Putting the best policy forward

IT services business Anewtech Systems has adopted pro-National Service policies that have not only benefited its staff, but the wider organisation as well.

With no HR department in the small business, employees at Anewtech Systems have been more than willing to double up their positions.

Financial managers as well as directors at the IT company are also responsible for recruitment processes, drafting out roles and responsibilities, payrolls and other functions.

In fact, Anewtech’s Managing Director Terence Teo says the different departments work in tandem to boost the organisation’s HR processes.

An example is the teamwork displayed by the sales team and directors. In this case, sales employees are given the task to seek job advertising opportunities, while the directors conduct interviews.

As part of an effort to mould their employees, managers at Anewtech are also allowed to sit in for interviews conducted by directors. In turn, this helps them grasp a better understanding of the recruitment processes, which they will likely have a more formal role in later.

Duty calls

When the company started in 1999, Teo was still undergoing National Service (NS) training. Along with a few other directors, he was often called up for reservist camps both in Singapore and overseas.

“I had to prioritise protecting the country when it comes to work,” Teo shares.

This was one of a number of similar scenarios that Anewtech witnessed during its early days as a start-up, all of which had resulted in a temporary shortage of staff.

“We only had a few employees in the technical department and many of them were male graduates between the ages of 24 to 28,” Teo explains.

“Thus, our operations were easily affected when they were away for NS.”

Apart from attending regular NS duties, some staff members have also had to take further time away from work after failing the physical proficiency test.

“If they fail, they may have to attend remedial training in which they will spend even more time in camp,” Teo says.

“They would usually take up of about three weeks to a month.”

Total defence support

With 11 NS participants making up Anewtech’s current headcount, Teo has found an increasing need to implement NS-friendly leave policies that benefit both the staff involved as well Anewtech as a whole.

To encourage employees who are serving the nation to keep fit, Anewtech offers rewards of $200 in incentives to those who pass the proficiency test.

Those who require more training are also eligible for subsidised gym memberships in community centres.

In addition, Teo shares that staff who receive awards for their NS training will have those merits considered during their annual appraisals.

“This is in recognition to encourage our staff to put in their best effort during the in-camp training,” he says.

“Employees are also given a day off if they are given a good performance award by their unit.”

Anewtech takes the work-life balance of all staff seriously. On occasions, outings and excursions are organised, as well as an annual bowling competition.

“As a small firm, it is critical to constantly find ways to motivate and engage staff in order to retain them,” Teo shares.

“It is important to take care of our employees who have a challenging time juggling both work and NS duties.”

“Our company supports NS men – not because we are obligated to, but because we believe deeply that it is the right thing to do.”

In fact, as a result of their customised policies and flexible work arrangements towards NSmen, Anewtech was honoured the Total Defence Awards in 2015.

The national award recognised Anewtech along with other SMEs, large companies as well as community organisations which advocates National Service and supports fellow NSmen.

Enhanced skill sets

Since recognising the importance of taking care of NS employees, Anewtech has seen a significant positive impact on the organisation.

Teo identifies a few particular employees who were previously regulars in the Air Force and who had undergone a rigorous training schedule. He says there have been benefits for Anewtech as well as for the Defence Force.

“As a result of their training, these staff have become more careful and pay attention to details when it comes to work,” he explains.

“They are hence given heavier assignments that require a particular awareness on quality and these employees have been able to execute them very well.”

“It is times like these that show how well NS training has groomed them,” he concludes.

Backing one another

As a 23-person company in Singapore, Anewtech Systems has to ensure that the operational readiness of the organisation is not affected every time an employee takes their leave.

To counter this threat, Terence Teo, Managing Director at Anewtech, says the workforce practices job rotations. This means that employees are encouraged to cover for their colleagues when one is away for National Service, maternity leave, or for any other reason.

“This practice will help us in the long run as it ensures that our employees are well-rounded and are prepared for any future circumstances,” Teo explains.

 

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