Telus international Philippines : Incorporating Volunteerism in their Corporate DNA
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03 November 2017 Telus international Philippines : Incorporating Volunteerism in their Corporate DNA

Written by: Danica Pacardo

Driven by their "we give where we live" philosophy, Telus International Philippines (TIP) , 2015 Search for Outstanding Volunteers (Organization-Corporate) awardee is one of the most consistent business process outsourcing (BPO) companies which incorporate employee volunteerism as an integral part of their corporate culture.

Year-round, employees enthusiastically organize and participate in volunteering activities, ranging from feeding, psychosocial art therapy sessions for cancer-stricken kids, tutorials, health and wellness sessions, among others. Annually, it organizes Telus Days of Giving (TDOG), the company's biggest volunteering event participated in by the top management and employees from all its local branches and even some of its international offices.
Now on its 11th year, TDOG has evolved and mobilized more and more members of the TIP family to engage in various volunteer activities benefitting marginalized communities. One of the main TOG activities is its participation in the implementation of Department of Education's Brigada Eskwela.

This year, before the regional kick off of DepEd's Brigada Eskwela on May 15, TIP, in cooperation with Hands On Manila, mobilized around 3,000 employees, community residents, and parents in different volunteering activities on May 13, 2017 at Rosauro Almario Elementary School. Corporate Social Responsibility Head Emmylou Belen describes this year's TDOG's involvement in Brigada Eskwela as the most diverse in terms of activities. "We did not only refurbish the school, but there is a program on disaster resiliency for the community leaders for the barangay surrounding the school, workshops for teachers, livelihood trainings and job preparation seminar for Alternative Learning System students."

Most of the employees who took part in the event even came from the graveyard shift. Members of the top management, ranging from the President, head of operations, and other senior officials worked hand in hand with the other TIP employees in improving the school facilities and in the conduct of other activities.

Ms. Belen affirms that the support of the top management contributes to the success of the TOG. "It is always a successful component of our employee volunteering program when the leaders themselves volunteer. Every year, we not only get the support of the top management, but also that of Telus International in Canada. Last year, they brought all the leaders of Telus International in different countries, North America, Europe and Central America to observe our TDOG."

For Ms. Cloe Masacupan, being part of TOG is a fulfilling and enjoyable experience. When she joined Telus, she was pleasantly surprised with its volunteerism culture, which she gladly embraced. "Iba talaga yung pakiramdam kasi sa dating employer ko, limited lang. Ang saya pala sa pakiramdam to help. Ibig sabihin sa pagtulong sa kapwa, walang mataas walang mababa, sama-sama tayo." ("It’s a different feeling. In my previous employer, volunteer opportunities were limited. It feels good to help. It just means that in helping others, class doesn’t matter.") For Shine Cayetano, another TIP employee, her first volunteering experience through Telus Day of Giving is a chance to give back to public elementary schools which served as her learning haven during her primary years. "Sobrang naenjoy ko siya kahit hindi masyadong maganda yung weather natin, nakakatuwa na nakakatulong tayo sa mga simpleng ganito. Unang –una kasi, gusto kong ma-experience at saka laki rin kasi ako sa public school, so gusto ko in return magvolunteer para matulungan yung mga bata. Kasi syempre we were able to develop yung itsura ng buildings and painting ng chairs.I believe yung mga bata lalo silang ma-eengganyong magaral kasi environment nila maganda na ulit" ("I really enjoyed ( participating in TOG) despite the weather. It feels good to help even through simple events like this. I've always wanted to experience this in order to give back and to help the pupils, since I attended a public elementary school. We were able to improve the appearance of the buildings and chairs. I believe the students will enjoy learning because their school facilities look better."

Department of Education - NCR Superintendent Wilfredo Escalona Cabral affirms the passion and commitment of TIP in making the Brigada Eskwela program successful. "They have been doing this for quite a time. These people really want to help in the preparation for the school opening."For Dr. Cabral, volunteers like the employees of Telus contribute to the success of Brigada Eskwela. “We recognize this as part of the continuing effort to reiterate the fact that education is really a social responsibility. Having them all here, working on different programs, involving communities in giving service to the kids and to the parents regarding resiliency, hygiene, school, and all other things really matter."

TIP does not confine their TOG activity in schools. In fact, Ms. Belen fondly remembers one of the company's most memorable TOG event where the beneficiaries were the survivors of typhoon Yolanda. TIP repacked relief goods and Noche Buena packages for them and flew to Tacloban to personally hand the items to them. Historically, TDOG events were simultaneously conducted in multiple sites like Telus Gawad Kalinga villages, Bantay Kalikasan sites in Laguna and Estero de Paco , the Virlanie Foundation, and the Bantay Bata House in Bulacan.

Telus regularly conducts surveys to determine employees’ feedback on their activities and other company concerns. Results of the survey have consistently showed that majority of the employees were very satisfied with their engagement with CSR programs, particularly in volunteering activities and pointed out that this motivates them to stay in the company. Funds raised from their Share to Care program, an internal donation program where employees donate their preferred amount through salary deductions, also support TDOG. In 2015, they were able to construct a kindergarten classroom at Tenement Elementary School in Taguig City

For Mr. Warren Tait, TIP's Vice President for Brand Marketing & Culture, employee volunteerism contributes to the development of TIP and its employees. "Our team members stay with us. One of reasons why is that they are not just office employees but we are doing this (TDOG) together, making a difference. CSR is one of the reasons why they stay. CSR is a significant impact in their employment with Telus. You also see that more and more of our team members develop their leadership skills here."

With the annual TODG and year-round volunteering activities initiated either by the company or the employees and fully supported by the top management, TIP proves that even in fast-paced industries like the BPO, doing business and giving back to the community can go hand in hand and can translate to employee satisfaction and company success.

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