Sunday, 7 April 2013

22 firms honoured for improving HR practices in year-long scheme

By Janice Heng, The Straits Times, 6 Apr 2013

FROM sharing a fifth of profits with top performers to having management try out frontline jobs, the human resource practices of 22 firms were recognised at last night's inaugural Human Capital Breakthrough Award dinner.

Last year, these firms signed up for a year-long journey in which their HR practices were assessed, gaps identified and recommendations made, which the firms then put into practice.

This culminated in last night's dinner at the Ritz-Carlton, where all participants were honoured.

Five of the firms also received distinction awards. One was beauty salon chain J's Beauty International, which joined in order to turn adversity into progress.

Last year, three top staff left to become business rivals. "It was a very difficult time, but we wanted to break through and start to change," said director June Ng, 54, in Mandarin.

The small firm adopted key performance indicators and moved from ad hoc training to a structured system based on assessing each employee's needs.

It also set aside a fifth of profits to be shared among staff with good performance and introduced an incentive scheme.

The guest of honour, Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin, lauded J's Beauty in his speech last night and noted that good HR practices also help businesses' bottom lines.

Employee engagement is important as Singapore restructures towards a productivity-driven model "where we look primarily at quality of people and not just quantity", said Mr Tan.

" If your people are not well engaged, they will job-hop... If they are not motivated to strive... you can have the best machines but it will not fulfil their potential."

Sentosa Leisure Group, another distinction award winner, sets aside days when the management works with frontline staff to better appreciate the challenges they face.

Also receiving distinction awards were boutique hotel The Scarlet Hotel, aviation services and food firm Sats and the Institute of Technical Education.

The award scheme is organised by training centre Human Capital Singapore along with the Asia Competitiveness Institute of the National University of Singapore's Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy and NUS Business School.

It is supported by Spring Singapore and the Singapore Workforce Development Agency.

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