Relationships… yes we’ve been talking about them for some time now. How to start it, how to build it, how to maintain it, how to end it… We’ve also talked about the different units we have these relationships with. Our organization leaders, managers, fellow employees (agency account/ creative team), clients, 3rd party suppliers, end users, customers and community…
But one thing that would resonate with most students present in today’s inspiring seminar with Mr. Paul Huynh, Senior Manager of People, Performance and Culture from KPMG Limited (Vietnam) is; the realization that building a strong community partnership should begin with… You, Me, Us!
The all too familiar scenario of B2B and B2C relationships in our future dealings in industry could in fact be the least of our concerns, if we as individuals do not consciously play an active role in these multi-faceted relationships. The fact is, we all know that Corporate Social Responsibility or CSR is what gives businesses a human face, what we forget most of the time is that we as people who are part of these companies/ agencies are in fact what makes them legitimately “human.”
Paul confirms that, “CSR is at the forefront of the agenda of companies.” However he also points out that, “CSR should engage and unite the workforce.” And this is part of his job at KPMG, one of the First of the Big 4, Universum’s Best Firm to work for in 2010 and 2011.
For KPMG, CSR is not just a one-day in a year event, or a way for the CEO to write a cheque to use company’s excess budget. “It is part of our DNA to be committed to communities,” says Paul.To ensure that CSR is something every employee practices in KPMG they reflect all business dealings with their seven corporate values in mind; from the quality of their audit, tax and advisory services to employees’ contribution to communities. “My favourite is the last value- Above all, we act with integrity,” Paul proudly shares.
Paul’s view on organizational culture is that, “it is something you feel when working for a company, you need to be observant and feel if the company values align with your own values.” This is confirmed with information on KPMG’s website: Our values are at the heart of our Global Code of Conduct. The code defines the standards of conduct we require of our people in KPMG member firms worldwide.
Paul’s stories about KPMG’s bigwigs remind us of the charismatic leader figure, or what he terms as “the tone at the top” and the fact that leader’s actions influence employees and the direction of the company greatly. But he is adamant that an individual employee in their company (and in any company for that matter) can contribute in to their CSR commitments in education, environment, children and health care in Vietnam.
Paul recommends we look into our Personal Social Responsibility or PSR. He explains this concept in light of “The Economist Guide to Management Ideas and Gurus”, by Tim Hindle (a condensed version entitled The triple bottom line can be viewed at: http://www.economist.com/node/14301663)
Paul interestingly discussed the triple bottom line of – people, profit and planet as it relates to KPMG’s CSR initiatives and brings it full circle to how individuals in his company are at the very core of this model.
Profit: “CSR is how companies brand and market themselves. During this difficult global economic downturn, you can really tell if CSR is something companies are passionate about or its just lip service.” Despite budget concerns, KPMG still manages to go through with their annual CSR activities and do monthly follow-ups with past partners in the community.
Planet: “We are seeing a shift from just thinking about profits.” There is a need to sustain the source of this profit what better place to start than inside the company. From simple things to recycling paper in the workplace to turning-off computers after work to reducing business travel by using HALO technology KPMG tries to make small steps that will eventually add-up to the big picture.
And most important of all, investing in People: “PSR is a mindset shift; it’s how you treat your fellow human beings.” When Paul interviews potential employees he asks them “what are your values?” In KPMG, employees stop all work for one day to volunteer in their annual Community Day. They are also involved in deciding which charities they want to help out, so it’s not only an institutional decision. Although the charities involving HIV issues is a personal preference of their CEO, employees get to decide what to do such as- flea markets, blood drives, flood relief efforts and orphanage involvement is part of their long list of CSR activities.
By recognizing the individual’s role in society a paradigm shift is possible that would take CSR beyond its normal confines of being just another PR and Marketing tool but a real living and breathing entity that pushes relationships forward for the good of society.
About our guest lecturer:
Paul Huynh was born in Vietnam. He left the country at the age of 2 and immigrated to Sydney, Australia where he gained his Bachelor in Business Studies, majoring in Human Resource Management and Minoring in Psychology from Monash University. Paul has over 10 years’ experience working with many large multinational organisations both in Australia and right here in Vietnam. He loves to travel and has a dog named Rosie. He is currently completing his executive MBA with RMIT.
For more on Paul and his work with KPMG, visit their official website at: http://www.kpmg.com/vn