Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is largely associated with big companies and viewed as a means of giving back to society. But PKT Logistics Group Sdn Bhd chief executive Datuk Michael Tio has a different take on what CSR is: “CSR is not about how you spend your profits, it’s about how responsibly you make them.”

He says policies have defined CSR as a concept whereby companies integrate social and environmental concerns in their business operations and in their interaction with stakeholders on a voluntary basis. It is not merely about philanthropic efforts to raise a company’s profile among consumers and surrounding communities.

For Tio, incorporating elements such as integrity, good reputation, concern for employees, building relationships and community engagement into their operations is at the heart of the PKT’s CSR efforts.

And much like the saying “charity begins at home”, Tio is a firm believer that goodwill also starts “at home”, or in this case, within the firm.

He emphasises that it is important to first look after one’s employees before trying to do good outside of the company. Tio says having a happy workforce equates to productive talents.

“It is important to be a good employer to encourage a good working culture. We must look after our employees. They are building our dream. So we should at least try to help them build theirs,” he says.

PKT’s logistic hub offers many amenities for its employees’ convenience including a sky gym, dining area, spa, daycare and laundry services, and recreation rooms. Tio says the company also offers various incentives to employees who clock-in many hours at the office gym to encourage a healthy workforce.

Tio takes his employees’ health rather seriously. PKT measures its employees’ collective health annually.

“Some time ago, we implemented a management weight-loss challenge because I found out that our management team constituted the majority of people whose health screen results had worsen,” he says.

The company also organises annual retreats for its employees to various exotic locations around the world because Tio believes that they should be able to enjoy seeing the world while they still can.

PKT also carries out various community development programmes such as its “Anak Belajar Ibu Bekerja” programme which provides employment opportunities for mothers who live in the villages surrounding its premises. The women are given the option to work the morning shift, which runs from 8.30am to 12.30pm, or the afternoon session from 2-6pm to accommodate their children’s schooling hours.

“So while the kids are at school, their mothers can go to work and come home when their children come back from school. This programme also helps them earn some income. We have gotten very good feedback on this programme, and the government is studying what we are doing to encourage this elsewhere as well,” says Tio.

Another community programme carried out by PKT is its Career Day which brings together logistics companies and graduates in the field to reduce unemployment, as well as educate graduates on the requirements of the industry.

Unsurprisingly, PKT took home the silver award for Best in CSR at the Star Outstanding Business Award in 2012.

There are many ways to implement CSR in a business and some are not as obvious as others. So apart from just allocating extra funds to community projects and programmes, Tio advocates incorporating practices that make a company a socially-responsible business.