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Winning Secrets: How UTAC made virtual collaboration a permanent feature of its communication practices

Winning Secrets: How UTAC made virtual collaboration a permanent feature of its communication practices

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Jasmine Ng, Senior HR Director, UTAC, is proud of the HR communication strategy which has helped to address the feelings of disconnect amongst people to ensure they remain engaged.

United Test and Assembly Center Holdings Ltd and its subsidiaries (UTAC) is a leading independent provider of assembly and test services for a broad range of semiconductor chips. UTAC is headquartered in Singapore, with production facilities located in Singapore, Thailand, China, Indonesia and Malaysia.

At the 10th annual edition of HR Excellence Awards, Singapore in 2022, UTAC won the silver award for 'Excellence in HR Communication Strategy'.

In view of this achievement, we catch up with Jasmine Ng, Senior HR Director, UTAC, on the initiatives taken towards creating understanding of strategy and direction; shaping the company culture; and sharing information to keep people informed and give them a voice. 

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

United Test and Assembly Center (UTAC) is honoured to receive the silver award for 'Excellence in HR Communication Strategy' at 2022's HR Excellence Awards ceremony. Thank you to the judges and HR Online for this prestigious recognition.

Reflecting upon the journey, it was certainly not a smooth-sailing one, amid a pandemic. COVID-19 has dramatically reshaped the way we communicate, leading to new communication challenges. Work-from-home requirement resulted in less face-to-face, in-person interactions, and when we had the opportunity to interact physically, we were often wearing masks.

The challenge was how we avoid miscommunication and address the feelings of disconnect amongst our people to ensure they remain engaged. The silver lining was that virtual communication such as video calls, instant messaging, screen sharing, and live streaming offers additional options, has become a permanent feature of our communication practices, and has enhanced collaboration especially amongst teams from different locations. 

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

In UTAC, our path to success and growth is based on uniting under a common vision and our values of Unity, Trust, Accountability, and Communication. The shared values determine the way we work together and help us identify and align our business and employee needs.

When crafting our communication strategy, we have an overarching corporate policy that sets the tone and expectation. A framework was developed to establish clear objectives, guide our activities, and allocate roles and responsibilities of the people involved. Our business leaders take a very active role in maintaining the end goal in sight and steer their respective teams in the right direction.

By setting the tone and leading by example, our people at the working level will build bottoms-up support for the process and the deliverables. During implementation, we have various channels that allow our people to provide feedback and suggestions which help us align the needs and identify opportunities for improvement. 

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

The results are reflected in our annual pulse survey where we asked our people specifically if they can communicate and collaborate with their team members and colleagues. In our most recent survey conducted in August, we scored a notable average of 4.29 out of a full score of 5 for this question. In fact, it was one of the top three highest scoring questions.

In a related question where we asked if our people understand and practice the company’s COVID-19 policies and practices, it returned a high score of 4.57. It is evident that our strategy is working, and the results are congruent with our objectives to create understanding of strategy and direction; shape the company culture; share information and keep our people informed and give them a voice.

In September 2021, UTAC made history by surpassing the US$1bn mark in revenue and I believe our open approach to communication is an integral element of our business success. 

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

We have gone through a roller coast ride in the last two-and-a-half years battling with COVID-19. It has forced working life to change almost overnight, and we had to implement massive changes at lightning speeds in response to the crisis. It was unprecedented and none of us had any experience managing such a pandemic.

It has been a daunting journey and as we now emerge from the pandemic and are settling into the new norm, I am grateful for a team of incredibly supportive business leaders especially our Chief Executive Officer, Dr John Nelson and General Manager, Maheson Palaniyandi. It is their unwavering trust and the ardent support from the managers and the entire organisation that enabled our win in HR communication strategy. They have been key contributors to our success, and we celebrate the win with all of them.

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

At UTAC, we have embarked on a transformation journey and are en route to smart factories. As we deploy more and more advanced manufacturing technology to our operations, our people strategies and practices need to be aligned with the transition. This will involve reorganising the way we work, adjusting our leadership styles and mindset, upskilling and re-skilling our people, and very importantly managing the change and communication.

The role of HR will continue to evolve, and emerging technologies will automate most of our HR processes. HR is really excited to be part of the roadmap to partner closely with our business leaders, operations and the rest of our organisation to understand and implement new ways of managing talent. Through this journey, I envisage HR will transform to be even more people-focused, make a real difference in our people’s experience, and have a demonstratable impact on the bottom line.


Photo / UTAC

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!

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

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