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On this May morning, several elderly residents of Jurong West and employees of a neighbourhood bank are walking down memory lane, revisiting their first encounters with banking, and looking through old savings books among other memorabilia.
This may sound like an oddly specific conversational topic, but the long history of the POSB bank, first established in 1877, lends itself well to the bank’s outreach session with the senior folk of NTUC Health Nursing Home.
Yet this is no financial inclusion talk, but rather a volunteerism partnership between the bank and nursing home that started in 2017. The staff from nearby POSB branches visit the nursing home fortnightly to engage with the residents for two hours each time. Aside from bonding over a topical history that these residents have been a part of, the volunteers also conduct morning exercises and games, to start off their day.
The close proximity of the nursing home to their workplace is key to the staff’s volunteering efforts. First approached by the NCSS to pilot a locale-based volunteer initiative, the bank has since developed a model for its staff to serve the community around them directly – one that can hopefully inspire other businesses to follow in their steps.
With community-friendly bank policies, the POSB staff are able to contribute to social causes with ease and flexibility. Full-time employees of POSB and DBS Bank are given two volunteer leave days each year to encourage staff to give back to their communities, which can be broken up into shorter volunteering stints. Dedicated volunteering rosters created by the bank managers enable the employees to visit the nursing home in the mornings or during less busy hours at their branch offices. This arrangement not only allows for a more sustainable form of volunteerism, it also nurtures lasting relationships through regular interactions with the seniors.
“The NCSS initiative makes it easy for the staff to take turns to volunteer and allows everyone to do good for our community,” says Ms Susan Cheong, Head of POSB. “This arrangement allows us to do our part for the community with minimal impact to our business and the customers we serve.”
The effect of volunteerism works both ways. According to Ms Cheong, the bank’s staff volunteers find it a meaningful start to their workday too. The business and social service collaboration has also made for a fitting tribute to the bank’s 140 years of service. “Employee volunteerism heightens the sense of organisational pride, fosters greater engagement, and sparks ground-up leadership, while ensuring that we are making meaningful contributions to the communities we live and work in,” sums up Ms Cheong.
No matter the size of your company, it’s easy to get your colleagues and bosses involved in the cause of giving. Learn how you and your colleagues can get started using the e-learning resources available on Resources for Volunteer Managers. You can also look into volunteering opportunities at Giving.sg or via the SG Cares app, available on the App Store and Google Play.