SWISSCAM is very close to its associates and has for some time been following an increasing number of companies concerned with forming more plural work teams. However, despite wanting changes, many of these companies do not know how to implement diversity and inclusion projects.
Since 2018, SWISSCAM has been holding events related to this theme with the Human Resources Committee, coordinated by the Lawyer Maria Lúcia Gadotti. In the first two editions, SWISSCAM focused the debate on the challenges that women face in the market. However, at this last event, SWISSCAM decided to reach other public, including people with disabilities, from different ethnicities and the LGBTQ + community.
We then organized an online panel, on September 22, with the mediation of Tânia Moura, Vice President of the Brazilian Association of HR Professionals. The event also had the participation of renowned professionals, who shared strategies and ideas to build diverse teams.
Ana Fontes, founder of RME – Rede Mulher Empreendedora, an Institute that helps women to enter the business world, started the event by saying that within the group of women there are particularities that are not always remembered: “We help black women, women with more 50 years old, transgender women and women living outside urban centers. Each one has its needs.” She also stressed that promoting diversity is not only about social justice, but also an economic issue. “This is a flag that I always raise. Companies need to know that without diversity, there will be no innovation.”
Grácia Fragalá, Director of the Social Responsibility Committee of Fiesp – Federation of Industries of the State of São Paulo, highlighted one of the most valuable benefits of working in companies that respect differences. “Diversity changes the work environment into a more spontaneous place. People start acting more naturally and showing who they are. People suffer less discrimination and consequently there is a decrease in stress factors caused by work. This is very good for employees’ mental health.”
Julia Pirola, Director of People and Organization at Novartis Brazil, shared with the participants a little bit about the experiences of her company. According to her, Novartis Brazil has a guideline called “Own Boss”. “We encourage greater independence among our employees. It is important they take chances and make mistakes, because mistakes are acceptable. This is how transformations take place, which lead employees to be more innovative and curious.” Julia also mentioned that Novartis adopts other policies, such as making the Dress Code more flexible and promoting paternity leave for 6 months, equal to women’s period.
Luiz Roschel, General Manager & Legal Director at Firmenich, gave an important advice to companies that want to implement projects in the area. “Changes generally generate resistance. That is why it is essential to talk to employees, to show them that the changes will be good and that they will be able to work in a better way.” Firmenich Brasil has an internationally recognized diversity and inclusion policy, it is among the few companies in Brazil to receive EDGE (Economic Dividends for Gender Equality) certification, for gender equality in the workplace. Luiz also commented that Firmenich’s Global CEO, Gilbert Ghostine, holds virtual meetings with employees in Brazil.
Cristina Weiss, HR Director at Swiss Re Brasil, closed the event by expressing a key point. “The main question we must ask employees is: Why do you continue to work for this company?” According to her, the answer to this says a lot about the alignment between company and employee. The most frequent responses are linked to the feeling of recognition, appreciation and the personal feeling of contributing to the growth of the company. “People are abandoning their essence in the corporate world to be included and end up losing their identity. It is important that companies recover these individualities.”
Cristina also brought a different view on the role of HR in the daily lives of employees. “At Swiss Re we have autonomous working groups, in which employees discuss internal issues with each other. The HR sector is just an observer.”
SWISSCAM thanks all participants for sharing their experiences with us. Each contribution was extremely enriching. We also thank SWISSCAM’s Gold members, the main supporters of this event: ABB, Clariant, Curaprox, Atlas Schindler Lifts, EU Business School, Nestlé, Novartis, MSC, Philip Morris, Roche, Syngenta and Zurich Seguros.