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Making a positive impact on the local community

Elaine Chen, Head of Capgemini China’s Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability (CR&S) program, talks to Innovation Nation about some of the exciting projects they organize, as well as a deeper look at their “Japanese Learning Program,” aimed at increasing the language skills in the Denghu community in Nanhai.

Hello Elaine. Could you start by talking about how Capgemini China organizes CR&S activities?

Elaine Chen: I’d be pleased to. In 2011, we set up the “Staff Club” at the Nanhai center, with the purpose of brainstorming and organizing CR&S activities for our people to participate in. As leader of the Staff Club, my role is to appoint a committee comprising voluntary representatives from across our engagements. The committee’s role is to collect CR&S suggestions from their engagements, discuss these projects and activities, and then decide on which we will implement throughout the year.

We generally organize two kinds of activities – internal and external. Some of the internal activities are fully sponsored by Capgemini, such as our quarterly “tea and cake afternoon,” where people sits and chat over tea and cake. Others are partly sponsored by the company, such as subsidized cinema tickets. The activities we organize at the center focus on creating a culture of fun, while also enhancing our people focus and increasing employee loyalty.

On top of this, we also organize external CR&S projects and actively encourage all of our people to get involved. These projects are aimed at making a positive impact on the community in which we live and work, and in recent years have included tree planting, clothes recycling, autistic child care, DIY cake course, and International Woman’s Day celebration. This year, we also ran a “Japanese Learning Program” for people in the local community.

They all sound extremely interesting. Could you tell us more about the CR&S projects?

Yes, of course. I’ll start with our tree planting project. We work with the local authorities to confirm a location for planting trees and buy the saplings from them. Usually around 20–30 of our people and their families spend time at the weekend planting the saplings, with the aim of promoting environmental sustainability.

In our clothes recycling project, we encourage our people to donate their old or unused clothes. These are then collected and sent to poor families across the city. In another community-based project, volunteers from the center go into schools and work as mentors to autistic children. This involves playing and helping them in the classroom, as well as organizing birthday parties for them.

With 89% of our people at the center women, you can imagine that International Woman’s Day is a rather big affair! This year, we prepared flowers and chocolate delivered by male colleagues. It was a lot of fun and a great way to celebrate the women that work at Capgemini China.

Another fun project we organized was our DIY cake course. We invited 20 families in the local community into the center and our volunteers taught the children how to make cakes. All of the children and volunteers loved the making and eating!

Through these activities, we aim to make a positive impact on the local community, while extending Capgemini’s CR&S program and improving the reputation and image of the Group.

Your “Japanese Learning Program” sounds fascinating. Could you tell us more about it?

As part of our CR&S activities for 2019, we recently organized a Japanese training program for workers in the local community. With 17% of our people delivering services in Japanese, our Asian language capability is something we’re proud of at the center, and unique to Capgemini in the region. The Japanese culture and language is of strong interest in the community, and the program aims at increasing the language capability of workers at the Nanhai Denghu Community Service Center.

After understanding the needs of the Nanhai Denghu community, some of our Japanese-speaking employees volunteered as trainers, using their spare time to customize the program course to create a strong foundation for the participants. The three-hour program – conducted at weekends and lasting 10 weeks – mainly comprised of classroom-based learning covering the basics such as reading and writing phonetic symbols, as well as basic Japanese pronunciation, and functional language related tourism, work, and traditional Japanese religious culture. Our volunteers also tested the students at regular intervals to understand the effectiveness of the program.

Overall, the training was very well received by workers from the Nanhai Denghu community. The students found the program both practical and fun, and it enabled them to gain more confidence in their Japanese language skills. It also enabled us to make a positive impact on the local community through leveraging the power of our greatest asset – our people and their language skills.

Finally, what’s next for CR&S in China?

Capgemini China will continue to be part of the local Nanhai community, making a positive impact to the social and environmental aspects. We have a few exciting projects coming up in the second half of 2019, including a blood donation program for our people, No Plastic Day, and visiting the home for aged.

Elaine Chen is Head of Facilities and Administration at Capgemini’s Nanhai center. She also leads Capgemini China’s CR&S program, organizing and encouraging employees at the center to explore more activities for the benefit of Capgemini’s people and the local community.