SGTech’s approach to creating an inclusive tech community

Yean Cheong, SGTech, asks how HR can integrate DE&I principles into everyday life in the technology sector, with the help of leadership.
By: | June 24, 2024

At SGTech, we are on a mission to create a workplace where everyone feels valued, respected, and empowered to do their best. As the world shifts towards emphasising Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), we are asking ourselves: How do we make these principles more than just words and truly integrate them into our everyday work life?

In my role as the Executive Director for SGTech, I strongly believe that leadership sets the tone for inclusivity. At SGTech, we are a diverse bunch, coming from different backgrounds, experiences, and skill sets, all united by our shared vision.

We are committed to continuous learning and transformation, emphasising the importance of thinking differently, keeping an open mind, and being receptive to emerging trends locally and globally. Inclusion is integral to our organisation’s ethos as we build our Secretariat and tech community.

Why Embracing Diversity Fuels Innovation

Innovation lies at the heart of the tech industry.

From breakthrough software solutions to cutting-edge hardware advancements, innovation drives growth and competitiveness. However, true innovation thrives in environments where diverse perspectives converge. When individuals from different backgrounds, cultures, and experiences collaborate, they bring a rich variety of ideas to the table.

Implementing DEI initiatives ensure that tech companies harness the full spectrum of human creativity and ingenuity. By fostering diverse teams, organisations can tackle complex challenges with fresh perspectives, leading to more innovative products and services. This culture of innovation not only sustains the company’s competitive edge but also propels it towards future growth and success.

Talent Acquisition and Retention

Attracting and retaining top talent is a perennial challenge for tech companies. In an industry characterised by fierce competition for skilled professionals, DEI initiatives can serve as a powerful magnet for talent. Prospective employees are increasingly drawn to companies that prioritise diversity, equity, and inclusion.

SGTech is dedicated to enabling anyone who wishes to join the tech workforce, irrespective of their current qualifications, skill sets, gender, culture, ethnicity, or age. This commitment also extends to our team at SGTech, ensuring that we embody the inclusive values we advocate for.

Drawing from experience, achieving inclusion requires a multifaceted approach. In fact, we suggest pushing for skill-based hiring, where individuals are evaluated based on their competencies rather than traditional qualifications. This approach promotes diversity and ensures that the workforce is equipped with the necessary skills for the job.

Additionally, cultivating an attitude of lifelong learning within the organisation is crucial. This involves encouraging employees to continuously develop their skills and knowledge, fostering a culture where learning is valued and supported at all levels. These efforts can help create a more inclusive and dynamic work environment where individuals are empowered to reach their full potential.

Inspiring Inclusion within SGTech

To inspire inclusion within SGTech, we have implemented several key strategies.

We have a clear organisational structure and unbiased HR hiring policies to ensure fair hiring practices. This includes defining roles and responsibilities to support hiring based on the right skills. We want to continuously foster a culture of learning and development, which we achieve through year-long programmes that encourage and reward upskilling and reskilling, enabling skills exchange, training, and talent development within teams and across the organisation.

“Drawing from experience, achieving inclusion requires a multifaceted approach. In fact, we suggest pushing for skill-based hiring, where individuals are evaluated based on their competencies rather than traditional qualifications.” -Yean Chong, Executive Director, SGTech.

At SGTech, we keep our finger on the pulse of evolving workplace dynamics and always aim to walk the talk. Currently, our permanent hybrid working model fosters a more flexible and adaptable work environment and significantly facilitates the seamless transition for mothers returning to full-time employment, thereby promoting inclusivity and flexibility within our workforce.

We recognised the importance of flexible work arrangements even ahead of the most recent tripartite guidelines, where Singapore will mandate all employers to establish a process for employees to request flexible work arrangements. The guidelines aim to address Singapore’s tight labour market and ageing workforce, facilitating the continued employment of caregivers and seniors who wish to remain in the workforce.

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In addition, we also work on maintaining a workforce that spans a wide range of ages, from fresh graduates to individuals in their post-50s, and welcome interns from Institutes of Higher Learning. We recognise and value the skills and experience that each of our colleagues brings to the table, fostering an environment where everyone feels valued and included.

Our goal is to build a lifelong learning and growth culture where every individual feels valued, respected, and empowered to contribute their best.

About the Author: Yean Cheong is the Executive Director of SGTech.

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