Job well done at Morton's
Morton’s The Steakhouse believes supporting charity events and encouraging voluntary initiatives is a two-way street that provides benefits to the wider Hong Kong community as well as the company itself.
“Participation and giving back to the community is ingrained in Morton’s culture,” says Patsy Cheung, regional sales and marketing manager for Asia at Morton’s. “At work there is a great spirit of teamwork and enthusiasm and our staff put the same level of enthusiasm into volunteer work.”
To encourage participation, Morton’s employees are involved in choosing which organisations and charities to support. A popular choice is the Watchdog Early Education Centre in Jordan, which provides pre-school services for children with special needs such as autism, Down’s syndrome and cerebral palsy. To show its appreciation, Morton’s offers compensation leave to those who volunteer.
For the last three years Morton’s volunteers, from a pool of about 40 staff, have been helping out at the Watchdog Centre several times a month. During July and August, when the centre is particularly busy preparing annual student reports, two of Morton’s staff members help out with morning teaching classes every day.
Morton’s employees also join the annual Hong Kong Coastal Cleanup, as well as help collect waste left behind in Victoria Park after Mid-Autumn Festival celebrations.
Cheung says that in Morton’s restaurant, staff frequently speak about their volunteer experiences, which boosts moral and instils a sense of pride in individuals.
“In Hong Kong, we have staff that come from all walks of life, and from different countries such as Nepal and the Philippines, working and volunteering together. This promotes a sense of belonging in the Hong Kong community,” she says.
She believes the strong sense of camaraderie at Morton’s is one of the reasons why the restaurant is able to retain employees, despite the industry’s reputation for high staff turnover.
She also says that being a repeat recipient of the “Caring Company” award, from the Hong Kong Council of Social Services, is a strong employee motivator. “I think our staff appreciate that Morton’s involvement with Hong Kong is not limited to the four walls of the restaurant,” she says.
Mariluna Manganop, a waitress at Morton’s, sees similarities between their volunteer work and their daily jobs. “Our volunteer work is just like an extension of what we do in the restaurant. We try to make people happy,” she says.
A frequent volunteer at the Watchdog Centre, Manganop says she is pleased she is able to make a difference. “I am glad I work with colleagues, and for a company, that want to contribute to the world we live in,” she says.
Fellow waitress Mary Aurie Siador agrees. “I think I get back more than I give through friendship with the wonderful children and staff at Watchdog,” she says.
Stella Wong, executive director of the Watchdog Early Education Centre, says Morton’s volunteers make a significant contribution to the activities provided by the centre. “They really do make a big difference to young members of our community with special needs,” she says.
In addition, Wong says that volunteers from Morton’s will provide invaluable help for Watchdog’s major fundraising effort, a charity luncheon to be held on 10 November.
Nissa Marion, project director of the Hong Kong Coastal Cleanup Challenge, applauds Morton’s commitment to voluntary community activities. She says that like staff from many other companies that join the annual clean-up effort, Morton’s employees discover a sense of being part of Hong Kong.
“The clean-up effort is a real eye-opener for so many volunteers because they realise that by changing their behaviour, such as using less plastic and being conscious about creating waste, they can help to protect their own community,” she says.