Winning Secrets: Organisational excellence is a journey, not a destination for Home Team Academy

Winning Secrets: Organisational excellence is a journey, not a destination for Home Team Academy

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Beyond utilising a consistent strategic framework, the company believes that leaders have a role to play in "fostering the desired culture and shaping the desired behaviours" of their employees to overcome any possible challenges, and to achieve its mission, vision, and desired outcomes.

At the Employee Experience Awards 2021, Singapore, Home Team Academy (HTA) received three awards: bronze for Best Holistic Leadership Development Strategy, bronze for Best Work-life Harmony Strategy, and silver for Best In-House Learning Academy.

In this interview, Jasmine Bok, Director, Centre of Human Capital and Smart Campus Transformation, Home Team Academy shares the secrets behind this win - how they employed different frameworks to propel the company forward in meeting its business outcomes, care for and develop its workforce, all while acting as a supporting arm of the Singaporean government.

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

As the corporate university for the Home Team (HT), HTA plays a crucial role in the Ministry’s training and learning (T&L) ecosystem. Despite having a lean, diverse, and transient workforce, our staff is galvanised by a shared vision and clear comprehensive strategies to co-create a future-ready HTA and HT.

HTA’s success is attributed to the well-defined frameworks to articulate our strategies, and to garner buy-in from our staff and stakeholders. Internally, we have established a holistic, aligned, and people-centric ‘GEM’ framework, guided by the four strategic thrusts of:

Through our 'HEART' of HTA framework, we strive to develop our officers to the fullest as we focus on their holistic well-being, how they are engaged, valued as partners, and groomed into respected professionals as part of a technology-enabled workforce. This enables our officers to achieve both their professional aspirations and personal needs, even amidst the current challenging COVID-19 situation.

Externally, we have developed strong connections with our partners such as Home Team Departments (HTDs), local and foreign counterparts, as well as local and global institutions of higher learning to bolster our transformation efforts.

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

HTA has proactively embarked on a transformation journey to achieve organisational excellence, future-readiness, and global leadership.

HTA’s leadership group co-created the ‘GEM’ framework and actively engaged the family of HTA-enablers throughout the journey. Transformation is a journey, not a destination; so it is a never-ending engagement journey.

HTA's ‘GEM’ framework provides the organisation direction and offers a solid foundation to guide our officers as a cohesive family of HTA-enablers to overcome all challenges and to achieve our mission, vision, and desired outcomes. This has positioned HTA well to navigate the challenges posed by COVID-19 and to leverage the opportunities offered by the new normal. We have instilled a culture of growth mindset and agility in our officers.

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?

Let me quote my Chief Executive of HTA to set the context:

home team acedemy clarence yeo


Against this backdrop, HTA’s consistent focus on our officers’ holistic wellbeing, engagement, and development enabled HTA to deliver sterling organisational and people results.

We have seen marked improvements in our employee engagement and satisfaction scores in recent years, especially in areas such as leadership, engagement, and communications. Our successful business outcomes are also reflected in our corporate scorecard results where we achieved Tier 1, the highest achievable performance, for five consecutive years.

On the T&L front, we achieved more than 500% increase in programme type, 600% increase in programme runs, and 400% increase in participants since 2015.

Our transformation efforts have also enabled HTA to pivot to a blended training approach by leveraging a combination of physical and virtual platforms while continuing to deliver good and effective learning. In addition to performing our role as the corporate university of the HT, HTA leaned forward and contributed to the government’s efforts against COVID-19 by operating three facilities – a government quarantine facility (GQF), a dormitory isolation facility (DIF), and a relocated foreign dormitory for foreign workers from essential services.

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

We are privileged to be part of the inaugural Employee Experience Awards, and deeply honoured to have clinched a silver award for Best In-House Learning Academy as well as bronze awards for Best Holistic Leadership Development Strategy and Best Work-Life Harmony Strategy. The competition was tough involving established MNCs and reputable local organisations.

These awards have validated HTA’s continuous improvement efforts on workplace transformation, and given us greater impetus to continue striving for a more holistic and positive employee experience!

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

We are all operating in a VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) environment exacerbated by the COVID-19 situation. Hence, the challenges faced by the HT and HTA are dynamic and evolving.

For HTA, we need to be aware of upcoming disruptions to T&L, adapt agilely to changing environment, and innovate to train effectively and efficiently. HTA will continue to leverage technologies to deliver impactful T&L. We will continue to reach out to overseas and local partners to forge partnerships, build networks, and explore collaborations.

Internally, we will continue to leverage our strong heart of HTA to build an inclusive and a more collaborative work environment in the new normal. This will be done through identifying key staff touchpoints for meaningful engagements, innovating, and adapting agilely to implement safe and sustainable hybrid working arrangements in the new normal, as well as reskilling and upskilling to better equip our officers with diverse skill sets so that they can continue to perform their roles effectively and efficiently.

Q Do share tips to inspire your peers who are working on their EX strategies and would love to participate in the awards next year.

Having a holistic, aligned, and people-centric framework serves as a strong crucial foundation in building internal capacity to drive your business outcomes and transformation. As a cornerstone of HTA’s ‘GEM’ framework, HTA did a fundamental review of the core of HTA (vision, mission, values, and brand) in 2018, which created a renewed, sharpened, and unifying identify among our officers as we transform for the future together.

Leaders’ strong commitment is key to fostering the desired culture and shaping the desired behaviours of our officers.

We encourage implementing a robust communications and engagement process to inspire two-way generative conversations, and to proactively seek out what matters to our staff most.

Q Lastly, to end on a fun note – if you could describe the employee experience at your organisation in one sentence, what would that be?

Our employee experience is wholesome and inclusive to keep the heart of HTA beating strongly as one!

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

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