The most attractive employers consistently invest in professional development and provide employees feedback channels to improve their standing. We asked popular Singapore fashion brand Love, Bonito Head of People and Culture Brandon Lee to share his thoughts on how organizations can work towards improving employee engagement, performance and retention.
Earlier this month, Singapore Airlines was crowned the Most Attractive Employer in Singapore for 2019 by global human resources agency Ranstad. It is the fourth time Singapore Airlines has taken the number one spot, with second and third place going to Changi Airport Group and Marina Bay Sands.
The 2019 Randstad Employer Brand Research explores workers’ perceptions of employer brands, providing insights into employee and job seeker drivers. According to Ranstad, the survey is the most representative and independent employer brand research in the world, providing insights from more than 200,000 respondents and 6,162 companies in 32 countries worldwide, including 2,502 employees and job seekers in Singapore.
The awards, which have been running since 2011, are based on the responses from 75 of the largest commercial companies which received the highest attractiveness scores in Ranstad’s employer brand research survey.
In response to winning the top spot, Singapore Airlines CEO Mr Goh Choon Phong says their airline has always been committed to ongoing investment in their employees.
“We are honoured to be the recipient of this prestigious award, which helps validate our efforts to constantly support and develop our people while ensuring that the SIA Group remains a great place to work. Singapore Airlines reputation as one of the world’s leading airlines is the result of thousands of employees all around the world dedicating themselves every day to bringing the best travel experience to our customers. We very much recognise that our success would not have been possible without our staff, and we are committed to always invest in training and developing our people, while providing opportunities for career enrichment and growth,” says Phong.
According to Randstad Singapore Managing Director Jaya Dass, more companies are taking an integrated approach to employee engagement and development opportunities.
“We are glad to witness a mindset and behavioural shift in how employers interact with the workforce today. As more companies invest in the development and well-being of their employees, people in the workforce are receiving a more integrated and meaningful experience whenever they engage with a company. In the long-run, we hope that this strategic approach in strengthening the employer brand will help improve the quality of the engagement between companies and workers and the overall productivity and capabilities of the employees,” says Dass.
To unpack this ‘employer mindshift’ we asked Singapore’s largest home-grown women‘s fashion brand Love, Bonito Head of People and Culture Brandon Lee to share his thoughts on how his organization works to improve employee engagement, performance and retention.
Lee says Love, Bonito partnered with Asian employee engagement software provider, EngageRocket in Q1 2019, after their workforce increased by 50% in 2018. This quick expansion meant they needed a ‘single source of truth’ to make better people decisions based on real-time data.
With a current team of 150 employees and a footprint in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Cambodia, Love, Bonito says the partnership gave them a cost-effective and intuitive solution that could be scaled quickly.
“EngageRocket levels up our HR capabilities by measuring the pulse of the organisation in real-time and transforming the data into insights for our managers to action. This is also a platform for employees to share their feelings in a trusted and seamless manner to enhance communication. We strongly believe our employees’ experience should reflect the one we are trying to provide to our customers. We are investing time, effort and money trying to understand our customers, measuring their satisfaction and personalising their journey, it’s only right that we want the same for our people,” says Lee.
Lee says data will be collected through automated engagement surveys, 360 reviews, and demographic analytics from on-boarding to separation. The platform will instantly analyse and translate feedback into actionable insights, empowering managers to take immediate action on engagement gaps that impact the workforce performance.
“Love, Bonito wants to provide an additional platform to enhance communication and encourage employees to share their feelings and opinions in a trusted and seamless manner. In parallel, HR and line managers will receive actionable recommendations to help their talents belong, grow and perform within the company. During a growth phase, an organisation undergoes various structural challenges. As the size of the team grows, proving an engaging talent value proposition for retaining and hiring the best people becomes critical,” says Lee.
Maintaining a positive company culture while scaling regionally can prove to be a challenge. Lee says hiring managers need to over-communicate their company’s core values during the interview and on-boarding process.
“As a company scales regionally, cultural nuances are unavoidable. It is vital to first identify a company’s core values that are uncompromisable; these are often the same value that brought success to the company in the first place. After which, it’s important to hire for culture, over-communicate on the culture we want, and also operationalise workflows and processes which would then make the espousing of this culture possible,” says Lee.
While providing feedback channels for employers to action is great, we asked Lee how organisations can make employees feel comfortable to be honest and transparent. Generally, HR Departments have a reputation for protecting the company interest in so far as limiting potential exposure to litigation. The view of some workers is that HR is not on the side of the employee when it comes to industrial relations – particularly if the issue is with their line manager.
“It all starts with culture. The third of Love, Bonito’s five core values is Always Keep It Real – which translates to an environment of open communication. Employees at all levels are always encouraged to openly communicate, provide feedback, and have healthy debates on opposing views. And what this means is, more often than not, our employees are unafraid to bring issues up with their line managers directly. Love, Bonito’s Management Team also conducts frequent skip-level coffee sessions to check-in with staff on their development and to address any concerns on the ground. For more reticent employees, EngageRocket’s platform also makes it easy – with enforced anonymity – for staff to give honest feedback,” says Lee.
(Feature image of Head of People and Culture Brandon Lee provided courtesy of Love, Bonito.)