In recent years, diversity and inclusion have become business-critical in many sectors. One example is the technology and IT sectors, where the global skills shortage grows alarmingly. While training is part of the solution, there is also a pressing need to attract people who traditionally might not have conformed to certain stereotypes.
Modis champions a company culture where talent – not labels – matters and where everyone can be part of an inclusive Tech world. The company has adopted the motto “Tech for All”, embracing that this talent comes from all walks of society, regardless of gender, ethnic origin, age, or physical ability. “Tech for All” is also the name of a global Diversity & Inclusion program at Modis fostering inclusive recruitment, promoting equal internal opportunities for Development in Tech careers, and supporting diverse Clients offering & Tech delivery capabilities
Big Data is increasingly crucial for Modis’ customers. It is an area that calls for a skill set where mathematics, statistics, and computer science are vital but also rigor, analytical skills, and memorization. It turns out that people with Asperger’s syndrome are particularly suited to this.
Modis France has successfully hired people with Asperger’s syndrome. One of them is Théo Beard, who participated in the 2019 Data Asperger training at Grenoble Ecole de Management, GEM (see fact box). He is now on a permanent contract with Modis France Salesforce as an IT analyst.
We met up with Théo to talk about his work. We also spoke with David Le Brun, Functional Analyst, and Matthieu Le Petit, Project Manager, who work closely with Théo.
Théo, could you please describe what you do at Modis?
“Working as an IT Analyst, I collect data and format it using software. If necessary, I present the data in the form of a graph, a table, or some other way. The data can be about repairs or maintenance, including the date and what was done on time or late. But also, information to facilitate the targeting and sorting of our customers.”
What does the permanent contract mean to you?
“As the years were passing by, I was a bit worried about my future. So, it’s rewarding to work in a field that you particularly like, especially as this job made it possible for me to be independent and financially stable.”
How are your relationships with your colleagues?
“I never had any particular social difficulties. The co-worker relations were good from the start, both as a trainee and now, on the permanent contract. I’ve never felt left out or left behind. On the contrary, my manager never made any difference between my colleagues and me.”
What message would you like to send to the new Data Asperger trainees?
“I’d tell them that they are in the right place. The training is undoubtedly worth it. For example, I had been unemployed for five years. In just six months, I got a permanent contract with Modis, in a job position that I like, in a well-supervised environment, and with a very decent salary.”
Matthieu and David: how are Théo’s assignments going since he got permanent employment?
MATTHIEU: “I wasn’t particularly apprehensive as we had already welcomed one person from the first GEM Data Asperger training. I knew that people diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome have a fact-based approach. We have adopted our management method accordingly.
“We pay particular attention to checking with Théo that his work environment is well adapted to his needs. Last year, his confidence increased markedly. He has integrated perfectly into Salesforce and doesn’t hesitate to voice his opinion in client meetings.”
DAVID: “We met Théo after his internship and his recruitment to a permanent contract in another Modis department in Lyon. During this interview, we saw a person who is passionate about our business and with know-how that matched our expectations.
“Théo joined our Salesforce team in September 2019. Like all our employees, he followed the training necessary for integrating into our environment. Today, he has completed all the e-learning modules and is about to get his certification. And frankly, he surprised us. Théo is now one of our recognized experts in data analysis.”
You were both among the first managers at Modis to welcome employees diagnosed with Asperger’s. What’s your message for other Modis managers?
MATTHIEU: “When you hire a person diagnosed with Asperger’s, you should take a fact-based approach. Instructions must be quantifiable and precise while at the same time avoiding any digressions that make them hard to understand. We were fortunate to get good support from our Disability & Inclusion department and an external coach.”
DAVID: “Working with Théo on various topics, you start seeing things differently. He brings a fresh perspective. Like Théo, people with Asperger’s syndrome are often very self-demanding, which should be considered when assigning them responsibilities. To avoid stressful situations or even mental block, our advice is to work together with them the first time to establish each deliverable stage and share the responsibility.”
Building diverse teams Modis encourage organizations to join the mission to make tech available for all.