strategic hr, winning secrets, rotary

With a more strategic HR team in place, Rotary Group of Companies now sees a closer and dedicated management of daily operations, one that places greater focus on the overall people direction.

Rotary Group of Companies (Rotary) an oil and gas infrastructure services provider offering fully integrated engineering design, procurement, and construction (EPC) services to the oil and gas, petroleum, petrochemical, and pharmaceutical industries.

Established in 1972 and headquartered in Singapore, Rotary has established its presence in the Asia Pacific region, particularly in Singapore, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand. Today, it boasts a total strength of over 6,000 employees which include a highly and multi-skilled workforce that forms the mainstay of its core EPC services.

At the 2022 HR Excellence Awards in Singapore, Rotary went home a winner of two awards: Silver for Excelllence in Work-Life Harmony, and Bronze for Best HR Team (MNC). In this interview, Parvin Raipathi, Corporate HR Manager, Rotary Group of Companies, about the Group's shift to set in place a more strategic HR team – one that now focuses on the overall people direction through a closer and dedicated management of daily operation, made these wins possible.

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

Our human resource strategy was originally centered around a centralised HR function, catering to multiple business units for all day-to-day operational and strategic matters. This traditional structure limited the extent of engagement with each business unit and resulted in a lack of detailed understanding of each business operation.

The strategy was later revised and restructured into a decentralised function by categorising the Group’s business into different cluster levels. This brought about upsides of a more granular HR representation that delved deeper into the engagement to gather prompt information for analysis and development of benefits for the employees and the broader group business as a whole.

The present structure sees a more strategic HR team that is focused on the overall people direction through a closer and dedicated management of daily operations. Coupled with an expanded team, we are able to ensue a broader outreach and steer future strategic directions and changes through a more exhaustive coverage of perspective and feedback. This allows the HR function to incorporate these findings into our HR analytics programme that is designed to develop a cohesive strategy aimed at catering to our growing business needs.

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

Positioned in the EPC industry where the general stigma of a stifled career progression is rampant, Rotary is the first in the industry to adopt the SSG skills framework for Engineering Services; a programme that allows us to identify competencies and map out clear progression pathways for each individual job scope. Embracing the digital landscape, this entire framework is integrated with our learning management system which also sources and locates e-learning courses that aid employees in their capability development and career progression. The online platform offers our employees the flexibility for progressive learning and upgrading at their preferred time and place.

Considering the importance of employee recognition and appreciation, as well as the effective communication of the latest HR developments to align business and employee needs, Rotary also launched the quarterly HR newsletter which spans across a series of contents. These include features on our global teams from different countries and backgrounds, upcoming programmes and events, and even quizzes and interactive activities to encourage employee engagement.

Above are two initiatives that were made possible through the management driven decentralised HR cluster strategy – a programme that is the result of holistic analysis and a dedicated drive for uniformity in our projects and policies in our global business.

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

Employees have expressed their appreciation to the editorial team for the good content featured in the quarterly newsletters. The platform has allowed employees from different international locations to feel connected to each other and ultimately to the company as a global family, building an important sense of belonging. This recognition has also motivated and inspired employees to initiate open communication with new colleagues and encourage forthcoming sharing of good interpersonal practices and achievements from their own teammates.

The de-centralisation strategy has also contributed to a stark improvement in productivity and effective time management. Decision making is now enabled with better clarity and flow through clear establishment of the authority channels at the cluster level, leveraging on the corporate HR team where necessary. The corporate planning and employee development programmes remain the charge of the corporate HR team to drive with the management. Along with the learning management system, we now have the capability to launch e-learning programmemes simultaneously to all our global offices, allowing for a seamless management of employee training and development across the globe on one single platform.

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

Sincere appreciation goes out to all stakeholders for their unwavering support and for believing in the new initiatives and proposals brought forward from the HR team. Implementing change often comes with its set of resistance. The success of the implemented programmes is testimony to the determination and cooperation of all stakeholders in adapting and resonating with the intentions behind these changes.

On this positive note, we would like to thank our senior management, for being ardent advocates of our HR practices; our HODs, for taking the time to understand and cascade the correct messages behind each and every new initiative; our managers, for spearheading the implementation on the ground; and everyone else for having the faith and confidence in our HR team.

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

To me, the future of HR lies in having the ability to use real-time data to predict trends for furthering analysis of behavioural patterns of employees and the industry as a whole.

This being said, Rotary group is definitely working towards establishing this digital framework where the data collated within the group can be analysed to make informed decisions and develop programmes in the areas of talent acquisition, management and retention as well as enhancing work procedures to improve productivity.


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