TAFEP Hero 2023 June
Winning Secrets: Certis keeps its workforce engaged through collaboration, interactions, learning, and more

Winning Secrets: Certis keeps its workforce engaged through collaboration, interactions, learning, and more

"With our hybrid work arrangement, over 84% of our corporate employees are happy with how the organisation has given them the ability to choose how and where they work", Janicia Wong, VP, Group Human Resources and Deputy Head, Corporate Planning, Certis, shares.

Certis is a commercial auxiliary police company headquartered in Singapore, with an international presence that extends to Australia, Hong Kong, Macau, China, and Qatar.

At the 2022 HR Excellence Awards, Singapore, the group walked home with three awards:

  • Silver for Excellence in Workforce Flexibility,
  • Bronze for Employer of the Year, and
  • Bronze - Excellence in HR Communication Strategy

In this interview, we hear from Janicia Wong, Vice President, Group Human Resources and Deputy Head, Corporate Planning, Certis, shares about her and her team's multi-targeted approach to communicating with employees – from emails and collaterals, to conversations with people managers, which ensures transparency and understanding among all. 

Q Congratulations on the achievement! Could you take us through the highs and lows of your winning strategy?

Workplace culture and productivity are top of mind when we make decisions to adapt and rethink policies and practices to make work more seamless. One thing’s for sure; there is no one-size-fits-all approach to workplace culture. Two years ago, what we thought was normal, might not have a place today. Change is the only constant, and the word normal has to be thrown out the window. How do we then help our employees embrace change? Two-way communication and innovation are vital to ensuring the agility to adapt.  

Our employees can use a myriad of channels to share their thoughts with us, from employee opinion surveys to QR codes laid out in our offices so that they can instantly share feedback about their workplace environment. Analysing data from these platforms allows us to calibrate the right level of support. It can help us curate initiatives that benefit their wellbeing, find digital tools to help cut down processes and boost their productivity, and even design workspaces that allow collaboration to flourish and aid in work efficiency. When change needs to be communicated, we ensure transparency.

We will communicate why the change is necessary and how it will benefit us, so our people understand why it is essential. This also requires a multi-targeted approach, from emails and collaterals to conversations with their people managers if they need an avenue to seek clarity. 

Q How did the HR team identify and align the business & employee needs, and craft this perfect solution?

We have 27,000 employees globally, across multiple nationalities and varying family structures. Such a diverse group of individuals requires policies that take into account a variety of needs so our people feel equipped to work effectively and efficiently, and thus are better able to balance their work and life commitments. 

Hence, we continue to design our workplace and policies to cater to more diversity than before. When we design right, we reap the productivity benefits of working from home, the connectivity and relationship benefits of working in the office, and help our people better meet their work and life commitments. Some of these initiatives include hybrid work arrangements and having ownership of their professional development.  

During the pandemic, many faced a new reality of working from home. With the easing of measures, we wanted to strike a balance between working from home and having social interactions to build rapport, and that’s how our Team Days was born. We encourage each team to set aside at least one day a week to come into the office to build this connection.

Listening to our employees, we also know that flexibility is essential, especially where they can work most effectively. 

With that in mind, we build hotdesking spaces in our three offices located across Singapore, so if they want a conducive work environment or a space to collaborate, they can choose one that works best for them.  

Everybody wants an opportunity to grow in their careers, and to help facilitate this; we ensure our employees draw up an Individual Development Plan at the start of each financial year. It allows them to chart their development and gives them milestones to work towards, from Learning KPIs to finding suitable courses to help them meet their career aspirations. To aid in their development, our Certis Corporate University also offers them training on campus and learning on the go with 70,000 courses in their learning app.

Q Could you share the results that your strategy has delivered – be it on the business, HR, or people side?

With our hybrid work arrangement, over 84% of our corporate employees are happy with how the organisation has given them the ability to choose how and where they work. Improving personal productivity through hybrid work is one way we help our employees bring their best to the table.  

We also found that 88% of these employees were encouraged to connect and collaborate with their colleagues in the office. This shows a good balance for our employees, who now have better control over their schedules and ample opportunities to interact and build rapport.   

The culture of learning is also something Certis takes seriously. Over 75% of our corporate employees said they have applied what they have learned at work, showing that they take ownership of their learning for their professional development and growth. 

Q What is your message to all the stakeholders who have supported you in this journey?

When we redesign our workplace and policies, it usually means challenging the status quo. But our goal remains the same to create positive experiences so our people can be happy and productive. With that, we must thank our employees for trusting us in the process and working alongside us to embrace change.  

For an initiative to be successful, we also need the support of our senior leaders, with whom we can push forward progressive policies. It is their guidance that helps us to minimise friction to change, and that is important for any organisation. 

Q What are you most excited about when you think about the future of HR?

HR can influence success and happiness, whether now or in the future. One key takeaway from what I shared earlier can be summed up by a quote from Peter Drucker and that is “culture eats strategy for breakfast”. So focus on building the right culture, and the rest will follow. Communication and innovation will continue to be vital in creating this. 

We have the opportunity to create an empathetic environment, drive innovation to make work seamless, and build positive experiences for our people. We can do this by being active collaborators who will guide our leaders and employees in creating experiences that make Certis a great workplace. 

Image / Provided 

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

Follow us on Telegram and on Instagram @humanresourcesonline for all the latest HR and manpower news from around the region!  

Follow us on Telegram and on Instagram @humanresourcesonline for all the latest HR and manpower news from around the region!

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