Leveraging on diversity

Autogrill leadership is the result of a significant process of internationalization and expansion, which has resulted in the sustained growth of its human capital, across a progressively wider range of nationalities, cultures, skills and competencies.

For this reason the themes related to innovation and social-cultural change are an integral part of Autogrill operations.

The cultural diversity of our collaborators is an asset and an important growth lever reflecting also on customers, products, services and consumption models. For this reason the activities relating to the acceptance, introduction and integration of newlyhired people are a key focus in the Group’s commitment to orientation.

Autogrill implements the principles established in its Corporate Governance in all circumstances, and the Group is committed to reducing to a minimum any obstacles to equal opportunity and the proactive promotion of numerous activities to encourage and enhance diversity. In compliance with currently applicable regulations and the generally accepted international standards (including the UN Convention on the rights of the child (UNCRC), the Human Rights Act of 1998 and the International Labor Organization standards) the Group is committed to shunning the use of child labor and forced labor in all the regions in which it operates. In the majority of the countries in which it operates, Autogrill has also established hotlines and email addresses for employees to report any occurrence of discriminatory behavior.

The challenge of cultural diversity lies in the promotion of an attitude that respects differences and guarantees equal opportunity: • In Spain, Autogrill has drawn up a “Plan de Igualdad” [Equality Plan], a policy promoting equal opportunity for all collaborators In addition, the Group has also implemented a set of targeted activities, including the exemption of Muslim collaborators from the performance of their duties during the Ramadan period, and foreign collaborators are given the possibility of taking a one month vacation, without interruptions, to enable them to visit their country of origin.

  • In Belgium, collaborators are given the possibility of taking a one month furlough from work (without salary) in addition to the holiday month, in order to spend more time with their families. Also in Belgium, Flemish courses are held during working hours: the teacher works together with the employee and meanwhile helps him/her to learn the language on the job.
  • In Italy, a survey on employee knowledge of foreign languages was carried out to enhance collaborators’ competencies and improve customer service. The survey revealed that in addition to English, French and Spanish, employees also speak Rumanian, Russian, Polish or Arabic. Badges with the flags of the main spoken languages were distributed to collaborators in order to make these skills easily accessible to consumers.
  • In the United States training courses in English were organized in several locations to improve the language skills of foreign employees. In addition, materials for basic training are available in English and Spanish, as well as ad hoc kits to illustrate health and pension plans and systems, as well as federal and state laws.

HMSHost also participates in the “Work and travel” program, sponsored by the US State Department, in which foreign university students spend approximately 90 days working at a Group restaurant. In this way, HMSHost can rely on an excellent service for its customers provided by students, and students and US collaborators have the possibility of enjoying an experience of cultural exchange targeting improvement and mutual understanding.

Story of Olga
In relation to this project we would like to tell you the story of Olga. Last year, Olga filled out the questionnaire on Aconnect for the mapping of the languages spoken by collaborators and thanks to this, she was able to enjoy a special experience within the Group.
Thanks to the fact that she is fluent in Russian (and not only in this language), her passion for her work, her professionalism and ability to teach and work in a team context, she was selected to support the team that inaugurated the first Acafè stores in Russia, the result of the agreement stipulated with Rosneft, a leader in the country in the oil & gas sector, for the development of the brand in franchising within the seven new gas stations in the metropolitan area of Sochi.
“Thanks to filling out of the questionnaire I was able to enjoy an unforgettable experience... I was in Sochi from January 7-25. These were busy days indeed, but what fun! Everything was geared to the setting up and control of the machines in the stores, the preparation of the stores, staff training and, afterwards, of the two teams for the opening to the public of the 7 Acafès... I was incredibly lucky because I had the opportunity to collaborate with so many different people, a truly international and closely-knit group, primed to make the difference."

Autogrill has promoted concrete actions in relation to the differently able, including the elimination of physical barriers in the stores, ad hoc store design to make their stay more comfortable and particular attention to differently able collaborators.

Regulations in the matter of disability and labor differ from country to country and the Group companies are committed to scrupulously complying with the pertinent laws.

In accordance with trade unions and in compliance with the legislation in force, Autogrill employs differently able individuals, or stipulates collaboration contracts with outside companies, employing them for service activities in line with its needs.

In Spain, 13 individuals were hired on a permanent employment contract in 2013 in collaboration with "Fundación Incorpora" and ATAM (NGOs assisting companies in the process of recruitment of the differently able). In specific cases (collaborators with Down's Syndrome) a special training course was promoted in collaboration with the Madrid Regional Institute for Health and Safety.

In Italy, 469 differently able people and individuals belonging to the so-called “protected” categories are currently employed by the organization.

HMSHost, too, has drawn up guidelines for the hiring, training, integration and management of individuals with various forms of disability, according to the regulations issued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and consistently with the requirements set out in the American Disabilities Act of 1990. Many locations in the United States directly collaborate with local organizations to employ differently able individuals.

In these cases, both parties periodically carry out accurate appraisals to ensure that collaborators are given a position that guarantees their health and safety on the one hand, and, on the other, the productivity of the post for the organization.