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IPOH: Entrepreneur Datuk Michael Tio is all about being a trendsetter even when it comes to giving back to society.

Companies focused more on external social responsibility, he said, referring to the usual contributions to orphanages and needy organisations.

They forget about the internal aspect – their employees. Who will give back to them to make sure that they are happy to help your company earn money?” asked the chief executive officer and managing director of PKT Logistics Group Sdn Bhd.

Tio believed that companies must always focus on internal corporate social responsibility (CSR) before moving to external focus.

I often tell others that CSR is not a way to brand your company by throwing your money out there. My philosophy for a smart kind of CSR is not about how much you spend your profits, but how responsible you are in making the profits. Responsible to who? Your employees, of course,” he said, adding that people should not have to work in a stressful environment.

You must create an environment where everyone enjoys working and making profits for you. If every company thinks about giving back to the workers first, I believe we will be living in a much better society,” he said.

In his efforts to accommodate his employees, Tio’s company has a gym which offers incentive programmes that reward healthy workers with fully-sponsored vacations and meal allowances.

Tio was a big winner at The Star Outstanding Business Awards (SOBA) 2012, taking five trophies including Best Employer.

He is a sponsor this year and he had shared tips with budding entrepreneurs, as well as small and medium enterprises owners at SOBA 2015 Learning Series workshop here.

Two more speakers – 3R Quest Sdn Bhd director Brenda Heah and operations and marketing manager Jerome Heah, spoke on sustaining an environment-friendly organisation.

Our company has won Best Green Initiative twice in SOBA and we want to tell people that this is not something that can only be achieved by big companies,” Brenda said.

SOBA is open to local enterprises that are not part of any multinational or listed group, with foreign equity not exceeding 50%.

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