Building trust through community and client engagement
With edie's engagement month coming to a close, and ahead of my appearance at the Sustainability Communications Conference, now is as good a time as any to reflect upon how Capgemini UK's Community Programme is helping to strengthen relationships with key stakeholders and build trust in our brand.
In today’s unpredictable business environment, the need for responsible business practices is more critical than ever. At Capgemini, we believe our Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability (CR&S) delivers added value to our stakeholders – clients, employees, shareholders, investors, suppliers, business partners, the communities in which we operate and the environment. However, to ensure the success of any CR&S programme, a business must ensure that it ties in with the business’ core objectives.
Our Community Programme is a reflection of our overall approach to business, which places a high value on our people and the power of collaboration. As a business, we know our value comes from our people and empowering and supporting our employees underpins our brand proposition of ‘People Matter’. Therefore, we have a programme in place to support our people on issues that matter to them. We also believe in the value of working collaboratively with organisations to make an impact on social issues relevant to our business, such as the digital skills gap.
Further to this, we also have a long history of participation in the communities where we live and work. It’s a fundamental part of our heritage and one of the ways we put our corporate values of trust, honesty, and team spirit into action. We believe these are critical elements to building credibility externally and helping to create stronger relationships with all our stakeholders.
The impetus behind the success of this programme is that it mirrors our business approach. It achieves this in two ways. First, by demonstrating the value we place in individuals to make a difference by supporting them through grants and awards programmes. Projects that we have supported include setting up a local drama club for young people and a relief mission to Syria. Second, it ensures that we apply our business skills and expertise on issues where we can make a difference through collaboration with charities, or others who share in our goals. Our corporate programme enables vulnerable groups to share the benefits of a digital world, and we help to lessen the skills gap in the UK by supporting and inspiring people from diverse backgrounds to realise their potential.
Last year, we engaged with more than 40 charities, including our strategic partnerships. At a local level, the involvement of our people in charities, helps build relationship through direct involvement and personal experiences. Our work with our long-term key partners means that we are able to build brand trust and credibility by demonstrating our partnership approach and commitment on issues where we add value.
Our partnership with The Prince’s Trust, for example, has developed over ten years from fundraising and supporting ad hoc events, to working collaboratively to transfer our knowledge into a fit-for-purpose digital skills programme. Now in its second year, it aims to transform the lives of 600 young people. Last year, we were able to report helping over 12 young people back into work.
We also take on leadership roles, working collaboratively to help tackle the skills gap at a strategic level, which build trust with a variety of stakeholder groups. Our UK chairman, Christine Hodgson chairs the Careers & Enterprise Company, which is an umbrella organisation that aims to help inspire and prepare young people for the world of work. Christine also sits on Business in the Community’s Employment and Skills Leadership Team. Our UK CEO Apps UK and chair of the UK CR&S Board, Paul Margetts, sits on the Technology Leadership Group convened by The Prince’s Trust.
Our programme also enables us to engage in a unique way with our clients. Last year, we participated in The Prince’s Trust Palace to Palace cycling challenge – with a team of over 320 participants, including 49 riders from 11 clients. We’ve also involved our clients in the delivery of elements. Last year, a client hosted a week-long experience with us for The Prince’s Trust that helped 10 disadvantaged, unemployed young people learn a number of essential new skills needed to thrive in today’s digitally-dependent workplace. It culminated in the creation of three digital apps that were subject to interrogation, praise and tests of feasibility by a group of Dragon’s Den-style judges.
In addition to the relationships we build with our community partners and clients, the true value to our brand comes from the way our programme enables us to demonstrate our brand promise to our people. Our programme engages our employees in many ways. Each quarter, more than 1,000 employees vote for our awards and grants schemes to benefit charities all over the UK. We offer all employees two days off work to volunteer and a number of opportunities to get involved in the local community. Our commitment to the community and the wider CR&S agenda is also a key driver for new recruits who come to Capgemini.
Our work across the full Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability (CR&S) spectrum, including environmental sustainability and people culture, has also given us platforms to build our brand trust. We have achieved top rankings and awards across our programme in recognition of our approach including World’s Most Ethical company 2016 by the Ethisphere Institute, a global leader in defining and advancing the standards of ethical business practices. We have been ranked in the 100% carbon club by Bloomberg, one of just 66 firms of 3,000 assessed, to transparently disclose 100% of their carbon emissions. We were also recognised by a place on the Top 300 companies in the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index.
Our presence on rankings, awards and investor indices helps us not only benchmark our performance and ensure constant improvement, but also serves to demonstrate the credibility of our programme approach, win new business and talent and, build our trust bank with investors and regulators.
For Capgemini, our CR&S is a fundamental way we can demonstrate that our vision, mission and values are more than words. For us, it is less about communicating its success than how we deliver it, collectively and working to engage our stakeholders in the delivery.
I will be expanding on some of the above points, and taking questions, at edie’s Sustainability Communications Conference on 16 May in London (find out more here).
edie's engagement month
The month of February has seen edie shift the editorial spotlight to engagement, with a series of exclusive interviews, features and podcasts running throughout the month to drill down on the best way to bring the people you want on the journey with you.James Robey