Blue Prism took home the bronze award for ' Excellence in CSR Strategy' at the HR Excellence Awards 2021, Singapore.
In this interview, Serine Loh, Head of HR APAC, Blue Prism, affirms how the company’s CSR efforts are unified by its vision to unleash society’s full potential and inspire the future of work through automation.
Q What is your organisation’s winning CSR strategy, and what are some milestones you’ve accomplished along this journey?
At Blue Prism, we believe that corporate social responsibility (CSR) takes many forms – from philanthropy to volunteer efforts. Through our CSR activities, ‘Blue Prism for Good’ (BP4Good), we aim to address four distinct areas, namely charity & fundraising, inclusivity, supporting not-for-profits, and education. These are unified by our vision to unleash society’s full potential and inspire the future of work through automation.
In the past year, we have focused our CSR efforts on philanthropy in India, as well as fundraising in the ANZ and APAC regions.
Our objective has been to empower our people to give back to their communities, as well as work with our partners and customers to intentionally address business and societal challenges. We recognise that we are on a journey, and that we must continually work to strengthen our pillars of social responsibility.
Our CSR efforts have seen massive successes across regions. In ANZ, we ran three fundraising activities addressing the bush fires, mental health, and cancer awareness, where we drove conversations over the various causes across multiple platforms and raised AUD8,000 in donations collectively.
In APAC, employees across the Greater China region and Singapore participated in the Orbis Virtual Race in December 2020, where contributions raised from the virtual run were directly donated to Orbis for treating avoidable blindness among the underprivileged across the globe. Together, the APAC team completed 4,006km in distance, an approximate 75% above the initial goal, helping to raise an estimated HKD46,000 for Orbis.
In India, focusing our efforts on education and upskilling, we supported the causes of My Little Bit, an organisation dedicated towards the support and development of the underprivileged with an emphasis on young women. Our combined sponsorship of INR443,000 enabled eight underprivileged girls to complete a three-year graduation curriculum and contributed to 10 new desktops to support digital literacy programmes in colleges.
Separately, our India team also raised and donated INR90,000 to Shishu Mandir, a volunteer-led organisation offering a comprehensive support system for disadvantaged children, which funded more than 2,000 educational books and miscellaneous stationery for students from grade one to 12.
In addition to the contributions to the various NGOs, we have also witnessed heightened employee engagement and sense of togetherness brought forward by the collaborative efforts in organising and running the CSR activities.
Q How has this strategy helped you achieve your HR priorities, and what role has the leadership played in helping make this initiative a reality?
Through a clearly defined CSR strategy alongwith areas we hope to address, and a common vision to guide our efforts, we were able to bring a sense of belongingness that ties back to our #OneBluePrism culture, reinforcing collaborations between geographical and functional teams.
As a firm that embraces collaboration and employee empowerment, everyone is encouraged to take charge and participate in volunteer-led initiatives that they find most aligned with their values.
Through our BP4Good programme, anyone can propose and drive a CSR initiative targeted at supporting education, inclusion, and diversity in the specific markets and communities we are operating in. Globally and locally, our leadership team has been supporting the initiatives from all aspects; from endorsing the initiatives, contributing privately to the causes to leading by example through their passionate participation in each activity.
With supportive and responsive leadership, we were also able to quickly react to circumstances and improve our BP4Good initiatives. With the global pandemic, we have seen our customers deal with organisational agility, with changing, and new ways of working.
As a result, we introduced the donation of our digital worker licenses, making intelligent automation technology available to the public sector, healthcare, education, financial services, and non-profit organisations, to help fight the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Q Unexpected roadblocks are part and parcel of executing any initiative. What were some of the barriers that you and your team experienced while rolling this out, and how did you successfully get past them?
The global pandemic has stretched all of us both personally and professionally. Internally, our teams had been working virtually from home, keeping our business running, while at the same time, trying to balance work and life as caregivers, teachers, providers, in addition to showing up 100% to Blue Prism.
While the pandemic has affected how we do things, we did not stop adapting and improving.
We have employed our own digital workers to automate some of our HR processes covering recruitment, onboarding, training, and the systems, which have, across a period of five months, given back over 2,000 work hours to employees, so that they have time to work on more creative and meaningful tasks such as the BP4Good programme.
In addition, as communications moved largely online, we used various channels from the intranet to email bulletins, APAC Connect Call, BPTV Live, video messages, newsletters, community pages, among others to promote our efforts, organise volunteers and raise awareness of the impact we are making.
Q As evidenced by the win, this initiative clearly delivered some amazing results. What was your gameplan for measuring ROI? What are some proud achievements you can share with us on this front?
At Blue Prism, corporate social responsibility is more than a business obligation. It resonates with all of us unified by our vision to unleash society’s full potential and inspire the future of work through automation. We believe our company and the people of Blue Prism have the opportunity and responsibility to use our knowledge and capabilities to create positive change.
In Blue Prism, we have Employee Resource Groups (ERG), which are voluntary team-member-led groups based on building a community, providing support, networking, and contributing to personal and career development in the work environment. Through our ERGs, we foster a culture of inclusiveness, diversity, and belonging that ensures that all employees can thrive. All ERGs are aligned to our mission, strategy, and values.
Globally to date, we have raised £250,000 for causes around the world including, the Australian bushfire fund, Central Texas Food Bank, Macmillan Cancer Support, and Singapore Red Cross.
The BP4Good movement is growing and evolving every year, with a vision to unleash human potential and inspire the future of work.
We are proud to promote inclusivity and diversity in our work. Our ERGs are strongly supported and BP4Good works closely with them to ensure representation with under-represented groups.
Q We’re now seeing HR manage portfolios that were previously considered far from their job description. In your view, what are the top three skills and attributes of today’s successful CHRO?
In recent years our usual way of working has largely been disrupted. As remote working takes its place as the new normal, it is imperative for today’s successful CHRO to:
- Be strategic – Capability of thinking and operating strategically, and analysing how current actions will impact the future.
- Be business-focused – Focus on the business side of human resources. How HR impacts the business in terms of trends and tools such as utilising automation to ensure the business is meeting its needs and expectations.
- Be a change driver – Be able to drive change in the right direction, and be able to communicate with and influence leaders and employees in positive ways.
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