Better Living Through Technology

Jun 11, 2014

This post is by Jackie Norris, executive director, and Yvonne Siu Turner, senior manager, corporate resources and programs, of the Points of Light Corporate Institute. It is part six in a seven-part blog CSRWire series exploring the community engagement practices of winning companies in The Civic 50an initiative by Points of Light and Bloomberg. The Civic 50 honors the 50 most community-minded companies in the nation each year as determined by an annual survey. The latest Civic 50 survey opened last week to all companies with revenue of $1 billion and over.

Jackie Norris

At HP, Living Progress means creating a better future for everyone through its actions and innovations. After Haiti’s earthquake in 2010, with critical medical infrastructure in ruins, the country’s Ministry of Health asked Partners in Health (PIH), a U.S.-based health care organization, to scale up plans to build Hôpital Universitaire de Mirebalais, a community hospital just 60 kilometers north of Port-au-Prince.

“The urgency of the situation escalated plans and we confirmed our commitment to become one of the primary technology partners for the hospital,” said Paul Ellingstad, director of human progress initiatives at HP.

“PIH was a natural strategic partner for HP,” he said. “We believe in the role of technology in democratizing people’s lives and helping them live and work better. PIH’s vision is health equity for all and a belief that modern technology should be made available to support health care delivery to the poorest of the poor. We were a natural fit.”

How did HP help?

Yvonne Siu

It provided what the company knows best – technology and IT infrastructure to support all the applications needed to run a modern hospital. The hospital was fitted with a high-capacity server rack, wireless access points and VoIP phones. HP workstations were situated throughout the hospital equipped with 27-inch monitors to enable teaching opportunities in the operating rooms and optimum radiology image viewing.

Further, the electronic medical record system housed on HP servers allows hospital staff to quickly refer to and update patient records, providing clinicians with the tools they need to diagnose and treat patients.

Long-Term Commitment

In addition to providing technology and funding, HP employees contributed their time and expertise to the design, build-out and installation of the IT systems at the hospital.

Alan Nemeth, HP fellow emeritus, and Les Fox, HP distinguished technologist, both volunteered to oversee the project – and continued to volunteer after their retirements in 2012. Throughout the project they brought in experts from other areas of HP including HP Technology Services, HP Networking, HP Enterprise Services and Manufacturing.

Good For The Community, Good For The Company

HP’s commitment to global community engagement and skills-based volunteering projects like this has not only improved the health of thousands, it has also helped develop professional skills and boost morale at the company.

In fact, employees who use their professional skills when they volunteer are 38 percent more likely to have the highest level of employee morale than employees who don’t volunteer, according to HP’s 2013 Social Impact Scorecard. The scorecard showcases the impact that HP’s employee volunteer programs have on everything from the nonprofits they serve to employee satisfaction.

While there has been much progress, much of the dialogue surrounding CSR and corporate citizenship today still centers on making the business case for programs that allow employees to get involved in their communities and tackle social issues, especially through volunteering. HP is at the forefront of this discussion, as it supports its business case with data. It is this discipline and commitment to measurement and evaluation that won the company accolades in the 2013 Civic 50 list.

The Power of Data

Having data to support integration between business strategy and CSR is no small achievement – many companies are in the beginning stages of collecting data that can show a direct connection between volunteerism and bottom-line business goals like talent development and employee engagement. While many volunteer programs start out with good intentions and stem from a culture of wanting to give back, the ability to sustain and scale a program often relies on data proving that it is good for business.

“Ever since its inception in 2011, our employee community engagement program has put tools in place to track the results of key initiatives,” says Rebecca Wang, manager for HP corporate affairs.

Wang continues: “Why is measurement so important? Because we are accountable for our results just like any other area of the business. If we can’t prove our value to our business leaders, we will lose their support. And without senior management support, no corporate program can hope to last for long. And without measuring results, you can’t determine whether a program is successful or not. It makes no sense to continue implementing programs that take valuable resources and funding if they can’t prove their worth.”

Other findings from HP’s scorecard show that volunteering is associated with higher rates of employee inspiration, motivation and loyalty. When asked what they would do if they were offered a comparable position at another company, volunteers were 12 percent more likely to say they wouldn’t leave than non-volunteers while 13 percent were more likely to recommend HP as a great place to work.   

For companies like HP, this indicates a win all around: engaged employees, an engaged community and a direct way to scale its social impact.

“As we look to the future, we embrace the opportunity to apply the talents of our people and the broadest technology portfolio to deliver solutions for our customers’ and the world’s most complex challenges,” says Wang. “By working to achieve a balance of human, economic, and environmental progress, we will create a better future for everyone. One in which we are all living progress.”