Celebrating World Refugee Day with Foundever™:  Empowering refugees, enriching communities

World Refugee Day, observed annually on June 20th, is dedicated to honoring the strength, courage and resilience of millions of refugees worldwide. It’s a day to recognize the contributions of refugees to the communities that welcome them, as well as to acknowledge the ongoing struggles they face.

On World Refugee Day, a female fills out a job application with her daughter sitting next to her in a lobby with three other people

Published ·June 20, 2024

Reading time·3 min

At Foundever™, we’re deeply committed to supporting refugees and contributing to their successful integration into new communities. We believe in creating long-term value for our associates and the communities where we work and live. One of our most impactful initiatives is our refugee program in Brazil, which demonstrates our dedication to these principles.

The journey begins

The program began modestly, with just nine positions aimed at Venezuelan refugees. Initially, it faced some key challenges:

  • Cultural and linguistic barriers: Many refugees faced difficulties understanding the job application process due to cultural and linguistic differences.
  • Cultural acceptance: Overcoming biases and misconceptions within our company’s culture regarding diversity and inclusion was crucial. We prepared our leadership and HR teams to embrace and reinforce the importance of diversity.

With persistence and dedication, we developed strategies to overcome these challenges, such as adopting hiring software for a smoother candidate experience and implementing a “Spanish in Company” program to enhance communication and cultural understanding.

Empowering refugees

Our approach in Brazil is holistic. The program helps refugees secure jobs and offers tailored support and training to equip them with necessary personal and professional growth skills. This initiative has been particularly beneficial, integrating over 600 refugees from countries like Venezuela, Haiti, Cuba and some French-speaking nations in Africa, which now make up 20% of the company’s workforce in Brazil.

Impact and outcomes

Here are some key outcomes of our program:

  • Significant reduction in employee turnover and absenteeism among refugees by 25% and 66%, respectively, compared to their Brazilian counterparts.
  • Adopted digital HR tools for online recruitment and training, including language training to assist refugees and improve staff capabilities.
  • Created a culture that not only welcomes diversity but thrives on it, enabling a more inclusive and engaging work environment that enhances employee performance and job satisfaction.
  • Built a support network through partnerships with organizations like the UN, local NGOs and churches to reach potential refugee candidates.
  • Established a successful referral program, with almost 90% of current refugee associates joining through referrals.

The importance of diversity

Leadership and HR at Foundever have worked diligently to promote a company-wide culture of diversity and inclusion. This commitment to overcoming biases and misconceptions has strengthened the positive employee experience for refugee candidates and associates alike. The refugee program aids in solving immediate employment needs and plays an important part in developing long-term community integration and societal unity.

Our successful support of refugees received recognition from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). We’re also proud of our certification as a Great Place to Work® for four consecutive years and inclusion in the list of the 100 best companies to work for in Brazil.

Looking ahead: Continuing our commitment to refugees and global impact

On World Refugee Day, we celebrate the resilience and contributions of refugees worldwide. At Foundever, we’re proud of our refugee program, an essential part of our Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) initiative that demonstrates our commitment to transforming lives and promoting inclusivity. We hope our program inspires other organizations to see how compassion combined with strategic action can transform lives and communities. As we continue to grow and develop our initiatives, we remain dedicated to creating opportunities that empower refugees and build a culture of acceptance and support. Join us in honoring World Refugee Day and supporting refugees everywhere. Together, we can make a difference!