Diversity and Inclusion: How to Build a Plural Environment in the Company
Promoting a diverse and inclusive working environment can only lead to business growth.
In a study conducted by BCG, we learned that companies investing in diversity, especially among leadership, have a 19% higher return on revenue due to innovation when compared to companies that do not use the same strategy.
By having employees with different backgrounds and ways of seeing the world, the company can access a broader range of possibilities for new processes, new solutions to old problems, and new ways of doing business.
However, including diversity in the workplace goes beyond simply hiring employees who represent different communities.
We need to understand the value of diversity and inclusion, prepare leadership, and encourage a culture that includes respect as one of its core values.
Also, ensuring the safety — physical, psychological, and emotional — of employees is essential to enable the encouragement of creativity and the stimulation of innovation.
Here at Rock Content, we understand that every employee is more than just a source of labor.
To offer the best of themselves, as professionals and human beings, each one must feel comfortable and part of the environment.
Our commitment is to build an increasingly inclusive and diverse space.
To better understand the existing actions in this direction, we spoke with Rita Lisboa, responsible for our HR and Content teams. Read on and learn more!
Why is Rock a company that values diversity and how do we do it?
We have always been a diverse company, but our concern with inclusion was not officially instituted until last year.
We always had extensive discussions on the subject with the whole team. Still, we lacked a formal initiative from the company to foster inclusion and make diversity a reality in the office.
The first step we took was to structure a census to understand where we stood.
Performing a census is a simple idea, but capable of promoting significant results.
Without knowing the true picture of diversity in our team, it was impossible to validate or even encourage diversity.
This idea came from Edu Abreu, one of our most involved employees at the time. The board supported it since it wanted to enable the company to position itself, encouraging and managing diversity and inclusion efforts in an institutionalized manner.
“Edu, in particular, expressed a great desire to carry this out alongside us. In a very professional way, he didn’t want to start from any preconceived idea about Rock, about what we were or weren’t, and what we wanted to be”.
Edu developed the whole questionnaire based on official censuses from IBGE and Ethos Institute, benchmark organizations on the subject.
The initial goal was to understand how the company really operated. Some questions existed, like: was Rock a diverse company as we believed? How diverse? What kind of diversity is that?
To ensure that the whole company engaged with the census, the purpose of the action was presented at the kick-off meeting, which happens every quarter.
The active participation of Diego Gomes, our CEO, highlighted how vital diversity mapping was for Rock as a company.
At the meeting, we demonstrated how global companies related to the topic and how diversity had contributed to the growth of revenues and businesses as a whole.
Thus, the team realized how important it is to invest in diversity to achieve Rock’s goal, which is to grow.
The diversity census form was sent to the team. Filling it out was not mandatory, and the responses were confidential.
Even so, it was the form with the most significant participation in the history of Rock Content, involving more than 95% of the employees, which helped us learn more about ourselves.
From this census, we saw that part of our concerns were on issues where we were not so bad.
For example, Rock has always been very concerned about the diversity of sexual orientation.
It’s always been the focus of all of our employees’ discussions and concerns, but the census showed us how well that part was in comparison to other companies — in terms of the number of people who identify that way.
Concern about sexual orientation diversity stood out concerning other pillars, which we had never worried about before. Examples are the inclusion of people with disabilities and of different races, in which we were far behind what we should have been.
Rock 2018 Diversity Census — number of employees with disabilities:
Rock 2018 Diversity Census — employees’ ethnicity
Rock 2018 Diversity Census — employees’ sexual orientations
Rock 2018 Diversity Census — gender of employees
Based on this, we began to invest more in the most critical factors, seeking to bring more people with disabilities and from different races, instead of worrying so much about sexual orientation, since these numbers were already positive.
Through the census, we were able to find out, based on data, which were the biggest gaps that we should be investing in and improving.
How to build a more diversity-friendly environment?
The census also brought up more provocative questions, such as whether Rock’s environment was conducive to discrimination and whether they felt, in any way, harassed or uncomfortable by matters such as their gender, sexual orientation, ethnic background, some sort of disability, etc.
The answers helped us to identify some issues, such as coexistence problems, jokes, and inappropriate comments. But at the same time, the census showed that we were relatively well in terms of organizational climate.
Therefore, there was no need to take emergency measures, and we were able to plan the actions focusing on the greater needs pointed out.
The efforts included raising awareness and educating people about what kind of comments were appropriate for the environment.
Since we conducted the census, the pillar in which we invested the most was the inclusion of people with disabilities, as this was the area in which we were most unbalanced.
With specific Recruitment & Selection actions, we were able to hire them at an unbelievable speed.
All managers are being trained to deal with people with disabilities appropriately. The teams that welcomed these professionals go through the same process.
We followed each new talent in the first 90 days to collect feedback and identify what we needed to improve, even in terms of physical accessibility.
During this process, we counted on consulting agencies to evaluate the company and the physical space, in order to point out what was wrong and how it should be adapted. The necessary changes were duly provided.
Although the work on this pillar has already begun, all the necessary actions must be taken together.
Therefore, we are carrying out initiatives regarding the other pillars to build an adequate environment that is in constant transformation and improvement, so that all Rockers feel good in Rock.
Rock’s Human Resources team is also restructuring itself. We brought Edu to the HR team with an integral focus on Culture, Diversity, and Inclusion.
The other areas of HR will be impacted since diversity and inclusion are not factors that we should handle in isolation.
Other HR demands will be involved and impacted by diversity and inclusion initiatives, such as the processes of attraction, recruitment and selection, performance review, and leadership training.
As the entire company must embrace the initiative, the training of leaders is fundamental. These professionals must serve as an example to other employees. Therefore, they must be able to deal with diversity and inclusion issues properly.
While the HR team is actively working on leadership training and awareness actions for the entire company, the internal communication team also actively contributes to this process.
Currently, our newsletter already includes, for example, tips for good coexistence — a demand that arose from HR.
The lack of diversity and inclusion in different environments is a social problem.
Of course, many are raised with preset notions about particular groups of people, so it’s hard to expect that they’ll change their minds just because they’re inside Rock.
To build collective thinking, you have to talk about these topics as much as society as a whole.
“For me, it’s hitting the same key a lot, repeating things, talking all over, so that this new way of thinking becomes as common and natural as any other. These little things make a lot of difference.”
Is it common to have a professional focused on diversity and inclusion?
Before formalizing the job description of the professional focused on diversity and inclusion, we researched how other companies did it, especially outside Brazil.
However, we found similar initiatives in our home country. Nubank, for example, maintains a Head of Diversity, a professional with the same scope as Rock’s proposal: to work with diversity and inclusion initiatives that impact the whole company.
Although many companies already have this professional, the job description should not be replicated. Each company has its own specific needs and must find out the most effective way to meet them.
However, knowing and studying the practices already performed by other companies was a way to learn from real experiences and, if possible, adapt and apply them to the reality of Rock.
To have such a professional is a trend in business, but it is always necessary to align the actions with the organizational culture.
This is the reason why we associate Culture, Diversity, and Inclusion in one position.
How to apply more diversity principles in the company?
Rock is still in the first steps towards implementing the diversity inclusion principles.
At this time, it’s essential to have casual conversations with employees, learn from them, and get to know different world views.
It’s a daily exercise. Especially in a leadership role, it’s necessary to be aware of our own biases and how they can impact our decision making. From this insight, the challenge is to shape our routine decisions.
“Accepting that you may be somewhat prejudiced in your selection process, in your promotions, and in the way you relate to other people who are different from you is the first step to changing that”.
The second fundamental step is to listen to people regularly. As different professionals come into the company, the environment can become uncomfortable. If everyone thinks alike, these principles are being misapplied.
You have to accept that there will be discomfort and disagreements and that they should be used as inputs to education, improving the company’s everyday life. From conflict, we can find out how to improve.
The third practical point to apply diversity principles in any company is to determine a budget, investing time, and money.
From the moment investments begin, it’s possible to obtain official and significant results. People understand how important the effort is and how much they have to respect and engage with the initiatives.
How can the recruitment process impact the diversity initiative?
Before becoming a Rocker, every candidate goes through a phase in the selection process that aims to evaluate the potential employee’s cultural fit.
The adequacy with Rock’s values is evaluated, such as the willingness to respect, collaborate, and grow with the company.
In the first months of 2019, initiatives were developed to hire people with disabilities. Certainly, the task of identifying the differences that are missing in the team and searching for these talents will be a priority of HR.
Therefore, the current goal is to hire people who have characteristics that Rock does not yet have and that we want to have.
From this, we can improve our culture and guide the company to the path we’ve outlined, which is to select talents that serve as models and push other people to the direction we want to go.
That’s why we’ll have more and more selective processes looking for people who have characteristics that we want to bring to Rock, instead of just looking for people who already look like us.
Simultaneously, the HR team and the marketing team are studying and working together to make the talent recruitment process even more effective and comprehensive.
As an example, listing a vacancy as “Developer Wanted” may exclude other people from applying. At the same time, if the listing is amended, candidates may not encounter the opportunity.
The proposal is to build communication efforts capable of generating a large number of candidates for the vacancies.
It’s essential to reach people of different qualities, with different characteristics from one another, in order to find the best candidate.
By hiring equal talents, the company loses a lot, since each person, in their differences, has unique qualities and knowledge. By hiring a single profile, a wide range of skills may be left out.
Another current concern is how to train the people responsible for the interviews so that they have the least biased vision possible during the candidate’s evaluation.
The idea is that they can observe and identify the critical elements needed in each candidate during the selection process, regardless of the profile and personal characteristics of each candidate.
We are aware that Rock is not a perfect company, but there is a collective effort to become better every day. There is a long way to go before we become an ideal company model, and this awareness exists both on the board and on the HR team.
The actions applied have the objective of improving people’s daily routines. Even if, eventually, some action does not deliver the expected result, we will manage to learn and evolve with the mistakes.
This clearly relates to our culture, which has “learn and teach” as some of the core values.
In this context, the investment in diversity and inclusion has the focus of building a plural environment, capable of promoting self-development and keeping up with the company’s growth flow.
For this, it’s necessary to extract the best from each employee, who will only be able to perform in a favorable environment.
I am very privileged to have lived my whole life surrounded by people with very different characteristics. I am sure that my qualities have been shaped precisely by this coexistence.Hévila Oliveira — Customer Success Analyst
Having the opportunity to work in a company like Rock, which treats diversity in the corporate environment with the importance it should have, enriches me as a person and as a professional.
Here, diversity guides processes, is the agenda of meetings, is a reason for new moments of learning, always with the very clear goal of making the environment more and more multiple.
Knowing that we are recognized and valued for our work, regardless of any stereotype, is extremely motivating!
I’m Colombian, and I’ve lived in Brazil for 3 years now. The first question that comes into my mind, and probably yours, is how I could be a case of diversity and pride, right?Valentina Giraldo — International Marketing Supervisor
After being invited to talk about it, I was convinced that, in fact, I am part of the diversity of Rock Content, but also of Brazil and the world. This is because I am a woman, I left my country due to its violent past, without any work experience.
Therefore, to arrive in Brazil with the burden of my country was indeed a challenge, but it was also a chance to demonstrate that in the diversity of cultures great ideas are hidden, dying to be listened to.
And, by being diverse, it’s possible to mix thoughts to kick-start great projects.
With this, finally, I can say that Rock Content, as a company, opened the possibilities of creating great things and great professionals, mixing the best of different cultures.
For my part, Rock allowed me to be “THE” Colombian that puts the face to the public to represent how we, in the company, are international.
I thank Rock for allowing me to bring along my cultural load and, especially, I thank my Marketing team at Rock for allowing me to be empowered of what I am.
For me, diversity is living with people from different communities, cultures, and experiences. I once read a sentence that said that “two heads only think better than one if they are different”, and that’s diversity for me: it’s adding up the differences to grow.Leandro de Resende — Content Supervisor
Feeling comfortable and safe in the work environment is fundamental to deliver the best of me.
Here at Rock, I don’t have to worry about the way I dress, talk or gesticulate. I am just me, and that encourages me to grow and develop my skills, confident that I am accepted and respected as I am.
To me, diversity is being able to come to work without being afraid of being excluded or sharing my ideas.Maurício Baltazar — Support Analyst
Since my first internship, I never thought about hiding my sexuality, but because of the selection processes I did, I’m sure that, in some of them, I was judged by the way I am, which here at Rock really made me stand out.
Being in an area with so much contact with our clients, the support area, I’m even happier being able to put my personality in each service I do and be encouraged to do it every day by Rock.
After all, among our values, we have “to teach” and “to solve”, and if we practice this every day, why not do it authentically and be myself?
I think this assurance in being who I am is what makes me have good results. I would never change this freedom again and hide this side of me; because it is the best of me!
When talking about corporate diversity, there is no magic formula. We know that many companies take inefficient actions, and many others appropriate the diversity discourse merely as a way to show the market that they are “attuned”.Edu Abreu — Culture, Diversity and Inclusion Supervisor
Here at Rock, I appreciate the fact that diversity is actually present in everyday life. Not only in numbers, but also in the vision of rockers.
Rock may not yet be on an ideal level of diversity – we even know that, in this sense, there is still a long path ahead of us. But I feel that we can count on the main factor for diversity to exist and be stimulated: the openness to dialogue.
The differences are discussed and taken into account, and there is goodwill to try to solve the impasses in the most healthy way possible. That is what makes the most critical difference in my understanding.
Diversity, to me, is the variety of cultures in their many manifestations: language, ethnicity, religion, fashion, etc.Victoria Arenque — Designer
Rock allows me to live this diversity, precisely, through the opportunity to work with people from different cultural contexts – Brazilians and foreigners.
Here, I have the happy experience of having contact with strong and empowered people who are proud of being themselves, raising their flags, and welcoming the differences. They are people who teach me a lot every day!
Society imposes daily challenges, and one of them directly involves the authenticity of an individual. Have you ever stopped to think about how difficult it is to “be yourself”? This is especially true in certain scenarios, filled with rules and standards?Thais Reis — Content Analyst
That’s why, as a black woman and a member of the LGBTI+ community, I value my experience in Rock Content very much. Here I perceive an openness to dialogue on issues of race, gender, and sexuality.
I believe that my colleagues are really aware of the importance of this matter. Small steps are transformative and can make all the difference.
To speak about Diversity at Rock?! Well, I joined this team a little over three months ago, but I believe that I can share some of my history in Rock.
To some people, it may seem just another job, but not to me. It’s the first time I work in a different city than my own. After my law degree, I decided to leave my comfort zone and work in the capital.
Upon entering Rock, a sense of confidence, tranquility, and belonging took over me.
It may sound exaggerated, but it’s not! I am a diverse person, belonging to various social groups: I am physically disabled, black, poor, and gay. And that’s why I write this text. To report that here at Rock we truly practice social inclusion.
At Rock, since the selection process, it’s clear that they care about the potential of the candidates before anything else. And, of course, they believe that their culture is essential to make the company more diverse and up-to-date in the social setting we live in today.
That’s why I feel happy and proud to be able to work in this place, to be part of it, and to feel part of it!
I don’t get tired of spreading out this reality experienced in here. Of course, I didn’t choose Rock. Instead, Rock chose me to show that it can be an inclusive, diverse, and egalitarian company, even if the world sometimes goes on the other direction.
This is the story I wanted to share today, even though I’ve only been at this job for a few months. Rock’s initiatives overthrow excluding perceptions that may cause an unfortunate social separation.
It’s a shame to have to say this in the year 2019. May we be Rock in society so that society will be Rock one day!
Nathan Victor — Personal Department Analyst
Ever since I joined Rock, I’ve seen a significant evolution in terms of actions aimed at diversity. More and more, the company values and invests in it. Today, we work on several fronts to provide an environment of respect, inclusion and learning for all.Natália Dantas — Talent Acquisition Supervisor
As a PWD, I felt welcomed by the team and management since the first interview. A genuine concern with my well-being and integration with people.
I have always felt respected and have never felt any distinction for this reason. I am thrilled to be able to work in a place that has that kind of mindset!