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Archive for the ‘Employment law’ Category

HRTV: Google and Sony on job satisfaction

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Singapore – Managers at Google are encouraged to help their staff achieve at least one non-work related goal in their life so every employee can foster better work-life balance.

Known as the “One Simple Thing” programme, Google employees are urged to focus on one personal target, such as an exercise regime or mastering a new language. Their managers then show their support through easy steps like keeping the employee’s schedules free or giving them time off for classes.

Sarah Robb, head of people operations for Google in Asia Pacific (APAC), said this helps staff feel that they can be equally successful in achieving both business objectives and personal goals.

Narihiko Uemura, managing director for Sony Electronics in Singapore and APAC, said it is important that companies engage their employees by listening to their needs.

Robb added when employees believe that the company is genuinely invested in their interests and makes them feel valued, attrition levels will fall.

The search giant also has a quarterly budget set aside for “fun” activities. “For us, it comes down to a culture of fun,” Robb said.

Other engagement initiatives Google has include activities such as after-work drinks on Fridays, and regular town hall meetings where senior leaders field questions from staff.

At Sony, employees would be asked to participate in regular surveys to help senior management determine job satisfaction levels and identify gaps within the organisation.

However, Uemura said companies should allow employees to write their own opinions or give honest feedback in the surveys if they genuinely want to improve their engagement processes.

Yet Uemura, who reads every single feedback form received, did once ask his staff to write about the “good things” in the company. “I need to read good things too so I will feel happy,” he joked.

Written by Sabrina Zolkifi

July 20, 2011 at 11:00 am

Small Talk: Your employees could be committing fraud

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Singapore – More companies in Singapore are falling victims to fraud cases, and a majority of it are being committed by their own employees.

Based on the findings of KPMG’s Singapore Fraud Survey report 2011, employees were responsible for 47% of fraud cases committed over the past three years. This is followed by those carried out by customers and vendors, with 36%.

Furthermore, it was revealed that senior management were responsible for 17% of those cases, resulting in a huge worry for companies. “These individuals set the ethical tone for the organisation and are in the position to do the greatest harm,” Bob Yap, head of forensics at KPMG Singapore, said.

Small Talk discusses the most common reasons behind fraud cases, as well as what human resources (HR) and companies can do to prevent getting duped. Sabrina Zolkifi and Lee Xieli also talk about how HR can better manage candidates with multiple job offers.

While receiving several job offers may be good for the candidates, it can pose bigger problems for HR.

“It’s the risk that the time and effort put into recruiting someone over a long period of interviews and assessments may be wasted,” George McFerran, head of Asia Pacific for eFinancialCareers, said.

Small Talk offers quick advice on what HR can do, and share jobs from the past that you would not believe existed.

It also seems like managers are reluctant to send their staff for training opportunities. The Workforce Development Agency launched the Service Literacy Test for front-line staff, but some are deeming it unnecessary. Jimmy Ng, operations manager for Ya Kun International, said as long as his staff can “speak basic English and can do cashi\\ering”, that was enough.

The reluctance is despite the S$100 off foreign worker’s levy for each employee who passes the test. Also, watch the episode to find out more about this week’s top story on the best employers to work for in the Asia Pacific region.

Written by Sabrina Zolkifi

July 4, 2011 at 9:21 am

HRTV: Small Talk on employees censoring online profiles

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Singapore – With half of employees in Singapore concerned their careers may be affected by social networking sites, it is not much of a surprise that many are censoring information they put up.

A survey by Kelly Services has revealed 46% of local professionals believe the personal content found on sites like LinkedIn and Facebook can “adversely affect” their job prospects.

“[Employees] need to be careful that they are tapping into the best elements of the Internet when their careers are involved,” Melissa Norman, Kelly Services’ managing director for Singapore and Malaysia, said. With such sites making it easy to put up information, she added there is a “tendency for people to share more than they think”.

In the latest episode of Small Talk, Lee Xieli and Sabrina Zolkifi discuss whether it is right for employees to edit the data they present online, and what HR can do to better utilise such sites in their recruitment process

They also talk about the “brain drain” experienced by Malaysia, and why short term incentives such as resident passes and apprenticeships are ineffective to retain locals and attract overseas talent.

Additionally, Small Talk explores interview blunders which can jeopardise your job opportunities. A recent survey by indentified some of the most unbelievable mistakes, including a man who revealed he was fired from his previous job after beating up his boss.

Other don’ts during an interview include picking your nose or asking the interviewer to leave his own office so the candidate can take a “private” call.

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Written by Sabrina Zolkifi

May 20, 2011 at 11:59 am

HRTV: Small Talk on workaholic countries

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Singapore – Locals may consider themselves hardworking employees, but Singapore is not even on the top ten list of most workaholic countries.

A recent survey by Ipsos Global and Reuters found Japan to be the most workaholic country, with an average of 1,714 work hours a year. Is it a coincidence then that more Japanese employees are also reported to commit suicide after being unable to find a job?

Japan’s unemployment rate has remained unchanged at 4.9% since December last year, prompting suicide rates to increase 20% amongst youths. Lee Xieli and Sabrina Zolkifi sit down and discuss those hot topics, including working women, unhappy employees and the employment outlook for Singaporeans.

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Written by Sabrina Zolkifi

March 14, 2011 at 9:43 am

HRTV: Implications of Budget for employers

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Singapore – With the levy for foreign workers set to increase and employers’ contribution to employees’ Central Provident Fund (CPF) raised, there will be more pressure on companies as labour costs rise.

According to the latest Budget announcements, the Foreign Worker Levy will increase across all sectors, with the new measures taking place at six-month intervals from 1 January next year to 1 July 2013.

The average levy will be raised by another S$60 for the manufacturing sector, S$180 in the services sector and S$200 in the construction sector. These increases are separate and in addition to those made in last year’s Budget. The government will also increase the levy rates of S pass holders from S$50 to $300 to $450 by July 2013.

Employers’ CPF contribution is set to rise by 0.5%, bringing their total contribution to 36%.

To read the full article:
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Written by Sabrina Zolkifi

February 25, 2011 at 12:31 pm

HRTV: Small Talk on taking MC

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Singapore – Employers can no longer penalise employees who take sick leave, nor will they hire human resources (HR) professionals who still believe the main focus of HR is people.

Employee absenteeism has been a hot topic this week, as Small Talk sheds more light on the consequences of employers denying their staff sick leave.

More companies are also beginning to recognise HR as a strategic business function, and HR professionals with that same mindset are more likely to be in demand.

Jackie Orme, chief executive for the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development told Human Resources that organisations need to hire more HR professionals who see “HR as a business discipline rather than a people discipline first and foremost” in order to evolve.

Small Talk this week also discusses why asking the right competency-based questions during an interview will help you get the best candidate. The soaring office and accommodation costs in Singapore is another talking point in this episode. Xieli and Sabrina also talk about the bonuses HR professionals are expected to receive this year.

HRTV: This week in Human Resources Episode 1

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As we look forward to a brand new year, HRTV takes stock of all the possible critical HR challenges and top employment issues looming over the horizon.

Join Human Resources editor Lee Xieli and journalist Sabrina Zolkifi as they discuss the latest in local and international HR news.

In this first episode, they discuss re-employment, the role of HR and the upcoming challenges of 2011. They also give you a quick preview of what to expect in Human Resources’ future print issues and TV episodes.

By the way, HRTV will now be coming to you every Friday with the week’s recaps and highlights. Don’t forget to subscribe to the magazine and daily bulletin, and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Written by Sabrina Zolkifi

January 10, 2011 at 11:34 am

Will CPF rates get cut again?

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As Singapore heads into an economic downturn,  will the government slash CPF wages in a bid to keep people in their jobs?

According to a Reuters report:

Singapore will convene its National Wages Council (NWC) in early January, four months ahead of schedule, in what economists say may be a prelude to a cut in employers’ pension contributions.

‘Given the weakening economic situation, there is a need for the NWC to take stock of the new situation and review its May guidelines to help companies and workers manage the downturn,’ the Manpower Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.

The ministry did not immediately respond to questions about the detailed agenda for the NWC’s January meeting.

‘At the last crisis, they cut the CPF (Central Provident Fund) and I won’t be surprised if they did it again,’ said Joseph Tan, Singapore-based Asia chief economist for private banking at Credit Suisse.

‘Between cutting wages and letting people go, the government’s preference is to keep jobs.’

The government last cut employers’ contributions to the CPF, the retirement fund for Singaporean workers, by 3 percentage points to 13 percent in October 2003 to help firms cope with the effects of the SARS outbreak.

Do you think CPF wages will be slashed from the current 14.5% to 13% (of the SARS period)? Will this help keep jobs or do we need another alternative?

Written by Human Resources

December 18, 2008 at 8:54 pm

Breaking all the rules

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A Chinese construction company in Singapore has recently been accused of withholding salaries from its workers, and not paying its workers for working overtime.

So what, you might say. It’s not as though this is not the first time a company has been found of breaching the employment rights of foreign blue-collar workers.  Shouldn’t they file a complaint against their employer with the Ministry of Manpower and get their grievances resolved as soon as possible?

But that is where things  get murky and complicated, says local gay activist Alex Au (of Yawning Bread),  in a story that is now circulating around the local internet.

According to the Yawning Bread report, it talks about how this particular group of foreign workers have faced stonewalling ministry officers, police detentions for “overstaying” and unreasonable bosses.

While some people have criticised this piece to be biased and one-sided, I highly urge you to read the story for yourself to get a sense of the injustice that some blue-collar workers face here working under errant bosses and companies in Singapore.

Cases like these are especially worrying, as International Organization for Migration predicts that labour migration with the bulk of workers coming from China, Philippines and India will continue to remain strong. This is due to “an increasing scarcity of local workers available or willing to engage in low- or semiskilled employment such as in agriculture, construction, hospitality or domestic care,” the report says.

What should be done to errant employers like this, and how else can the law be changed to protect blue-collar transient workers?

Part one of the story.

Part two of the story continues here.

Written by Human Resources

December 9, 2008 at 5:34 pm

Posted in Employment law