Bad idea to force employees to do good

An altruistic citizen, be it a person or corporation, should give because he wants to and not because he has to for the sake of an intrinsic or extrinsic return ("When corporate citizenship backfires on the company"; April 10).

Some corporations mandate "volunteerism", and enforce it.

Other corporations do it as part of genuine corporate volunteerism, by doing what is possible to support the employee.

Mandating volunteerism leaves a bad taste in the mouth of the employee, as it signals the corporation's mindset to do goodat someone else's expense. Also, not all employees may support the same cause.

Genuine corporate volunteerism fosters team spirit and public spiritedness towards corporate citizenry with people with the same mindset and supporting the same cause.

In some instances, employees could be doing charity work on their own, in their own private time, and at their own cost.

Yet, they might be berated for taking time off work to volunteer, and given the ultimatum of being fired if they continue to do so.

There is still a long way to go before good corporate citizenship can develop.

Employers must believe in their employees and allow the innate good to flourish, instead of mandating or forcing it.

Juliana Ang Hiok Lian (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 01, 2016, with the headline 'Bad idea to force employees to do good'. Print Edition | Subscribe