Learning & Development Asia 2024 Singapore
Winning Secrets: Berli Jucker's approach to retaining top & high-potential talent

Winning Secrets: Berli Jucker's approach to retaining top & high-potential talent

"We take pride in our distinctive retention strategies, a highlight of our achievements this year. This programme uniquely addresses both hygiene and motivating factors crucial for retaining high-potential employees," Teera Werathamsathit, Group CPO, Berli Jucker Public Company, affirms.

With a history dating back more than 140 years, Berli Jucker Company (BJC) was incepted through a partnership between the Berli and Jucker families – what is said to be the first of many strong partnerships that led to one of the Kingdom of Siam's earliest and most successful trading companies.

Starting off focused on rice milling, mining, timber, shipping, importing, and other activities, BJC continuously grew over the years to become a major Thai import and export firm. After World War II, BJC diversified its operations into manufacturing, packaging, and distribution.

This year, the HR team at Berli Jucker emerged victorious as the bronze winner in two categories at the HR Excellence Awards 2023, Thailand:

  • Excellence in In-House Talent Pipeline Strategy
  • Excellence in Retention Strategy.

Following the win, let's hear from Teera Werathamsathit, Group Chief People Officer, Berli Jucker Public Company, on why the team's strategic workforce management and retention strategies have been especially valuable to the team, and among the highlights of its achievements this year.

Q How has your HR and people strategy contributed to your success this year?

In this rapidly changing world, our ability to attract, retain, and nurture talent is paramount. HR's role extends beyond recruitment to encompass the creation of agile retention strategies and robust development programmes that empower employees to thrive amid ambiguity. We recognise that our success hinges on our capacity to not only attract but also retain and develop talent that significantly contributes to our overall business growth and aligns with our long-term corporate objectives.

Our strategic workforce management and retention strategies have been especially valuable. We utilise various approaches to identify and nurture high-potential, high-performance, and business-critical talent, addressing the complexities of a dynamic environment.

Moreover, it is data-driven and adaptable, evolving in response to the ever-changing landscape, ultimately enhancing our workforce management and contributing significantly to our success.

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

We take pride in our distinctive retention strategies, a highlight of our achievements this year. This programme uniquely addresses both hygiene and motivating factors crucial for retaining high-potential employees. It recognises that offering competitive salaries and benefits alone is not enough to retain top talent. Instead, it provides comprehensive opportunities for recognition, growth, and development, which are essential for keeping employees motivated and engaged in their roles. This holistic approach includes selective salary adjustments, pulse surveys, coaching, CEO appreciation, role model interactions, individual development plans, and leadership development programmes.

It has significantly contributed to supporting employee satisfaction and retention, making it one of our standout accomplishments.

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

One significant challenge we faced stemmed from the diverse nature of our company, spanning consumer goods, packaging, healthcare, and industrial products, encompassing the entire spectrum from manufacturing to commercial and distribution. Each business unit operates within its own industry, with specific requirements, market dynamics, and employee expectations. Therefore, a one-size-fits-all HR approach would be insufficient to effectively support and drive success across the entire organisation. To address this challenge, we took a strategic approach that underscored the adaptability of our HR initiatives. This involved:

  1. Customised solutions: We recognised that what works in one business unit may not be suitable for another. Our HR team worked closely with leaders and stakeholders from each business segment to gain a deep understanding of their specific needs and challenges.
  2. Continuous feedback loop: We established a continuous feedback loop with HR teams within each business unit. This open line of communication enabled us to stay informed about evolving needs and challenges, allowing us to make real-time adjustments to our HR strategies.
  3. Scalable common practices: While we emphasised adaptability, we also identified common HR practices that could be scaled across the organization where appropriate. This helped maintain a degree of consistency and alignment with our overall HR strategy.

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

Success measurement is a critical aspect of our HR strategy. We employ methods to assess the impact and success of our initiatives. For instance, in our talent development programmes, we meticulously track the career progression of high-potential employees using performance analytics. In the realm of employee engagement, we rely on real-time feedback mechanisms, such as pulse surveys and sentiment analysis, to gauge satisfaction and promptly address concerns.

These data-driven measurement approaches underpin our achievement and guide our ongoing HR evolution.

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

Looking ahead, the HR/people function is poised for significant evolution, driven by emerging trends in the business landscape. Our focus will be on adapting and innovating to meet these evolving demands effectively. The highlights of our direction involved:

  1. Automation and AI integration: HR will increasingly utilise automation and AI for tasks such as recruitment, data analytics, and employee engagement, streamlining processes and reducing bias in decision-making.
  2. Employee wellbeing: Employee wellness and mental health will remain a top priority, leading to comprehensive wellness programmes that address physical, mental, and emotional health.
  3. Gig economy integration: HR will adapt to the gig economy by incorporating freelance and contract workers into talent strategies, addressing the unique needs of this workforce segment.
  4. Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI): DEI efforts will gain even more prominence, with HR leading initiatives to create inclusive workplaces and diverse talent pipelines.
  5. Environmental, social, and governance (ESG): HR will contribute to ESG initiatives, ensuring that the workforce aligns with sustainability goals and ethical business practices.
  6. Meta-skills: HR will have a tense to reskill and upskill our employees on analytical and creative skills in order to face with any disruption and unknown challenges that will be ever long lasting for many years from now on.

Photo: Provided 

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