Paulene Chong, MCC Singapore

MCC Singapore is a subsidiary of the Metallurgical Corporation of China (MCC Group), a Fortune 500 company listed in both the Shanghai and Hong Kong Stock Exchanges. MCC Singapore won the bronze award for 'Best In-House Learning Academy' at the Employee Experience Awards 2022, Singapore.

On the achievement, we interview Paulene Chong, Senior Manager, Human Resources, MCC Singapore (pictured above, second from right) to find out how MCC School (China Jingye Engineering Corp) has been able to advocate lifelong learning, with the support of leaders and heads of departments in taking up mentorship roles. 

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

In MCC Singapore, we always believe in the value of learning and development (L&D) for our employees.

Since 2016, we have been leveraging on digitalisation to transform the way how learning can be carried out, where we have recognised the importance of having an inhouse e-learning academy to advocate lifelong learning which became key towards our successful L&D strategy. The inhouse e-learning academy, MCC School, became extremely critical when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world hard; but our employees' learning journeys weren't impacted at all as we shifted all learning materials online right beforehand to enable everyone to continue their development anywhere, anytime.

With the continuous learning and development culture and opportunities in place, the component of employee value proposition (EVP) encompasses different factors for continuous learning, improvement, and knowledge sharing that enables us to effectively identify, reskill and retain our talents while ensuring our company stays competitive in the dynamic global economy. 

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

Employees always come first before anything! As the world evolves so quickly, employees' expectations are always changing too. While we continue to explore ways to meet their needs, allow me to share some practices that worked well for our company.

First of all, we see employees as our greatest asset. Investing time and money to enable them to acquire new skills or upskill should be considered as an investment instead of cost. Next, we involved leaders and heads of department to take up the mentorship role in employees' L&D journey, and help develop a clear learning roadmap that integrates into the employee’s job role and career development. Last but not least, we present benefits to employees, allowing them to understand these are relevant and related to their personal growth and development. 

At this stage, HR involvement is important to encourage and inspire positive thinking and attitude in the workplace.

Q How did the strategy add to the overall employee experience in your organisation? 

It is a war for talent right now in the market, every single company is competing for talents, and this is why employee experience (EX) has been so important for us. From hire to retire, we integrate L&D in every stage of an employee’s employment journey with us. Starting from a series of informative and structured onboarding programmes to get new employees to understand the company’s direction to individual responsibilities that create a sense of confidence and commitment to the company, and what lies ahead.

Employees need to have new ideas to improve, expand, and enhance their daily tasks and develop new skillsets to keep themselves excited and competitive in their job. Therefore, building a continuous learning workplace is important as it helps to innovate fresh ideas and expectations for our employees. 

Q Could you offer some recommendations to your peers across industries while implementing something similar for their own EX foundation? 

Having the buy in of your employees is the ultimate key towards all successful strategies.

No strategy can succeed without the support of the key stakeholders which mainly refers to employees when we talk about implementation in the workplace. Anticipate challenges such as resistance to change, conflict arising due to different perspectives from individual, and be ready to resolve them at the initial stage with a comprehensive action plan. Get prepared to have more personnel be involved as well, engaging line managers is extremely crucial as they are the ones who meet with the employees on daily basis.

Basically, our managers are our frontline soldiers when comes to collecting feedback and addressing employee’s concerns and queries. All in all, employees' engagement and connection is at the core of it!

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

There's nothing more powerful than working together with likeminded people who share the same vision as we do!

While we continuously promote a lifelong sharing, and learning & development culture within our company, we hope to share and learn from others on their best practices as well! We are ready to be inspired and work hand-in-hand with likeminded people to build an active, resilient HR community to inspire industry and society in creating a new vision and future together. 

Q Looking ahead, how is the organisation going to take this winning strategy higher and further in the coming years? 

Continuing to leverage on technology is key as technological innovations and advancements provide us with the opportunity to streamline employees' learning and development process. Further enhancements on creating value shall push us further to achieve our goal. Learning from anywhere and everywhere is made possible now and as a step forward, we want to achieve it under the new normal that employees don’t see learning as a task, but as an integration to their daily lives. 

Riding on the power of artificial intelligence that is able to analyse massive data volumes, interpret thousands of information pieces, and offer near-human experience through bots, it enables us to effectively identify individual interests leading us to drive a personalised learning experience for every employee. 

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

It is foreseeable that the future of HR will become more digital, and data-driven with more companies embracing on digital transformation.

HR functions will be empowered with and benefit from AI technology. With the support of big data, accurate analysis on an employee’s behaviour and performance will be generated. This will help to analyse and organise people-centric data such as performance, behaviour, and talent management. With that, the core competencies of HR shall gradually shift to analytics skills that enable business insights and enhanced decision-making. HR's role will become more exciting than ever!

Photo / Provided (featuring the winning MCC Singapore team at the Employee Experience Awards 2022, Paulene Chong featured second from right)

Read more interviews on why organisations have won trophies for their HR practices - head over to our Winning Secrets section!  

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