Updating Singapore companies’ HR policies to keep up with times: Is it mission impossible?

HR policies

Updating your HR policies may not be a mission impossible.

As Singapore progresses forward, it is time we ensure our HR policies are on par with our growth objectives.

In 2015, our small city-state Singapore achieved a significant milestone and turned 50 years young.

Affectionately referred to as the ‘little red dot’.

Singapore has certainly gone through her fair share of trials and tribulations.

Consequently, we’ve defied odds to emerge as the ‘Gateway to Asia’.

They are due to the thriving and competitive economy that rivals our neighbours and other developed countries.

Also, she ranks as the second most competitive nation in the world, to Switzerland’s first place.

Moreover, our productivity level has improved by 0.7% year-to-year in 2016.

This only means we have much more to do.

We have enjoyed low unemployment rates in the past decade.

However, rapid globalisation and a greying population have posed threats to her already fragile state of employment.

It has given rise to the much-contested population white paper the Singapore Government published in 2013.

The paper mapped out how our ‘little red dot’ is poised to take in about 3 million immigrants—a little less than half of her projected total population by 2030.

What’s more, Singapore’s first cohort of Baby Boomers reached its retirement age in 2012, giving way to the next generation of workers.

Workforce Diversity & Change

Singapore has such a diverse workforce.

Therefore, the current Ministry of Manpower’s Human Resources (HR) guidelines may not be sufficient. Primarily to compete internationally to attract and sustain the right talents.

So how can Singapore’s workplace adapt and achieve a more balanced work-play lifestyle?

Can we achieve that while maintaining its competitiveness?

Here are 3 easy ways how your company can blaze the trail and ensure that your HR policies are law-abiding, economically sustainable and attractive to the right talents.

HR Policy #1: Inculcate a happy workplace

That means productive employees

The Swedes call it fika. The Danes call it hygge living.

In brief, it means drinking coffee, savouring sweet treats and light conversation.

In other words, it’s a custom that is as much part of the working day of a Scandinavian as replying to emails and attending meetings.

If you think that taking a full hour to enjoy lunch or taking frequent coffee breaks will decrease productivity, think again.

Contrarily, 4 of the top 10 most productive countries in the world are those with the shortest average working hours—including Sweden and Denmark.

Discourage the ‘worker martyr’ or workaholic mentality.

Support your employees to take regular coffee breaks and disconnect from work after office hours.

Go further and implement mandatory leave.

This way, not only will employees achieve quality work-life balance, they will be less stressed and more energised.

They may even come to appreciate the company’s efforts.

On the flip side, your company will decrease turnover rates and boost productivity with creative, happy, loyal and motivated employees.

Also, studies have shown that companies with highly engaged employees outperform those with dissatisfied staffers by 202%.

HR Policy #2: Prioritise emotional intelligence

That brings positive and inspiring employees

Hiring someone who’s top of their class with sterling academic achievements is obsolete.

As the saying goes, people don’t leave companies. They leave bad managers.

Therefore, you must combat this by identifying and promoting talented employees. So that, as effective communicators, they inspire their colleagues through their dedication and determination.

You may also want to start, including personality tests during interviews to better understand a potential candidate.

Bolster this with a comprehensive onboarding programme.

This allows managers to evaluate new hires.

Particularly, beyond work competency but also on problem-solving abilities, cohesiveness with colleagues and other soft skills.

This way, you’d have started cultivating a work-friendly and engaging workplace. At any rate, leads to improved retention rates while lowering the costs of workforce.

HR Policy #3: Include talent incubation

Through succession programmes

The top factors for unhappy Singapore workers (cited multiple times) include:

  • the lack of training, and
  • the lack of career advancement opportunities

In fact, this has not gone unnoticed by the Singapore Government who recognises its significance.

That’s why they have created a unique funding programme for it—SkillsFuture.

Therefore, take advantage of the support provided by the government.

Then, include in-house training programmes and customise career succession planning according to the employee’s capabilities.

Build a 2-way channel that allows employees to provide feedback on how best they can progress within the company.

The one-size-fits-all solution is no longer relevant in today’s knowledge economy.

An employee with clear standing with their employer is more confident and assured.

Thereby, they are more determined and motivated to grow with the company.

It is an innovative yet straightforward HR solution.

With these updates, your company is ready to attract not only the crème de la crème of talents. But also sustain creative, productive, dedicated and engaged employees.

Indeed, updating your HR policies is not mission impossible at all.

Share on twitter
Share on facebook
Amos Tay

Amos Tay

Amos Tay is the Senior Partner of Hatch Asia. He is a Gallup-Certified CliftonStrength Coach and lead our executive search, coaching and expand our partnership development across the region.

Suggested Articles