Pua is the HR head at CashShield – a software security firm which has earned an incredibly 4.8 star rating on review site Glassdoor. Here, she opens up about the company’s incredible achievement.
HRD: How would you define the company culture at CashShield?
PCY: We have an open, cohesive and familial culture. People in the company respect, care and help one another. Such cohesiveness extends beyond work to personal matters, where employees see each other not just as colleagues, but as friends who can hang out after work or on weekends, share personal stories and woes with and engage in similar hobbies together.
In addition, something rare amongst technology companies – CashShield has an equal male to female ratio amongst both the management and the employees. This definitely extends to help foster a feeling of equality amongst all in the company, with no preferential treatment or biases.
HRD: What steps does the organisation take to build and maintain this culture?
PCY: We build a culture based on a balance of trust, a time for seriousness and a time for fun; which is rather challenging as this often needs to be communicated clearly and in the right manner.
Through this culture that we like to build, we ensure that adequate empowerment is given to each individual. This way, the employees will feel a sense of trust and responsibility when making a decision.
Being in the HR department, we constantly remind ourselves that we are the bridge between the management and employees; and to create this trust, we must give employees the assurance that we are one where they can entrust us with problems they face at work.
Furthermore, we ensure that the culture is built and maintained through understanding their needs and giving them the guidance in how they can resolve problems they may face during work through active listening and asking them questions. We also encourage a culture of providing constructive feedback within the organisation as this will help individual to understand how they can better improve themselves and learn together as a whole.
Lastly, the fun part is where we regularly dedicate 2 hours every other week (usually on Friday afternoons) to play sports together! This not only helps encourage employees to stay healthy, but also serves as an opportunity where everyone from different teams can come together for a friendly game and interact with each other.
HRD: Are there any particularly unique or effective initiatives in place at CashShield?
PCY: We put in conscious effort to regularly connect all the employees together during work hours through weekly activities – including company lunches, birthday celebrations, playing sports or team games. It would probably seem incredible that work regularly ends early on Fridays so that we can play sports or games, but we believe that this is important for everyone to create and develop deeper bonds with each other.
At the same time, we believe in ensuring that people are doing the right things, instead of doing things right. For example, rather than enforce a policy of reporting to work on the dot or having an OT culture, we are more focused on ensuring that everyone maximizes their time and effort on important projects whenever necessary. There is a high level of trust that each employee is mature enough to produce good work on their own time and no micro-managing is required.
Consequently, we do see that there is an increase in productivity, and that employees feel a sense of trust from the management, and a responsibility to get work done more effectively, as well as the opportunity to work closely with everyone else through better understanding.
HRD: What advice would you give to other HR professionals who want to improve their reputation among employees?
PCY: A company functions like a massive machine, where employees are the driving force that keeps it moving; however, do not treat and view them only as the nuts and bolts, engaging them to do manual tasks only.
HR professionals have to constantly remember that they are always the bridge between the management and employees and should not be siding either side. Trust is something that is not easy to gain from employees – especially when they feel that the HR is always part of the management and therefore do not feel ‘safe’ sharing with HR potential problems or worries. To reduce this problem, we have to constantly engage with each individual and explain to them that we are the bridge and not part of any group.
In addition, we have to prove and assure the employees that when an issue requires the attention of the management, their identities will be protected during the discussion. Gradually, this will help to create the trust between HR and the employees and management.
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HR professionals around the world have felt the pain of defending an online employee review which doesn’t put the company in quite the best light – Pua Chiu Yee, however, is not one of them.