Benefits of IBM-CSC’s Work
Exert from, Corporate Service Corps External Evaluation by Prof. Chris Marquis of Harvard Business School.
Cultural intelligence and global awareness: One of the most significant themes running throughout survey responses was the participants’ heightened understanding of global differences, a key learning being how to work in different business climates and cultures, particularly emerging markets. Significant growth in employees ‘cultural intelligence’ was demonstrated using standard, academically validated survey which examined the degree to which individuals understand and are able to adapt to a wide array of cultures. This report also shows that these were individuals who were high on this trait to begin with and so having such a significant increase is particularly noteworthy.
Employee retention and commitment to IBM: In the war for talent, it was important for IBM to see the impact this program would have on retention of high potential employees, particularly those who are at a stage in their career when they may consider other options. In specifically addressing how the program would impact talent retention, virtually all respondents answered that the program increased their interest in staying at IBM. Commitment to IBM showed a modest, although statistically significant, increase as a result of the project. There are also indications that the CSC alumni plan to stay actively involved in the program and mentor new participants, which will aid in commitment. The survey results suggest that IBMs’ support of such a program carries considerable symbolic value, as participants stated that the program greatly increased their perception of IBM as a great place to work.
New knowledge and skill contributions to IBM: The new types of knowledge and skills CSC participants could contribute to IBM were important learnings. The two main themes emerging from the survey, as suggested above, were leadership skills and global knowledge and awareness.
Intrapersonal growth: More generally, results also strongly suggest that this was a high impact experience for the individuals personally, and that the experience will have a lasting influence on participants. Participants very strongly felt that they had changed as a person as a result of being exposed to the culture of their assignment, as well as from living in close quarters with a diverse group of other IBMers.
Regarding the impact on the local partner organizations and their communities, the vast majority of organizations expressed a high degree of satisfaction with the program and felt that their initial goals for the program were met and exceeded.
An important theme across the surveys was the high quality of work by the CSC teams. The local partners rated the IBM project and CSC participants very high on overall satisfaction, indicated that the CSC team members were very well-prepared for the project, including both having the necessary skills and enough cultural understanding to make a difference for these organizations. Four general areas of specific impact stood out:
Improvements in their internal business processes: This was perhaps the least surprising consequence for clients because in many instances, this had been the focus of the assignment. The assignments included projects such as solving financial management problems, helping clients execute business plans and creating stronger information technology systems.
Impact to local organization staff: Virtually all partners felt that the CSC team contributed new intellectual capital and management knowledge to their organization that dramatically sped up change. A positive spillover effect from the CSC was that many clients reported significant staff development simply from their involvement with IBMers, including improved leadership capabilities and new skills for their organization. Specific items indicated by the partner organizations include: a) increased self confidence of staff; b) increased motivation and pride in work and c) greater ability to think strategically.
Internal and external network relationships: The majority of organizations reported forging new and stronger partnerships with other private sector, non-governmental organizations and governmental agencies as a result of their work with the CSC. In many ways, having CSC involvement appears to “shine a light” on these organizations that raises their local profile and allows them to create new relationships they otherwise would not be able to establish.
Perception of IBM: A great majority of community clients surveyed indicated that they had an increased perception of IBM as a corporate citizen. Reading through the surveys, one impression was that IBM has clearly established a glowing reputation as a corporate citizen in these locales, which it will be able to build upon in the future.
Full report available from, https://www-146.ibm.com/corporateservicecorps/evaluation
In the war for talent, it was important for IBM to see the impact this program would have on retention of high potential employees, particularly those who are at a stage in their career when they may consider other options