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Diversity and inclusion in action


The best thing about being part of a team is working together towards the same goal. For us at Umicore, that means creating materials for a better life. It is not only about what we do, but how we do it. We are all different, with different beliefs, backgrounds, preferences and mindsets that make us who we are, but we all strive to help build a better and more sustainable tomorrow. These differences empower our teams, bringing new ideas to the table and allowing innovation to flow through.

There are 80 nationalities spread across all our sites and as you can imagine, that means a whole bunch of different languages. Sign language is no exception and our colleagues in Brazil are very proud of this.

“Over the years we’ve had around eight hearing-impaired colleagues and we have always done our best to make them feel at home here at Umicore. It is very important that every employee is empowered with the right tools and information, not only to be able to work but also to enjoy their work and take care of their wellbeing at the same time.”

Rosemery, Human Resources in Brazil

Communicating with one another is part of life, from being able to share and inspire others with your ideas to connecting with colleagues on a personal level. “We’ve prepared the teams so that everyone understands and has access to every form of communication, be it a training course on safety or wellbeing, a lecture on our strategy or even an important scheme like our Focus on Women mentoring program. That’s why we have a fixed contract with a professional agency that does simultaneous translation in sign language for all these initiatives. We never know what topic our colleague Edson might be interested in and he is always welcome, so the translator is always there for him.”

Edson has been part of the team at Umicore Americana, Brazil, for 13 years. With the help of a translator, he currently works as a production operator. Edson told us how much he appreciates being welcomed? in all the training courses thanks to the translator: “It makes me feel really happy to see that there is someone there for me to help me understand every training course or info session I’d like to attend. Thanks to this, I feel not only comfortable at work but also included.”

Rosemery confirmed that it is not just Edson who appreciates this, but other colleagues, too. “We always get so much positive feedback. Everyone is proud to see diversity and inclusion in action. Plus it’s always very interesting. We’ve learned that we can communicate so much using body language. Our faces show a lot of our emotions, so being there reminds us of how we can connect with him even through a simple smile.” 

Many colleagues go beyond the smile, as they have followed a sign language training program to be able to communicate the basics. Edson values that enormously: “During the day, I communicate with my colleagues using signs and they know a little bit of sign language, even some jokes. I can also write or mimic to communicate with them.” 

Rosemery believes that Umicore’s mission goes even further: “We also attend  various training courses to take it to another level and remove unconscious bias from the recruiting process. This helps us to be open and inclusive to everyone, no matter who they are. I am so proud to put my energy, heart and soul into projects like this. Making people feel welcome and loved is very important and this is definitely one way to do it.” 

Meet Edson and listen to his story about multicultural diversity