The Santiago-based team recently kicked off a D&I campaign in partnership with NGO Best Buddies, which promotes inclusion for individuals with down syndrome and learning disabilities, through work opportunities and sharing best practices for recruitment and hiring of people with disabilities.
The campaign began with a survey of current employees to determine if any existing team members have disabilities. Following the survey, staff in the Santiago office hosted two inclusion events to bring awareness of disability issues to Thiess employees, with the intention of breaking biases around people with disabilities.
Throughout June, Andrea Soto, a 30-year-old Zumba instructor with down syndrome, led the Santiago office staff in two 20-minute Zumba classes that allowed everyone to get involved.
Andrea has been a Zumba instructor since 2018 and recently finished her studies to become a massage therapist. In her free time, she enjoys preparing for the Zumba classes she teaches at different companies and institutions in Chile.
“This event gave us the opportunity to break out of our day-to-day for 20 minutes of dancing and interacting with the instructor, who was great and very inspiring,” said Alejandra Arze, Organisation Development and Training Manager, Americas, who helped organise the event and is heading the D&I campaign.
“It was a fun way to get people involved and break biases about what people with down syndrome can and cannot do.”
Throughout the rest of the year, the HR team plans to roll out more information about upcoming events connected to the campaign, which will be open to all employees in Chile. The campaign aligns with our commitment to developing and retaining an inclusive workforce, reflective of the diverse communities where we live and work and looks at the shared social value we can co-create in the communities where we work and live.
Some elements of the program include workshops on respectful language, volunteering opportunities and educational materials about disabilities.
“People were really happy with the event and asked if there would be more events in the future.”
“We all tried to dance. Our General Manager Sam Izaguirre was dancing at both sessions, as well as the HR, finance and legal teams. Most of the people who came into the office on those days took part. It was fun to dance and let loose for a few moments. After COVID, I think we really needed that.”