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Case study: How Icon Offshore is achieving employee wellbeing by doing more with less



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Sharing a positive anecdote about one initiative, Kamarunnihar Abdul Samad, General Manager, Human Resources, Icon Offshore, says that the first time the firm introduced the games, two people changed their mind about resigning.

On a scale of one to 10, employee wellbeing is a 10 for offshore support vessel provider, Icon Offshore. Despite being faced with financial constraints due to a slowdown in the oil and gas industry, when it comes to health and wellness programmes, Kamarunnihar Abdul Samad, General Manager, Human Resources, Icon Offshore, reveals a holistic view is taken.

While Icon Offshore does not tick all five boxes of mental, physical, financial, career, and social, the initiatives it has introduced are very interlinked, combining two or more aspects of wellness.

With the slowdown in the oil and gas sector in recent years, with all our staff activities, we are trying to do more with less.

For instance, to encourage financial wellbeing, a financial talk was held in July 2019 where staff were given practical financial advice and were able to ask questions.

“Because of the overall downturn in the global oil and gas sector, we are unable to pay very competitive salaries. So, we embarked on this talk to help our staff by giving them someone who can advise them on how best they can save for the future.”

The HR team is also working on a talk on how to prevent falling victim to fraud, which will be launched in Q3 2019.

Apart from improving financial wellbeing, the talks also help with mental wellbeing, she says, noting that “if a person has issues with their finances, it’s probably going to affect their mental health as well”.

The initiative she is most proud of is the staff activities, which include indoor and outdoor games that not only get staff moving, but also provides an opportunity for them to socialise within the organisation.

The outdoor games include badminton, futsal, and walk-a-hunt – a treasure hunt that involves walking around town. While the indoor games include charades, darts, and board games such as Scrabble.

“For these games, the staff are divided into three groups. Each group has about 20 to 25 people and includes a number of departments, a gender balance, and various levels. Even the big boss has to play. We encourage the younger staff to be the leaders of the group so we can share leadership advice with them informally,” she says.

The first time the games were rolled out 2017, a town hall was held to explain to employees how the games would work. The second time, a general announcement was made and the team leaders were contacted to disseminate the information.

To encourage participation, the game rules are that each person has to play at least one game. Otherwise, points will be deducted from the team. At the end of the set of games, the winning team will get a monetary reward which they can use to buy lunch or something else for each team member.

While the returns on wellness are difficult to quantify, Kamarunnihar has a positive anecdote to share.

The first time the games were introduced, two people actually changed their mind about resigning, despite being offered a much higher salary at the other organisation. When I asked why, they shared that the activities had helped them feel like the company (here) is a family and that they might not get the same experience there.

The number one thing HR should keep in mind when implementing such programmes? “Safety is always number one.”


This case study was published in Human Resources’ September-October 2019 edition of the Singapore magazine.

Photo / iStock

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