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Hiring disabled employees in Brazil a success

Overcoming mental barriers to the disabled has helped Hydro attract talented people in Paragominas.

According to Brazilian law, all companies with more than 100 employees must employ 2 to 5 percent employees with disabilities. In 2014, the number of people with disabilities at Hydro in Paragominas was very low.

Douglas Ruozzi, HR manager in Paragominas, had to find a solution. In 2015 Hydro now meets the legal requirements. Talents could be won and mental barriers overcome. This is a good example of how diversity can drive growth.

The legal requirements forced the management in Paragominas to act quickly.
"The first step was to explain the situation to the managers and convince them to hire employees with disabilities, which proved to be a challenge due to the budget and the number of staff," says Ruozzi.

After the executives agreed, the next challenge was to find suitable candidates. Creative solutions were required, various communication channels such as radio, notice boards all over the place, Facebook and cooperation with the unions were tried out. The result: more than 180 applicants.

Performance counts, not disability

As part of the recruitment process, pre-selection and interviews followed. During the process, Rouzzi underlined the importance of looking for potential talent.

"We mustn't forget that the company needs specialists," he says. “Our goal must always be to hire the best candidate. Throughout the process, it was stressed that the new employees would be treated like any other employee and that the disability factor would never benefit them. ”

Ultimately, 72 people were hired in areas such as maintenance, operation, service, HR and communication.

These employees have already contributed to business improvements by participating in the Seminário de Oportunidades de Melhorias nas Áreas (seminar on opportunities for improvement), where best practices were exchanged. For example, employees found a way to send mail (parcels, etc.) more efficiently, and that reduces costs.

Diversity affects results

Apart from the fact that the new hires are well qualified, they have helped to change the attitude of your colleagues and created an environment with respect and commitment.

“For the disabled employees, hiring has helped them overcome some of their internal barriers. In the meantime, they are also helping to remove external barriers and prejudices against the disabled, ”says Rouzzi.

Diversity is a high priority at Hydro because you want to be competitive and want to continue creating a performance culture. “The Paragominas initiative is a good example and evidence that diversity really does affect business. We not only discovered new and innovative channels for recruiting, but also created commitment, ”says Elin Horn Wintermeyer, Head of Corporate Organization & amp; Leadership.

This text is machine translated. To view the original German text, click on DE on the top right of this window

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