Our (and Nettium’s) CEO, Lam Mun Choong was a keynote speaker at the 2018 Talent Ecosystem Conference, held on the 15th of August at Connexion, Bangsar South. He delivered a session on the topic of “Driving Business Outcomes by Focusing on the Employee Experience”.
Mun Choong first introduced the concept of design thinking – a process that serves as a protocol for solving problems and discovering new opportunities. Deloitte research indicates that companies where HR delivers the highest levels of value are almost 5X more likely to be using design thinking in their programmes compared to their peers.
Central Aspects of EX
When his team (Nettium) first approached the idea of designing their EX, they centered their strategy around addressing employee needs, making work more human, and to make work simpler through living out company values. Applying design thinking, his focus has been on three central aspects of the EX – culture, the workspace and technology.
Nettium’s Improved Benchmarks
Mun Choong outlined some intriguing statistics from Nettium over a 3-year period, ending 2015. While Nettium showed a 2X rise in headcount (86 to 174), the company’s productivity index went up by 2.5X, quality index by 1.4X, and customer satisfaction rose from a B- to a B+.
Nettium also showed lower absenteeism, which brought more than MYR1.36 million to their annual bottom line. A higher rate of employee advocacy was seen as well, which contributed to more than MYR600,000 in annual savings for their recruitment costs. More than 50% of all employees hired up to now have been coming in through employee referrals.
These findings have reinforced the belief that a good EX contributes significantly to the bottom line. Hence, should be approached with some rigour.
Here’s a sneak peek into the 3 central aspects of Nettium’s EX that Mun Choong shared.
The Employee Experience – Culture
There are three gaps, in particular, that Mun Choong wanted to address. First, the knowledge gap because employees often lack an awareness of the culture that the organisation needs. They are often more concerned with their own situation.
Second, the mindset gap – not everyone will believe in the culture that the organisation needs. You will, therefore, need to spend time to see how you can bridge this gap.
Finally, the behaviour gap where employees do not always incorporate the behaviours related to the culture that the organisation needs.
All 3 gaps had to be filled before focusing on communicating the importance of culture. Leaders have the responsibility to manage things operationally based on the culture they create. This involved budgets, structures they establish, as well as policies they enforce.
The Employee Experience – The Workspace
Mun Choong wanted the workplace to be employee-centric, which reflecting the company’s aspirations and values. He involved the employees from the start. The office is Instagram-able, and creates a sense of belonging and pride for all. The workspace helps greatly in employer branding.
Flexible options are present, ranging from open, team-based workspaces, stand-up meetings, sofas and cafes, recreation and nap rooms. He mentioned that people often ask about the purpose of a nap and games room – is he encouraging his people to sleep on the job, or play when they should be working? Would it not be distracting?
Mun Choong’s response was that the environment needs to be a product of the people who have to live and breathe there for a significant portion of their lives. With a 74/26 male to female ratio where the average age is 29, this is what was in demand. He trusts that people will enjoy and appreciate the environment, and trust that they will accomplish what they need to. The philosophy is, “We treat people they way they want to be treated and the way they deserve to be treated.”
Games room (there’s a PS4, pool table, and foosball table)
Yoga classes to unwind after a long day at work.
The Employee Experience – Tech
Mun Choong decided that helping managers become better coaches and mentors would be a key piece to the positive EX by providing more insight into individual strengths, motivation and stress factors. After all, Gallup research showed that managers account for up to 70 percent of variance in employee engagement.
Behavioural analytics are used to determine the cultural fit, as well as opportunities for job crafting.
Building the culture around collaboration and continuous feedback was going to help. He knew that he could allow technology to become an enabler for a whole host of things – personalised micro learning, provide real-time employee recognition, personalised rewards and flex benefits, help employees improve self-awareness and achieve their goals in real-time.
In his closing notes, he summarised that EX does help to drive better business outcomes. If employers can connect the relationship between the two strongly, they can ensure greater longevity in these campaigns and a better business all around.
This blog post showcases some key slides from Mun Choong’s keynote speech. To get the full public release set of slides, let us know your email here and we’ll email you a copy!
SelfDrvn recently held its PlaySk00L Gamification Series 2: Employee Experiences Geared for Success at SelfDrvn HQ on the 25th of July, 2018. Our participants had an engaging afternoon of learning about concepts like gamification design thinking, how to implement gamification within organisational duties, and the future of gamification in the ASEAN region.
Our Customer Success Director, Melvin Chan delivering the opening notes.
JC Ng, from our event partner Impact Volution, introducing the participants to how gamification can be implemented at work.
Our speakers line-up delivered some golden nuggets of information on gamification and its effect on organisations. Here’s a quick summary of some insights we learnt from the PlaySk00L Series 2 session!
Gamification is not all about games
You may be asking – but gamification has the word “game” in it! Well, you’re half right. As mentioned by our speaker Melvin Chan, the Customer Success Director of SelfDrvn, gamification does not necessarily need to involve complex game mechanics, such as those in modern computer games today. Gamification can be implemented on a very basic level via a rewards mechanic or leaderboard, to improve certain work (e.g. sales quotas, or resolving software bugs) or mundane office chores (e.g. refilling paper for the copier) to make them more engaging and incentivise people to continue taking positive actions.
JC engaging participants in the gamified team-building activities.
Participants used the SelfDrvn application to compete in the activities for the day.
2. A tool for enhancing the employee journey
Game thinking can be used as a guideline that serves the employee in an organisation. As with most computer games, the player is put in the boots of a Hero, who has autonomy, mastery over their roles, and are devoted to a purpose. Take Lara Croft from Tomb Raider as an example. As the main character, she has autonomy over which paths she takes, and how she takes them in the game-world, mastery over her role as a wall-climbing, puzzle-solving, trap-evading adventurer, and is devoted to the purpose of finding her long-lost father. Applied at work, this concept can evoke high-level engagement for an employee, when they are in control of the work they produce.
Our CEO, Mun Choong introducing Game Design Thinking and its application in the workplace.
3. The ASEAN market is growing
The ASEAN countries in particular have shown a strong inclination and receptiveness towards gamification in recent years. This is attributed in part by the high penetration rate of smartphones and social media in the region. The hype of gamification in the US market has somewhat fizzled out, but is just starting to spark in the ASEAN region, according to Mun Choong. This Accenture report supports the notion of gamification becoming more intertwined within workplace activities by suggesting employers to reach out to the intrinsic motivation of employees in the region, chiefly the need to belong within a community, and the chasing of status in, and outside of work. Performance management, ranking systems, and attractive incentives will not only aid in retention of current employees, but also the on-boarding of new roles.
4. Game thinking aligns personalities and career paths
In the session with Mun Choong, participants had the chance to dive deeper into their personality archetypes and personal characteristics, during the Game Design Thinking Sprint. Based on the 4 archetypes and motivations of Doers (social), Teambuilders (freedom), Visionaries (order), and Trailblazers (individual), we were all invited to explore from 12 cards in total, our personalities. As it seems, some people have different personalities at work, compared to being at home. This presented us with some food for thought: can we be truly happy if we maintain two separate personalities, depending on our environment? These personality tests can also prove useful to determine an individual’s cultural fit in an organisation, or their roles in specific departments with different requirements.
Participants identifying their personalities: are they Doers, Trailblazers, Visionaries, or Teambuilders?
SelfDrvn’s PlaySk00L Series brings together industry experts and the public to dive into current matters and topics relevant to the HR and Gamification scene. Like our Facebook page to be updated on any future events!
If you are looking to create a successful and productive team offsite, you may want to explore the following 7 ideas
- Open Communication
Announce to the team how this offsite team-building will actually improve business. Set up live business goals for the meeting – e.g. sales strategy and sales goals for the next year, new delivery of ideas, or product/service lines to roll-out.
2. Allow Time for Networking
There should be scheduled time slots throughout the offsite team-building duration to enable everyone to get to know each other. I recommend that “getting to know each other” activities need not be planned; instead teams should be doing this naturally. It could be a late evening sitting at the pool and chit-chatting, or having a round of “antakshri” or karaoke, whatever the team would like to do post the offsite day work!
Remember to set aside time for networking!
3. Build A Learning Mindset
Build their skills, and self-confidence by providing constant training. Hold weekly, or bi-monthly team workshops to teach systems and procedures for every element in your business. Teach your employees how to get the most out of the time and effort that they are putting in to reap the most rewards. Also, eliminate the need for guessing when it comes to difficult situations – create systems to specifically manage a crisis.
4. Reward the Results
Set clear and realistic targets for your employees, and keep it as transparent as possible. Targets are proven to motivate employees and give them something concrete to focus on. But don’t treat missed targets as an opportunity to punish your team; simply offer a reward (cash / kind) that will drive your team to meet the targets you set in the future. Check out this blog post for ideas on designing an effective employee rewards system.
5. Don’t Miss the Basic Needs
As an employer, the onus to provide a healthy lifestyle to employees is on you. Here are basics listed –
- Comfortable, clean and well-lit rooms and sitting place.
- Break areas.
- A place for quick power-naps.
- Flexible working schedules as the focus is on work, and not thenumber of hours.
- Robust recognition program.
Ensure the working environment is clean and comfortable to maximize employee satisfaction and productivity.
6. Offsite Events
Are overnight events allowing the team to enjoy and relax, having dinner, drinks, music etc, and truly bonding. In my experience, good teams tend to end up staying late, and talk over or brainstorming new, innovative solutions to recurring problems, and work through existing business problems. These sessions are invaluable as team members work together to work out existing problems, setting the scene for new opportunities, and building real relationships in the process.
7. Last But Not Least
Remember it’s important to keep the momentum rolling. If you fail to come out with an action plan, then you will plan to fail eventually. You may have a list of ideas from the offsite meeting, but have no clarity on executing them. Ensure that action planning is clear to all members with identified goals/actions, associated responsibilities, measurement criteria, and timelines of completion. And all of this is documented soon after the event.
This post was guest written by Saloni Kaul, a human resource specialist and corporate trainer.
People crave recognition and understanding.
It’s often the case that we’re more comfortable focusing on the negatives, what we don’t have and on what doesn’t work than we are on appreciating the positives, what we do have and on what does work. It is because of our brain’s negativity bias, our way of keeping ourselves out of harm’s way.
Naturally, if we are open to the idea of showing appreciation, it would be significantly easier if it was in relation to people we loved and cared for. In the corporate arena, it is even more challenging to show others a sense of appreciation for who they are and what they do. Do they need this? Well, ask yourself what happened the last time someone noticed something positive you did or said and mentioned it to you or others? How did it make you feel? The fact is that everyone craves not only to be understood but to be appreciated. The workplace is an environment we devote the best hours daily and also, the best years of our lives. With so much of ourselves invested in our jobs, it’s only natural that understanding, recognition and appreciation be some of the things we focus on as both giver and receiver.
This Raya, let’s look at a few simple yet effective ways we can show others that we appreciate them.
- A Raya gift hamper.
The store-bought ones are easy, convenient and presented beautifully but you could easily assemble one yourself to suit your budget and to bring a level of personalisation to the task. Remember that it’s not the size that counts – what matters is the thought that goes into the gift.
- The green packet.
Originating in the East, the red envelope or ang pow has been adopted also by other cultures including the Malay Muslims especially as part of the Eid al-Fitr, or Hari Raya, The difference is that instead of red, green packets are used, for its traditional association with Islam. Again, in a corporate setting, where numbers may be greater than in a family, this may place a lot of financial pressure on the giver but the focus is on the act of giving as opposed to the size of the gift. It’s an opportunity to get to know your colleagues a little better and these packets can be given to your colleagues’ kids.
- Put old grudges to rest.
This is perhaps truly invaluable for it provides a chance to reset and renew. Sometimes, when enough time has gone by, you can forget the reason for any fallout in the first place, with pride and ego keeping things as they are unnecessarily. In the spirit of renewal and forgiveness, the first step you take to start again, to forgive or ask for forgiveness can be indeed powerful and priceless.
- A simple thank you note.
The handwritten ones on a thoughtfully worded card or beautiful parchment may blow the receiver away. In the age of always on, social media, pings and waves, the time taken to craft something longer than a quick phrase and emoticon may indeed have the impact desired. Recognition beyond any expectation. The cost? Maybe ten dollars. The effect?
- Organised free rides home.
This would be particularly appreciated by those who rely on public transport. A free ride home, organised in advance, is a signal that you understand the individual circumstances and needs. A simple touch that can go a long way, this is once again a quick and easy to do step that can have tremendous impact.
Showing appreciation is simple. Make it about the person and their circumstance because often, the fact that it’s not a one size fits all approach is what makes it golden. Keep things simple because it works. And engagement, empowerment, recognition, reward and appreciation are not the purview of the employer alone. Every one of us is part of our organisational loop, being affected by and affecting others which means we ourselves can and should show appreciation to those within our circles of influence.
On behalf of SelfDrvn, we would like to wish all Muslims, Selamat Hari Raya dan Maaf Zahir dan Batin. To all non-Muslims, wishing you all a wonderful break and happy holidays this festive period.