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CSR in Colombia: Community Engagement Programs at PSL

As stakeholders in Colombia push for more sustainable and robust practices in CSR (corporate social responsibility), the importance of this necessary organizational movement is now being more widely recognized across the country.

CSR in Colombia has traditionally been focused on philanthropic efforts with very little long-term impact. It is often seen as an endeavor for larger corporations that have the time and resources necessary to nurture these programs. This comes as no surprise when considering that a large majority of Colombian businesses are micro-businesses of between one and ten people.

Even so, more Colombian businesses are now investing in CSR than ever before, actively engaging in their communities and paying closer attention to the impact made on the well-being of society. These players tend to make better products, support local economies, invest in staff development, and perform activities that improve the quality of life for people in their immediate surroundings.

At PSL, we have been pursuing and implementing all of the above, developing and evolving a number of CSR initiatives that are having a positive impact on our employees, their families, and our locations in Colombia.Enter your text here ...

Community Involvement and Development

It's vital for us to engage with and learn from the communities where we work in order to find the best way to create a positive impact. Instead of simple monetary gestures or donations, we'll often encourage our employees to donate their time and expertise, invite people to learn from us, or provide any available resources we can spare.

In 2018, we furthered our university teaching program and partnered with Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Universidad de Medellín, Universidad de Antioquia, EIA (Antioquia School of Engineering), and UPB (Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana) to offer pro-bono courses introducing comprehensive programming concepts and new technologies to students. We also opened our doors to more than 1,200 high school and college students to spend the day learning about software engineering, as well as hosting 8 free meetups to introduce and discuss relevant themes in software engineering and give individuals a space to network.

[More on PSL CSR | PSL Partners with Local Universities]

PSL also hosts regular community hackathons and workshops on trending topics in technology and software development. Our employees serve as mentors and teachers at these events, which are open to anyone from the community that would like to participate, no matter their role.

We have found that including employees, clients, and partners in the process of engaging with our broader community creates the foundation for strong, reciprocal relationships. This also encourages the transfer of knowledge and presents opportunities to develop robust community programs in collaboration with community leaders.

Environmental Impact

Although we don't produce excessive levels of pollution, since our production stems from people and computers, we have implemented some environmental management programs to reduce our environmental footprint and operate more in harmony with nature.

In order to strengthen our commitment to sustainable development and contribute to the reduction of environmental degradation, we created a program called PSL Verde. The initiative is designed to raise awareness about the management and protection of the environment and move towards an ecological culture of cleanliness and resourcefulness among employees.

PSL Verde is focused on lower consumption of electrical energy, both in computer equipment and air conditioners; rational use of paper and water; adequate disposal of waste in order to facilitate recycling; and removal of plastic products during events and daily life at the company, among other things. 

Women in Tech 

PSL's Women in Tech program seeks to provide a space where women are supported, respected, and encouraged to excel within STEM careers. This initiative is about bringing everyone together to create innovative solutions and elevate underrepresented groups, regardless of identification, race, or orientation, with a particular focus on women.

We want to create a world where women play a larger role in technology, positively impacting the world in profound and tangible ways. To achieve this, we focus on career support and development for women, increasing the participation of women at PSL events, removing biases in our recruiting practices, teaching girls in high school and university about their role in tech, and actively advancing the discussion around gender equality.

Organizational Governance

As one of the leading software development organizations in Colombia, we try to avoid excessive hierarchy and exist as a relatively flat organization that promotes people for their contributions and skills, not for reasons of rank or seniority. We have found that by valuing ideas over hierarchical positions, employees feel more empowered, self-determined, and autonomous, which in turn leads to greater productivity, honesty, and innovation.

We proudly champion an environment in which all people are valued, and communication is open and based on trust. All individuals associated with PSL are expected and encouraged to speak the truth because the facts will always be the facts, we do not try to hide them or deny our mistakes. In fact, mistakes are an opportunity for everyone to learn and improve, while more severe problems can easily be elevated to any member of the team as our executives maintain an open-door policy. 

Labor Practices for Employees  

At PSL, we have developed an environment in which all employees are valued, respected, heard, supported, and free from discrimination.

We comply strictly with labor laws, offering secure, stable work for talented individuals. Once people join our company, we help them develop their careers as much as possible, providing opportunities to work in different areas if people are not performing well in certain roles. In fact, we have become well-known in Colombia for recognizing an intersection of interests and capabilities and placing people in the roles that best suit them.

PSL provides training for each role within the company, both internally and externally, in which we give the proper treatment and respect to every participant. We also practice equal opportunities for all, regardless of their religious, political, or sexual preferences, or their gender, age, ethnicity, or disabilities. 

Our Core CSR Values 

While we strive for PSL to succeed as a business venture, our work will always be conducted with the clear purpose of making a difference through our contributions to society. We believe in constructively impacting our employees, partners, clients, and the communities in which we are engaged and working through our affinity with technology.

Technology and software can be incredibly transformative forces in the development of communities, and we understand that we are uniquely positioned to expand the reach of this transformation in Colombia. To do this, we strive to be more than just a technology company, but a company that champions positive contributions, openness, integrity, excellence, and innovation.

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Want to know more? Download the full 2018 CSR report

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Tuesday, 19 November 2019

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