Here's how Irene Tan Lai Yee, VP HR, AETOS Holdings addresses the diverse needs and communication preferences of all employees.
Established in 2004 following the merger of three key Auxiliary Police Forces, AETOS has grown to become a leading unified security and safety solutions provider with more than 70 years of experience in securing Singapore’s key maritime, aviation and infrastructure installations.
At the third annual edition of Employee Experience Awards - Singapore in 2023, AETOS Holdings won the coveted bronze award for 'Best HR Communication Strategy'.
To celebrate this milestone, we catch up with Irene Tan Lai Yee, Vice President, Human Resources, AETOS Holdings on implementing face-to-face engagement sessions and physical briefings at deployment sites, conducting in-person clarifications, and more to give employees an opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback in real-time.
Q How do you ensure your employee experience initiatives are aligned with your business objectives?
At AETOS, we believe that a positive employee experience is a driving force behind our success. We are dedicated to creating an exceptional employee experience that prioritises employee wellbeing, growth, and engagement – which reinforces our position as a purpose-driven organisation that values and invests in the growth and happiness of its employees.
We firmly believe in the importance of aligning employee experience initiatives with our core values and business objectives. To achieve this, we have integrated our employee experience initiatives consistently at every touchpoint throughout the employee lifecycle - from recruitment to onboarding, talent development, and beyond.
Transparency and open communication are also foundational to our approach. We keep employees informed about our business decisions, progress towards our objectives, and our impact across online and offline communication channels; from dedicated social media and internal communication platforms to physical engagement sessions, fireside chats and CEO townhalls. Additionally, we actively involve our senior management and ground-level supervisors in the communication process. This collaborative approach fosters mutual support and engagement across all levels of the organisation, and promotes a culture of trust and empowerment.
Q Can you provide examples of how the organisation has invested in the employee experience?
At AETOS, our people are the foundation of our success, and creating a positive work environment where they feel valued, supported, and heard is of utmost importance to us. To foster a culture of continuous improvement, transparency, and effective communication across all levels, we introduced the Workplace from Meta platform as our primary internal communications channel last year. With Workplace, we have successfully broken down silos, encouraged collaboration, and strengthened the sense of connectedness and purpose among employees. They are also now empowered to express opinions and communicate directly with senior management and leaders.
While we embrace the benefits of digital communication, we also understand the significant of human touchpoints in employee engagement and creating a positive employee experience. That is why we incorporate face-to-face employee engagement sessions across various stages of the employee life cycle, such as physical briefings on new initiatives or policies at deployment sites, and annual staff appraisal sessions where supervisors engage in meaningful conversations with their team members.
By having a good mix of online and offline employee engagement initiatives, AETOS is able to foster a deeper connection and understanding between employees and the organisation.
Q What are some of the key challenges that you faced in implementing your EX initiatives, and how did you overcome them?
At AETOS, the safety and security of our clients’ sites and our community depend on the dedication and hard work of our frontliners, who make up over 95% of our employee base. Ensuring that all vital information and announcements reach them, regardless of their deployment locations, is of utmost importance to us.
We encountered some challenges in achieving effective communication and information dissemination, particularly for those in diverse deployment sites or with limited access to digital platforms. However we took proactive steps to overcome these hurdles – by implementing face-to-face engagement sessions and physical briefings at deployment sites, conducting in-person clarifications; which gave employees an opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback in real-time. This approach has proven to be highly effective.
Another challenge faced was having to address the diverse needs and communication preferences of our employees. Recognising that some employees are more comfortable with digital platforms, while others may prefer more traditional methods, we adopted a multi-channel approach. For online internal communications, we used Workplace from Meta as it served as a safe and effective means of disseminating company-related information. Simultaneously, we retained offline channels like physical engagement sessions to cater to employees who prefer in-person interactions or may not be as digitally inclined.
This inclusive approach has allowed us to meet their diverse communication needs.
Q Do you have processes to measure the effectiveness of your EX initiatives, and what metrics do you use to evaluate success?
As AETOS pursues collective success with our stakeholders, we recognise the crucial role of employee experience initiatives in achieving positive organisational outcomes. To measure the impact and effectiveness of these initiatives, and make informed improvements, we have implemented various processes and identified key metrics.
Since our transformation journey began last year, we have adopted a more holistic approach to communicate our identity and purpose to both employees and external stakeholders. We have since witnessed remarkable growth in our social media following and engagement rates. These metrics serve as valuable indicators of the success of our communication efforts and increasing interest in our company.
To gather feedback directly from employees, we also utilise e-forms and pulse surveys. These tools enable us to evaluate the effectiveness of our outreach, gauge employees’ understanding of company policies, and assess the satisfaction with employee benefits and incentives. This really helps to ensure that our initiatives are aligned with employees’ needs and expectations.
We also leverage data analytics from Workplace, our internal communications platform, to assess the effectiveness of our internal communications. Assessing metrics such as reach, engagement rates for posts, and feedback received from employees would provide valuable insights into their perception about the company and our initiatives. Based on the data, we could then make necessary adjustments to our internal communication and employee engagement initiatives.
Q Finally, what role do leaders and managers play in driving a beautiful employee experience, and how are they held accountable for the success of these initiatives?
As a purpose-driven organisation, we recognise the crucial role that leaders and managers play in driving an impactful employee experience. Beyond their supervisory responsibilities, they are instrumental in empowering individuals to embrace and internalise our shared purpose. This sense of ownership and connection to our purpose translates into a positive employee experience for our workforce.
In AETOS, our leaders are not only seen as role models who inspire their teams to achieve desired outcomes, but also as facilitators of a supportive and inclusive culture.
They align team members with our organisation’s values and higher purpose, fostering an engaged and motivated workforce. To support this vision, we emphasise the importance of open and transparent communication throughout our organisation.
Our leaders are also encouraged to actively review and improve their leadership practices through regular feedback, knowledge sharing and performance evaluations. They make the process of setting clear expectations and creating an extraordinary employee experience for their team members their central focus. This way, the organisation can continue to thrive in pursuit of our purpose and help all employees to reach their full potential.
Read more interviews on why organisations have won trophies for their HR practices - head over to our Winning Secrets' section!
Photo / Provided by AETOS Holdings