Where We Began: The Journey of CSR at Prophix

By Sally Lu, Business Analyst, Prophix Software Inc.

The author of this post participated on a SOS Outreach Trip to Pueblo Viejo, in Nicaragua, in April 2017 with fellow Prophix employees. This post is the second installment of a three part series on how your professional career does not signal the end of your volunteer career. 

Last April, I was one of the luckiest people in the world – I flew out with ten of my co-workers to Pueblo Viejo, Nicaragua to build two new classrooms for a school in partnership with Students Offering Support. How did I get involved with such an amazing trip? Easy – through my company, Prophix’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) program!

CSR programs include voluntary activities in which a company participates in to promote social, economic, and environmental sustainability. You can read about the benefits of having a CSR program implemented at a workplace in my previous post, here!

How does a company start a CSR program if one doesn’t exist yet? I spoke with Phil Gravel, Director of Customer Success, to learn more about CSR was created at Prophix.

“The CSR journey at Prophix officially began three years ago. While we had always made commitments to give back to our community, there was not a structured approach until an executive challenge was presented to our employees. The executive team challenged us to try and use our success to change the world positively. I wrote an email to the company that evening asking anyone else who wanted to join me in building a committee and starting to do more towards changing the world.”

And thus, the CSR committee was born!

However, creating a CSR program is not without its challenges. “Although we got support from the executive team fairly early on, there were still periods of uncertainty,” said Phil, “There is always the issue of funding for the initiatives that we come up with. There is also the challenge that you are doing the kind of things that resonate or mean something to our employees. It’s critically important that we tackle causes or issues that matter to people and it’s always hard to determine what exactly those are.”

With these challenges in mind, what makes the CSR program so successful? At Prophix, the CSR program has always operated with a two-pronged approach: executive buy-in and causes championed by employees. With executive buy-in, we gain support for CSR endeavours. This is exhibited in a variety of ways, such as financial support, or executive approval of company policies. For example, our CSR program has a policy where employees can earn paid time off for doing positive things that reduce our environmental impact – like walking, busing, carpooling to work, or eating a litter-free lunch!

The other challenge discussed whether the initiatives we support resonate with our employees. At Prophix, we have our causes championed by employees. Employees approach the CSR committee with causes that have personal meaning to them or ones they may already be connected with, through volunteering or other means. This ensures there is someone who will act as a point of contact between Prophix and the charitable organization.

Using this approach, Prophix has had many successes supporting causes in our community and around the world! Some of best partnerships are formed from our charitable project funding initiative, that seeks to donate 25,000 to Canadian charities when we reach our quarterly sales targets. Stay tuned to learn more about some of the organizations we’ve support in the next blog post!

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