Dr. Ganesaraman K is the VP & Head of Global Internal Audit at 24 (7) ai , as well as the firm’s CSR trustee. He is also the Adjunct Professor of Practice at MS Ramaiah Univ. of Applied Sciences. Invited to The CSR Dialogues, he shared his insights into the various facets of CSR projects with Joel Fernandez, Head of Strategy, TeamLease Education Foundation.
The conversation began on the emerging trends in the CSR ecosystem. Dr Ganesaraman was very clear about the company’s goals, which go beyond designing skilling programs that empower the youth. The 24 (7) ai approach is to explore how they can deliver the right skill sets to a wide talent pool, at scale, in order to benefit the entire industry.
For more on the 24 (7) ai CSR approach, watch HERE
The other unique aspect of CSR initiatives at 24 (7) ai is that the company expects multiple cohorts to be positively impacted by them. While traditionally, it’s only the impact on beneficiaries that is assessed, in the case of 24 (7) ai, the company will not initiate any program that doesn’t also involve employees in an intrinsic manner.
This is because of the immense value that employees get when volunteering for well-planned CSR projects. This ‘value’ is measured in terms of improved morale, a stronger bond with the company, a realisation that every employee can be a part of the change we want to see, and a whole lot more.
For more on the impact of CSR on employees alone, watch HERE
Dr Ganesaraman mentioned that women empowerment is the company’s No.1 priority and hence much of the CSR focus is on education. The rationale is that by skilling and educating women, whatever the eventualities, in a crisis she is empowered to support her family.
Apart from this, 24 (7) ai is also working on skilling youth in remote parts of India, like Shillong. And the company is even involved with the government’s Apprenticeship programs – NAPS and NATS.
Joel Fernandez was particularly interested in how the company used tech in CSR – either to roll out projects or assess impact. Dr Ganesaraman responded that 24(7) ai being very data-driven, it deploys sophisticated project management methodologies to measure CSR deliverables.
Data is also used to ensure those that need CSR support, receive it at the time they most require it. Being data-driven means budgets get appropriately assigned and projects tracked on the basis of milestones crossed.
Data is also used to track employee engagement – how many employees were able to donate blood; how many beauticians were trained during a particular drive; how many employees participated in a school renovation effort, and so on.
Dr Ganesaraman wound up this interesting conversation with some encouraging advice. His experience has taught him that millennials believe strongly in giving back to society. But to increase volunteerism, we need to offer them an array of options for volunteering – mentoring youngsters, training them in soft skills, helping put up simple structures, offering online tutoring, etc. This approach will attract many more employees.