sonae’s business unit focused on food retail, we developed a project aimed at fostering diversity and inclusion within our stores across the Lisbon region by actively involving people with cognitive disabilities and mental disorders.  

This journey had multiple stages, with a key emphasis on providing these individuals with a secure contract, distinguishing it as an onboarding initiative rather than an internship program.  

What did you do?

Initially, we privileged partnerships with specialised entities. We redesigned our recruitment process, proactively assessing the accessibility of our stores beforehand. We modified the selection approach, including the implementation of situation or  “on the ground interviews” when needed. We tailored training sessions for leaders, teams and HR staff. We established a policy where everyone was assigned at least one internal tutor. Additionally, we reshaped the onboarding day and work framework, for instance, by initiating with a fixed work schedule that excluded weekends. Furthermore, we maintained ongoing supervision while actively promoting successful integration stories.

What are the results so far?

Over 80% of the individuals we brought into the fold now have permanent contracts, signifying a notable rise in confidence regarding the integration of individuals with disabilities beyond the initial project scope. The sense of belonging to teams has grown stronger and leaders have developed new skills, particularly in the realm of inclusive leadership. 

The project’s triumph has been so pronounced that we are currently in the midst of launching the second edition in northern Portugal. 


What have you learned? 

Having a dedicated intervention technician from the external expert provider, that was present at store level, played a pivotal role in our success. 

The strong collaboration with HR teams was evident in all the steps, including interviews, integrations etc. 

Training our teams, leaders and tutors in advance was very crucial. 

Finally, maintaining an open-minded approach and being willing to adapt both our recruitment and onboarding models were key elements in achieving our objectives.