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How Roche's CSR programme helped bring staff together

Last Friday, Roche Singapore raised S$130,000 for for Singapore charities and children in need in developing countries when more than 270 employees got together to take part in the Roche Children's Walk 2017.

This year, the global pharmaceuticals and diagnostics company donated half the funds from the annual company-organised walkathon to local charities Club Rainbow Singapore and Children’s Cancer Foundation, to provide support to children with chronic and life-threatening illnesses and their families.

While the remaining will go towards children’s initiatives in Malawi and other developing countries to foster sustainable change by contributing to educational infrastructure, training future teachers, building skills capacity, and improving health and sanitation.

Speaking to Human Resources magazine, Chuah Ean Chin, country manager, Roche Diagnostics Singapore said: "We believe strongly in the notion of sustainability when it comes to helping our local communities. As such, our efforts are aimed at creating long-term change for these children to ensure a brighter future for them."

A ground-up, employee-driven campaign

Launched in 2003, the Roche Children's Walk is a global company-wide event which has seen more than 200,000 employees participating, raising more than CHF 15.4 million. The company matches the money raised by employees dollar for dollar.

Goh Chor Lim, head of HR, Asia Pacific, Roche Diagnostics revealed that while the event is global, each market is free to organise its own walk and fundraising activities.

"The Children’s Walk is an established event in the Roche activity calendar, and our employees always look forward to this June event."

In Singapore, she shared that the event is a collaborative effort and is organised by a working group of volunteers from across all sites and departments, from the communications team to IT and engineers.

"I am proud to say that participation in the Walk and fundraising activities tend to happen organically at the ground level - it truly is an employee-driven campaign," she said, adding that this ground-up approach means employees really own the event and are inspired to make it a success.

ALSO READ: Q&A with Goh Chor Lim, head of HR Asia Pacific, Roche Diagnostics

Sharing about how the company communicated the event to employees, Goh said: "Communications begin around 2-3 months before the walk to raise awareness of the purpose and the charities.

"Our staff also organised their own fundraising activities early and this year they came up with some very creative and unique ideas, including Mother’s Day hampers, lucky draws, car washes, pledges, 'build a bear' sessions and even guided walks around Sungei Buloh nature reserve.

"Posters and emailers support the publicity efforts and generate buzz around the fundraising events, as well as the Walk itself."

As with organising any large-scale-company event, multiple coordination points are needed, Goh revealed.

"The event on the day ran very smoothly, and this can be attributed to the seamless collaboration among our coordinating teams and the collective enthusiasm of our Singapore colleagues."

Bringing employees together through a good cause

Goh shared that this year, Roche Singapore held the walk on Friday, 16 June from 3.30pm, gathering employees from all its sites across the island at the Marina Barrage where each affiliate announced how much they raised individually along with their top fundraisers, before the walk began. "It was great to start on a high by hearing the fantastic amount of money raised."

"Team morale was high on the day, particularly as the sun was out, and our staff have been talking about the Walk since Friday.

"We have had great feedback internally on the value of the initiative and several people said they met new colleagues in the process – an added benefit of bringing everyone together for fun and for a great cause.

"The Walk is a great opportunity for employees to take some time out of work whilst getting involved in a good cause and bonding with their colleagues."

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Photo / Roche Singapore

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