Via Bona laureate: A single volunteer can inspire others

Accenture thinks about its employees as well as the community.

People can also relax in a café.People can also relax in a café. (Source: Courtesy of Accenture)

Category: Main Award for a Responsible Large Corporation

  • 2018: Accenture
  • 2017: Slovenská Sporiteľňa
  • 2016: Kia Motors Slovakia

When possible, employees of the Slovak branch of IT company Accenture solve problems via Skype instead of travelling to the other end of the world. If they do have to travel, they do it as one group and share a taxi on their way to the airport. This reduces not only costs, but also emissions.

Accenture takes care of its employees. If they feel overworked or their family members have some mental health problems, it offers them professional help. Employees can also attend yoga classes directly at the workplace, take their offspring to the company’s nursery or sign their children up for first aid training.
Last but not least, the company helps the community. By training teachers, they help make informatics lessons at schools more interesting.

“We believe that we should respond to the challenges we face in the contemporary world,” said Accenture’s CEO Tomáš Volek when describing their CSR strategy. “Our vision is to make the world a better place.”

Focus on ethical principles

One of the basic tools Accenture uses to make its vision a reality is a responsible business strategy. Its main principle is to combine the desire to stay a market leader and bring real values to the clients that help them improve their performance with ethical principles, according to Volek.

“We want to be an excellent employer,” he continued, “we adopt many measures and launch programmes to fulfil this ambition. We often go beyond our legal duties and open topics that aren’t common or popular in our society but are considered important for our employees.”

The company also focuses on corporate citizenship by finding solutions to minimise the negative impacts of their business on the environment and by having a positive influence on the local community, said Alena Kanabová, Accenture’s Senior Manager, CCC Lead.

They focus mostly on education and development of the skill set that will be necessary for finding a job in the future. In particular, they develop the digital skills of the younger generation.

Volunteering important

Accenture is a big multinational company that connects business and technologies with the aim to help its clients improve their performance. It employs 469,000 people worldwide, offering services to customers in more than 120 countries. The company has been active in Slovakia for more than 26 years. It currently employs over 1,500 people in Bratislava and Košice.

It is important for the company that its employees are involved in volunteering. They offer a wide range of activities and motivate people to attend them, particularly those in which they can fully use their skills and potential.

“This is why we put an emphasis on so-called expert volunteering in areas where we can have the biggest impact as a company,” Kanabová said.

As she noticed, the interest in volunteering is growing.

“We also think that it is the task of companies like Accenture to raise awareness and motivation of people not to stay in their bubble, but to actively contribute to solving the problems of their communities,” she added.

Motivating others

One of the successful projects Accenture launched a few years ago was the training of primary school teachers to make informatics lessons more interesting. They even received a Via Bona Award for 2017, which motivated other firms to participate.

“We have enriched the content, and thanks to dozens of volunteers from five companies we are able to bring our training to all districts in Slovakia,” Kanabová added.

Their original plan was to train 400 teachers this year, but it is clear now that the number will be much higher.

“We hope that it will improve informatics lessons and that Slovak children, particularly girls, will not consider IT a scarecrow but a good opportunity for their future career,” Kanabová said.

Mental health a focus

Since Accenture considers its employees a great asset, it offers them various benefits.

“The range is really wide, so that every person can find what suits them best,” said HR manager Zuzana Guller.

This includes the nursery, first aid training and various activities such as lectures with psychologists on how to bring up children. Sports enthusiasts appreciate the running club and yoga classes in a multifunctional room. One of the most demanded and most used benefits is the flexible job aspect, including home office, part-time jobs and the possibility to adjust working hours.

Another important topic is mental health, which has actually become the topic of the year.

“Our time is quick and puts a lot of pressure on people,” Guller explained. “Since we care about our employees, we consider it important to open a discussion about this topic.”

The first phase of the project already had a positive outcome. People are more willing to discuss the matter and seek help, she added.

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