Singapore - Professional services firm KPMG gave up a potentially lucrative 8,000 billable man hours for charity last month as dedication to the community it serves.
Calculating a broad range of charge-out rates a professional services firm typically bills to clients, the loss of at least 8,000 man hours is estimated to be millions of dollars.
But Lee Sze Yeng, corporate citizenship partner at KPMG Singapore, says closing the office for one day for its entire Singapore workforce to participate in fund-raising activities was "a very easy and simple decision". Besides reflecting the commitment the professional services firm has to its community and its corporate values, Lee says the company believes strongly in "leading by example".
Lee says translating that commitment to action for 2,000 employees to walk the talk is "incredibly effective and meaningful" because it helps them "do something beyond the existing monetary donations". Furthermore, KPMG's 2008 Global People Survey, conducted bi-yearly, revealed that its employees ranked "commitment to communities" very favourably. Nine in 10 is supportive that the company is making "a positive contribution to the communities in which it operates".
Lee says, "The value of interacting with beneficiaries - young and old, able and disadvantaged - opens our perspective and compels us to reach out to relate better with those around us."
On 30 July, 2,000 KPMG employees spent the entire day at a carnival for 650 underprivileged children, raising over $60,000 for the firm's adopted charities in the process. This marks the 12th year KPMG closed its doors for business.
Other corporate citizenship initiatives KPMG has include the Give Time programme which gives employees up to 40 hours a year to spend on community service. It also has a few firm-wide public transport days, held for two years running, to minimise carbon footprints.
While most staff are already taking public transport, KPMG employees will make special effort to join a car pool, use the train or bus on that day. Some "green champions" will even cycle to work or to walk home. Lee says, "Essentially, we have begun a ‘green' awareness which may translate to a habit, and then we can reap from a behavioural change and strong advocates in time."
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