Leading diversity at Tecpetrol
Over four months ago, we set up an interdisciplinary multicultural group to develop a common approach across the entire organization in support of diversity, ensuring compliance with the d+ program. Learn more about the group’s priorities, concerns and expectations as its members undertake this challenging role.
In an increasingly diverse and interconnected world, there is no doubt that relying on our differences as individuals for a broader perspective will enhance our future. This is why at Tecpetrol we have been working on the d+ program for the last two years, in the belief that each person brings unique attributes to the company thus enabling stronger teams to be built.
The Tecpetrol team for Diversity in Governance was created in January 2021, guided by international best practices, and clear about the fact that driving cultural change within a company requires both strong leadership and the commitment of all areas. The group comprises three women and three men of different nationalities (Mexico and Argentina) and its aim is to develop a common approach throughout the organization in support of diversity, guaranteeing compliance with the d+ program. “Selecting the members to form part of this team meant seeking the broadest representation possible of the business, its nationalities, generations, and people’s seniority within the company, as well as a wide range of skills, abilities, interests and experience. This is how we were able to put together a broad-based oversight body, taking the d+ program from the orbit of HR to the core of the business,” explains María Laura García, Talent and Communications Manager.
Various international organizations and experts from around the world agree that diversity needs to be driven by an organization’s leaders, as it cannot be the sole responsibility of a specific area. A few years ago, a large-scale McKinsey study on gender diversity revealed that companies with leaders who set an example when it comes to the behavior and commitments they expect of their employees are five times more likely to succeed in achieving the cultural changes they seek. The World Bank's International Finance Corporation has also published a guide to best practices for equal opportunities in energy companies, recommending as a starting point the appointment of a dedicated diversity work team including leaders and employees from different areas and business units.
When asked to define diversity, each team member homes in on different aspects, but they all agree on the same mission statement: "Diversity enriches us." It’s on this basis that they’re proposing to work on three specific lines of action for this year: gender, age and culture.
Broadening the gender perspective to ensure that men and women have the same opportunities is one of the more rounded topics on Tecpetrol's diversity agenda. “Ten years ago, when we began a selection process for a technical area, if a female candidate applied, it was very unlikely that she would be considered for the post. Today, we have young professional women drawing up diagrams out in the field. There is no doubt that we are on the right track, but we must continue working to ensure equal access to opportunities. It’s no longer about appointing more women in managerial or technical roles, but about making them more visible and putting them through their paces to see who should be promoted according to merit,” explains Julieta Vieytes, Human Resources manager. This year, Tecpetrol has launched an exclusive mentoring program for 27 women with a view to getting mentors to expand the possibilities and horizons of their mentees. The idea is that based on their own experiences, the mentors can offer a clearer and more strategic approach to the career paths their mentees should be following, motivating them to tackle new challenges and expand their professional networks.
Generational diversity is also a value that strengthens corporate culture. “There are fundamental differences when you compare the concerns, motivations, expectations and ambitions of different age groups. Encouraging mutual understanding across the generational divide is a huge challenge for us,” says Esteban Grassi, head of the Golfo San Jorge Continuous Improvement unit. For this to happen, the company’s culture needs to become even more flexible so that it can continue to attract and develop top talent, the next generation of leaders who will pick up the baton to steer the organization.
The third axis of diversity management is multiculturalism. Tecpetrol currently has operations in various locations throughout Latin America and, although this may seem to be a homogeneous region, nothing could be further from the truth: each country has its own unique set of cultural values and idiosyncrasies. "We still have a lot of work to do when it comes to understanding the skills needed to allow all employees to work freely and productively in any of the countries where Tecpetrol is present,” says Juan José Mata, Director of Administration and Finance.
These three major issues are complemented by other concerns that will soon begin to gain more space on the diversity agenda, such as broadening the perspective to include other sexual and gender identities, as well as the inclusion of people living with disabilities.
María Laura, Javier, Julieta, Esteban, Juan José and Adela will be working together for the next year to develop the many facets of diversity at Tecpetrol. The members of the Diversity in Governance team will be renewed every year, bringing more varied views to bear on the area and enrich the issue. “We are proud of being here today as we embark upon this long and challenging journey. Our vision goes beyond these 12 months of work: over the next five years, our idea is for diversity to become intrinsic to Tecpetrol's culture, thus no longer requiring either a committee, special meetings, interviews, or programs," concludes Juan José Mata.