Early this year, our company did our regular company-wide engagement survey. We hit some areas right, such as teamwork and inclusion, but unfortunately failed abysmally in others. The main one was Corporate Social Responsibility, or the lack of it.
Smove was actually started with a grand vision, to make cities more liveable by improving the way people move. We started off with electric cars, in a bid to save the environment.
In our feedback sessions with different teams, we found out that while it was not a deal breaker, employees were actually interested in it. They hope to contribute more than their usual job scope. This is probably the human’s nature of trying to find meaning to life, and to find a connection with other fellow human beings that we can help.
Corporate Social Responsibility is the buzzword now. As many reports have shown, having a good and compelling program can drive employee engagement and have a lasting effect on the bottom line. As a startup, we did not have the resources previously to think about this seriously. The engagement survey gave us a wake up call and so we said, why not?
We decided to include 1 CSR activity in our monthly Smovers Culture Week. With a different theme every month, the Smovers Culture week will have different types of activities, trying to bridge conversations between teams and inject a little fun in our routine work.
We thought hard on the activities that we want to include. We did not want to simply donate money at a random organisation without providing real value to our employees or the beneficiaries. As much as we want everyone to enjoy the activities that we planned, we did not want it to be a merely feel good initiative that does not have a lasting impact on the community. We also want it to be relevant to our car sharing business, and also fitting our mission where we make mobility at ease for everyone.
For the first Smovers Culture Week, the theme was Teamwork. We thought of an innovative idea to get everyone excited about this. At 4.44pm everyday for the week, the ‘eye of the tiger’ song will be played and with that, everyone is required to drop down and do as many push ups as they can. If we can hit 100 pushups every day, we would donate $100 to the charity that we have chosen, GoBabyGo! This is a project that helps children with cerebral palsy and other mobility issues. It converts battery-powered ride-on cars into rehabilitative devices for children with special needs, allowing them to explore the world around them on their own and participate in interactive play with other children, helping in their learning and development.
For the second session, tackling mobility issues again, we got involved with Touch Community Services. We joined them to deliver meals of home-bound elderly, who usually lives alone and depends on volunteers. We drove 5 smove cars around the estate, as arranged by Touch and delivered about 50 prepacked dinners.
For our third and definitely not the last session, the theme was open communication. We decided that topics about mental health issues were still being largely seen as negative in our Asian society. We want to change that and encourage our team to have a healthy and open conversation about this controversial topic. More importantly, we also want our team members to feel safe to come to us if they need help. On the Friday of the week, everyone is encouraged to wear pink. For every article of pink, the company would donate to a program, PrettyStrong by Samaritians of Singapore, which raises awareness and speak up about mental health
We were actually nervous at the response. Would people be excited about it or would they feel that it is a waste of time? To our surprise, we had an unexpectedly high participation rate!
Our strategy was this, make it fun, make it easy to join. Who says that doing good has to be doing boring? The amount that we are giving definitely could not be compared to organisations with deep pockets. For a start, It is a small amount now, but we hope that it would increase in future, together with the impact we can do.