Winning Secrets: Certis Group

At the Employee Experience Awards 2022, Singapore, commercial auxiliary police company Certis Group received two silver awards — one for Best HR Digital Transformation Strategy, and another for Best Employee Wellness Strategy.

In this interview, Tan Toi Chia, Chief Corporate and Human Resources Officer, Certis Group shares with Human Resources Online how the organisation ensured that throughout its digital transformation journey, it did not leave any employee behind — from ensuring diversity & inclusion is present in recruitment processes, to creating and maintaining consistent communication and feedback channels in the working environment.

Q Congratulations on the achievement! Could you take us through the highs and lows of your winning strategy – how important is it for the organisation to have the strategy recognised this year?

It is indeed an honour to receive this accolade.

The ‘future workplace’ is now here, with digital transformation and wellness being key to helping us ease the transition to new ways of working. The pandemic brought about hybrid work arrangements, which are now, here to stay. This year in particular, as we slowly head back to meeting physically with our teams and colleagues, Certis’ win is an affirmation that our efforts to make this transition a seamless and positive experience are headed in the right direction. Ultimately, a successful future workplace manages employee experience by seeing employees as unique individuals; as such, Certis also places great emphasis on L&D, mentorship, and coaching to help our people upskill and be future-ready themselves.

Q Understanding and meeting your employees’ needs and expectations is never an easy feat. How did the organisation identify the business & employee needs, and craft out the perfect solution? 

Our first priority is to focus on diversity and inclusion. Seeing the value in and recruiting people with various strengths is important because we are a large and complex organisation, which means we need people with a diversity of skillsets and experience.

When it comes to implementation, we think through the details of employee experience and how they work together. It is crucial to maintain open channels for communication and feedback with employees, as these allow us to keep adjusting and evolving our employee engagement strategy as we go along.

Q How did the strategy add to the overall employee experience in your organisation, in terms of ROI, when it came to fruition? Share with us the benefits of having such a strategy in place.

Research has shown employees prefer caring workplaces, to feel valued, and to see meaning in their work. Getting employees to feel happy and valued requires a shift in priorities from employers. The employee wellbeing strategy needs to be more proactive rather than preventive, and should be able to evolve with changing employee needs.

At the end of the day, the goal is for people to feel like they are part of a community, rather than just a company.

Q Could you offer some recommendations to your peers across industries – what advice or lessons would you have to guide them into implementing something similar for their own EX foundation? 

Firstly, change is inevitable, so stay open to possibilities.

We are also learning as we go along here at Certis. Secondly, focus on elevating employees’ experience in the future workplace. We can do so by giving our people options that make work better and easier, and by creating a caring workplace that also promotes productivity.

Q If you were to reflect, what is one thing you would do differently in executing this strategy? 

We were regularly adjusting and responding to changing COVID-19 situations and policies, which meant that we faced certain limitations as we prioritised the safety and wellbeing of our people. Looking back, it would have been ideal to allow for more flexibility to conduct in-person wellness activities and programmes, as the face-to-face aspect would have brought considerable added value to the already high proportion of virtual events at the time.

Q Looking ahead, how is the organisation going to take this winning strategy higher and further in the coming years? Give us a sneak peek to into your upcoming plans to grow the overall employee experience. 

We are actually building our physical future workplace with a current ongoing revamp of our Jalan Afifi headquarters.

Our new corporate headquarters will be a highly digital workplace that features collaborative, future-ready facilities and tools that optimise and improve work for our employees.

Q 10 years down the line, where do you see the future of HR? 

We are increasingly reading about how machines and technology will run many aspects of business in the very near future, and the field of HR is not exempt.

Certis is a technology company, and we believe in leveraging the use of technology to make work smarter and better for our people in both our HR team and the wider organisation. That being said, although we’re a tech-focused company, we will still maintain policies and programmes with a human touch. To us, smart technology coming together with human experience to achieve more effective and holistic outcomes is an ideal state to achieve.

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