As a company we are always looking to improve our products and our services, to better serve our customers and to leave a lasting impact on the communities where we work and live. The facts are clear—companies who deeply commit to corporate social responsibility (CSR) and improving the customer experience (CX) will see the financial, customer and team member impact:
- 88 percent of consumers will be more loyal to the brand when companies are involved in CSR
- 66 percent of global consumers say they’re willing to pay more for sustainable brands
- 61 percent of buyers will place 2X more emphasis on total experience price when comparing two similar products
- 60 percent of highly engaged employees are more likely to make a recommendation on how to improve your company vs. 15 percent of disengaged employees
Okay, so if you agree CSR and CX are important, the question is…where do you start your strategic focus?
My personal advice: start where it connects with your team on a personal and professional level. Find the opportunities that reside at the intersection of people’s hearts and your company’s strengths. This way, you’ll know that what you are doing is meaningful and valued by those who work with you and there is a clear way to tie the impact to your business mission and results.
As a leader of 1,300 team members in the Dell EMC Utah Center of Excellence (COE), I’ve become deeply familiar with and ensured we’ve invested in our intersection “impact” areas:
- Creating opportunities for youth in STEM fields
- Developing more environmentally responsible and sustainable operations
- Building an atmosphere to foster customer-centric innovation and experiences
I’d like to share some tangible examples of how we have achieved success in each of these areas in hopes that other companies will be inspired to pursue a similar course when it comes time to set business and employee priorities.
Creating opportunities for youth in STEM fields
Our commitment to STEM is tied to our community focus, but it’s also a business imperative to ensure we have the right skills for our future talent pipeline. Our STEM impact is broad and in close partnership with external partners, such as local governments, schools and non-profit organizations. Our recent partnerships include:
- STEM Mentor Exchange – A new mobile platform from the STEM Partners Foundation based on Dell EMC technology and built through the volunteer efforts of our software engineers that matches industry mentors with teachers in classrooms who need help with STEM activities. It will be available on the Apple and Android app stores this summer. Although it is starting in Utah, there are no geographical bounds to where the app can be implemented and used.
- SheTech – Events sponsored by the Women Tech Council to expose young women to technology through workshops, presentations and hands-on experiences. We always have dozens of team members in attendance as mentors, facilitators and presenters.
- Student STAR – Summer program for high school students to come to our office and learn professional skills that prepare them for a potential job in the tech industry.
- Computing Pathways Initiative – New program to help K-12 students learn about Computer Science and related fields. Over $1 million was raised from the state to help fund this program as a direct result of Dell EMC leading an industry coalition to pass Utah Senate Bill 190.
One of the keys to our success has been heavy involvement from the multiple Employee Resource Groups in Utah; our ERG’s typically to sponsor and support these events and activities. All of this focus on STEM education has been good for business too! Most of the companies, schools and other groups that are involved are Dell EMC customers. These types of engagements have allowed us to build relationships that go beyond any single product or individual sale – they are truly multi-faceted and enduring.
Developing more environmentally responsible and sustainable operations
When it comes to impacting the environment in a positive way, the Utah team is relentless. We have been recognized for our environmental commitment via the Sustainable Business Award from Utah Business Magazine. Our partnership with the Utah Transit Authority (UTA) to provide heavily discounted Eco Passes for all team members, the electric vehicle charging stations at our offices, and our participation in the Utah Clean Air initiative (UCAIR) are just a few of the ways we garnered this recognition. Recent developments in this area include:
- 100% Renewable Energy – Our new building in Draper City (see below section) is LEED Silver certified and includes a renewable energy power purchase program to offset 100% of the power needed.
- Mass Transit Program – With our newest site located next to a commuter train station, team member participation in the UTA Eco Pass program has doubled.
Building an atmosphere to foster customer-centric innovation and experiences
Over 90% of the Utah team directly serves customers through technical support, deployment, consulting, cloud operations and sales roles. To keep up with customer demand and provide the high caliber experience we strive for, it takes investment in our facilities and capabilities. On April 12th, we celebrated the official ribbon-cutting of our newest Utah COE campus in Vista Station.
This new, state-of-the art site will allow us to deliver more personalized and consistent experiences with:
- Hands-on training facilities where Dell EMC products are available for customer, partner and team member education.
- A global command center for the Virtustream business, which enables us to collaborate with similar centers in our India and Ireland COEs and deliver 24×7 customer support.
- Sufficient space for team members to collaborate on customer ideas and issues and work together in a centralized location.
- Important amenities like an onsite 24×7 fitness center, full service café, game room, secure bike lockers, proximity to local jogging trails; all of which maintain a positive work-life balance—we know that companies with more engaged workers outperform competitors both in terms of financial results and CX.
The value of what the Utah team provides and the establishment of this new site has been recognized by our external stakeholders, with Utah Governor Gary Herbert noting that we are an anchor to Utah’s “Silicon Slopes” and customers such as Adobe, Overstock.com, and RC Willey sharing their gratitude for our local partnership.
Companies have a responsibility and measurable interest to improve how they serve customers and communities. Through my personal experience leading the Dell EMC Utah COE, I have learned that the easiest and most impactful place to start is at the intersection of what makes your team’s heart beat with passion and where your company’s capabilities lie. For my team in Utah, this intersection hits our CSR initiatives focused on promoting youth in STEM, environmental sustainability and providing an atmosphere for customer-centric innovation and experience to thrive.
We all have the power to do more good, but we can’t just talk about what is possible in the confines of a conference room or on (yet another) conference call. We must be bold enough to act and to hold each other, our teams and industry peers accountable to do the same. And by doing so, we will see the returns to our business, customers and communities.