Guillaume wants to encourage more employees to join V-Eagle7/9/18
Guillaume Renart decided to stay in Sweden because he had fallen in love. “After five years at the Volvo Group, it was time to decide whether to return to France. But then I met my boyfriend, so the decision to stay here wasn’t so difficult,” he says and smiles.
Guillaume plays an active role in the group’s network for LGBTQ people, V-Eagle, and he believes that there have been obvious positive developments relating to these issues within the group. “After five years at the Volvo Group, it was time to decide whether to return to France. But then I met my boyfriend, so the decision to stay here wasn’t so difficult,” he says and smiles.
Guillaume plays an active role in the group’s network for LGBTQ people, V-Eagle, and he believes that there have been obvious positive developments relating to these issues within the group. Guillaume is responsible for quality and warranty data analytics in the Volvo Group’s organisation for technical development. He was born in France and began working for the group in 2003.
“I’d finished my degree in the USA and I wanted to keep working with people from different cultures. I was looking for a global company and the Volvo Group had a lot of interesting things to offer,” he explains. Guillaume first heard about V-Eagle, the Volvo Group’s network for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people (LGBTQ), in 2006. At that time he hadn’t come out yet.
“It was difficult to be open at work about the fact that I was gay. The network gave me courage and showed me that I wasn’t alone,” he says. But it wasn’t all plain sailing. Guillaume talks about a long personal journey and says that it has sometimes been hard to have to “explain” his homosexuality all the time.
“You don’t just tell everyone once and then it’s sorted. It doesn’t work like that. Every time you meet a new colleague and they ask about your family and your children, you have to decide whether to tell them or not that I am gay. Sometimes it comes naturally and other times I dodge the issue so that I don’t have to explain everything and take part in a question and answer session. That moves the focus away from work and puts it on me instead,” he says.
Now Guillaume is an active member of the V-Eagle network. Among other things, he acts as a contact person and wants to recruit more members.“At the moment we have just over one hundred members worldwide, but in an organisation with 100,000 employees there are definitely between 4000 and 8000 LGBTQ people,” he explains.
The Volvo Group’s Code of Conduct states that the company practises diversity and inclusion and opposes discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, among other things. Guillaume believes that attitudes within the Volvo Group are constantly improving. He explains with obvious pleasure that the group flew the rainbow flag outside its headquarters before the West Pride LGBTQ festival in Gothenburg last year.
“It was fantastic. It sent out a clear signal to the organisation about the group’s attitude to LGBTQ people and, as a result, our membership increased. Some employees were brave enough to join not only in Sweden but in countries where it´s more difficult to be gay,” says Guillaume and points out that interest in LGBTQ issues has also grown within the group.
“I get invited to take part in a lot of seminars about diversity and inclusion. There is information about our network on the intranet and I’ve seen clear indications from the group and from the management team that this is an important matter,” he says. Guillaume also mentions the Volvo Group managers guide for LGBTQ topics developed by the V-Eagle network. The guide is intended to make it more neutral for managers to discuss these topics with their employees.
“Behave naturally and make it clear to your team and colleagues that you are accepting of people being gay, for example. It makes a tremendous difference for LBGTQ employees to know their manager and colleagues will be supportive when they decide to come out,” he says.
This summer the local West Pride festival will grow to become EuroPride, with people coming to Gothenburg from all over Europe to take part. Guillaume is preparing for the involvement of V-Eagle and the Volvo Group. “I am very happy that the Volvo Group will be very visible in the Europride. Please come along and show your support for diversity and inclusion. Everyone is welcome,” he says.
You can find out more about the Volvo Group’s Code of Conduct (PDF, 1.02 MB) here.
And read more about how we work with diversity and inclusion.