Developing staff via charity initiatives

(This article was first published in Business Times, Singapore)

19 Dec 2016

WHAT better way to strengthen the relationships between the offices of a global company than through employee volunteer programmes?

Chris Pardey, CEO of the RCMA Group, has been a long-time supporter of Bali Sports Foundation (BSF), a non-governmental organisation which serves para-athletes in Indonesia. RCMA focuses on commodities and supply chain management and has more than 15 offices worldwide.

In 2010, RCMA (then known as RCMA Commodities Asia), adopted BSF as its corporate charity organisation. In addition to monetary support, the group commits employees as volunteers at its para-sporting events and to host athletes who visit Singapore for the events.

Management decided to leverage BSF as a platform to encourage employees’ interaction, knowledge sharing and skills exchange. And to make the business link, employees from global locations report to the Singapore headquarters for work-related matters before heading to Indonesia for volunteer work. Big ticket items such as flights and accommodation are covered by RCMA.

By providing a social and philanthropy platform, RCMA enables greater interaction between the Singaporean employees and the international team while doing good at the same time. It has discovered that such trips develop much deeper connections than run-of-the-mill team bonding activities.

Through volunteerism, employees also develop a greater appreciation about life, become more accepting of differences and develop a greater willingness to step out of their comfort zones. There is also more confidence, greater collaboration and increased knowledge sharing.

The success of this initiative led RCMA to expand the volunteer projects to business partners and tertiary students, a move that continues to deepen business and personal relationships with suppliers, customers and other stakeholders.

There is a continual necessity to evolve businesses to meet global challenges. Skills development is critical for companies that want to stay ahead of trends and competition. Ultimately, talent will be the differentiating factor and RCMA is investing in its employees through facilitating volunteerism that benefit BSF and RCMA.

  • This article was contributed by NVPC as part of a series of stories on the business case for doing good. The Business Times supports NVPC’s Company of Good programme as media partner. Visit www.companyofgood.sg for more information.