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Michael Yeong, senior vice-president of group human resources at Cerebos, affirms the importance of incorporating both parent’s needs when rolling out policies for parental benefits and work-life balance.
A recent survey by Families for Life found that seven in 10 respondents were at their happiest when spending time with their families. This was more important than other factors such as achieving financial goals or having adequate personal time.
The lesson from the survey is clear – we need to foster family friendly work environments to build a happy workforce.
At Cerebos, we have initiated several quality work-life programmes targeted at the needs of different employees at different stages of life.
Our staff have responded positively to these programmes. We have also actively sought feedback, and adapted the programmes so they continue to benefit both the staff and the organisation.
Don’t leave out the dads
Parenting is a team effort between mums and dads. When introducing quality work-life initiatives, it is important not to forget the working fathers, who also need to fulfil responsibilities at home.
In recognition of this, Cerebos offers benefits for both working mothers and fathers. In addition to maternity and paternity leave, other privileges include up to S$5,000 in maternity benefits for pregnant employees or for male employees with pregnant spouses for all pregnancies.
Privileges include up to S$5,000 in maternity benefits for pregnant employees or for male employees with pregnant spouses.
All female employees, regardless of nationality, are entitled to four months of paid maternity leave to spend time with their children.
New mothers and fathers also receive gifts such as health supplements and vouchers. This is our way of celebrating the important moments of life with them.
Different strokes for different folks
A diverse workforce comprises people at different stages of their lives with varying needs and pursuits. How can these employees then benefit from the company’s quality work-life programmes?
The answer is to provide flexibility in the policies that we implement. At Cerebos, we empower our staff with a flexible benefits scheme which allows them to claim up to S$450 for activities of their choice.
Ranging from personal grooming, to vacations and outings with their family, to children’s enrichment lessons, the flexibility in our benefits scheme means there is something for everyone across our diverse workforce.
It’s not all about play
Quality work-life policies need to be anchored with firm support from the senior management. One of the ways to present a strong case is to demonstrate the direct correlation that such policies have with business results.
Since the extension of benefits to all Cerebos’ employees in 2002, the company has seen strong growth to reach the billion-dollar company it is today.
Our regular employee engagement surveys show a favourable increase in employee engagement, with staff indicating they have achieved better work-life harmony.
We empower our staff with a flexible benefits scheme which allows them to claim up to S$450 for activities of their choice.
In recognition of our quality work-life policies, Cerebos won the SG50 Special “Best Company for Mums” award, jointly presented by the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP) and the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) Women’s Development Secretariat (WDS).
We are also a signatory of the Employers’ Pledge of Fair Employment Practices, which underlines our commitment to be a fair and progressive employer.
Employers need to progress with time. Retaining talent will be more challenging as parenting roles and family structures evolve.
Rather than react to the emerging needs of the workforce, we must start to explore innovative quality work-life programmes to keep our staff happy and engaged.
We believe that putting employees at the centre of work-life policies is the major factor for any company to become an employer of choice.