As we approach the launch of our 2012 Corporate Responsibility Report this month, we've developed the following two-part series highlighting how stakeholder feedback was integrated into the development of this year's report.
Listen: to take notice of and act on what someone says (Oxford English Dictionary).
We believe in active listening. We know that in order to retain our position as a global leader, we need help and insights from all of our stakeholders. As we were reviewing our 2011 efforts and planning our 2012 Corporate Responsibility Report, I was privileged to be part of the team that gathered insights and feedback from various stakeholders, and our Corporate Responsibility team used this information to guide improvements and changes to our report in many areas.
For example, after reviewing our 2011 Report, Stephane N’Diaye, the North American Lead for Communications Media & Technology Industries at Accenture, had this advice:
“Symantec needs to better show where and how its corporate responsibility efforts fit into and support its overall business strategy.”
This year, we made a real effort to show the strategic linkages between Symantec’s responsibility priorities and business objectives, as they are often one and the same. You will find these links in the discussions that kick off our core report categories in the 2012 Report and in our materiality analysis section.
First off, our materiality process and matrix helps guide the development of our corporate responsibility strategy and programs. It is our chance to listen to what is important to our employees, our customers, our partners, our advisors, NGO and academic communities, and other important stakeholder groups. We take these ideas, suggestions, concerns, and questions and use them to focus our efforts around what is important to our stakeholders and what aligns with our business strategy.
The five material issues we are focusing on in 2012 are important to both our stakeholders and to our business: talent management, employee satisfaction, climate change, securing information, and stakeholder engagement. You’ll see these five material issues listed in this year's report with notes around why they’re imperative to both business and responsibility. Here we expand a bit further.
Let’s start with talent management and employee satisfaction. Many companies say that their employees are their biggest asset. For us, it’s more than that; our employees are our competitive advantage. We learn faster than others, which allows us to sell exceptional products and services. We also know our employees are happy and motivated when challenged and given opportunities to grow. This year they can take a class on becoming a Savvy Leader, go through our Career Circuit, or check out one of over 75 eLearning classes.
When employees are happy and challenged, they stay with us. A key piece of this happiness is giving back together. Our focus on volunteerism led to 18,300 hours of donated time. This makes Symantec a stronger, more consistent, and unified company.
When looking at climate change, environmental stewardship is vital to responsible operation and is an opportunity to improve our business performance. Minimizing our energy use in data centers, facilities, and our operations helps keep GHGs out of the air and dollars flowing towards our bottom line.
Securing information is the material issue with the most overlap. We see protecting the world’s people and information as a central aspect of corporate responsibility in the digital age, and as a central aspect to our business. Our goal is to maintain high customer confidence in our software and services, and we will get there by continuing to protect our customers.
We need our stakeholders' feedback to continuously assess how we are performing and to prioritize issues that will allow us to create the best possible future. We want your thoughts on how we can have a positive impact on society, how we can innovate and save energy in our data centers, how we can inspire the next generation of Symantec leaders, and more.
A huge thank you goes out to Stephane and all of the others who contributed to making our 2012 Corporate Responsibility Report that much better! We hope you'll come back in a couple short weeks to read about our results and priorities in the coming years!
Lora Phillips is Senior Manager, Global Corporate Responsibility at Symantec.