Brazil I&D Guardians program making Avanade an even better place to work

  • Posted on September 28, 2020
  • Estimated reading time 3 minutes

Inclusion & Diversity is a must in our company and in all of our society. There has been lots of discussion and actions toward this theme in the past months, bringing necessary attention to the topic within our Avanade community. As a member of the Inclusion and Diversity Committee and also an Inclusion & Diversity Guardian, it is an honor to be able to chat, exchange experiences and share knowledge about how can we make Avanade more inclusive and diverse.

I believe the Avanade Brazil I&D Guardian program is helping to pave the way to progress at Avanade, where it is important that everyone is comfortable bringing their best selves to work, using their voices and showing their point of view, which we need to make a genuine human impact. In this piece, my colleague and fellow guardian, Rogério dos Santos, shares his experience with the program and how its shaping Avanade. –Pedro Rizzo, senior consultant

I entered the Brazil Guardians a couple of years ago. I was curious to see what the program was about beyond the “call for volunteers,” and I wanted to see how my colleagues approached it. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but I was blown away in a number of ways.

First of all, the volunteers really care about the program. They are not there just to make a good impression to the company, but rather take it seriously. They really think about how to make people aware of the program objectives, to educate other colleagues when facing situations that are raised on ours scheduled calls and to assist people when the situation they face extrapolate their duties as guardians.

Little by little, I started to see the overall impact of the program in the company as I extended my duties beyond coding. For instance, while interviewing people, I realized that candidates had started to notice Avanade not only because it offered a way to work with the technology they like, but because it was a place that they could feel welcomed. Our inclusive atmosphere meant they wouldn’t have to tolerate situations they had faced in other workplaces in order to make a living.

I found my perspective being widened by regular calls and meetings with other guardians. We were always given a theme to explore. If someone came into a meeting thinking their point of view on that theme was obvious, it quickly became clear that there was more than one way to think about it. I remember the one about “nonviolent communication.” It’s easy to say, “Well, adults in a collaborative working environment should not be violent.” Of course. But nonviolent communications isn’t just about not yelling at each other; it can also include sending emails without clear messages and later demanding action that wasn’t clear in the original email. Through our reflections in the guardian meetings, we were able to address this subtler but still harmful behavior and work to create change.

I evolved the way I was interviewing people for positions, because our “unconscious bias” discussion helped me understand best practices in conducting fair and equitable interviews. I changed in other ways, too. A colleague I barely knew asked for my assistance, and I wondered why. But she said another coworker had recommended me. “He said you could listen to me.” That really struck me. As a guardian, I had become better at listening to colleagues and directing them to appropriate channels to solve their problems.

We can also notice the impact of the program throughout our office, even in people who aren’t guardians. On a recent call, a manager suggested to everyone that they join our community to better their approach to I&D at work. “Join the discussions not to engage, but to listen and become familiar with those people,” he said. “They are not the future of any company – they are and should be the present. That will help you to develop more creative solutions on a daily basis because you will get in touch with different views and opinions.” Wow! What an endorsement, and what an indication of the direction Avanade is heading.

Cyntia Fragoso, Pedro Rizzo and Rogério dos Santos all contributed to the shaping of this piece.

Luciano Menezes

Congratulations to Rogério dos Santos, Guardian of Inclusion and Diversity !!! Their positive influence, together with those of Pedro Rizzo and Cyntia Fragoso, is fundamental for us to be more and more humanistically and professionally prosperous!

November 24, 2020

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