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Winning Secrets: A healthy work-life balance keeps employees motivated at NEC Corporation of Malaysia

Winning Secrets: A healthy work-life balance keeps employees motivated at NEC Corporation of Malaysia

'Breakfast Friday', birthday leaves, and 'Sunshine Friday', are some of the key features in its employee benefits package, Winnie Wong, Head of HR & Admin, shares.

As a provider of end-to-end independent integrated IT solutions & services, multimedia products, total display solutions, telephony, network system & communication products, NEC Corporation of Malaysia Sdn Bhd aims to be the leading products, solution provider and system integrator in South Asia, specifically in providing end-to-end solutions and implementation services. 

At the HR Excellence Awards 2023, Malaysia, NEC Corporation of Malaysia was recognised for its hard work and efforts and emerged as a finalist in the 'Excellence in Employee Engagement' category. 

This interview with HRO welcomes Winnie Wong, Head of HR & Admin, NEC Corporation of Malaysia, to share how the organisation motivates its employees to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Q. Congratulations on your top performance at the HR Excellence Awards! How has your HR and people strategy contributed to your success this year?

In NEC, we have always followed the NEC Way in everything we do. The NEC Way is a common set of values that form the basis of how our entire organisation conducts itself. We have always stressed on uncompromising integrity, respect for human rights, environmental preservation as well as diversity and inclusivity. Similarly, our HR and people strategy has been to create equal and fair opportunities, diversity and work-life harmony for all of our employees.

We focused on several initiatives that have had a positive impact on our success particularly in the areas of employee benefits, learning, career development and work-life balance.

Q. Looking back at your achievements, what aspect of your HR initiatives are you most proud of and why?

We are particularly proud of four areas of our strategy and the initiatives in line with it, that we conducted:

  • We focused on driving a high-performance culture, operational efficiency, top tier talent supply as well as building a trusting organisation. The initiatives that were taken in these areas include investing in leadership programmes, Toastmasters’ Club, as well as NEC Academy – a digital learning resource available for every employee.
  • We revamped our insurance benefits to include mental health as well as specialist benefits.
  • Other areas that we have improved also include enhancing our employee referral programme, digitise our performance appraisal process, introducing work-life balance benefits - Birthday leave, Sunshine Friday, Breakfast Fridays, gym subsidy as well as a game centre in our office.
  • We have also always conduct events such as team building, an annual dinner, International Women’s Day, Bowling Night in order to promote a great workplace culture.

Q. During your HR journey, what were some significant obstacles you faced, and how did you overcome them to achieve excellence?

One of the challenges that we face in our HR journey is the high turnover rate in certain departments within our organization. The turnover rate was partly due to a lack of work-life balance, limited opportunities for career growth, and communication issues. As such, we set out to improve our employee benefits which allows more work-life harmony including birthday leave, Sunshine Friday, Breakfast Friday, Gym subsidy as well as a game centre in our office.

We invested in numerous training programmes, NEC Academy, and leadership programmes for their career growth. We have also introduced a Career Conversation Framework to allow employees to speak to their supervisors about their career path. We adopted the DISC model and even got certified as a DISC practitioner and trainer to assist in communication issues among employees.

Q. How does your organisation measure the success and impact of your HR initiatives?

Yearly, NEC will conduct an employee engagement survey to assess the overall engagement score of our employees. The overall score was only 65% in 2021. The scoring received being of important as an indicator for improvements. Thus, we set out to improve the scoring for 2022. In combined effort, the top management and company’s leaders set out to improve the scoring. The message was cascaded down to all the heads of department and was included their individual key performance index (KPI). With the constant communication from top management, especially our managing director, for all managers to keep the objective in mind to ensure the success of the employee engagement programmes, we managed to achieve our goal. With the help of everyone, our overall engagement score in 2022 improved from 65% to 79%.

Q. In what direction do you see the HR/people function evolving in the future, considering the emerging trends?

In the future, we plan to continue to leverage technology, particularly on automation as we streamline processes such as recruitment, onboarding as well as performance management. In fact, we have already started the process of digitalisation for these processes. We will place an even stronger emphasis on employee well-being, including mental health support, stress management, and work-life balance.

Some of the plans in place include a mentor/ mentee programme, buddy system for new joiners as well as more flexible benefits. NEC prides itself on our commitment to diversity and inclusivity and HR will continue to support that and reflect it in our career conversations and recruitment.

A great workplace culture to create positive employee experience, skills development and continuous learning, and talent acquisition and retention will continue to be in our radar for the future.

Read more interviews on why organisations have won trophies for their HR practices - head over to our Winning Secrets' section!

Photo: Provided by NEC Corporation of Malaysia

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