Winning Secrets: How Sgcarmart's new office has benefitted company camaraderie

Winning Secrets: How Sgcarmart's new office has benefitted company camaraderie

On first glance, this is already a welcoming space: Visually vibrant, and a homage to the local car industry.

Sgcarmart is Singapore's leading car platform, with over 30,000 listings, and an average of 10 cars sold every hour. The platform receives more than 1.6mn users every month, offering a high level of support for drivers with its suite of car ownership & transactional services.

At the third annual edition of Employee Experience Awards - Singapore in 2023, Sgcarmart won the coveted bronze award for 'Best Employer Branding'.  

To celebrate this milestone, we catch up with the Sgcarmart team (pictured above), on how the open-concept layout in their new office reduces physical barriers between departments, while a larger space makes it easier to plan and execute company-wide bonding activities.

Q How do you ensure your employee experience initiatives are aligned with your business objectives?

As a business, Sgcarmart is constantly seeking to grow and consolidate its position as Singapore’s No. 1 automotive mega-media platform. Doing so requires all hands to be on deck, as well as for us to constantly be firing on all cylinders in order to sustain our growth.

It is the company’s belief that employees bring their best efforts to the table when they see value in their work, communicate effectively with their colleagues, and are also commensurately recognised and rewarded. Adding on to all this, opportunities for growth and progression must be consistently extended to them.

To this end, ensuring that the employee experience here is as positive as possible fully coheres with Sgcarmart's business objectives. Our position as Singapore’s leading automotive platform also gives us the unique and unparalleled ability to provide our staff with the opportunities that we believe are value-adds to their professional lives.

Q Can you provide examples of how the organisation has invested in the employee experience?

Sgcarmart has directed most of its recent efforts into reducing the barriers between staff on both a physical and less tangible level. To this end, by the far the most significant investment came in the form of our new office.

On first glance, this is already a welcoming space: Visually vibrant, and a homage to the local car industry. More importantly, however, it has enabled the company to physically house all its employees together for the first time. An open-concept layout reduces physical barriers between departments, while both a larger lobby and pantry make it easier to plan and execute company-wide bonding activities at will.

For instance, Sgcarmart's monthly birthday cake-cutting sessions have become a new staple of the space, during which staff are encouraged to take an afternoon break and mingle with their colleagues in the pantry. Come September, Sgcarmart will even mark the return of its company-wide getaways.

Q What are some of the key challenges that you faced in implementing your EX initiatives, and how did you overcome them?

A drastic overhaul of any kind understandably elicits wariness among staff.

In Sgcarmart’s case, this came most notably in the form of the decision to move out of our stronghold in the Ubi motor belt. Regarding the renewed vigour of company-wide events mentioned previously, the shift in culture was also perhaps surprising for those used to putting their heads down to do work, and required some adapting to.

Nonetheless, the company has always believed in the long-term benefits of its employee experience efforts and along the way, regularly encouraged its employees to come forth and speak to their team leaders in any situation that required clarification. Ten months into the first rolling out of the initiatives, it is now undeniable that company camaraderie has benefitted.

Q Do you have processes to measure the effectiveness of your EX initiatives, and what metrics do you use to evaluate success?

On a perhaps less concrete level, having an always-open channel for employees to indicate what sorts of activities they prefer enables the company to understand how initiatives have been landing with staff. Thus far, we are happy to say that have been well-received by staff.

On a numerical level, however, nothing speaks to a company’s ability to satisfy its employees better than its ability to retain them. The car industry in Singapore is currently in an exceptionally difficult period due to the unprecedented highs breached by COE premiums. Nonetheless, Sgcarmart managed an 85% retention rate over its latest financial year - more than 10% higher than the market rate.

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?

Team leaders in Sgcarmart are not just tasked with the welfare of their staff; they are also expected to engineer opportunities for them to develop their skillsets, while tracking their growth.

Leaders are thus also mentors, and need to be able to genuinely relate to their teams for the mentor-mentee relationship to be fully realised.

Creating the space for interactions in non-work contexts is thus crucial. With specific budgets set aside for team activities, leaders take ownership of these initiatives, and are gently mandated to fully utilise the budgets as the company's way of ensuring that these interactions happen regularly.

On a more tangible level, the open-concept layout of the new office means that there are literally no barriers separating team leaders and staff. These small yet significant examples are built on Sgcarmart's goal of creating a culture of both openness flatter hierarchy, which in turn, augments the experience here. 

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

Lead photo / Provided

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