Five things we learned about... employee engagement

Key takeaways from HRM Asia’s recent Employee Engagement and Experience Congress.

In today’s disrupted landscape, there is an undeniable war for the best talent. Any company wishing to survive – much less have a competitive edge – needs to consider strategies for attracting and retain the best performers.

At the second Employee Experience & Engagement Congress, more than which took place on November 28 and 29, HR professionals came together to hear from thought leaders share their insights and experiences about maximising employee engagement and curating a positive employee experience. Read on to find out about the key highlights.  


  1. Open and transparent communication is vital for strong employee engagement
    Sandeep Girotra, Head of HR, APAC, at DaVita Healthcare, noted that effective communications leads to higher engagement, and thus greater alignment to an organisation’s goals and priorities.

    In terms of developing an international communications strategy, “the only thing that works is to be fair and transparent with your people,” he said, advising that it is particular important to develop a robust communications strategy during tough times.


  1. How to keep millennials engaged
    With this generation of employees already comprising the largest in Singapore’s workforce, Anthony Keh, Deputy Director of Human Resources at the Singapore University of Technology and Design, noted that it would be important for companies to create a working environment where they feel engaged and valued.

    How best to do that? By remembering that “millennials don’t work for you, they work with you.”

    “They want equal access: to have a stake in the shared landscape, by taking on shared responsibility,” he explained.


  1. Small, personalised touches make for big wins
    Bryden Toh, a VP of HR at Bread Talk highlighted that curating a positive employee experience, with the intention of increasing engagement, is about frequency, and winning over the “hearts” of your employees with small touches.

    For instance, celebrating a few big occasions over the year – such as birthdays or mother’s day -- will not cost as much as a grand dinner & dance gala, but still provide a personal touch through things like birthday cards and cakes, which will make employees feel recognised and appreciated.


  1. Follow up on feedback

    Employee engagement surveys are a key way to gather feedback from employees, but to craft one that is effective, it is important to implement regular, and relevant, follow-ups, explained Joycelyn Chan, HR Director at the Dairy Farm Group.

    To do this effectively, it’s vital to obtain leadership buy-in before embarking on any survey process. Chan also advised forming  taskforces to develop and implement action plans.

    “Engagement is everyone’s responsibility,” she noted.


  1. Employer branding is ultimately about employee experience and engagement.

    At Grab, employer branding isn’t just about setting tones, sharing messages and being active on social media, explained Hunter Morgan, Head of People Analytics.

    “It's about understanding and engaging your employees,” he said, adding that this was especially crucial in the tech industry, where there is a constant war for talent.

    But to develop a robust employer brand, you must first take time to define what you want to achieve through it. The team at Grab spent six months going across the region, mapping out what was most consistent through simple questions.


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