PeopleFirst 2020: Reimagining the employee experience

Helping Every Employee Be a Part While Staying Apart



Conversation between Evangeline Chua, Chief People Officer at GovTech and Catherine Chia, Chief HR Officer at StarHub



Evangeline Chua

Chief People Officer

govtech transparent




Catherine Chia

Chief HR Officer





Conversation summary


With COVID-19 changing the way we live, this is also no exception in the workplace. Many companies have changed the way they operate and place more importance of their employees' wellbeing.

In this conversation with Evangeline Chua and Catherine Chia, we discuss about the changes that were made in the organisations such as ways to connect with employees remotely and ways to onboard new hires remotely. With many years of experience in the HR field, they also shared tips on how HR and leaders can prepare for 2021 even in times of uncertainty.

Key learnings and best practices 


How to help employees feel more connected to the rest of the team even while they’re working remotely?

  • Allow employees to come back to work in smaller groups and have them go for lunch in teams of 5 which they can then rotate.

  • Start investing in over-communication such as conducting virtual town halls which can encourage higher attendance rate.
    Leaders should also start giving more recognition and celebrate successes.

  • Having the right set of engagement and collaboration tools is really important to ensure the continuous engagement with the employees.




How to onboard new joiners remotely?


  • Ensure that the logistics of onboarding is as smooth as possible for new-comers such as having the necessary work equipment delivered to their house before their first day of work.

  • Set up a buddy system for the new joiners where they can tap on their buddy to ask questions about the organisation. It's also still equally important for leaders to have regular check-ins with the new hires to make sure they are well-settled.

  • The immediate manager plays a huge importance in onboarding. It is the role of the immediate manager to onboard this person and ensure that they feel welcome and integrated.



How to improve employee engagement in such times?

  • Set more quality time or 1 on 1 meetings between employees and the leaders. Employees yearn for more regular check-ins with the managers especially during such times.

  • Introduce your own "circuit breakers' to manager employees' mental and emotional well-being. This can be initiatives such as no meetings during lunchtime and no meetings on a specific day. Encourage employees to respect each other's weekend by minimising emails and not to expect immediate response.

  • Give more recognition, show appreciation and care for the well-being of the employees. Showing empathy is a critical skill during this period.

Getting ready for 2021


  • Love the problem, not the solution. Business are recognising that HR plays a pivotal role in managing this crisis together. HR is not transactional and have to create different solutions to engage and motivate the workforce.

  • Instead of taking the energy to resist the challenges, take that energy to problem solve it and iterate from there because human beings are highly adaptive. Turn to the network and ask for help and ideas when faced with challenges.

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