UTAC Headquarters took home the silver award for 'Excellence in CSR Strategy' at the HR Excellence Awards 2021, Singapore.
In this interview, Jasmine Ng, Senior HR Director, UTAC Headquarters, shares how the overarching corporate CSR policy defines the framework, while the initiatives are curated at site level to ensure relevance and optimal impact towards the communities.
Q What is your organisation’s winning HR strategy, and what are some milestones you’ve accomplished along this journey?
UTAC Group (UTAC Holdings Ltd. and subsidiaries), headquartered in Singapore, is a leading independent provider in assembly, test and bumping services for diverse semiconductor devices. We operate globally with five operating sites in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and China.
When it comes to corporate social responsibility (CSR), we adopt a mixed approach of centralisation and decentralisation. We have an overarching corporate CSR policy that defines the framework and provides broad-based guidelines, whereas the initiatives are curated and implemented at site level to ensure relevance and optimal impact towards the communities we operate in.
Overall, I believe it is the strong linkage to company values and partnership amongst the various stakeholders, supported by a positive workplace culture that led us to the win. Collectively, we exceeded all our key CSR KPIs in 2020.
Q How has this strategy helped you achieve your HR priorities, and what role has the leadership played in helping make this initiative a reality?
Having an overarching corporate CSR policy and a clear set of values helped align our HR priorities with company objectives and provide a line of sight to our people, so that they fully understand the need to contribute to the community and to carry out their responsibilities with high sensitivity to our stakeholders.
It creates a strong sense of purpose and what we stand for in our people which is crucial to harnessing their support and getting their buy-in for our programmes and initiatives. It is UTAC’s way of empowering and engaging our employees to steer them towards high performance.
Our CEO, Dr John Nelson acts as the champion for our CSR strategy and initiatives, with the respective general managers taking the lead to manage their regions as sponsors. Dr Nelson regularly chairs CSR review meetings which not only demonstrates strong leadership commitment but also leading by example.
Q Unexpected roadblocks are part and parcel of executing any initiative. What were some of the barriers that you and your team experienced while rolling this out, and how did you successfully get past them?
As UTAC is competing in the outsourced assembly and test (OSAT) space and operates on a low-margin outsourcing business model that is highly cost-sensitive, we often do not have the capacity of deploying dedicated resources or teams to run projects.
We may be stretching our resources but from a strategic perspective, it creates a platform to promote unity (U), trust (T), accountability (A) and communication (C), in line with our values. It also gives us an opportunity to build our in-house competencies and capabilities.
Last year, when we were hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, we had to change many of our game plans including the way we conduct our CSR activities. Some of these changes had to be implemented in a flash and this would not have been possible without a nimble, receptive, and resilient workforce, supported by our well-grounded change management capabilities.
Q As evidenced by the win, this initiative clearly delivered some amazing results. What was your game plan for measuring ROI? What are some proud achievements you can share with us on this front?
We are very honoured to be the silver award winner for the 'Excellence in CSR Strategy' category in this year’s HR Excellence Awards. This is a proud achievement and a testimony to our CSR commitment and efforts. Incidentally, we also won a bronze award in the 'Engineering & Manufacturing - Sustainability' category at the recent International CSR Excellence Awards 2021, organised by The Green Organisation.
Every year, we publish a corporate sustainability report to keep our stakeholders updated on our sustainability efforts, progress, and impact. A few examples of the indicators we measure are reduction in electricity, water, carbon footprint and increase in water recycling and community outreach.
Since the inception of our CSR programme in 2012, we have reduced our electricity and water consumption by more than 20% and reduced our carbon footprint by more than 30%. We have also increased our water recycling by more than 40%. In 2020, the number of community outreach activities stands at 184 globally.
Q We’re now seeing HR manage portfolios that were previously considered far from their job description. In your view, what are the top three skills and attributes of today’s successful HR leaders?
The business environment is rapidly changing, and HR leaders need to change with it. With increasing digitalisation and adoption of technology at the workplace, driven very much by manpower shortage and accelerated by COVID-19, I would say that digital transformation is our utmost priority.
HR leaders need to continue to retain their seat at the boardroom. The ability to think strategically has been a core attribute of a successful CHRO but in today’s context, this calls for a complementary mix of business acumen and data science to help the CEO make better and informed decisions.
It is true that HR’s portfolio has expanded far beyond the traditional job scope. But HR being HR, people should still be at the core of what we do. Therefore, I would add lead with empathy to complete my list. HR leaders today need to be sensitive to the needs and desires of their workers.
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Read more interviews on why organisations have won trophies for their HR practices - head over to our Winning Secrets' section!