Votorantim’s nearly century-old history inspires all those who work for the company. Its boldness in decision-making, its long-term vision, its resoluteness, its resilience during periods of crisis, and the ongoing evolution of its governance have ensured our strength today. Our reputation became one of our biggest assets over the years and we are very proud of it.
However, this memory alone will not guarantee Votorantim’s perennity. The global business environment has been changing rapidly. Increasingly globalized markets combined with a volatile and uncertain economy have an impact on our companies’ performance and add increased complexity and ambiguity to our challenges. This requires increased efforts to understand the environment around us and seek new solutions.
Furthermore, people’s relationship in the workplace has also become more complex. Managers today have to be inspirational leaders while employees should cease to be merely task-oriented and begin to make decisions with greater autonomy. Such autonomy can only be achieved through a sense of ownership, balance and good judgment about the risks and consequences associated with decision-making. Employees are expected to be innovative so that they can help Votorantim stand out among its customers, suppliers and other stakeholders.
The complexity that unfolds before us should be seen as a warning sign and also as an opportunity for growth, as a new way of looking at things and thinking business.
This Our Group issue is dedicated to the future we are building on a daily basis.
CEO Votorantim Industrial
"This is the right time for Votorantim Energia," reassures the new CEO Fabio Zanfelice, who has taken on the challenge to reach out on new business fronts and make company a market leader in energy trading. The mission is hardly simple, but Fabio plans to invest in the expansion of the company. In effect, Votorantim Energia has just announced investment in a new wind farm in the Brazilian Northeast. The wind is definitely blowing in its favor!
Our Group: While Brazil is faced with a challenging political and economic environment, do you see this crisis as an opportunity for Votorantim Energia?
Fabio Zanfelice: Absolutely. We are experiencing an energy crisis due to unfavorable water conditions and structural problems in the country’s electricity sector. This has generated regulatory instability and an increased perception of energy supply risk. Therefore, we are confronted with numerous opportunities. Votorantim is well positioned and has planned for this scenario. The company has met the demand for energy in all its units without compromising generation in its hydroelectric power plants. It did not need to buy energy in the market to supply its business. On the contrary, it sold its energy surplus at the right time.
OG: What are the next Votorantim Energia’s investments?
FZ: The good news is that we have entered the wind energy market through the Chapadinha Project. We will invest BRL1.1 billion in a wind farm equipped with 300 wind turbines in the Chapada do Araripe region on the border between Pernambuco, Piauí and Ceará states. This is a groundbreaking project as it is forward-looking and adds a new source of energy to our portfolio.
Fabio Zanfelice, the new CEO
of Votorantim Energia
OG: At what phase is the wind power project now?
FZ: The project has three implementation phases and was acquired from third parties at its initial stage with local wind potential certification and ongoing negotiation process to lease land where the farm will be built. Votorantim Energia is responsible for the remaining phases, including financial analysis, engineering design and choice of wind turbine supplier. On August 21st, we won the Brazilian government auction to supply power for partial consumption of Brazilian power distributors as of 2018. We will trade energy from the first phase of Chapadinha Project (206 MW) under a 20-year contract.
OG: This project is bound to bring changes to the local community. Do you have any action planned for the community?
FZ: We follow environmental requirements and are working with Instituto Votorantim to implement the wind farm so as to bring sustainable growth and benefits to the local community.
OG: What will the wind farm result for Votorantim Energia?
FZ: As well as financial results, there are benefits associated with new knowledge that will strengthen our team’s skills including the design for a new energy technology, construction, operation and trading. This project consolidates our position in the market and is in line with our goal of being among the top and largest energy generation and trading players in Brazil.
The Voluntary Challenge contest comprised 120 teams working for the benefit of those in need in Brazil. In this solidary competition, employees and contract workers from all Votorantim companies set up teams of volunteers to help 78 nonprofit charities of their choice. The competition involved collecting gifts, painting and revitalizing rooms such as playrooms and libraries, organizing events such as bingo, film screenings and sports games. Altogether, more than 5,000 initiatives were undertaken totaling 14,000 hours of volunteer work.
Each step accomplished by the teams earned them points. On December 4th, the three winners of the contest were announced. The winning team was presented with the Voluntary Challenge trophy and the charity that they helped was presented with BRL5,000. The runner-up team was presented with BRL3,000 and the third place BRL2,000.
The Liga do Bem (Welfare League) brought structural changes and motivational activities to employees and students at Apadevir/Cedevir a charitable organization which provides special education services to visually impaired people at Resende, Rio de Janeiro State. "We felt that we had won the competition when we managed to make the changes we had planned for that charity thinking how each person would benefit from it and how it had changed our life," says Joyce Rodrigues de Oliveira, Performance Management analyst at Votorantim Siderurgia.
As well as donation of toys, the Solidaço team undertook a number of initiatives to make structural improvements to the Cidade da Alegria Association housing complex at Resende, Rio de Janeiro State. "This initiative greatly improved our interaction with the local community and showed that we are here to work with them and bring benefits to the neighborhood," says Alex José da Fonseca, Infrastructure supervisor at Votorantim Siderurgia.
Collection of diapers and food for the elderly at the Sagrado Coração de Jesus charity home at Sobral, Ceará State, undertaken by the Solidários VC team was not their only volunteer action. The affection and attention given and received from residents of the home was the main prize of the Voluntary Challenge contest. "We believe that solidarity is the first step to make the world better," says Diego Carvalho Guimarães, Maintenance Planning technician at Votorantim Cimentos.
"Aware of the importance of its global position in combating and preventing corruption and committed to high ethical standards in its operations, Votorantim has been improving its business practices and adopting increasingly effective measures that ensure ethical and transparent processes. One of our resources for this end is our Anti-Corruption Compliance Program." This statement by the Governance, Risk and Compliance general manager Ana Paula Carracedo gives an idea of what was discussed at the event on anti-corruption measures organized by Votorantim in October, 2015.
At the meeting, about 80 leaders from the corporate governance area of all Votorantim companies also attended the lectures given by federal prosecutors Deltan Dallagnol and Carlos Fernando dos Santos Lima, who talked about legislative proposals and good compliance practices.
"Votorantim’s Legal area works closely with the Compliance area to lay the foundations for the Anti-Corruption Compliance Program as a commitment from the senior management to disseminate clear rules, communication and training across all levels of the organization. All this provides greater legal certainty to the company," says Tatiana Bacchi Eguchi Anderson, Legal general manager. Votorantim expects the discussions held at the meeting will help identify areas for improvement in its Compliance policies, so that it can prevent irregularities even more effectively and work in a safer and more efficient manner.
Find out what the interaction between participants and speakers at the Votorantim event was like. The audio is in Portuguese.
Learn about the Ten Anti-Corruption Measures set forth by the Brazilian Public Prosecution Office at www.dezmedidas.mpf.mp.br.
"Safety is non-negotiable." That's the slogan of the Votorantim Metais campaign to reinforce the company's safety practices. The goal of the campaign is to make all employees understand that safe behavior is not negotiable and must be part of their daily routine, both in the workplace and at home.
The campaign is organized into three pillars: Safe Behavior, Golden Rules and Safety Outside the Workplace. In the first phase, 230 safety experts, mostly facility leaders, are trained so that each leader replicates their training to 10 Safe Behavior observers.
The Golden Rules underwent a review and by year end 2015 they will be disseminated to all employees. Part of the program also includes talks on safety geared to employees and their families so that they can take these concepts home.
Roberto Moreira Campos, Votorantim Metais employee
and his family
Check out the message about safety given by Votorantim Metais CEO Tito Martins. The video is in Portuguese with subtitles in Spanish.
Votorantim Siderurgia (VS) has launched a new web portal for management of procurement processes – the Supplier Portal (e-Procurement). The tool can be used by everyone involved in the procurement of goods and services, from internal users and the company’s Supply team to suppliers.
The e-Procurement platform developed by Votorantim Siderurgia’s Supply and IT areas with the support of the Competence Center for Information Technology (IT) has streamlined and automated purchases.
Now suppliers can participate in online bidding, company departments can request purchase of goods and services in a more practical manner directly from the Supplier Portal, and the Supply area now has standardized processes with optimized cost and time.
The new tool has been available since November 2015 and will ensure greater transparency and flexibility to Votorantim Siderurgia’s procurement processes.
In early 2015, Fibria revamped its i9 Program, which aims to stimulate the generation of ideas among employees to do something different in their daily work routine. The revamped program is now called i9 Focus and poses challenges for the entire company as a means to increase employee contribution. In June, 2015, for example, Fibria’s mills at Aracruz, Espírito Santo State, Três Lagoas, Mato Grosso do Sul State, and Jacarei, São Paulo State, were challenged into finding alternatives to the question "How can we increase our energy efficiency?".
Two months later, 50 ideas had been generated and leaders were considering the implementation of those innovations. "In the first half of the year, employees came up with six idea teasers, as we call them here, and they resulted in good management improvement projects in areas such as environment, productivity and energy efficiency," says Leandro Barros, Management Systems coordinator at Fibria and in charge of the i9 Program.
Fibria's employees come up with ideas for improvement in the company’s processes
Did you know that the control of family budget is the first step to ensure financial stability? Banco Votorantim, through its Sustainability and Social and Environmental Responsibility Policy, is committed to promoting the financial education of its employees, customers and society. In June, 2015, the Bank held the Multiplier Training course with 50 BV Financeira relationship managers, who were trained to disseminate knowledge on family budget to its customers.
The course was taught by Banco Votorantim professionals and presented different ways to control spending. In August, 2015, the Bank held several Financial Education Meetings, whereby experts from Banco Votorantim and the Brazilian Federation of Banks (Febraban) discussed how the proper management of personal finances can impact the employees’ quality of life. The company also organized a talk to 80 youths from the Viver Project in São Paulo’s Jardim Colombo neighborhood on the importance of financial planning for the achievement of personal goals.
Banco Votorantim trains employees to be disseminators of knowledge on family budget
The current economic scenario in Brazil poses many challenges for companies, also in the social realm. Therefore, companies need to plan their costs better and increase the impact of their investments. In this scenario, Votorantim Institute supports the capture of new partnerships to leverage Votorantim’s social legacy. The synergy between the Institute and the Votorantim companies ensures an increased investment performance with relevant results for competitiveness and the good reputation of the business.
"The amount of funds allocated by Votorantim companies to social projects has been increasing. In 2010, we invested BRL50 million. In 2015, we anticipate investments of BRL73 million. Part of this is due to the alignment of social activities with business challenges. The other part results from the partnerships we have forged," explains Rafael Gioielli, Social Performance Planning and Development general manager at Votorantim Institute.
One such example is the partnership with the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES), which generated BRL70 million in investments between 2010 and 2015. In 2015, the scope the scope of investment was expanded and BRL110 million are expected to be invested by 2020, thus enabling an increase in social projects and participating municipalities supported by the ReDes and Support for Public Management programs. In July, 2015, the Institute signed an agreement with the Inter-American Development Bank, which is a benchmark for social programs. The agreement provides for an investment of BRL1.3 million to be allocated to the ReDes program. "It is also our strategy to seek partners with recognized expertise. This is the case of Sebrae (Brazilian Support Services for Small and Micro Businesses) with whom we undertake actions to strengthen the local suppliers’ base. Without this, investments in social projects would be 70% higher," says Rafael.
Votorantim Institute will help Banco Votorantim to reformulate its social responsibility strategy associated with the vision of its shareholders – Votorantim and Banco do Brasil (Brazilian national bank). This will contribute to review the company’s social performance guidelines through its support program for social projects related to incentive and voluntary work laws. "The expertise of the Institute combined with its business strategy reinforces our determination to make a difference in our customers' lives, while creating value to shareholders, employees and society," says Jonathan Bendix Colombo, Sustainability and Social Responsibility manager at Banco Votorantim.
Another highlight of the Votorantim Institute during 2015 was the agreement signed with the Brazilian Ministry of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade for the National Program for Access to Technical Education and Employment (Pronatec). In 2014, 4,900 openings for technical training were provided to meet Votorantim’s demands. In 2015, more than 1,000 openings will be provided. This accounts for about BRL2 million in savings for the company. "We can only leverage these partnerships because the social performance of our companies is recognized for their quality. Our territorial coverage and strict management standards offer reassurance to our partners," adds Rafael.
Recent newspaper headlines have shown that poor management and lack of governance may affect the value and image of an entire organization and compromise its future. The difficulty of managing indicators and the lack of studies on market trends and a comprehensive view on the business have prevented companies from moving forward in a productive manner. As a result, many companies are being forced to cope with some very challenging scenarios.
"Companies should be prepared to keep up with the evolution and changing needs of their markets," warns Edelmar Lima, a Management Development and Leadership Preparation Practice expert and partner at Pro-Evoluir Consultores Associados. Thinking ahead is an attitude of action, not reaction.
Some of the ways to prepare for times of adversity include promoting management with a long-term vision and investing in good corporate governance practices. "In times of crisis like these, governance is seen as a pillar of ethics. This is reflected in the company's image and reputation," says Heloisa Bedicks, superintendent at the Brazilian Institute of Corporate Governance (IBGC).
According to Heloisa, a strong governance will contribute significantly to the longevity of the business. She warns: "There's no point in thinking about the future if where we stand today is not strong enough to make our goals of tomorrow come true. One cannot continue doing the same things over and over again and expect different results."
There are no arguments against facts. In times of crisis, Votorantim has always sought opportunities to circumvent the situation by facing adversity with a growth mindset. The company stayed strong and healthy through difficult times in history. During the 1929 financial crash, for example, even amid a severe recession in Brazil, Votorantim founders started a business expansion process with profits from the Votorantim Textile Factory, and in the 1930s they started some of the company's main businesses to date: the Santa Helena cement factory (1936) and the Barra Mansa steel mill (1937).
Santa Helena cement factory (1936)
CBA plant inauguration in 1945
Showing the same strength, Votorantim overcame other equally critical moments in history, such as World War 2 in the 1940s, the economic downturn in the late 1980s and the lack of liquidity and the recession resulting from the Collor Economic Plan in Brazil in the early 1990s. And Votorantim keeps pushing! During the 2008 global financial crisis, for instance, the company closed some very significant business deals, such as the sale of 49.99% of Banco Votorantim shares to Banco do Brasil.
The solution is to change then. "Not just methodologies, but the way of looking and thinking about things to allow us to understand complex situations," says Simon Robinson, author of Holonomics: Business Where People and Planet Matter. The book, co-authored with the consultant Maria Robinson Moraes, teaches how to respond to those necessary changes. The term holonomics refers to a dynamic and authentic way to understand relationships within a business system while keeping an understanding of the whole. With this approach, it is possible, for example, to view the organization as a living and dynamic system that evolves and adds value through interactions between all stakeholders: leaders, managers, employees, customers, community, etc. To start thinking differently, Maria Moraes Robinson asks: what percentage of the ability of employees in a company to create and solve problems is actually put into practice? "Unless the environment, the leaders and the organizational culture are consistent and focused on innovation, very little of each person’s potential will be in fact at the service of the business," states the consultant.
How to inspire your team? Holonomics helps leaders understand the role of each one within the whole, that is, how the parts interact to form a whole and how people’s relationships can be improved. Only then can ideas emerge and be implemented. For this to happen, the leader's role is critical in creating trustworthy environments where people can express themselves authentically.
New governance model
According to Maria Moraes Robinson, many people have been improving their mental operating system, the so-called Holonomic Operating System, which consists of four ways of knowing the world: feeling, thinking, sensing and intuition. Discovering and experiencing these aspects, using them to relate to the world around you – including the professional realm – can be quite powerful, especially for leaders and executives who are "fixed" on the intellect.
Votorantim began to act in the past to formulate its strategies for the future. Therefore, a new corporate governance model was adopted to decentralize operations without losing sight of the Votorantim Values (learn more about this in the Votorantim Industrial example in the cover story).
Votorantim’s new management model reinforces its everyday concern with the next steps. In each company, people are challenged into finding answers to big questions in their field of work. These are the so-called value levers, which are aimed at increasing the creation of value for the business in the future.
The Planning Cycle is another company initiative focused on tomorrow. At the Strategic Dialogue meetings – a tool used by the company for sharing its aspirations and reflecting on key issues that may jeopardize the attractiveness and perennity of the business – Votorantim establishes an aspiration goal for each of its companies. "It's a time when they seek to look at their competitive capacity and also at the market, pondering about where they want to be in the future," explains Tulio Barcelos, Votorantim Industrial Investment consultant. The Strategic Dialogues ended in July, 2015, and they were structured into strategic plans. The next step is to translate the plans into targets for everyone, making it clear where the company wants to be and how it intends to achieve this.
The social, environmental and survey initiatives undertaken by Votorantim are integrated into its business plan and are also relevant for the perennity of Votorantim companies have set many goals focused on these issues. The following are some examples:
Votorantim Siderurgia is committed to cutting 5% of its specific energy consumption by 2020 considering the base year of 2010;
Votorantim Cimentos has stipulated that by 2020 it will use 30% of non-fossil fuels in its cement plants. Furthermore, it will promote innovation by providing new sustainable solutions, products and services and it will implement water management systems for water shortage areas in its business units;
Fibria is committed to doubling its atmospheric carbon absorption by 2025 and to helping local communities make 70% of their income-generating projects funded by the company self-sustainable;
Votorantim Metais plans to improve the social indicators set for each of its plant sites by 2025, thus ensuring 90% efficiency in development and relationship plans built for priority sites;
Votorantim Energia aims to be the top company in the Brazilian energy sector and become a key player with significant market share. For this, it will offer an increasingly sustainable portfolio with the best solutions, such as its wind power project (learn more about the company’s wind farms under Our Business in this issue).
A solid and successful future can only be built with commitment, innovation and planning. Votorantim has been treading this path through responsibility and many examples of good practices. For the company, tomorrow starts today.
With the new Votorantim corporate governance in place and the creation of Boards of Directors and Advisory Committees for all its companies, Votorantim Industrial is now acting as a portfolio manager and has adopted a more comprehensive approach that includes stimulating its business and thinking ahead. "Interactions have become more collaborative, allowing for a more agile performance. Such interactions enabled us to hold the Votorantim Strategic Dialogue meetings in 2015. At the meetings each of the Votorantim companies presented the trends in their industry, the threats and opportunities in their business and their long-term plans," says João Schmidt, Corporate Development director. In adopting this model, Votorantim has expanded its vision of the future and is ready to face the challenges to come.
Votorantim Industrial in Curitiba is dedicated to Votorantim’s administrative and financial activities and has broken ground by thinking ahead. Its performance is focused on the ongoing search for new opportunities to optimize resources, increase productivity and achieve excellence in support areas that are critical for the entire company. One way to achieve this result is to invest in automation of various company tasks, which is among its short and medium term goals so as to always ensure more accuracy to its processes. Its management model also makes opportunities become more evident. As it centralizes its activities into one single environment, there are significant synergy gains. For example, when an employee finds a solution to an issue, it is naturally applied to all companies. Therefore, the whole Votorantim benefits from this as each company has more time to focus on their core tasks generating a return to the business.
Commitment to environmental safety and to local residents of the areas where Votorantim Metais operates is taken very seriously by the company. Currently, it boasts 27 dams in its units in Brazil and Peru to store tailings from its mining operations. For these dams to be always in perfect condition and offer no risk to local communities, Votorantim Metais has developed an Integrated Dam Management System (Sigbar) consisting of daily monitoring of those areas and the development of preventive actions to minimize risks and detect potential problems in advance.
Furthermore, all company dams have an emergency plan with set guidelines for communication and crisis management. "We strictly comply with the requirements set forth by environmental agencies. It is our responsibility to ensure the correct application of the Sigbar system, adopt best operating practices and conduct internal and external audits, so that our dams do not have an impact on people and the environment," states Tito Martins, Votorantim Metais CEO.
Committed to the continuous improvement of its processes and environmental control systems, Votorantim Siderurgia’s steel mill at PazdelRío, located in Boyacá, Colombia, has upgraded its facilities and three new air emission control systems were put into operation. The systems run continuously and ensure the best performance in filtration of gases generated from the production process. "The material is removed from the gaseous stream through filters and collected as solid material. It is then returned into the system as a raw material to be reused in steel production," explains Luz Sayda Zambrano Barrera, Sustainability coordinator at PazdelRío. The latest results from air quality monitoring conducted in the mill’s peripheral areas show levels below the limits established by law.
Scrubber system helps control atmospheric emissions at PazdelRío
Votorantim Energia’s research and development project for thin solar films – carried out in partnership with CSEM technology company and the Minas Gerais State Federal University – will soon be in its testing phase with films being placed on the lakes of the company’s plants. "The idea is to use this alternative technology to transform solar energy into a larger amount of electricity at a more competitive cost," explains Bruno Bandeira Rocha, Engineering manager. At the moment, we are studying the desired degree of transparency of the film so as not to interfere with underwater life when the film is laid on the surface of the lakes.
Lignin is emerging as an additional source of revenue for Fibria. The company has been seeking alternatives to its pulp business. Lignin is an organic polymer covering approximately 30% of an eucalyptus tree and acts as a binder for cellulose fibers. It provides rigidity, impermeability and resistance to wood, which gives this molecule different market application. Currently, several studies are underway for the use of lignin in various industry sectors such as chemical, construction and automotive. Some future possibilities for Fibria include the supply of lignin as an adhesive for residential wood panels such as MDF and plywood, produce a lignin-based carbon fiber to replace steel and aluminum components in automobiles, and develop an activated carbon from lignin as an alternative to water purification.
"These are opportunities with a strong commercial appeal, since they bring economic and environmental advantages," says Tiago Marchi, Strategy and New Business manager at Fibria. With this business vision, in January 2015 the company completed the purchase of Lignol Innovations, a Canada-based research center. The facility was renamed Fibria Innovations. Canadians are leaders in a different process of cooking timber and have a pilot plant and patents for production and application of a more pure type of lignin with higher market value.
Facade of Fibria Innovations building in Canada
Votorantim Cimentos puts into practice the concept of sustainability to achieve its growth targets by taking the following steps: considering the current and future needs of society, providing eco-efficient and innovative building materials and services to its customers, acting ethically, transparently and in accordance with laws and regulations, providing an inspiring, healthy and safe work environment for its employees and contract workers, and promoting the development of local communities. To ensure operational excellence and sustainably reduce costs, Votorantim implemented its Global Performance Program in its plants in Brazil (VCBR), in North America (VCNA), and in Europe, Asia and Africa (VCEAA).
Votorantim Cimentos plant at Niebla, Spain, participates in the company’s Global Performance Program
The chief goal of the program is to establish a three-year action plan for each plant based on the analysis of strengths, improvements, opportunities and risks of each plant, on the global benchmarking report, and on historical evaluation of key performance indicators and costs. In doing so, Votorantim Cimentos promotes synergy between its plants and seeks the fulfillment of its long-term goals in a structured manner.
Freedom in decision making. This is the definition of autonomy, today’s buzzword when it comes to a high-performance environment, innovation and quality of life. The numbers help explain all the buzz about autonomy: the latest Workplace Survey in 2013 found that employees with more freedom of choice are happier. Employees who exercise autonomy at work have a high performance rate of 76% against 71% of those without autonomy. Freedom in decision making also generates a positive impact on the innovation index: 40% in autonomous teams against 32% in teams kept under tighter controls. Therefore, the autonomous management model has been exercised by companies seeking high performance and facing daily innovation challenges.
"Working in an environment that offers a choice of tasks, targets, location and working hours gives the employee a greater sense of ownership. But such autonomy should be accompanied by individual responsibility for their decisions," explains the consultant and psychologist João Cordeiro.
When greater autonomy is granted to employees, the relationship between them and their leader changes and requires more transparency. In addition, the company ceases to follow a rigid hierarchy since its leaders will have to give up holding information and relinquish control. On the other hand, employees will have to take greater responsibility for their attitudes and delivery of tasks.
Cordeiro points out that employee autonomy brings gains for the company. This is usually perceived in the short term as there is greater employee engagement in everyday tasks, in meetings and especially with regards to target delivery.
In an ideal model of autonomy, employees have the flexibility to choose their own working hours,
THE SIX KEY ELEMENTS OF AUTONOMY 1st Delegation Trust that employees are technically capable of performing the proposed tasks.
THE SIX KEY ELEMENTS OF AUTONOMY 2nd Genuine Communication You need to ask and actively listen if employees know and are willing to carry out the proposed tasks.
THE SIX KEY ELEMENTS OF AUTONOMY 3rd Negotiation Allow enough room for employees to adjust and be flexible where possible.
THE SIX KEY ELEMENTS OF AUTONOMY 4th Trust Believe that employees will give the best of themselves.
THE SIX KEY ELEMENTS OF AUTONOMY 5th Management by Consequence Act immediately when targets are not delivered or in cases of unjustified performance deviations.
THE SIX KEY ELEMENTS OF AUTONOMY 6th Accountability Think and act as an owner and deliver outstanding results.
set their delivery schedule and jointly define their goals with their leaders. This model is already being implemented in some companies around the world. "A study conducted by a multinational company shows that the autonomy granted to its employees increased their quality of production and life by 97%," says Cordeiro. The consultant recommends that each company study which autonomy pattern they wish to adopt among their employees, according to its policies and objectives. "Undoubtedly, this new way of working will bring important benefits for everyone," he concludes.
João Cordeiro holds a Psychology degree from PUC-Campinas and a post-graduate degree in Marketing from ESPM with a major in Business Management from FGV. Is the founder of the consulting firm Max Estratégias Humanas, which provides Human Resources development and training solutions.
When we hear of employee protagonism, innovation and autonomy, we think mainly of IT companies. But over the years labor relations have undergone changes in organizations that also operate in other market segments. In the interview with the consultant and psychologist João Cordeiro, under the Viewpoint section above, the numbers show the advantages of employee autonomy for companies.
At Votorantim, employee autonomy is increasingly encouraged. Autonomy presupposes taking further risks with more responsibility. Votorantim’s Management Belief – Sense of Ownership – is a clear demonstration that the company values employees who take on those responsibilities, who turn mistakes into learning opportunities, and who lead by example. Some Votorantim training programs, like the ones presented below, seek to increase employee protagonism and autonomy. And the benefits go beyond greater productivity. Not only do they promote talent retention and greater agility in decision-making but also stimulate innovation and the emergence of new leaders.
At the cutting edge
The strategy adopted by Votorantim Cimentos is based on excellence in customer service and is divided into four pillars: Customer Focus, Operational Excellence, Sustainable Practices, and People with Autonomy. The main goal of the latter pillar is to value leaders who create strong and engaged teams so that they can find solutions together and seek intelligent synergies that bring gains for everyone.
An example of an employee who won his autonomy is Marcos Vinicius de Araújo Silva, head of Logistics at Votorantim Cimentos in Porto Velho, Roraima State. He has worked for the company for three years now. "Marcos has been awarded several times by the company and one of his greatest skill is to identify talents and prepare the team to train successors," says Maria Fernanda Santos, People & Management consultant at Votorantim Cimentos Central North Region. Autonomy is directly related to successor training. The leader in charge of training the talents who are building a career within the company should be open to coach them as best as possible, while
employees on the rise need to learn how to feel confident in making decisions and, therefore, embrace new responsibilities.
At Votorantim Metais the Cultivating Leaders training program is underway. The program aims to prepare leaders for the company’s challenges, while enabling them to drive the company towards a high performance culture.
According to Jane Aparecida Teixeira, Talent Attraction and Development general manager at Votorantim Metais, the content covered in the training program stimulates self-knowledge and motivates leaders to take a protagonist role in their team building process. "People are unique and have different beliefs and values, and these drive their desires and actions. But we are not always aware of that. Therefore, it is necessary to work on our self-knowledge so that an actual personal transformation can take place," points out Jane.
Jane says that companies need employees who lead by example and take a protagonist role and who have the ability to pass on the company values to their teams. "As leaders are better prepared, so will their team and then employees can then carry out their activities with greater autonomy. When employees work under this new model, they become more engaged with work and will be more productive," she explains.
Approximately 400 leaders among supervisors, engineers, managers and general managers have attended the Cultivating Leaders program and improvements in the workplace are noticeable. People are now concerned not only with meeting targets, but also with their well-being and that of their colleagues and with the plant operations. One of the participants of the program is Mauro David Boletta, who has been with Votorantim Metais for nearly 30 years and took over as general manager of the Cajarmarquilla plant in Peru four years ago (read his testimonial in the box to the right).
These experiences work out in practice what theory has shown: autonomy when exercised with responsibility establishes a win-win work mode both for companies and people.
"Before I took over the Logistics area at Votorantim Cimentos in Porto Velho, I took several training courses, including people and process management. Working with autonomy, provided that we respect the company’s pillars and Values, means more freedom to innovate, improve, dialogue, and encourage people to have their own initiatives and, thus, improve the team's performance."
|Marcos Vinicius de Araújo Silva, head of Logistics at Votorantim Cimentos in Porto Velho|
|Mauro David Boletta general manager of Cajarmarquilla plant at Votorantim Metais in Peru|
"The exercise of autonomy promotes the development of our decision-making capacity and Sense of Ownership, and reinforces the perception of mutual trust between leaders and their team. This allows me to hone my skills and also challenges me and stimulates me. For the company, autonomy is a powerful people development tool and facilitates the establishment of pragmatic routines while also providing agility in decision-making, which in the end leads to high performance."
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