Brazilian law provides that all companies with 100 or more employees hire between 2 and 5% of people with some form of disability. Until 2014, the number of people with disabilities in Paragominas was quite low.
Douglas Ruozzi, General Manager of HR in Paragominas, was responsible for the solution found, making, in 2015, Paragominas comply with legal requirements, recruit talent and overcome barriers, becoming a great example for the whole Hydro on how diversity encourages business growth.
The law required a quick response from Paragominas management.
“The first step was to explain the situation to managers, trying to convince them to hire people with disabilities, which is somewhat difficult for reasons of budget and personnel,” said Ruozzi.
After the approval of the managers, the next challenge was to find candidates. Then, a series of creative initiatives began in various communication channels, such as radio programs, posters spread throughout the city, Facebook posts and collaboration with unions. And the result was surprising: 180 candidates.
Performance rather than deficiencies
The recruitment process continued with screening and interviews. Throughout the process, Rouzzi stressed the importance of finding potential talent.
"We cannot ignore that the company needs to attract professionals", he adds. “Our focus is always to hire the best candidates. At all times, we made it clear that new hires should be treated in the same way as the rest and that under no circumstances would the disability factor be favored. ”
Finally, 72 people with disabilities were hired for the areas of maintenance, operations, services, human resources and communication.
New hires have already had the opportunity to contribute to business improvement through the Seminar on Opportunities for Improvements in the Areas, when best practices are shared. Just to give an example, employees have developed a more efficient way of sending correspondence (remittances etc.), thereby reducing costs.
Influence of diversity on results
In addition to being high-quality employees, new hires helped colleagues to change their mindset and create an environment of greater respect and engagement.
“For employees with disabilities, hiring has helped them overcome some personal barriers, whereas, they have helped us to break down certain barriers and prejudices about disability in general,” explained Ruozzi.
To be competitive and continue to create a culture of performance, diversity is one of Hydro's highest priorities.
“The initiative in Paragominas is a great example and proof that diversity really makes a difference in business. Not only were new and innovative recruitment channels found, but the initiative helped to create greater engagement, ”said Elin Horn Wintermeyer, leader of Corporate Organization and Leadership.
This text is auto translated.