In an age of globalization and liberalization, the Indian corporate scenario has undergone a dramatic change. The technological advancements, changes in work culture and communication techniques, with associates and offices across the globe, has translated into increased market share and rapidly growing revenues. Today, an increasing number of companies are realizing the impact they have not only on their direct stake holders, which would include their customers, employees, vendors, dealers, suppliers and share holders, but also on their indirect stake holders like the communities in which they operate, or those which would be affected by the company’s operations.
Conspicuous to this impact, companies have sensitized themselves, clearly defining their social responsibilities towards the community. Thus the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) of a company, which may be linked directly to its business or explicit social ethos is fast gaining momentum here.
Today, CSR has moved beyond mere philanthropy, and become a significant part of the company’s objectives. Most companies have dedicated CSR teams, with their strategies and goals clearly defined and separate budgets allocated. At Cognizant they believe that corporate actions play a very important role in creating a climate of positive opinion and that giving back to the society is not only imperative to the company’s growth, but also an earnest reflection of the values it stands for. Cognizant, is a $2 billion plus, Fortune-1000 consulting, IT and BPO company. This belief is what drives Cognizant Foundations (CF), a CSR arm. Established with the objective of improving, guiding and inspiring the lives of underprivileged people, CF focuses on the areas of education and health care. It facilitates community, rural development, disaster relief, and educational and health care programs by providing direct assistance to charitable organizations, educational institutions and rural based organizations. CSR is now turning out to be a key facet that determines the credibility and the good will of the company. In today’s operating environment, corporate responsibility is a non-negotiable imperative for businesses.
With a view of contributing to the company’s objectives, developing into socially responsible citizens, employee engagement in CSR activities are critical and are becoming an effective way of fostering unity amongst them. CSR activities are also a way to encourage social involvement of employees and bond them as a team and with the organization.
An example of partnership between an organization and its employees would be the Ullas Trust, set up by the employees of Polaris software, which aims to ignite young minds and encourage a ‘Can Do It’ spirit in students from corporation and government schools in India. The initiatives of the Ullas Trust focus on students between classes nine and 12, providing a support framework that encourages them and then helps them set out to achieve it. Polaris employees get the unique opportunity to mentor young students and enable them to get closer to their dreams. This mentor student relationship has also helped build the emotional quotient of the company. Polaris, have strived hard to build a human corporate for many years. The Ullas program has played an important role in integrating the company with the larger community.
Another such corporate would be UPS, the world’s largest package delivery company, which conducts the Global Volunteer Month. Every October, UPS employees across the globe give their time, talents and hands-on-support to charitable organizations in their local communities covering a range of areas concerning the environment, education, sports, arts and culture to spread a smile. This year UPS employees in India volunteered over 2,600 hours with NGOs in 12 cities across the country. Managing Director of UPS also joins other volunteers. UPS has always considered volunteerism to be an integral part of the company’s culture. Across India, UPS employees have embraced this belief and supported various causes. The UPS Global Volunteer Month is one such initiative that provides with an opportunity to give back to the society that we live and operate in.