Creating a culture of learning for employees makes them more engaged and satisfied knowing that they have constant opportunities to increase their knowledge, enhance career opportunities, and ultimately improve the employee experience, shares Irene Tan, VP HR, AETOS.
The Employee Experience Awards 2022, Singapore, saw the team at AETOS taking home the bronze award for Best In-House Certification Programme.
In this interview, Irene Tan, Vice President, Human Resource, AETOS, shares how a culture of learning is what drives engagement and satisfaction among its employees. One thing she also highlights is – do not deny employees' requests to attend a course or certification that is irrelevant to their scope of work.
"Allowing employees to explore their interests might lead to the discovery of passion, leading to cross deployments of job functions and employees excelling in the new job function. Employees will also appreciate the company’s effort in supporting their decision to pursue other opportunities apart from what they are currently doing," she notes.
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?
AETOS views professional and lifelong education as the essential foundation of capability development through benchmarked standards of excellence and constantly seeks opportunities to develop curated courses to raise the standards of our employees.
Developing any new changes or strategies amidst the COVID-19 pandemic proved to be challenging, at the same time, it is incredibly satisfying to see the results at the end of the day, and the strong partnership forged within the company and with our partners. So by having our strategy recognised, it gives us great confidence and we are honoured to have received the award.
Q Understanding and meeting your employees’ needs and expectations is never an easy feat. How did you identify the business & employee needs, and craft the perfect solution?
In AETOS, we believe that there is no perfect solution, there are only better solutions. We do constant benchmarking of our certifications and courses against industry leaders and regulatory frameworks, this is to ensure our business competitiveness in the market and at the same time, equip employees with future-ready skillsets.
Apart from benchmarking, we gather feedback from our employees through end-of-course surveys, employee engagement surveys, and other ad-hoc surveys to make constant improvements to our products and services. By doing so, it allows our company to understand what employees like about our courses while also learning what employees feel is lacking. This way, employees will feel included in the process, ultimately improving the employee experience.
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.
Having a robust and award-winning in-house certification programme instils confidence in our employees to be constantly learning, upskilling, and reskilling through our in-house programmes. Through supporting employees in their learning and development, the main ROI for AETOS is having a workforce that is highly skilled and more productive. Employee retention rates are also positively affected as they are more likely to pursue and develop their careers in an organisation that provides adequate support.
Apart from traditional classroom learning, we have enabled our employees to learn on the go throughout the e-learning platform. By creating a culture of learning for employees, they are more engaged and satisfied knowing that they have constant opportunities to increase their knowledge, enhance career opportunities, and ultimately increase the employee experience in the process.
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?
Recognise and give positive recognition to employees who have completed a course or certification. Employees feel more valued when they understand the purpose of their roles through training and enhancing their skills. It also provides them with growth and development opportunities, motivating them to both upgrade themselves and achieve great results.
Do not deny employees' requests to attend a course or certification that is irrelevant to their scope of work. Allowing employees to explore their interests might lead to the discovery of passion, leading to cross deployments of job functions and employees excelling in the new job function. Employees will also appreciate the company’s effort in supporting their decision to pursue other opportunities apart from what they are currently doing.
Q If you were to reflect, what is one thing you’d do differently in executing this strategy?
In hindsight, we will manage the communication plans differently. Whenever there are new courses or certifications, they were only communicated internally. As a public and in-house approved training organization, members of public are able to sign up for some of our courses too.
We are currently in the midst of partnering with industry and learning institutions partners to share our offerings and at the same time level up our employees through industrial attachments and courses from our partners.
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.
AETOS will continue to strengthen our current in-house certification programmes as our priority. We are also exploring opportunities to collaborate with industrial partners and institutions to provide innovative offerings that are unique to AETOS and specific to the industry.
Apart from technical skill courses, we are also looking to develop more courses that are targeted in developing our employees’ critical soft skills. Such courses will allow us to grow our employees holistically. By equipping them with relevant and future-ready skillsets in areas such as digital literacy, analytics, and personal development, we aim to create a well-rounded, cross-trained workforce that is more efficient, productive, and can benefit from career development.
Q 10 years down the line, where do you see the future of HR?
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a forced acceleration of digitalisation and HR needs to keep up with the pace of acceleration. From redesigning and formalising hybrid working arrangements, the ever-changing new trends within the HR landscape, new HRIS software and technologies, and caring for employees' mental health that comes together with the fast-paced change.
From what we are already seeing, many current HR processes and workflows will be either replaced by systems or automated by scripts. HR practitioners must now embrace technology and the benefits it brings along. With the introduction of technology, many mundane tasks can be automated resulting in HR having more time for strategic planning. It is important for HR practitioners to have basic literacy of current and emerging technologies to be a strategic partner to other departments.
Image / Shutterstock
Read more interviews on why organisations have won trophies for their HR practices - head over to our Winning Secrets section!