Charlene Phang, Human Resources Lead, Mondelēz International (Malaysia)

At the inaugural Employee Experience Awards 2021, Malaysia, Mondelēz International (Malaysia) won the bronze for Best Work-life Balance Strategy, and was a finalist in the categories of Best Graduate Training Programme and Best Diversity and Inclusion Strategy.  

In this interview, Charlene Phang, Human Resources Lead, Mondelēz International (Malaysia), talks about programmes that have been crafted with a view to prioritising the wellbeing of employees and aligning these programmes to diverse employee needs. 

Q Congratulations on being a winner at this inaugural edition of the award! What is your employee experience strategy that led to this achievement?

For us at Mondelēz International (Malaysia), we see work-life balance as an important element to engage and improve the employee experience. Hence, in developing our strategy, we needed to look at prioritising the wellbeing of our employees and aligning programmes to diverse employee needs.  

With the current changes to the external environment and landscape, we had to rethink the expectation of a workday – this helped us to support the needs of our employees across the business (corporate, commercial, and manufacturing) to balance their work requirements and family/personal needs.

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

  • #WeCare culture: Creating an environment that encourages our employees to speak up, voice their opinions, and at the same time, listen with authenticity.
  • Providing flexibility: Advocating a company-wide flexibility programme that allows our employees to find a balance between professional and personal/family needs. The policy that enables this has been in practice prior to the pandemic, but it was strengthened to ensure that the implementation is agile and feasible to fulfill the needs of various functions within the organisation and practical for our employees.
  • The ‘Right You’ Club: Providing our people with the right support to ensure positive mental health, good physical and connection with the community. These are built on the foundation of empathy, determination, and resilience.

Q What challenges did you face along the way, and how did you overcome them?

We must stay resilient and agile in this current pandemic and volatile environment.

This situation not only impacts the business but individuals as well. We have been focused on consistently ensuring we are ‘Doing What’s Right’ for both the business, employees and community. Hence, the programmes and initiatives that we have been carrying out are more holistic and inclusive.

Q How did the strategy add to the overall employee experience in your organisation? Any achievements you’d like to show off?

We are focused on making Mondelēz International (Malaysia) a place where people are proud to work. Our leaders, including line managers and heads of departments, are empowered to advocate the ‘Flexible Working Pledge’. This pledge is our way of trusting and empowering our employees, so that they are able to perform their best, while being empathetic of the changes and challenges that arise.

Based on the feedback we have received, they have been able to maintain a good level of productivity with the flexibility given.

The ‘Right You Club’ movement led by passionate colleagues in the wellbeing space has been a key engagement experience enabler to create awareness and represent voices of colleagues on what matters most to them. 

Q What is the most exciting and valuable thing about being part of the debut Employee Experience Awards?

We are mindful of the space and time our people need to work flexibly, and the importance of trust and empathy in promoting a strong sense of belonging. As a purpose-driven organisation that focuses on empowering our consumers, our community, and our people, we are pleased to have our efforts recognised through the ‘Best Work-Life Balance Strategy’ award we have received.

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

Any strategy is only as good as the people and culture that brings it to life.

For us, our winning growth culture enables our success, and it is our passionate makers and bakers who make it happen. In today’s uncertain economic landscape, we will continue to evolve to remain agile as an organisation, while responding to the needs of our people. Our mission is to strategically foster a culture that puts the wellbeing of our most valuable asset – our people, above all else.

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.

In adapting to the changing work dynamics amidst the new norm and COVID-19 challenges, putting people first should always be the main priority.

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

Never stop creating moments of joy for us and the community.

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