TAFEP unveils how OCBC, Aviva, aAdvantage Consulting, and Go-Ahead Singapore are keeping employees at the heart of the business with flexi-work, merit-based hiring, and more.
Since the COVID-19 outbreak, the employment landscape had been in topsy turvy with employers trying to sustain their businesses, while keeping their employees safe and gainfully employed. The Tripartite Alliance Award (TAA) 2021 ceremony, organised by the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP), recently recognised 21 organisations and six individuals for their fair and progressive employment practices and keeping their employees at the heart of their businesses.
Hear from some of the winners – OCBC Bank, aAdvantage Consulting Group, Aviva, and Go-Ahead Singapore on how they implemented these practices at their workplaces and excel as exemplary employers.
Award categories: Fair and Progressive Employment Practices, Work-Life Excellence, Pinnacle Award
Interviewee: Jason Ho, Head, Group Human Resources, OCBC Bank
People have been and will always remain our top priority. Being recognised for doing what is right for our people and the organisation empowers us to do more and we will continue to fulfil our commitment of investing in and taking care of our people.
OCBC Bank believes that its success is dependent on its people, and this starts with being a fair, responsible, and progressive employer as part of its DNA.
Recruitment at OCBC is based on equal opportunity. The most appropriate candidate is selected based on the ability and fit with its culture and values. Promotion and career progression are performance-driven and based on an employee’s merits and suitability to assume bigger roles.
Employee development is enabled through the OCBC talent management framework, which includes programmes for graduate development as well as executive development such as LEAD (to build key competencies in VPs), and BOLD (a group-wide senior leadership programme providing insights into global issues).
To ensure employees’ skills are relevant for the future, OCBC embarked on work transformation plans and implemented the Future Workforce Initiative, where it reviewed the job roles of about 9,000 employees and identified those with high transformation potential. With the findings, it developed reskilling and redeployment transition plans for more than 1,000 employees, and worked on dedicated learning roadmaps and certification pathways to upskill other employees.
OCBC emphasises instilling a growth mindset among its employees. Career opportunities for employees have been extended through its Internal Job Programme, allowing them to broaden their experience in different functions and locations as well as pursue longterm career growth. Further initiatives include the OCBC Flex Plan, PSLE Leave Scheme, and Career Break Leave.
With these practices in place, OCBC's Employee Satisfaction survey showed a 4% increase in overall engagement and work-life balance.
aAdvantage Consulting Group
Award categories: Fair and Progressive Employment Practices, Work-Life Excellence
Interviewee: Jacqueline Gwee, Director, aAdvantage Consulting Group
We recognise that each employee has different needs, and we endeavour to address them with care and fairness to the rest of the team. Our work-life harmony and implementation of fair and progressive practices are all part of our strategy to provide our people a 'great place to do great work'.
aAdvantage Consulting Group provides a workplace that meets the personal, career aspirations of employees and the needs of the business. The firm understands that its employees are at different life and career stages and has thus implemented policies and practices to accommodate these needs.
During recruitment, the business consulting firm ensures its job advertisements and hiring are fair and based on merit. Shortlisted candidates will undergo an online assessment, competency, and psychometric assessments before the interview. These assessments and conversations with senior staff and peers during the interview allow them to identify candidates with the knowledge, skills, attributes required, and right attitude and values to integrate into their culture. Thus, hiring decisions are based on data science, void of bias or non-conclusive data.
The firm also develops career tracks for analysts who can specialise in domain areas, exposing them to projects across various domain areas to uncover their strengths. Through regular conversations with the analysts, the firm strives to identify their career interests for further development and domain specialisation, with the belief that this would serve to keep the younger staff engaged and in a continuous learning mode.
Another area of strength is the flexible workplace that enables employees the space and time to achieve both their personal interests and meet the organisation’s outcome. The range of HR policies made available for employees includes flexi-place, flexi-time, flexi-work arrangements, and flexible benefits.
With a focus on progressive employment practices, aAdvantage Consulting successfully hired and retained quality talent with an average length of service of four to five years, which is above the industry standard. The diverse and inclusive work environment has resulted in an engaged and dedicated team of employees who would go the extra mile for their clients.
Award categories: Fair and Progressive Employment Practices, Work-Life Excellence
Interviewee: Pearlyn Phau, Chief Executive Officer, Aviva Singapore
It is important to put employees at the heart of the organisation and its people initiatives. A positive work culture ensures that everyone takes pride in their work, leading to employee growth and, in turn, growth of the business as a whole.
Aviva helps employees become the best version of themselves, and gets it right from the start with its merit-based practices. The insurance provider’s work-life policies and programmes are driven by leaders, from the management team to the people managers. All people managers are fully empowered to adapt the policies and programmes to work around business and operational needs.
During the hiring process, Aviva does not provide a prescribed application form and instead, candidates can share information that they are comfortable revealing. Workshops are conducted for hiring managers that emphasise the importance of capability, unconscious bias, and skills in managing a diverse workforce.
Aviva also provides flexible ways of working with a range of flexible working arrangements that focus on the outcome and not output. For example, employees are not required to submit medical certificates when they feel unwell and do not turn up for work. They can easily take up flexible work arrangements with just an agreement between them and their managers - forms or approval from HR are not required.
Another initiative is the 16 weeks of parental leave for all parents, regardless of gender, nationality, marital status, or whether the child had arrived through birth or adoption. Employees can choose to consume the leave in one continuous block or cumulatively within 12 months of the child’s arrival. Since its launch in 2017, 44 fathers have utilised the parental leave, and 29 of them went on leave for the full 16 weeks.
With the implementation of fair, progressive employment practices, Aviva saw its employee engagement score increase over the years, from 71% in 2015 to 82% in 2019.
Award category: Age Inclusive Practices
Interviewee: Wang Poon Liang, Human Resources Director, Go-Ahead Singapore
Our people are the driving force of the organisation and our most valuable asset. Maturity, experience, and knowledge are major strengths of senior workers. They bring plenty to the table and are qualified to become mentors and role models for new joiners. As an employer, we value and leverage on these qualities.
Go-Ahead Singapore believes that old is gold. More than 60% of its employees are aged 40 years and above, and the retention rate of its older workers is about 90%.
The public transport operator has embarked on several initiatives in the efforts to develop and retain their older workers.
When it comes to recruitment, hiring managers are trained on unbiased hiring, and use standardised interview evaluation forms that do not include age-bias items as a criterion for evaluation. Performance management, promotions, and increments are awarded fairly based on competencies, skills, and performance, regardless of age.
Structured career planning is also provided for older workers. They are sent for leadership courses and take up mentorship roles to guide as well as pass on knowledge and skills to junior employees. There are also specially designed training roadmaps for older bus captains, that identify project skills that are necessary for the future.
With the influx of digitalisation, the firm implemented initiatives to upskill and improve the efficiency of bus captains. One of them is the remote sign-on application that enables bus captains to sign on for duties remotely with a company-issued mobile phone. This removes the need for them to report to the dispatch office before their shifts and saves them time that can be channelled to other activities.
Another is the BC Click application that digitalised day-to-day manual activities such as collecting duty cards and reporting of the vehicle condition, which now only needs a few minutes to complete. It is also a convenient, effective, and speedy mode of communication as departments can share messages and notices with bus captains, which they can receive instantaneously on the application.
Photos / Provided