Diversity and inclusion in the workplace
Rakshet Sachdev joined RB in 2014. In January 2019, he began a new role as Research and Development Solutions Lead with the team in charge of designing global solution for product lifecycle management.
Based in Thailand, he’s a strong believer that you need to make waves to be heard.
As a society, we hear people more than we actually listen to them. My job is to listen, find solutions and give support.
We’re creating a new system to manage all of our product data globally. This will be a single source of information for every product we make – from supply information to safety and compliance documents. It is a standardised system to simplify how people work in a global company. So if you’re based in China and move around the world, you won’t need to master a different system. It piloted in Thailand in 2018, with more sites due to go live in the next few years.
I’m working within the core design team, focusing on the research and development sites that are part of the new system’s pilot launch. My role involves building relationships with all those who will be affected at every level of the company. I try to understand what they need and then offer solutions. This system represents a massive change and we need to ensure that everyone is included in the decision-making process.
In my previous role [in research and development for Durex] it was easier to see what impact my work had. I could look at supermarket shelves and think: “I created that”. With my current project I’m aware there might not be tangible results – but I think you have to look longer term and at the bigger picture. I feel I’m doing the right thing for the whole business.
When I first joined RB, I was so keen to prove myself worthy of a job, but I was also too scared to ask questions. My manager told me if I don’t make mistakes I can’t grow – that hit home. I realised I shouldn’t be scared to take bigger steps and learn from them; the company would be there to support me.
Inspiration struck me when I attended the One Young World (OYW) Summit in 2018. I saw young people getting together to fight sexual violence and harassment, climate change and other world issues, and that motivated me. I may not be developing a new product, but I’m trying to be entrepreneurial and to create change.
I’m on a mission to make RB more diverse and inclusive, to change mindsets across the company. I pitched an idea to our CEO and the head of HR. It’s called Project Rak – chosen because Rak in Thai means love and Raksh in Hindi means to protect, which together fully encompass what inclusivity means to me.
The initiative – which builds on the amazing work Project Dare has done over the past few years – would initially focus on LGBTQ+ inclusivity at RB, drawing on global standards for inspiration.
Purpose is what wakes you up in the morning and drives you to work. OYW has renewed my sense of purpose. Without that, a lot of work is monotonous and you can get lost in the mundane day-to-day. If you’re motivated, you push yourself.
I’ve been inspired by others pursuing what they believe in. For example, a colleague who is passionate about sustainability persuaded our Bang Pakong factory site in Thailand to remove all plastic cups, straws and boxes from the canteen, and to replace the plastic cups with reusable water bottles.
I’ve pushed back when I’ve believed it was the right thing to do. I was once charged with picking up a consumer project halfway through the process and I was under pressure to get the documentation ready. It was tedious work involving lots of translations, but I didn’t want to miss anything so I demanded more time despite the deadlines.
You might have amazing technical skills, but if you don’t put yourself forward you risk being overlooked. That’s how I’ve won opportunities, by making an active effort to be seen by management and by entering a competition to get to OYW. The year before, I also asked to attend a hackathon and Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity off the back of winning another company competition. Once people hear of you, you get more support, which helps your personal development.
I think as a company we’re getting better at team building. In my current role, we’re making a big effort to work as a group and support each other.
I’ve been lucky enough to visit RB offices around the world and experience the different cultures in China, the UK and the US. As a global company, RB offers so many opportunities to get involved with different markets and areas of business – it’s a real benefit of working here.