People-centric Sime Darby Property leads employees with mental health awareness at the forefront

Malaysia's leading property developer sees their employees' mental wellbeing as a priority.
By: | January 13, 2021

Mental health in the workplace has long been a taboo subject despite the advantages a positive work environment brings to not just the employees but the organisation as well. Recognising the importance of creating a balanced and positive workplace that emphasises on mental health awareness, Malaysia’s leading property developer Sime Darby Property (the Group) has embarked on a journey to address this topic for the overall betterment of its employees and the Group as a whole. Undoubtedly, the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic had only accelerated the need to implement initiatives regarding this subject, and this year Sime Darby Property has launched several programmes.

In March, when Malaysia was almost completely shut down from the various stages of the Movement Control Order (MCO), Sime Darby Property’s Human Resources Team (HR Team) stepped up and introduced the Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) to help mitigate its employees’ concerns and to address their mental and psychological, physical and financial issues in a structured and holistic manner.

“We are taking lessons from the many reported cases of how the MCO has taken a toll on Malaysian’s mental health. Many are finding it hard to cope with the movement restriction and economic hardship related to the COVID-19 outbreak. As an employer, it is our responsibility to provide support to employees who now on top of managing their existing stressors, must take into account job security, financial stability and other factors while working from home,” says Sime Darby Property Chief People Officer Nurashikhin Md Sharif.

 “Mental health is a subject that is generally avoided, and many affected people have continued to suffer in silence due to the lack of exposure to available help and support platforms. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit us hard, we at Sime Darby Property stepped up to fill the void,” she adds.

Jalinan Nurani: Ensuring Workplace Wellbeing

Sime Darby Property’s HR Team had rolled-out several timely initiatives to mitigate employees’ many concerns. This includes Jalinan Nurani, a digital well-being programme that provides an extensive support circle which caters to the emotional and psychological needs of its over 1,500 employees.

A joint-effort with Naluri Hidup, a healthcare software solutions provider, Jalinan Nurani is Sime Darby Property’s first venture into providing a digital assistance programme for employees to raise awareness of mental and physical health issues, especially during the on-going COVID-19 pandemic.

“Jalinan Nurani is a digital service platform from which participants can learn and improve their mental, physical and even financial well-being. This digital programme is extended to all our employees and their respective immediate family members at no charge,” explains Nurashikhin, who has over 25 years of experience in the human resources field.

The programme allows employees access to various health coaches namely psychologists, medical advisors, physical coaches, pharmacists, as well as tools like food and thought journals, and digital modules to help them on their journey towards mental health and self-betterment.

The platform provides self-assessment and on-site screening for users, and even gives proactive identification of at-risk employees. It also has a crisis hotline, digital coaching platform, remote therapy, on-site face-to-face therapy, and critical incident crisis management.

Participants may choose to embark on a four-month Digital Coaching journey which connects them to a team of certified professionals, as well as digital behavioural tools. Using the programme, the participants can assess and better understand their stress and anxiety levels, as well as stay committed to their newly formed positive habits.

“We believe that the privacy and confidentiality offered by this programme allows our employees to be more open with their mental health status and seek the help and treatment they require,” says Nurashikhin, adding more Sime Darby Property employees are beginning to acknowledge and be aware of their mental, emotional and psychological health status.

“Our employees are now more open discuss these topics and most importantly, know that there is help and support available for them and their family members as and when they need it,” she says.

Embracing the New Norm and Going Digital

Even before the launch of the digital platform, the Sime Darby Property’s Group Human Resources and Corporate Communications departments have organised yearly wellness programmes for its employees.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic and MCO have redirected the company to digitalise its plans to further focus on its employees’ mental health well-being this year. As part of its efforts to improve operational efficiency, Sime Darby Property had recently also launched the first phase of HR On-Cloud (HROC), an integrated cloud-based solution to implement HR management system. This new platform has without a doubt improved the level of efficiency of not just the HR Team but all employees as well.

“We wanted to digitally transform our HR capabilities to carry out comprehensive HR work processes as well as employee empowerment activities. The new cloud-based platform allows our people to adopt a digital approach in their day-to-day activities relating to human resources as all information is available at their fingertips, on mobile and desktop applications,” explains Nurashikhin.

The HROC focuses on areas such as HR Service Delivery, Talent Management, Workforce Management, Administration HR and more. There was also an instant RM$1.9million (US$466, 258) benefit realisation of shared services fee on the first year of implementation due to the termination of outsourced services, and the return of HR capabilities to in-house by maintaining the existing manpower.

“In summary, the new digital transformation has enabled us to reduce time for key HR transaction processes, improve productivity, availability of management information and ultimately to deliver value-added services and improve overall employee experience,” shares Nurashikhin.

As Sime Darby Property navigates through these challenging and unprecedented times, Nurashikhin believes that the employees must be ready to embrace the “new realities” fast and be accepting of digitalisation.

“It is a paradigm shift of mindsets and we have found creative ways of doing things effectively. What worked in the past may no longer be relevant now, and we encouraged our employees to accept the new reality,” she shares.

Sime Darby Property is a leading property developer with a long-standing track record of developing sustainable communities for over 47 years.  With 24 active townships anddevelopments, Sime Darby Property has a wide reach that encompasses assets and operations across the country as well as in the United Kingdom. Its presence in the UK is known through the iconic Battersea Power Station Project in central London which is being developed jointly by a Malaysian consortium of which includes Sime Darby Property as a party.

As a responsible corporate player, Sime Darby Property and its philanthropic arm Yayasan Sime Darby (YSD) actively roll out various initiatives to assist the underprivileged communities living within and nearby its townships across Malaysia.  A multi award-winning property group with numerous international and local accolades, Sime Darby Property is the only Malaysian property developer to be selected as an index component of Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI) for two consecutive years in 2018 and 2019. For more information,  visit