This is a result of the company's people-first strategy, which emphasises social wellbeing in addition to physical and mental wellbeing, says David Chan, Managing Director, AdNovum Singapore.

At the Employee Experience Awards 2021, Singapore, Adnovum Singapore won gold for Best Work-life Harmony Strategy.

In this interview, David Chan, Managing Director, AdNovum Singapore, shares the secrets behind this win - how the company uses employee feedback whilst making major decisions, why over-communication is a helpful strategy, and more. Read on for the excerpts.

Q Congratulations on bagging this award! What is your award-winning employee experience strategy that led to this win?

There isn’t a one-off award-winning employee experience strategy. It is important to have a people-first mindset in the organisation and transparency have been instilled in our practices. Our employees are open to providing feedback. That is certainly a big part as transparency instills trust in employees.

We value our employees’ feedback in most major decisions we make and we use this feedback to make changes and improvements.

Q How did you and your team conceptualise and adapt this strategy to suit evolving workforce needs in the past year?

The people-first strategy and transparency have always been a part of AdNovum’s culture. With the evolving workforce needs this year, we emphasised a lot on their social wellbeing in addition to their physical and mental well-being.

During the rollout of our measures, we have realised that change takes substantial amount of time and that you cannot over-communicate on the reasons, the purpose, and the process behind the implemented actions.

Our teammates needed time to get used to the new measures, we then monitored closely on their total and overtime hours via a time utilisation tool to ensure that they were coping well.

We are satisfied that there is an overall decrease in overtime, more flexible working, and a balanced workload among our teammates. We will continue to prioritise work-life balance and wellbeing to further increase our employee satisfaction.

Q What challenges did you face along the way, and how did you overcome them?

We did a total of three COVID-19 employee surveys in AdNovum across all locations since the pandemic, which gave us a pulse of our teammates when working from home. Social isolation, lack of physical exercise and team communication were identified to be some of the greatest challenges during the work-from-home period.

While adapting to the new normal, we came up with several initiatives to close the gap of working from home and in office. We created a variety of virtual welbeing and team-building activities like fitness challenges, eye care, burnout prevention, amazing race, and cyber drinks to keep everyone connected locally and across the locations as well.

There were also follow-up surveys done with our teammates thereafter for feedback and to ensure progress was made.

Q How did the strategy add to the overall employee experience in your organisation, in terms of ROI? Any achievements you’d like to show off?

With a people-first strategy, we are satisfied that there is an overall decrease in overtime, more flexible working, and a balanced workload among our teammates.

The average employee in Singapore works about 45 hours per week. With our measures, we have reached a significant decrease of 9% in overtime per person over the past 12 months.

Our teammates worked in 2020 about 41.2 hours per week which is per year 7.75 working days of overtime.

Our flexible working strategy is ranked by our teammates as better compared to our competitors. The constant overtime monitoring helped us to make work pensum adjustments to the benefit of the employee where necessary.

As a very beneficial side effect of all measures in place, we also managed to decrease our employee absenteeism by over 35% during the past 12 months. Generally, our teammates have been healthier and our organisation certainly enjoyed cost savings as a result.

What is the most exciting and valuable thing about being part of (and winning at!) the debut Employee Experience Awards?

It was certainly an honour being awarded gold in the 'Best Work-Life Harmony Strategy' category and being shortlisted in two categories, 'Best Work Life Harmony Strategy' and 'Best Employee Wellness Strategy' alongside other reputable organisations. It is also great as a benchmarking process of our employee practices, which would drive continuous improvement.

Q Looking ahead, what else do you have planned as you continue to enhance the overall employee experience?

Moving forward, we are focusing largely on collaboration and innovation. 

In conjunction with AdNovum’s 'WorkSmart' initiatives and the results arising from our 2020 work-from-home survey, we will focus a lot on flexibility for our employees. Our employees desire more flexibility to choose where to work from home.

They will also be sharing workplaces to have the flexibility to most efficiently use the space for various collaborative elements. This allows employees to interact with their teammates they normally would not interact with, while better facilitating discussions for projects.

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


Photo / Provided [Pictured: David Chan, MD, AdNovum Singapore]

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