Total Rewards Asia Summit 2024 Singapore
Winning Secrets: Big C Supercenter’s employee volunteerism strategy combines tangible outcomes and social impact

Winning Secrets: Big C Supercenter’s employee volunteerism strategy combines tangible outcomes and social impact

Hemmawan Poonphol, First EVP, Big C Supercenter, on the importance of measuring stakeholder participation through CSR Ambassadors as well as the number of people who benefit from their volunteer projects.

Big C is a retail hypermarket coupled with shopping mall area. With its store network nationwide in various formats, Big C is able to deliver an exceptional shopping experience to customers through product assortment, quality, value for money and customer service. 

At the third annual edition of HR Excellence Awards - Thailand in 2023, Big C Supercenter Public Company won bronze for 'Excellence in Employee Volunteerism'.

To celebrate this milestone, we catch up with Hemmawan Poonphol, First Executive Vice President, Big C Supercenter, to learn about their impressive sustainability initiatives, such as blood donations, number of patients treated in Big C Field Hospital, enhanced access to quality education for students, disaster relief efforts, and more. 

Q Congratulations on your top performance at the HR Excellence Awards! How has your HR and people strategy contributed to your success this year?

The sustainability strategy, which our company consistently prioritises, revolves around the firm belief that the success of a sustainable and robust business hinges on active participation from the community and society. This concept has led to the development of a strategic approach where employees are engaged as representatives to build a resilient network. This initiative involves collaborative projects that harness the volunteer spirit of our employees, culminating in the establishment of the 'Big C CSR Ambassadors'.

Big C's network of CSR ambassadors is vital in propagating the organisation's sustainability strategy. These ambassadors champion CSR initiatives in education, environment, religion, culture, public health, community support, and disaster relief.

Big C values them as its representatives, fostering volunteerism. With their dedication, projects thrive, positively impacting community and society.

Q Looking back at your achievements, what aspect of your HR initiatives are you most proud of and why?

We take pride in building a strong nationwide employee network and driving various CSR projects because Big C has expanded its business to every region of Thailand. Thus, we are dedicated to expanding our volunteer projects to benefit all regions.

Our CSR initiatives encompass caring for employees, families, communities, and society as a whole. We have CSR ambassadors who volunteer as representatives of the company, reaching every area to support and assist, whether in urban or rural settings.

The strength of our collaborative volunteer network of employees helps drive these projects, benefiting society, enhancing the company's public image, and creating positive impacts on communities. These employees, seen as integral to the company's success, take pride in contributing to these positive outcomes.

Q During your HR journey, what were some significant obstacles you faced, and how did you overcome them to achieve excellence?

One significant challenge we encounter is the diversity of target groups in our CSR efforts, which encompasses varying pain points, regions, and areas. Consequently, there are instances where the CSR projects we formulate may not adequately address the needs of specific groups within the community, potentially rendering our projects unsustainable in the long run.

We mitigate this issue by actively engaging with society, communities, or our target groups in the development of project guidelines. We facilitate brainstorming sessions to gather diverse opinions, ensuring that our project's focus is as precise as possible. This inclusive approach enhances the efficiency and sustainability of our projects. 

Q How does your organisation measure the success and impact of your HR initiatives?

We measure the success of our projects by considering both tangible outcomes and social impact. This assessment encompasses diverse initiatives, such as the number of blood donations and their potential life-saving effects, number of patients treated in Big C Field Hospital, enhanced access to quality education for students. Success is determined by the effectiveness of disaster relief efforts, including the speed and adequacy of response, etc.

We also measure stakeholder participation through our CSR ambassadors and assess the number of people who benefit from our volunteer projects. Based on our extensive track record, we have engaged a total of 5,974 Big C employee volunteers, and these initiatives have positively impacted a remarkable 1,018,571 individuals. These results underscore the sustainability and substantial benefits that our projects consistently deliver to our stakeholders.

Q In what direction do you see the HR/people function evolving in the future, considering the emerging trends?

In the future, our focus will be on cultivating a heightened sense of public awareness among our employees. We aim to nurture an organisational culture around the belief that every individual can serve as a volunteer ambassador. Our goal is to foster an atmosphere within the organisation that brims with social and public responsibility, encouraging active participation and engagement in CSR initiatives.

As an example:

  • Supporting various volunteer projects.
  • Reward and recognition for employee volunteers.
  • Inspiring employees to see the value and results associated with different CSR activities. This helps employees realise that being an ambassador for volunteer work has a positive impact on the organisation's success.

Building public awareness within the organisation and being a Volunteer Ambassador not only creates value for the organisation itself but also has positive effects on society and the environment. It fosters a sense of connection and collaboration within the community.

Read more interviews on why organisations have won trophies for their HR practices - head over to our Winning Secrets' section!

Photos / Provided by Big C Supercenter

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