Culture of giving back empowers employees
It was a bright Saturday morning and about a thousand employees of TELUS International Philippines (TIP) were all hands on deck. Armed with hammers and paint rollers, they dressed down to their jeans and purple-colored shirts, and started sprucing up Lakan Dula High School in Tondo, Manila.
The TELUS Days of Giving is part of the corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives of Canada-based TIP, a leading digitally-enabled customer experience and business process solutions provider. This program engages team members to volunteer for different kinds of community work.
It’s been nine years since the outsourcing firm first participated in Brigada Eskwela, an annual program of the Department of Education that brings together private and public organizations to help provide safe and conducive learning environment for students.
Lakan Dula High School is the ninth school that TIP is transforming under its TELUS Days of Giving. Established in 1962, the campus has seven buildings with 60 classrooms serving 5,000 students. The 61-year-old public school employs 200 teachers.
During the session on Aug. 12, volunteers repainted 15 hallways, all the classrooms and 23 staircases, and refurbished 368 chairs. They were mostly young people in their 20s or 30s, but even TIP’s top brass rolled up their sleeves to extend a helping hand.
Before bringing the volunteers for the final touch, TIP had organized the repair and installation of new flooring at the school and likewise funded the window and ceiling repair work for badly damaged classrooms. The company also donated 200 additional chairs and 120 electric fans.
“Education continues to be a focus area for us because aside from giving back to the community, supporting education also enables us to prepare and empower potential future team members for TELUS International,” says Phoebe Carrera, senior manager for corporate social responsibility at Asia-Pacific (Apac) Telus International.
Carrera narrates that they even tasked their team members to recommend beneficiary schools for this year’s Brigada Eskwela efforts. “We visited almost a dozen schools, before we selected Lakan Dula High School. We chose this school because there was a lot of work that we can do for the school and its 5,000 students, and we wanted to maximize the huge volunteer capabilities we have in Metro Manila to bring the most impact and help possible,” she adds.
For TIP, the culture of giving back has helped its team members feel empowered to continue doing meaningful work within and outside the workplace.
“The volunteer efforts of our team members and our company’s community investments continue to be a cornerstone of how we are able to bring our culture to life in all that we do,” says Jeff Puritt, president and CEO of TELUS International.
“At the core of TELUS International’s values lies a profound sense of purpose to enable meaningful opportunities for all citizens in the regions where we operate. This includes supporting the creation of a strong, quality academic foundation that can help students thrive and unlock their full potential, which in turn benefits their families, the communities where they live, and society,” he adds.
Brigada Eskwela is among the highly anticipated CSR event for most of TIP’s team members. Carrera shares that they were able to fill the 1,000 volunteer slots in just a couple of days. “We look forward to the different CSR programs at TELUS International Philippines but Brigada Eskwela is one of the activities we support that will always be popular with team members. Our team members get to reminisce about their time in school and they feel more energized to finish their assigned volunteer task (even if they’re coming from a full shift) knowing that it will provide a better learning environment to a student, just like them before,” she says.
TIP is a firm believer that education is a transformative and empowering tool to break down barriers and allow a person to fully reach one’s potential, thereby unlocking doors to a better future and better society.
“Our yearly TELUS Days of Giving Brigada Eskwela event is a meaningful celebration of unity and cooperation. Collectively, we can and will make our public schools places for learners to acquire knowledge and values that will help them contribute to nation-building. This colossal task was made possible because of the heart, energy and sweat from each and every volunteer with us,” says Rajiv Dhand, vice president for Telus International Apac and Africa.
Aside from the annual participation in Brigada Eskwela, TIP has several other education-related CSR programs such as virtual tutorials (volunteers tutor students remotely), book translation efforts (volunteers translate books into local dialects) and fundraising drives to produce distance learning modules. There are also volunteer programs to give students and the youth training on financial acumen, sportsmanship and values formation.
“We’ve also created efforts specific for teachers, the most recent being a virtual mental wellness session with teachers from past Brigada Eskwela beneficiary schools as well TELUS Wise, a program that focuses on antibullying and digital literacy program for kids. We also have a fund-granting foundation called TELUS International Philippines Community Board that supports local grassroots foundations,” she adds.
Two years ago, the board provided grants amounting to more than P6.2 million to 14 nonprofit organizations that focused on education and livelihood programs, which helped more than 4,400 beneficiaries around the country in 2022.
In the last 11 years, the board has been actively looking out for opportunities to support a wide range of community programs. To date, it has contributed more than P50 million to 133 projects, charities and organizations throughout the Philippines.
Currently, the board is accepting grant applications from nonprofit and charitable organizations until Sept. 15 for third quarter application review.
“We strongly urge nonprofit and charitable organizations to continue making a positive impact by applying for project funding through our TELUS International Philippines Community Board, as well as attending our grant writing workshops to improve their proposals,” says Carrera.