SICC | Singapore International Chamber Of Commerce | Raffles Quay – The voice of international business in Singapore
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2 MAY 2023  |  ISSUE 451

Dear Members and Friends

Yesterday’s Labour Day reminds us that every business needs talented people and people with potential, who are fully engaged in their work and willing to go the extra mile for their customers, to achieve the company’s commercial goals. Human capital, as we are told all the time, is Singapore’s only natural resource. It makes human and commercial sense for that resource to be engaged and developed.

Most businesses will tell you a variation of the theme “people are at the centre of everything we do.” The problem is not all of them mean it. Why do we say that? Because Singapore consistently scores low levels of employee engagement – some of the lowest in the world and, certainly, consistently the lowest in South East Asia. This is the problem we all need to fix for the sake of every employee, every employer, every company and for Singapore’s economy.

Low levels of employee engagement are very bad news for any company. They mean too many team members are disengaged from the company and from their work. Disengaged employees, or quiet quitters to use the current terminology, act as a drag on morale, productivity, output and, therefore, commercial success. They slow down the implementation of business strategies which means the company’s goals are not being fully achieved. Not good news from a commercial point of view. From a human capital point of view this is a waste of resources.

What’s to be done? More employers need to enable a positive workplace culture because the culture of each workplace is a key determinant of employee engagement levels. This is why workplace culture should be a top priority for everyone in a company starting with the Board of Directors. Board Directors should see it as part of their fiduciary responsibility to ensure their company has a positive workplace culture so it stands the best chance of attracting and retaining the human capital it needs to deliver on its strategy and achieve sustained success. And because work is a collaboration, workplace culture needs to be co-created and co-sustained by employers and by all employees. These are the two big mindset shifts needed in our economy and in many other economies: consistent interest, involvement and leadership from the Board and from every employee in the culture of the workplace. This way precious human talent will be engaged, retained and not wasted.

Yours faithfully
Victor Mills
Chief Executive

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