"We sought to create not just a physical working space that will allow employees to collaborate and work together more, but also share activities that will benefit their physical, mental and emotional wellbeing," says Veronica Chong, Head of Group HR and Administration, Baiduri Bank.
At the Employee Experience Awards 2021, Singapore, Baiduri Bank received the gold award for Most Innovative and Sustainable Office Design.
In this interview, Ti Eng Hui, Chief Executive Officer, and Veronica Chong, Head of Group Human Resources and Administration, Baiduri Bank share the secrets behind this win - how the firm provided its employees a home where they can engage, collaborate, and grow with each other - which at the end of the day benefitted their physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing.
Q Congratulations on bagging this award! What is your award-winning employee experience strategy that led to this win?
Ti Eng Hui (EH): A large part of this award is indeed attributed to the positive effect our brand-new headquarters has had on our employees. For the very first time in Baiduri Bank’s 27 years of operations, our employees finally have a place to call their own.
With this new headquarters, we envisioned a modern and green building that will allow us to offer a new level of banking experience to our customers. At the same time, we wanted it to be a platform for everyone, from our employees to our business partners and our community, to come together in the spirit of co-creation.
Since we’ve moved—having access to the building’s ergonomic workspaces—we encouraged our employees to perform, collaborate, and thrive, as evidenced by the various employee initiatives we’ve started to keep everyone engaged and healthy.
Q How did you and your team conceptualise and adapt this strategy to suit evolving workforce needs in the past year?
Veronica Chong (VC): We realised that today’s younger generation in the workforce truly want to be part of forward-looking organisations that understand the strong impact a conducive and vibrant workspace can have on talent attraction, retention, and employee productivity.
With that in mind, we sought to create not just a physical working space that will allow employees to collaborate and work together more, but also share activities that will benefit their physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing.
Our Employee Wellness Initiative (EWI) and Feel Good Fridays were developed with the idea of promoting work-life balance to our employees, and nurture camaraderie by encouraging them to take part in group activities such as fitness-based games.
Not only that, our employees are also encouraged to share their ideas for their new home, such as giving each of our meeting rooms creative names, and how to best use venues like the Baiduri Community Space (BCS), the Atrium, and the eco-garden for employee activities and community engagement.
Q What challenges did you face along the way, and how did you overcome them?
EH: Relocating into a new headquarters is never an easy job and added with the various physical restrictions due to the pandemic, this was a very monumental task for our teams to complete while also adhering to the restrictions to keep everyone safe.
I believe that what made the difference was everyone’s empathy and cooperation not just with each other, but also with external vendors.
In facing a big challenge, they embodied the spirit of empathy by opening the lines of communication and having the same understanding. The understanding that - this is a difficult time for everyone, but we can get through it if we work together, proved to be a vital strategy in making the relocation such a smooth one.
Baiduri Bank was also able to operate from the first day of opening its new doors, and still provide the highest level of attention to our customers and guests.
Q How did the strategy add to the overall employee experience in your organisation, in terms of ROI?
EH: Our strategy hinges on everyone’s willingness to embrace change. The multi-purpose design of the BCS has allowed the Bank to reap significant cost savings as opposed to hosting events externally, as well as increased efficiency of event planning and execution.
Beyond the quantitative benefits though, it is the qualitative impact that will pave the way for us to achieve greater success in the future. Already we’ve seen such encouraging results in employees being eager to join educational trainings and workshops that focus on them learning more about living a healthier lifestyle.
They’re also always so eager to suggest new activities that not only include their other colleagues from different branches and departments, but also different segments of our customers and our community, and that spirit of inclusivity is very encouraging to see.
Q What is the most exciting and valuable thing about being part of (and winning at!) the debut Employee Experience Awards?
VC: Personally, this truly is a testament to our belief in our people and our mission.
And while this recognition is a very welcomed milestone, we will of course continue to focus on engaging with our employees and build on the tremendous work we’ve done to create a working space and culture that prioritises an employee’s health and wellbeing.
Q Looking ahead, what else do you have planned as you continue to enhance the overall employee experience?
VC: Our Employee Wellness Initiative (EWI) has been well very received by our employees, and we plan to continue building that platform.
This includes reaching out to our employees from other branches and districts and coming up with different ways to include employees who might not be able to join our previous activities.
On top of that, through Baiduri Cares, our employee volunteering initiative, we’re also encouraging our employees to be more engaged in giving back to the community, working with our various partners to help create a positive impact both inside and outside of the office.
Q Do share some tips to inspire your peers who are working on their EX strategies and would love to participate in the awards next year.
EH: The most important tip I’ve personally learnt is the importance of engaging and listening to the needs of our employees, not only to understand their perspectives but also for them to understand ours. Often, this transparency offers valuable insights that are vital to achieving our goals.
Secondly, while it may be cliché, but happy and productive employees will lead to happy customers. It is a tried-and-tested formula that translates to success both on paper, and in real life results.
Give your employees the best chance to succeed and you’ll see how far and how high they will soar.
Q Lastly, to end on a fun note – if you could describe the employee experience at your organisation in one sentence, what would that be?
VC: Being trustworthy, inclusive, having empathy, and being enterprising are all hallmarks of employees at Baiduri Bank, and we will continue to champion these values both inside the workplace and in our daily lives to co-create a better future for all of us.
Image / Provided
Read more interviews on why organisations have won trophies for their HR practices - head over to our Winning Secrets' section!