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In association with Hexaware Technologies

How Hexaware is placing CSR at the heart of its identity and mission

Hexaware’s head of CSR, Logabiraman Sekar, speaks to CPO Vishwanath Joshi about how leading tech firms should play a pivotal role in shaping a better world through corporate social responsibility

By Logabiraman Sekar

At Hexaware, corporate social responsibility (CSR) is the continuing commitment to behave ethically and contribute towards the betterment of the local and global community. “We encourage every Hexawarian to be the part of our journey to bring about a change in the society and the environment we thrive in,” says Vishwanath Joshi, CPO at Hexaware.

In pursuance of its vision of inculcating good corporate citizenship, Hexaware is engaging in focused philanthropic programs to improve the quality of life of the underserved, disadvantaged and marginalised communities. We are proud of our long-standing commitment to CSR, built on a strong edifice of inclusive growth and value creation for every stakeholder – including the society that we thrive in.

Corporate Social Responsibility has become a standard business practice across all Industries, but the tech sector faces particular responsibilities. (Photo by Arthimedes/Shutterstock)

“When you do it as an organisation, it goes far wider, has more reach, and is deeper in terms of its impact,” Joshi adds. “Our programme is very well devised, and it has the backing of not just one team in the organisation, but also the commitment at all levels including the CEO and the board. Thus, it brings in a huge change, and it remains very relevant and focused.”

Focus on making impact

For Hexaware, CSR policy is designed to enable all employees to contribute to the company’s impact on society. It focuses on a number of core areas – education, skill development for young people, the empowerment of women, healthcare, environment, and sports.

“When we built our CSR policy, there were two angles,” explains Joshi. “One was the causes that employees connect with best. The second was the mandate that the board was giving us. We took the two together and debated upon it, and then finalised what would our focus areas and flagship programmes be.”

“We are not just cutting a cheque and giving it to a cause; we are asking how we can actually be there and be fully involved,” he adds. “There must be a feeling that we own this, but it was also important that we didn’t spread ourselves too thin. Needs come from many places, and they are all genuine, but we need to remain true to our cause.”

As an IT company, the development of science and STEM skills in general are key areas on which Hexaware can provide in-depth expertise, but the company’s focus goes much wider. It has chosen areas that can be most meaningful for its employees, and in which it can give the most to the society.

The company recognises its role as a key player in a prominent industry that can, and should, take a lead role in CSR. Two key areas are education and skill building.

For example, the company provides vocational skill building for special needs children and unemployed youth. Some have had employment opportunities in its call centres and its BPO organisation, with the same training and incentives as any other employee. There is also a strong focus on diversity, including reaching out to the LGBTQ community.

“The tech industry also has a gender imbalance, and so our projects aim to enable women empowerment in a big way,” Joshi adds. “We work with female children from a young age, we work with the female children of sex workers to break that vicious cycle, and we work with all women who need to be empowered because we believe that they will become self-reliant when they have a job.”

A core commitment to CSR

Through its gamut of CSR activities, Hexaware endeavours to enable people to help themselves, with efforts driven by their active participation and collaboration. We also encourage and accelerate our employees’ passion to do good by providing continuous employee engagement programmes. Our approach is holistic and addresses the well-being of all stakeholders from a social, environmental and ethical standpoint.

In these CSR initiatives, we are committed to enhancing lives of local communities and providing opportunities for them to lead productive lives through flagship livelihood and education initiatives.

“When we have our annual meet – and we’ll meet all the employees – we ensure that we bring some of our NGO partners and the beneficiaries to speak to them,” says Joshi. “They tell their stories, and I think that is more impactful than me telling them what we have done.”

“The other thing that has gone very well with our employees is that we are nimble, swift to change gears,” he adds. “When Covid hit, there were certain beneficiaries that needed support the most, so we needed to change our direction to where help was needed, which helped us as an organisation to connect with causes very well at that point.”

Hexaware works with female children from a young age. (Photo courtesy of Hexaware Technologies)

For example, in the first phase of the pandemic, Hexaware looked at the needs of people who were on the move or stranded, acting to ensure that they received the basic necessities. In the second wave, with hospitals in dire need of support, the company partnered with Indian tech industry trade body NASSCOM, as well as municipal organisations, to provide the equipment needed to treat patients. In one instance, it even helped to create an entire ICU ward for a smaller hospital.

Such examples show that CSR is a day-to-day affair for Hexaware, building a culture that enables its approach to be both proactive and reactive. The company works hard to connect the dots between its internal resources and knowledge, and the causes that can benefit most from direct and committed engagement.

“Even when we hire employees, while we consider technology skills, we are also looking at their empathy level, how inclusive they are, how grounded they are, because that’s where you know they will match with our organisation culturally,” Joshi says.

Hexaware is showing that, for IT companies, CSR works best when it is in an organisation’s bones, rather than merely skin deep.

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