“To see beyond the incapacity”, to stop underestimating the competences of who doesn’t act according to the established canons – as the employee who used to dance whenever he did a good work, to what Lewis asks: “Is it better to dance or to protest?” – and, bearing in mind that people with incapacity only hired as “second choice” don’t feel “one of us” are just some of the ideas shared by this man, who succeeded in employing in one of the largest distribution centers from the second biggest chain of pharmacies all over the world 40% of people with incapacity doing the same, having the same levels of performance, earning the same the other 60% of their colleagues. “And this center became the most productive one in our history”, he still added.
Lewis knows, because of his own gigantic experience, that it isn’t at all easy to convince the top executives to bet on this kind of “experience”. As he affirms, the main reasons for so many suspension points is “the fear to fail”, ”the fear that makes us small”, but the hope is that his model keeps on being adopted by more and more enterprises, as it was by Toyota, by Procter & Gamble, by Sephora, by Microsoft, among other giants. A final and really special message from this man is related to one of the short stories he had been telling along his presentation: the one of a greaser who, having lost a son in jail (suiciding himself through hanging), guaranteed he would change the prison system in the United States, fighting for the separation of young people from convicted adults. And he was successful, only by himself.
Or, in short, who, better than ourselves may change the world for better?
Diversity, inclusion and the reason why nobody may be left behind
“If rationally all of us know that diversity is positive, if we have the numbers, if we have the statistics, then why do we not put it into practice? The question is put by Chiara Condi, founder of the non profit organization LED BY HER – dedicated to the defense of the rights of women who suffered any kind of violence and represents an incubator for entrepreneurship and innovation development [in the feminine]. “Because we are afraid”, she answers. “If we do a simple research for CEO on Google, all depicted images are men”, she continues. The reality is that “all of us are part of the problem and of the solution”, she still assures, and “we also have to be the ones who take advance and give a confidence vote.” Chiara works with women exposed to lives of violence, many of them have never worked – “and the world gave up of them the same way they gave up of themselves”, and is against prejudice and genre inequality, in favour of a “space” and it is through programs she establishes with the enterprises to talk about diversity that Chiara leads her path towards inclusion. Right now “enterprises are beginning to take part in the cause and they themselves are going through a process of change”, she assures. For Chiara Condi the question of inclusion – this case women’s – is not only a case of social justice but also a “business care”. And, she concludes, “it is good that everybody understands, once and for all, how necessary it is to integrate women – who represent more than 50% of the world population – in the enterprises DNA”.
Enterprises are beginning to be part of the cause [diversity] and they themselves are in a process of change, Chiara Condi
“In the globalization of indifference, how can we include difference?” – asks Michel Roy, general secretary of Caritas Internationalis. Reiterating the idea that we live in a world where the globalization of rejection and hostility result from a culture that has been invading the world, together with materialism and individualism, one has to fight to include the “vulnerable ones” –in this case, particularly the poor – and considering that in many populations these assume themselves as their biggest segment, he declares. Also quoting Pope Francisco, Michel Roy still affirms that migrants are among the most vulnerable ones and that only with a global effort which includes businesses leaders as well as the many volunteers from Caritas, will be possible to work that way.
The general secretary of Caritas also assured that in the organism he leads people are working aiming the building of a solidary economy that may be inclusive and may, for example, bet on the creation of small enterprises and on the investment with impact, as there are good signs that the projects may also be escalated, in terms of entrepreneurialism. To create an inclusion environment also in the enterprises, investing in the formation of these vulnerable populations and creating partnership in the area of the solidary economy is, for Michel Roy, the way to follow.
For Luc Cortebeek, member of the Global Commission for the Future of Work from the International Organization of Work (OIT), the diversity is an extremely important topic in the actual context. “Because nobody may be left behind” in the labour world, and, due to the unemployment growth in many places in the world together with extreme poverty, “politics that encourage diversity and inclusion are more and more crucial”. In spite of agreeing that the new technologies may lead to the creation of new jobs, it is not possible, according to him, to forget as well the enormous challenges that will come from this new era of automation. “We can’t be afraid of this disruption but instead take into consideration one of the most ambitious contracts of modern society: the union of employers, employees and governments”, he emphasizes.
In the globalization of indifference, how can we include difference?, Michel Roy
For OIT, and particularly for the program in which it is included, the future of work and the inclusion of “all” is being thought according to specific principles: to invest in sustainable employment and not to think only in terms of the PIB; to create “fair” businesses and long-term investment, to reduce tax evasion and, in terms of digital economy, to tax the profits source; to promote new actions that will grant better competences in technologies for the poorest; to bet on learning throughout life; to give priority to the green economy and always bear in mind the investment on people and their universal right to education. Finally, an important note: One of the main objectives of OIT is the fight for a general protection of the workers, independently from the contracts they earn. That is, even for the so called “gig economy”, which gathers more and more independent workers without any kind of social protection, and for all the “new types” of work originated by the automation era, the idea is the existence of a net that protects them in situations of unemployment.
For Cécile Renouard, responsible for a program of social performance of multinational enterprises in developing countries in ESSEC Business School, with a doctorate degree in Political Science and Philosophy and also the authoress of many books, her “personal fight” is the accountability of the enterprises on the impacts they have in all the domains they operate, namely in what concerns the contracts of people who work “along” the global value chains. And, considering that “the rules of the game are not consistent with the global challenges”, they should also be charged by means of the integration of the social and environmental impacts, as complementary actions of their strategy. The academic is equally the foundress of an initiative that aims to integrate the social and environmental responsibility not only in the enterprises, but also in the curricular structures of the students who attend businesses schools. For Renouard, to face the corporative social responsibility as an economic and financial value will be useful in changing the matrics of the entrepreneurial performance and in promoting the defense of the common good.
The politics that encourage diversity and inclusion will be more and more crucial, Luc Cortebeek
The last speaker of this panel is the founder of Fundacion Paraguaya and also its CEO; it´s an organization dedicated to the elimination of poverty that developed an “original” tool in what concerns poverty diagnosis. The Paraguayan Martin Burt, who is also a member of the administration council of the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship from the World Economic Forum, created a platform that helps people (families) to “rise”, themselves and the communities, from the multidimensional poverty. The tool, named Poverty Spotlight, consists of an app (used in the enterprises) that allows the answer to an “visual inquiry” which produces a map that permits to detail 50 different “domains” of poverty, for example whether a family has “running water”. The families select the images, categorized in green, yellow and red, which aim to identify their “condition” and reality facing each of the indicators. Through the geo-location integrated in the app, this generates poverty maps for entire communities, allowing the stakeholders to concentrate on specific measures, canalizing this way the best resources in a shared effort to eliminate or mitigate. For Martin Burt, to ask a worker directly whether he is poor and how poor he is, is completely different if he is the one making his own diagnosis, being conscious of his condition and fighting to regain his dignity , what is done together with the rest of the stakeholders. And, he alerts,” it´s easier to separate poor families from very poor families”. Burt’s organization also created a “community of good practices” which help families to answer such different questions as “how it is possible to build an extra room in my house?” or “how it is possible to cope with domestic violence?”, questions that are later changed into guides, among which the one that is dedicated to teach “7 ways your family can build a new room”.
In short, these two panels shared a common ingredient: The conviction that, even in the most chaotic sceneries – personal, social, economic, cultural or religious – , it is possible to undertake change and contribute to the others’good the same time we find good inside ourselves.