Last month, we interacted with Shivkumar Ramdas, Director – Human Resources, at Jardine Lloyd Thompson (JLT), a leading insurance company and one of GiveIndia’s strongest Payroll Giving partners.
As the HR Director and a core member of the India leadership team, Shiv has been also been leading all initiatives under JLT's CSR umbrella
GiveIndia: What defines the idea of giving at JLT?
Shiv : At JLT, we believe in shared value creation . Corporate Social Responsibility is an integral part of who we are and what we do, in terms of initiatives we undertake ,or the platforms we adopt. For instance, knowledge services is at the core our business and we have selected education as a primary objective in the community development processes. In this endeavor, we support Udaan India Foundation,an NGO that provides education for underprivileged children. Employees are encouraged to volunteer for activities that impact the wider community as we see it as a path to positive change.
We adopt the same business processes in driving our CSR initiatives as we do for our core operations viz. Project Management, Planning process etc. This not only helps employees relate better with our CSR vision but also places a high degree of relevance towards their work life as well as skill building. Employees generate ideas for projects, they plan and implement each activity, and monitor results.
GiveIndia: Given that employees in the insurance sector are working round the clock, how easy or difficult does it become for you to get employees engaged at internal social initiatives?
Shiv : CSR at JLT involves employee participation at all levels. Firstly, it encourages employees to visit and interact with NGOs needing support. Employees are given a free hand to chalk out plans to conduct and implement social service activities. The Company ,in addition to providing the funds provides the requisite logistics so that the employees can schedule and structure their involvement without disruption to their existing work life balance. We offer one hour a week worth of volunteering effort for our employees as per their time of preference within work hours. Awards and appreciation notes are given to employees who actively participate in these activities to motivate them.
GiveIndia: Are there any specific 'must do' CSR activities that you encourage every year ?
Shiv : Apart from our ongoing initiatives, we conduct annual blood donation drives and celebrate the Joy of Giving Week at our offices.
GiveIndia: Do you think Payroll Giving adds a new dimension to the host of engagement activities at JLT? If so, how is Payroll Giving working out for your employees?
Shiv : Payroll Giving is at the center of our CSR philosophy and enables the notion of employee advocacy on social issues. Through this platform employees have an option to offer personal monetary contribution and determine what and where the contributions are directed. So it works out well as each participating employee gets to experience the 'giving' culture at its most basic level and provides him/her with a sense of ownership and inclusiveness.
GiveIndia: JLT has been participating in the India Giving Challenge every year since the past three years now. What generally works and what doesn't work during those times ?
Shiv : We have always ensured that we celebrate success to sustain the momentum of any CSR program. During the India Giving Challenge , our CEO along with the leadership team plays an active role and acts as an example for employees at large. What results, is employees championing the movement with an essence of ownership, passion and determination to make a difference for the chosen cause or NGO . Our organization is just an enabler, while it’s really these champions that drive the program as their own and we further recognize their efforts through matching contributions.
GiveIndia: Last but not the least, what is future of giving at JLT?
Shiv : I see the future of giving at JLT only growing stronger in the times to come. In addition to being an effective lever for employee engagement it helps build leaders by enabling employees to imbibe leadership qualities, innovation, teamwork etc. Giving back to the community is an innate human need and fulfillment of the same brings about a sense of belonging and purpose to the place of work beyond regular responsibilities.In fact, Potential recruits too want to deal with and be associated with a socially responsible organisation. So , I clearly see the future of giving institutionalized at JLT and firmly embedded in our work ethos.