PwC Singapore won the silver award for “Excellence in Workplace Wellbeing” at the HR Excellence Awards 2021, Singapore.

In this interview, Chua Chin San, Partner, Head of Human Capital, PwC Singapore (picture above)shares the importance of the role of leaders in promoting well-being at work and in empowering their talents so that there is a sense of motivation, commitment and belonging to the organization.

Q What is your organization’s winning HR strategy and what steps have you taken along the way?

Anchored by our global strategy, “The New Equation”, we are committed to building a diverse community where people truly belong, where we prioritize their well-being and empower them to be their best. themselves at work.

One of our many initiatives is our wellness webinars. Every month, we host at least two webinars focusing on different aspects of well-being (financial, physical, mental, emotional) to support our employees professionally and personally.

We saw record participation rates, with our employees devoting more than 300 hours to finding new ways to improve their well-being. Additionally, we have launched a “Special Care Fund” where we are able to provide our people with better mental wellness support with access to certified psychologists, counselors or therapists.

A majority (74%) of our employees surveyed anonymously said they “strongly agree” that these professionals help create a safe environment and are great listeners.

Q How has this strategy helped you achieve your HR priorities, and what role has management played in helping to make this initiative a reality?

Our leadership has always been an enabling force in our company to enable our employees to perform at their best at work. In addition to championing our inclusive culture, they are our Wellness Advocates who are accessible and easily engaged with by our employees.

To meet the ever-changing challenges of COVID-19, our administration, human capital and GTS (our IT team) leaders regularly work together to ensure that the health, safety and resilience of our employees are priority.

Our human capital team is led by our firm’s leadership team who are setting the tone at the top by encouraging us through this unprecedented time. time and helps us innovate new ways to encourage the well-being of our employees by developing new working styles, conducting open and transparent conversations and calibrating targeted policies.

Q Unexpected roadblocks are an integral part of executing any initiative. What were some of the obstacles you and your team encountered during the deployment, and how did you manage to overcome them?

When we first moved to our new digitally compatible three years ago, some of our employees needed more support to adapt to new ways of working. In many ways, this put us in a relatively better position to quickly transition to a fully flexible working model when COVID-19 hit.

Although some took longer to adapt, most of our digitally compatible employees were already accustomed to using our technology suite, made up of productivity and collaboration tools in their daily work.

Naturally, we still had to work with our colleagues in IT to ensure that technology and systems could perform at the level required, and we had to work closely with our colleagues in communications to keep our employees engaged and informed during this time. .

We have also made sure to focus more on caring for our employees, especially those who have not been able to be with friends and family for long periods of time.

Q As evidenced by the victory, this initiative has clearly produced amazing results. What was your game plan for measuring ROI? What achievements can you share with us on this front?

We listen to the needs of our employees through qualitative and quantitative metrics to help us make data-driven decisions as we become increasingly human and technology driven.

More than four in five respondents (85%) to our internal wellness survey responded positively to our approach to flexible working arrangements, coaching, culture and open communication.

Care packages, work-from-home resources and our employee assistance program have also proven helpful, as well as our COVID-19 support in the form of a special care fund for financial support and well-being. to be mental.

Although well-being is not something we can easily put a number to, we realized that we had an impact in creating a supportive environment for our employees when they became more and more engaged in our wellness programs.As a proxy, we noted that participants gave an average rating of 3.5/4 in their rating of the usefulness of the wellness webinars and the likelihood that they would recommend the talks to friends/colleagues. .

Q We now see HR managing portfolios that were previously seen as falling short of their job description. In your opinion, what are the top three skills and qualities of a successful CHRO today?

The role of HR continues to evolve beyond its traditional portfolio.

HR leaders must now be great contributors to the business, which means bringing more life to business partnerships by strengthening company culture, employee experience and empowering leaders to bring out the best. of their staff.

Our human capital team has played a key role in managing the COVID-19 situation for our staff. Together with our communications colleagues, we created a COVID-19 portal where customer service managers were the first points of contact for our employees and worked closely with the business continuity team to develop policies.

The PwC mindset and approach is to constantly adapt, level up, reinvent the possible and bring others with you. CHROs must continue to be goal- and values-driven to effectively manage change, diverse responsibilities, and empower its employees to develop interdisciplinary skills to help them grow their careers.

Picture / Provided

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