How Handprints on a Wall Can Drive Top-Line Growth


How Handprints on a Wall Can Drive Top-Line Growth
Illustration by Gina Park

Without ever seeing our logo, you can tell you’re visiting a TELUS International site by the beautiful mosaic of colorful handprints that adorn our walls. More than simply a quirky decor element, each handprint represents a team member who participated in a TELUS Days of Giving activity.

These annual volunteer days where hundreds, and sometimes thousands of our team members gather together with their families, friends and oftentimes our clients, are an opportunity for us to collectively give back in our local communities.

Over the past 12 years, we’ve constructed schools from the ground up in Central America, built entire villages in the Philippines, refurbished daycares in Eastern Europe, and furnished underprivileged schools in the U.S. with books, computers and playground equipment.

Making a positive impact in each one of the communities where we operate around the world is our main objective, but corporate social responsibility (CSR) continues to be an important piece of our overall strategy to define and defend our position in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

Doing Well in Business Means Doing “Good” in the Community

Without a doubt, there is a symbiotic relationship between the success of a company and the well-being of the communities where it operates. Although developing and executing a CSR strategy as part of an overall company strategy is still not the norm, it is improving its ranking on the list of priorities for many business leaders.

Laurence Fink, founder and chief executive of BlackRock—the world’s largest investment firm that manages more than $6 trillion—certainly believes in the correlation between investments in the health and well-being of citizens, communities and our planet, and a company’s long-term sustainable growth.

In January of this year, Fink shared his thoughts in a letter to BlackRock’s clients explaining that in order to receive the firm’s ongoing support they needed to do more than make profits—they needed to simultaneously invest in social and environmental initiatives. This was a bold stance that reflected the changing tide of opinion vis-a-vis the financial implications and value of CSR.

Millennials Are Shaping the Future of Giving Back

A report by The Economist found that CSR initiatives provide better brand reputation, make businesses more attractive for employees and customers, and foster better relationships with regulators and lawmakers. It’s no coincidence that these findings coincide with Generation Y overtaking Baby Boomers as the largest living and hence most influential segment of the population.

Eighty-three million strong across the U.S., Gen Y is characterized by a desire to integrate the causes they care about into their daily routines, purchase behaviors and employment decisions. They expect companies to support the social issues and causes they care about and will reward them if they do as part of their quest to be part of something “bigger.”

For businesses with a strong consumer brand linked to CSR, it translates into increased customer loyalty, sales and revenues. Having a strong employer brand and culture linked to CSR provides similar benefits by way of attracting, engaging and retaining top talent in a competitive labor market.

Additionally on the hiring front, companies that invest in the regions where they operate are helping create a healthier, better-educated and more qualified local talent pool to draw upon. The extended benefit of which is that these citizens with financially stable, well-paying careers are able to go from surviving to thriving and caring—giving way to a new generation of environmentally and socially-conscious individuals.

Working with Like-Minded Partners Amplifies CSR Efforts

The importance of a CSR-mindset is also apparent in the choice of partners you make, including clients, vendors and investors. By choosing to work with like-minded organizations who hold the same values, you are ensuring the achievement and longevity of your CSR strategy. You are also able to grow its breadth and scope as your partners will support your endeavors by contributing their time, resources and skill sets towards the achievement of your objectives.

In this regard, we regularly invite our clients to join us at our TELUS Days of Giving activities and they always show up ready to put in a hard day’s work alongside our team members. Not only are we able to accomplish more together, it’s also an opportunity to further grow and strengthen the relationship between our people and our companies. In some instances, it’s the power of these human connections that can provide a critical “second chance” with a client should a mistake be made or target missed down the road.

We Give Where We Live

At the end of the day, supporting our fellow human beings and communities in need is a shared responsibility faced by both public and private companies. Not only is it the right thing to do, the benefits from a business perspective—attracting and retaining the best talent, increasing employee engagement, earning client and customer loyalty, and driving top-line growth—are undeniable.

Jeffrey Puritt is President and CEO of TELUS International. Since joining TELUS in 2001, he has delivered strong business outcomes through progressively senior positions across Finance and Administration, IP Applications Business Development, New Product and Service Development, Ventures, and Mergers and Acquisitions. Jeffrey became President at TELUS International in 2008 and was appointed CEO in June 2016.