Home Leaders Speak Lokendra Sethi from DXC Technology talks about CSR and Social Development

Lokendra Sethi from DXC Technology talks about CSR and Social Development

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DXC Technology CSR
 
In the recent global pandemic, DXC Technology played a pivotal role not only in aiding businesses with digital transformation but also in providing comprehensive support and resources to empower its employees and the community during these testing times. As a staunch advocate of a People-First approach, DXC has consistently demonstrated its dedication to improving the lives of its workforce and the communities it serves through diligent and thoughtful people-centric initiatives and robust corporate social responsibility endeavours. In an exclusive interaction with The CSR Journal, Mr Lokendra Sethi, India HR Head, DXC Technology, talks about the company’s CSR policy and initiatives in the country.

1. Can you tell us about the upskilling initiatives at DXC Technology?

We at DXC Technology are committed to developing a skilled and knowledgeable workforce. When it comes to creating a talent pool, we believe in using the ‘build’ over the ‘buy’ strategy. To accomplish this, we, as a company, offer our employees role-based learning modules in technology, process, business, and leadership skills; that are accomplished through a combination of tests and certificates for learning accreditation. Furthermore, DXC has a robust system of badging that employees can leverage to develop and showcase their skills. For instance, DXC has provisioned for its people to acquire the scrum master certification through learning experiences that prepare them for the evaluation and certification.
Our commitment to upskilling individuals and training them for better opportunities is both within and outside of the organization as well. As a part of our social responsibility approach, we collaborate with NGOs and not-for-profit foundations to upskill the lesser privileged sections of society.
In August 2021, DXC Technology and NASSCOM Foundation jointly launched the Employability Skills Program to train 7,500 underserved students in New-Age Technologies. The program trains students from 35-plus tier II and tier III technical and non-technical colleges from Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, and Maharashtra; on Artificial Intelligence, Data Science, Internet of Things, UI-UX design, and Cybersecurity. As a part of this journey, two digital resource centres got established in Ramanathapuram and Virudhunagar districts in Tamil Nadu.
Overall, DXC Technology has various upskilling initiatives, including specialized leadership training, digital learning opportunities, hands-on training, and advanced technologies such as AR and VR. In addition, the company’s Employability Skills Program and Joy of Giving festival initiatives showcase their commitment to positively impacting society and providing training opportunities to underserved communities.

2. What steps has DXC Technology taken to create opportunities for women? How does DXC Technology ensure diversity and equality in the workplace?

Gender diversity and apt representation of women in the workforce has been one of the primary focus areas for DXC, including skilling and empowerment programs for upcoming women leaders. Along with this, DXC has done specific work in skilling of women in the less privileged strata of society.            `
One of DXC’s key programs is Project 10K, which focuses on providing IT skills to 10,000 women nationwide to make them job ready. In addition to Project 10K, there are also customized leadership programs and learning interventions to promote women in technology. These initiatives aim to increase the number of women in leadership positions and provide them with opportunities for career growth. Overall, DXC’s CSR initiatives also get thousands of women into the workforce through skilling programs from tech courses, and STEM education to more vocational training like embroidery and beautician courses.
At DXC, diversity and inclusivity are reflected in our environment that embraces many cultures, backgrounds, values, and ideas offered by our people. The workforce at DXC represents all facets of society, including young professionals, people from various ethnic and cultural backgrounds, and those with special needs. Participation of women is central to our inclusion, as evidenced by our talent acquisition strategy.
We have also introduced ‘SheLEADS@DXC,’ our flagship program created exclusively to assist women in navigating their career and leadership paths. This program is designed to empower women and help them succeed at the workplace.
Finally, our special initiatives also focus on differently abled people and other genders. In collaboration with our NGO partners, we facilitate scholarships to help these groups pursue IT-related engineering courses.

3. Can you discuss DXC Technology’s partnership with Bhumi NGO to remodel public schools in Sikri, Rajasthan? What impact has the remodelling of public schools in Sikri had on the community?

As a part of our commitment to improving education in local communities and introducing a transformation program to provide a supportive learning environment for young people, DXC collaborated with Bhumi NGO to remodel two government schools in Sikri, Rajasthan.
The impact of the remodelling of public schools in Sikri has been significant. Students now have access to modern classrooms, well-developed libraries, scientific labs, cutting-edge sporting facilities, sanitary restrooms, and campuses welcoming to students. In addition, the schools were equipped with CCTV cameras to monitor the campuses and safe drinking water systems because security and good health were top objectives. The remodelling of the schools has inspired new expectations and unlocked the door to a better future for the high school pupils at Sikri. We have observed a significant increase in students’ willingness to learn and attendance at these schools. A school directly impacts the students’ growth, and it is more than just a physical structure. It is a supportive setting where kids, parents, and the entire community participate fully.

4. How does DXC Technology view the importance of digital literacy in unlocking India’s human potential? What initiatives has DXC Technology taken to improve digital literacy in India?

It is our firm belief that digital literacy is crucial for unlocking India’s human potential. India’s demographic dividend is one of its greatest assets, and we must take steps to bridge the digital divide that is hindering the country’s growth. As a step in this direction, DXC has partnered with the NASSCOM Foundation to launch several Digital Resource Centers nationwide. These centres provide people with digital and financial literacy skills, especially those in Tier-II and Tier-III cities with accessibility constraints. We aim to train one lakh people in digital literacy skills, and this initiative will help bridge the skills gap that the youth in India face today. The resource centres will also be equipped with digital assets such as computers and printers, online resources, and physical resources such as books and magazines to make digital tools accessible to the entire community.
Furthermore, we plan to skill over a million people belonging to marginalized communities in the upcoming months in partnership with the NASSCOM Foundation. 20 resource centres for digital literacy and e-governance will be set up in aspirational districts across seven states in India. The goal is to create agents of change and engines of development by providing need-based information, e-resources, and an array of digital services that will impact citizens’ lives and livelihoods in alignment with the United Nation’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.
Through our partnerships with NGOs and foundations, we have worked on skills-building that will help the youth in India receive advanced technical training that improves their employability skills to meet market demands.

5. Can you share any examples of successful health and wellness initiatives at DXC Technology?

Our employees’ health and well-being are of utmost importance to us, and several health and wellness initiatives are in place to support our people in their personal and professional lives. Firstly, our Employee Assistance Program is available 24/7 and provides confidential counselling services to employees whenever required. Additionally, we conduct various online wellness sessions and workshops throughout the year to promote healthy habits and overall well-being.
DXC has the industry’s best policy on sick leave, where employees can accrue 24 days or 48 days of leave, depending on their age. In case employees exhaust their paid leaves, the company supports extending unpaid leave so that they may tend to their personal situations. We have an industry-leading medical insurance coverage of INR 10 lakhs, with the option to increase it to INR 20 Lakhs, and employees have the option to cover parents – including the in-laws, even opt for co-pay buyback, OPD cover, and income protection.
We recognize the significance of work-life balance and offer the needed flexibility to new mothers returning to work to help them manage and strike a balance between professional and personal priorities. Overall, at DXC Technology, we are committed to creating a supportive workplace culture that prioritizes the well-being of our employees.

6. How does DXC Technology support emergency assistance to those in need during disasters?

Supporting those in need after a disaster or a time of crisis is one of the key areas of DXC’s corporate social responsibility initiatives. We always stand at the forefront and respond to the call of humanity to help people in need.
For instance, we supported Samarthanam’s Flood Relief Distribution campaigns during the disastrous floods that hit Hyderabad in 2020. We helped Samarthanam gather resources to reach out to those in need by giving away Rapid Relief Kits across all regions in Hyderabad.
Not only does DXC India support relief campaigns by providing relief kits during emergencies, but we also encourage our employees and their families to volunteer and assist with the kit preparation. For example, during the 2019 Karnataka floods, 400 employees and the leadership team showed up with their families and prepared 1,000 essential material kits, each containing 45 items, adequate for each family to sustain for a week.
DXC India, along with its employees, donated INR 2 crores to the PM Cares Fund during the COVID-19 crisis as a part of our commitment to bring about positive change and help the community. Furthermore, we provided oxygen concentrators to people in need during tough times.
We stand unwaveringly by our community and will continue to bring about positive societal changes.

7. Can you discuss DXC Technology’s impetus on digital infrastructure for education?

Given a lack of digital literacy and slow technology adoption, tier 4 and tier 5 regions continue to be cut off from quality education. Technology, in conjunction with quality education, has the potential to significantly reduce the invisible but stark difference that exists in our country. Moreover, the pandemic also highlighted how many schools suffered and shut down and due to which students now depend on digital infrastructure to receive online education. As a result, a whole generation of children will experience academic setbacks if the problem with digital infrastructure is not addressed right away.
Skilling the youth of this country to make them future-ready is one of our top CSR objectives at DXC. We also realize that a top-notch learning environment with first-class amenities and digital infrastructure motivates students to reach their full potential. Students, teachers, and the learning process all benefit from new and creative forms of support that are made possible using technologies in education.
Another instance of our work in the field is that we recently partnered with Samarthanam to bring education to the most remote parts of the country using technology to promote equitable growth and raise the standard of education. 100 smart classrooms in government schools across India were developed to improve digital literacy among disadvantaged rural and migrant urban students. This joint program intends to advance quality education, lower student dropout rates, and assist in reskilling government schoolteachers through professional supervision and assistance by giving early exposure and access to digital technologies. Our CSR outreach ethos is that everyone is created equal, and nobody should be left behind due to lack of resources.

8. Can you provide an overview of DXC Technology’s CSR plans and initiatives for 2023?

We have several plans for the year, many of which are heavily focused on issues that are very important to DXC, such as education, workplace inclusion, humanitarian support and environmental sustainability.
We greatly value our society, people, and the communities in which we live and work. Therefore, we seek to increase the social mobility of marginalized and underprivileged communities by working with non-profit partners to promote digital literacy and acquire new skills, notably in the STEM fields.
As a part of our CSR projects, we are introducing Python programming and English to female students from underrepresented social groups to provide them with the skills they need to find employment or pursue further education in the IT industry. Not only are we focusing on equipping underprivileged children with digital skills, but we are also focusing on providing them with vocational training to make the youth more employable and mould them into change-makers in their communities. Our initiatives also focus on model school developments, wherein we upgrade infrastructure in government and government-aided schools by developing model schools in the locality and modern health infrastructure to promote the well-being of children in schools across India. These are just a few of the projects we have been doing that are transforming society for the better this year. We will continue doing them in the future, along with a few other new programs currently in the planning phases.
We look forward to adding more value in 2023 through the efforts and involvement of our employees, the vision of our leadership, and the shared vision of our NGO partners.

9. How does DXC Technology measure the success of its CSR initiatives?

The components we consider when measuring the success of our CSR initiatives are – our philanthropic giving, employees’ donations, and employee volunteer hours. Another factor we consider is the number of lives our projects have affected, and it is this figure that inspires us to do more.
Our CSR ecosystem has 9 NGO partners, with whom we have collaborated to create 11 socially responsible initiatives that have positively impacted 7.2 lakh lives in the fiscal year 2022–2023. With the efforts and commitment of our employees and the shared vision of our leadership and NGO partners, we look forward to providing even more value in FY23–24.

10. How can businesses and organizations ensure their CSR initiatives align with their core values and goals?

Consistency is key as CSR depends on having a thorough awareness of how employee and customer values coincide across the organization. Furthermore, it must be firmly ingrained in a company’s DNA, and these values must be shared culturally throughout the business. Long-term sustainability suffers if the CSR vision does not reflect the company’s values.
It’s crucial to consider how a CSR program fits your organization’s reality. Being a technology-first company with a reputation for making things better, quicker and more convenient, we particularly wanted to make a positive impact on the communities where our people live and work. Hence, most of our projects are concentrated on providing individuals with the necessary technical resources and infrastructure to further their careers.
Additionally, one of the key things to consider before initiating a CSR project is whether it will accurately represent your organization and its mission and vision. If the response is ambiguous, it is time to pause and introspect. This would be the very first step in creating a successful CSR project.