At Maersk Singapore, engagement and business results go hand-in-hand. One of the pillars of its 2020 global strategic plan is 'Transforming Engagement'.

The team took home the silver in Excellence in Talent Management at HR Excellence Awards 2020, Singapore. Jaya Mittal, HR Manager – Sealand Asia & Area TMS, Maersk Singapore shares how the team created a climate for \employees to collaborate and create the highest value for customers and for Maersk.

Q What is your organisation’s winning HR strategy, and what are some milestones you’ve accomplished along this journey?

For us, it was all about driving engagement with our people. Many business leaders are vested in engagement because research has shown that there is a strong connection between engagement and business results. In 2020, we saw a rise in engagement levels. Consequently, we also saw a rise in business results.

Our revenue has been consistently on the incline throughout the year, we were excited to see continued improvement in profitability, which rose by nearly a quarter, along with a small increment in our returns on invested capital. This being despite lower volumes across all segments due to impact from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Q How has this strategy helped you achieve your HR priorities, and what role has the leadership played in helping make this initiative a reality?

We were expected to continuously champion engagement during good and tough times. To show our commitment to purpose, our business and HR leaders decided to make 'Transforming Engagement' as one of the pillars of our 2020 global strategic plan.

Excellent leadership was key in driving the engagement we wanted to see from our people, leading by example and providing guidance to those around them. They championed the qualities we wanted in people who 'Transformed Engagement'.

Even during this period of economic uncertainty and health concerns, our colleagues have expressed appreciation that they feel cared for and safe. We are also pleased to see similar positive feedback via external channels like LinkedIn and Glassdoor.

We created a climate where colleagues collaborate to create the highest value for customers and for Maersk, and where people felt encouraged to do their best every day to get through the crisis and to drive transformation.

Q Unexpected roadblocks are part and parcel of executing any initiative. What were some of the barriers that you and your team experienced while rolling this out, and how did you successfully get past them?

In tackling engagement, a challenge we faced was not just raising engagement, but to foster sustainable engagement. To do that, we needed to find the sweet spot between: energy, commitment and focus. With this in mind, we developed several initiatives to build sustainable engagement.

We started by rolling out key changes and programmes, such as increasing the frequency of our engagement survey from once, to twice a year. State of the Team meetings, to build sustainable engagement, require regular communication between leaders and team members. We trained our leaders to facilitate State of the Team meetings with effective discussions and action plans to improve engagement.

We also enhanced our recognition and rewards programme, to deliver a meaningful and engaging rewards programme that provides a great employee experience and supports Maersk’s values and culture. We also introduced Connect Conversations, a series of ongoing dialogues over the year to ensure focus on performance, alignment, development and progression.

We created a year-long campaign called 'TMS EPICEdge' focusing on these mindsets: entrepreneurship, proactiveness, innovation and customer centricity, that we believe will give us an edge over our competitors.

Q As evidenced by the win, this initiative clearly delivered some amazing results. What was your gameplan for measuring ROI? What are some proud achievements you can share with us on this front?

Despite the current COVID-19 crisis, our engagement survey results showed a positive increase across all the survey areas as well as in overall levels of engagement.

The percentage of engaged employees increased by 10%, while the percentage of disengaged employees decreased by 3%.

This was a big accomplishment for all of us and a clear indication that our employees continue to stay engaged, aligned, and connected as a team and with the business, especially during these uncertain times. Qualitative feedback received from the survey was also generally positive.

Q What are the biggest business drivers or game changers that have pushed you to constantly come up with new ideas and raise the bar for talent management?

We have embarked on a massive transformation journey, and we believe that engagement is the key to successfully realising our company vision. Engagement is the energy, commitment and dedication we put into our work, and the way we relate to colleagues - an essential building block for creating successful business outcomes.

With our strong engagement programmes, we get closer to making our vision of Maersk becoming the global integrator of container logistics a reality. It all leads back to us striving to go all the way not just for the business, but for our people as well. Our workplace is 'made by us' - and we have never lost sight of that.

Photo / Provided

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

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