Jobin Sigua was downhearted a year ago when he learned he did not pass the job interview at a business process outsourcing firm. The company, however, offered him a chance to join its ‘near-hire’ training, where Sigua honed his skills for 15 days. Today, he is a transaction processing analyst at Accenture.
“I felt down when I learned that my job application was rejected. When the offer came to train for 15 days with allowance, I felt motivated to grab the opportunity so that the next time I would submit an application, I would have a better chance,” says Sigua.
“We had a focused training program, with good instructors. They identified our individual strengths and showed us how we could be more confident to express our strengths in a job interview. After the training, we reapplied, and I am one of those who got a job,” he says.
Lito Tayag, the country managing director of Accenture which employs 45,000 people in the Philippines alone, says ‘near-hire’ training is one of the corporate citizenship programs of the company and is in line with its ‘skills to succeed’ approach.
“Our mission as a company is to improve the way the world works and lives. We do that with our services,” says Tayag, who is also the chairman of the Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines.
Accenture, one of the world’s most admired companies based in Dublin, Ireland, has nearly 400,000 employees across the world and posted $32.9 billion in revenues last year. It is one of the three largest BPO employers in the Philippines, according to Tayag. The BPO sector employs more than a million people in the country.
Accenture celebrated its ‘corporate citizenship month’ in May. “We have made a lot of investments in corporate citizenship–$371 million [globally] in particular since 2011. So far, we have been able to help 1.7 million people [globally] through our ‘skills to succeed’ approach or initiative. We define it as our approach to help people get a job, or to build or own a business.”
“Our goal by 2020 is to reach as many as 3 million. This is the global goal of our corporate citizenship.
There are initiatives we are going to do to make sure we reach 3 million people, leveraging on our strength in technology and digital space,” says Tayag.
Sigua is among the 4,250 Filipinos who have benefitted from Accenture’s ‘skills to succeed’ initiative.
Tayag says in the Philippines alone, Accenture invested P80 million, covering grants and pro bono work, over the past five years. “Pro bono is the time of our people, paid for by Accenture. When they go out and do something and volunteer, their time is paid for by Accenture,” he says.
In 2016, around 3,000 Accenture volunteers spent 13,000 hours for various causes. One of them is Ruth Binuya, who has been working as a measurement and reporting specialist at Accenture for 10 years now. A former high school teacher, Binuya had 100 hours of volunteering work last year, teaching others how to prepare for a job interview and write a good resume.
Binuya, who completed her education at Rizal Technological University as a scholar, started volunteering six years ago and has helped 1,000 trainees since then. “Volunteering is my ‘pay it forward’ story. My favorite volunteering event is skills to succeed. I used to be one of those who were marginalized. So I was part of their world. Because there were generous people who financed my education, I was able to be where I am,” says Binuya.
“In every kid that we have during the volunteering work, I see myself,” says Binuya, in explaining why she is committed to the volunteering service.
“It is not just about giving to others, but also getting something for yourself. You feel good in knowing that you are able to pay it forward. Those whom you have helped are going to pay it forward as well,” she says.
“I always tell myself that volunteering is a part of my work-life balance. When we are all stressed out at work, we find one or two weekends in a month, so that we are able to de-stress. It is like going to the beach or the mall, except that you are doing something else. In 2016, I had 100 hours of volunteering,” says Binuya.
Accenture also donated 1,000 computer units to 30 public schools last year and provided training to teachers. The company also contributed P8 million to corporate foundation Philippine Business for Social Progress in 2016.
Tayag says aside from the company’s granWWts, employees of Accenture are also pooling their own money to support various causes. “We are very proud about the number of employees participating in our corporate citizenship programs,” says Tayag.
PBSP executive director Reynaldo Laguda says Accenture is one of the 260 members of the group. “PBSP on its own has this workplace development program which sat very well with the ‘skills to succeed’ program of Accenture,” he says.
Laguda says the ‘skills to succeed’ approach is also in line with the concept of inclusive business. “Inclusive business resonates in the Philippines a lot largely because we are trying to bring in to the conversation or language of business the whole agenda of poverty reduction. We do that by not looking at the poor and marginalized as beneficiaries, but as active participants in their own development. Employees are also encouraged to be participants in the development of others,” says Laguda.
Tayag agrees, saying that by helping people get a job, the beneficiaries become a part of inclusive growth.
He says to widen the impact of ‘skills to succeed’ approach, the plan is to expand the ‘near-hire’ training program. “We could not commit to a number, because this is business driven, but we will definitely continue our corporate citizenship’s near-hire training. The more the better for us to get as many people trained. It is about our impact and we feel very strongly at Accenture in helping in nation building,” says Tayag, who is also the lead in corporate citizenship of Accenture in Asean.
“It is an integral component of our business at Accenture. It is consistent in the implementation and manifestation of our mission to improve the way the world works and lives,” he says. “It is also consistent with my role as country managing director in making sure that corporate citizenship is an integral part of Accenture. I think we have to provide an avenue for our people to pursue their own advocacies. It is a very important component of our life, of our work in Accenture.”
“I hope that we are able to provide those opportunities for our people—as many as 45,000 of our people—to pursue those advocacies. We at Accenture provide that platform and opportunity,” says Tayag, who is in charge of leading 45,000 people in the Philippines alone. Accenture employs more than 130,000 people in India and close to 50,000 in the US.
“We are a global company. We are organized very well to have the right set of leaders, the right set of structures and the right set of tools to actually provide a very good career experience for all those 45,000 people,” he says.
He says aside from having a strong culture of volunteerism, the mere fact that Accenture employs that large number of people in the country is its biggest contribution to the economy. “The 45,000 people means 45,000 jobs in the country. To me, aside from corporate citizenship, that is also one of our contributions to nation building,” says Tayag.