How can a company successfully implement social initiatives?
Right from the beginning, in the Tatas, business practices, procedures and the model were conceived with the “community” as the very reason for our existence. In fact, we are told that the first employee of Tata Steel was not an engineer, not an accountant, but a “social worker”. Tata companies are in constant touch with their communities, understand their needs and work towards fulfilling them.
The Tata Council for Community Initiatives (TCCI) was set up so that companies have a central platform to share their experiences and find a common way to systematize this work better through more professional arrangements.
What are the key essentials to a successful partnership between NGOs and companies?
In the earlier years, there were no set boundaries for what corporates or NGOs could do so long as it benefited the needy. And so, a lot of work happened with the enthusiasm and initiatives through passionate individuals, irrespective of where they belonged.
Over the years, due to specialization and evolution of professional approaches, various sectors in development have created their own space and competencies. The corporate sector has technology, expertise, skills and various forms of organizational capabilities to share with the community, while NGOs and other social sector partners have gone deeper into the various causes and issues related to this work. A good partnership should go beyond mere exchange of information and experience or creating new platforms for dialogue towards a more purposeful engagement where they can learn from each other.