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NKF ARA Singapore diversity strategy
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How Singapore’s National Kidney Foundation brings out the best of diversity

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A four-year focus devoted to diversity and inclusion among the workforce saw employee engagement go up from 4.59 to 4.85, winning Singapore’s National Kidney Foundation (NKF) the gold award at the inaugural Asia Recruitment Awards in the nation.

2009 saw the launch of NKF’s employee engagement programme on the 5Cs – commitment, communication, compassion, collaboration and consistency, with the aim of engaging each staff member to be a diversity ambassador.

From anniversary celebrations, compulsory induction, to awareness programmes and setting up of communication channels, no efforts are spared in getting the message across.

Leaders were given diversity training, as part of which they led cross-department projects for fundraising and awareness.

In addition, the CEO walked the talk, by scheduling meetings with staff regularly, and visiting two of the 26 dialysis centres once every week. He also gave his mobile number, encouraging everyone to learn it and call him any time.

Such initiatives evolved to Kopi with CEO, recognition programmes such as the “going the extra mile” for display of individual excellence, and helping foreign employees with tips on managing their finances.

Apart from the rise registered in employee engagement, the firm’s latest survey also saw a rise in happiness, pride, and helped point out further areas of improvement, such as training and development opportunities and quality of patient care.

Irene Leng, director of HR, commented: “We are committed to an inclusive and diverse work environment –  one that is built on fairness, merit and respect.”

“Only through this can our employees perform to their fullest to benefit the needy patients in the community.”

ALSO READ: Certis CISCO Security’s employee referral programme awakens staff spirit

Winning silver at the awards ceremony was Nielsen with its fast forward programme, targeted at leveraging internships to shape talent ahead of the curve while instituting diversity.

The revamped programme saw top performing interns being offered full-time jobs upon completion of internship, as well as the recognition of internship tenure in length of service to hasten promotion cycles.

This was enabled through a comprehensive 70:20:10 learning model involving guided on-the-job training, task shadowing through peer mentoring, business case presentations, and more.

The result? Not just a productivity increase among interns but a huge reduction in the time to fill entry-level roles, from 30 to 10 days. Besides, the better job fits proved immeasurable to the recruiting team.

Joan Koh, MD for Nielsen Singapore and Malaysia, spoke out on the team’s success: “Nielsen as a global company ensures every graduate intake has a combination of talented individuals from all walks of life -uni or poly, business or non-business courses, varied interests and potential.”

“We won this award because we truly celebrate the value each talent brings to the business. The Fast Forward Programme is just one of the many initiatives we have that allow associates to be themselves, find opportunities to make a difference and drive their own career!”

ALSO READ: Singapore’s best new recruitment agencies of 2015

At bronze-winner Kadence International, the communication culture is the bedrock of the firm’s inclusion strategy, with the onboarding starting even before the interview.

Every job applicant gets a personalised response, irrespective of the strength of their application, with a deep focus on who gets selected to be part of “Kadence’s Trust Cycle.”

A week before joining date, new hires are taken out for a drink. On day one, they can expect their computer, email address, phone, seating plan and desk already in place, along with a full inbox since they are included on email correspondence as soon as they sign the contract.

Each “Welcome Week” is specifically tailored to the level and experience of the new colleague, but typically each one includes interactive discussions such as a meeting with the MD, an introduction to the new colleague’s mentor, joining the office WhatsApp group, and all-staff lunch.

While the Welcome Week is not the end of things, it is representative of the broader inclusive culture at Kadence, and has ensured enviable retention rates for the firm.

The team has now grown to about 25, with a commensurate growth in revenue and profitability.

Greg Clayton, managing director, Kadence International, affirms: “We are proud and dedicated towards having a diverse and inclusive workforce.”

“Having employees from a variety of backgrounds brings about a myriad of solutions, supporting productivity, creativity, and employee loyalty whilst meeting the best interest of our clients.”

Images: Asia Recruitment Awards, Singapore

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