CSR and Employee Engagement – The Siamese Twins

CSR and Employee Engagement – The Siamese Twins

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Ashish Tandon - Managing Director Egis India

Ashish Tandon
Managing Director, Egis India

Ashish Tandon is the Managing Director of Egis in India. Under his leadership, the Company has successfully strengthened its position across all infrastructure sectors to emerge as an integrated infrastructure company. Today Egis India is a debt-free company with sufficient revenue and is generating enough liquidity to fund its future growth plans. Tandon is instrumental in making Egis India the cornerstone of the Egis Group. Under his leadership, Egis in India is playing a crucial role in expanding the reach of Egis group in Bhutan, Nepal and Bangladesh & has been made one of the three Pole Countries for the Egis Group.

A meritorious engineer from AMU of the 1981 batch, Mr. Tandon started his career with then English Electric, which later became GEC Alsthom, then Alstom and thereafter Areva T&D. He rose to become the Country Sales Director for T&D. He joined Reliance Infrastructure as the EPC head and then BGR Energy as President (Sales and Marketing). At BGR, he was instrumental in procuring the bulk order for 660 MW TG & Boilers from NTPC.

Over the years, in the industry and amongst his peers, he has developed the reputation of being the spectacular turn around man.
Tandon is a sportsperson and has been a part of competitive Cricket and Hockey. Today he is an avid regular golfer.

His motto in life is nothing is impossible and strongly feels that whatever one envisages, one should carry out with honesty and should excel in it.

Employee engagement is one of the most crucial factors today for the success & sustainability of any business anywhere in the world. And every employer is leaving no stone unturned to be the best at it to retain the best.

Lets face it. Employee engagement is nothing new. Companies have been engaging its employees since time immemorial. However, times are changing, employees are changing and the corporations themselves are changing. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is not just applicable to societies, but is true for corporations as well, for the simple reason that corporations are a miniature of the societies they thrive in. The employees too are also at different stages of their personal evolution. Many employees in many corporations already have their basic needs fulfilled. They are looking at higher levels of gratification to get closer to nirvana. It is an opportunity for employers and corporates as now they could partner the journey of the employees towards achieving a higher state of being and discover a larger cause.
Humanity as a whole today is doing a lot of soul searching to find a larger cause. There are so many of them glaring at us climate changes, improper distribution of wealth, water problems, draining natural resources and many more. Employees of corporates are aligning themselves to these causes to leave the world a better place than the one they inherited, for their next generations. The corporates are also realizing that sustainability and success go hand in hand one cannot compensate for the other.

Corporate Social Responsibility or CSR as it is popularly referred may be the answer to many of our questions. As we all know, the government of India has made it mandatory to use two percent of profit before tax every year towards CSR. I personally feel its a wonderful move.

It gives employees and employers to identify causes they connect with and support. It helps both employees and employers to connect over a common bond, a bond which is much stronger than just money; a bond of common belief, a common faith.

I feel companies should not look at the CSR cess as an expense, but see it as an investment towards building a good social reputation. A company which is seen as a good corporate citizen contributing to the development of the society will earn a lot of good will for its products and services.

Not so long ago, a reputed Indian conglomerate experienced the advantage of the good-will it enjoyed through sustained social work in its dealings abroad. There are so many other examples of companies who have taken up social causes and have generated a lot of good will in not just the community they are engaged with, but the entire business fraternity in general.

But why is it important?

In this age of social media, news travels as fast as thought and beyond geographical barriers. The positive work done by a corporate can spread at the speed of light throughout the world.

How is employee engagement connected to CSR?

Employees today dont just work for money. They want to make a positive difference in this world. If companies can harness this desire of the employees and support the causes the employees want to support, it can help in developing a very happy workforce. Employees who feel that the company is helping them achieve a greater good would love to stick to the company and take care of the problems of attrition.

Potential and future employees, when they see a company supporting a common social cause, would like to align themselves with the company and work towards a common social goal.

What should companies do?

Companies should combine the budget for employee engagement and CSR. A poll should be carried out to find out what social causes they wish to support. The company should then create a panel of employee representatives and let them drive the campaign.

The budget allocated should be treated as a seed fund funding a start-up and must have a social goal. The panel of employees must present regular updates to the board and show progress towards achieving the decided common social goal.

This would help the employees to learn to manage funds, think like entrepreneurs and feed positive vibes in the company in general.
The company must employ its internal communication and social media tools to communicate and measure the success of these campaigns.
Since businesses are all about creating a positive image and good will that is sustainable and successful, this could be the best investment any successful business can make – the investment towards making a better tomorrow by employing its most important resource its employees.

About the author

CSR VISION is India's (probably World's) first monthly magazine in print devoted to CSR and Sustainable Development for bringing together all stakeholders of SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT at a global and local levels and act as a platform for promoting strategic CSR and sustainable development practices through dissemination of information and knowledge.