Hector Aguilar
GE Mexico Human Resources Leader

In anticipation of GE chairman and CEO Jeffrey Immelt’s keynote speech at the 2009 Net Impact Conference on “Driving Innovation & Economic Renewal in a Global Context,” Net Impact spoke with Vic Abate of GE Energy, about the company’s approach to corporate responsibility and economic renewal. Mr. Abate will also be speaking at the Net Impact Conference on the featured panel, “Building a New Energy Infrastructure.” The interview appears on the Net Impact web site here.

Corporate citizenship is a critical aspect for me as a person and professional, and could make the difference in selecting a company to work for. Responsible citizenship shows a company’s commitment to a community. It is a value of sharing and helping people and communities around us. It shows a behavior that I want to see from the company I work for. And it motivates and encourages me to work better and create loyalty and engagement toward GE.

In terms of my job as Human Resources Manager, corporate citizenship becomes even more important. First, it becomes a competitive advantage to attract talent, mostly young talent. New generations are more concerned about social responsibility. So, for them, a solid corporate citizenship program becomes a differentiator for selecting a company to work for.

On the other hand, corporate citizenship also helps us for retention. When employees perceive the GE commitment to our communities, they become curious and start participating as well, and this reinforces loyalty. This is clearly an engagement tool, so, as Human Resources Manager, corporate citizenship is one of the company’s best attraction and retention tools if we are aware and genuinely live the initiatives. Otherwise, if we do not walk the talk, we will lose credibility in our human resources function.