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Is diversity merely an approach or an operational method at Forte Group?

Is diversity merely an approach or an operational method at Forte Group?

"Diversity is the mix. Inclusion is making the mix work." - Andrés Tapia

Embracing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Forte Group

Forte Group stands as a global leader in software development, boasting over 900 employees spread across U.S., European, and Latin American delivery centers. Our commitment lies in propelling your business forward through innovative product management and outcome-driven software solutions.

With our global team spanning multiple regions, cultures, ethnicities, and experiences, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) aren't just strategic buzzwords, they're the cornerstone of our ethos and operational framework. We seamlessly blend continents, races, genders, and nationalities, meticulously considering the nuances of each location, from tailored benefits to attentive support for our diverse workforce. 

Effective Communication Across Cultures

The extent of our diversity presents a significant challenge. We bring together not only individuals from different countries but also diverse regions of the world with entirely distinct cultures. Recognizing this, mere communication in a single language falls short. It's imperative that we ensure effective communication across languages.

Pablo Blauer, a Delivery Director from Argentina, frequently engages in meetings with clients in the U.S. and colleagues in Eastern Europe. Recognizing the importance of clear communication across cultures, Pablo ensures everyone feels heard and understood. He emphasizes active listening, repeating key points for confirmation, and providing meeting summaries to ensure alignment. In virtual settings, Pablo emphasizes the need to "read the room," understanding each participant's communication preferences and fostering connections despite physical distance.


Larry Tucker, an Information Security Analyst based in the U.S., prefers having cameras on during meetings to read colleagues' body language, helping him gauge their satisfaction or discomfort. If body language isn't visible, it may indicate nervousness, prompting Larry to use humor to lighten the mood and ensure everyone feels at ease in his meetings.


However, that's not always sufficient. Our HR organization recognizes the ongoing necessity to enhance and enrich our cultural awareness for improved collaboration with diverse cultures. While we consistently integrate DE&I principles into our activities, it's undeniably time and resource-consuming. Nevertheless, our recent DE&I campaign demonstrated promising outcomes.

 

Enhancing Cultural Awareness

Recently, we launched a DE&I campaign that went beyond general topics like diversity, equality, inclusion, and respect. We placed particular emphasis on intercultural awareness among our employees. To achieve this, we conducted a series of webinars focusing on the mental, cultural, and behavioral distinctions of each location where Forte Group operates.


To prioritize DE&I in this campaign, we were prompted by internal observations:

  • Employees from various cultures have distinct preferences when it comes to receiving, giving, and interpreting feedback.
  • Differences exist in initiating conversations - some prefer small talk, while others prefer getting straight to the point.
  • There are varying emphases on collaboration moments.
  • Varied approaches are observed in setting tasks and expectations regarding final results, among others.

Our local representatives frequently participated in country-specific webinars, assisting our speakers in uncovering more localized insights. It was truly enjoyable! 

To ensure better comprehension of the content, we used various methods, ranging from serious webinars to simpler quizzes, articles, and interactive games.

This DE&I initiative revealed to us that:

  • Despite our differences, we are committed to gaining a deeper understanding of our colleagues. The engagement level was absolutely high.
  • What may be acceptable in one culture could be entirely different in another, and from a business standpoint, it's essential to be aware of these distinctions.
  • The importance of details cannot be overstated. A fundamental aspect of our values lies in our commitment to quality. What has become apparent through this webinar series is that without comprehending the unique characteristics and idiosyncrasies of our team members, we risk compromising on quality, what’s not acceptable in a client-service business.

The Future of DE&I at Forte Group

However, that was merely the starting point. This educational endeavor will undoubtedly be further promoted through various iterations.


For us, DE&I isn't just an initiative, it's ingrained in our DNA, reflecting our unwavering dedication to cultivating an environment where every individual feels valued, respected, and empowered to contribute their unique perspectives.


Understanding the richness of our diversity, we prioritize the well-being of our employees. We facilitate integration sessions for newcomers and offer comprehensive support to those who have relocated, including psychological assistance for personal challenges. Our corporate ethos revolves around fostering mutual support rather than assigning blame, exemplified by initiatives like providing temporary support to our Ukrainian colleagues during their most challenging times.

“Our commitment to DE&I isn't just altruistic, it's strategic. We believe that diverse teams drive better decisions and solutions. By embracing diverse viewpoints, we create a collaborative environment where innovative solutions flourish. This was evidenced in a client engagement where diverse perspectives led to a winning solution that balanced performance and cost optimization.” - 

Pablo Blauer, LATAM Delivery Director at Forte Group (based in Argentina)

Yet, beyond our diverse skill sets and perspectives, what truly sets us apart is our shared sense of care and camaraderie. Whether in the United States, Colombia, Argentina, Ukraine, or elsewhere, Forties worldwide embody a culture of warmth and support. At Forte Group, no one navigates challenges alone, fostering friendships that transcend geographical boundaries.

As Larry Tucker, an Information Security Analyst (based in the U.S), aptly puts it, "At Forte Group, the friendliness and willingness to help are off the charts. People go that extra mile whenever it's needed." This ethos underscores our belief that caring for our people isn't just a slogan - it's the heartbeat of our organization.

In conclusion, diversity isn't just an approach or an operational method at Forte Group, it's who we are. And as we continue to grow and evolve, we'll always keep diversity, equity, and inclusion at the forefront of everything we do.

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