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Keeping staff morale high with flexi-work policies and instant rewards

Siemens finds ways to better support employees and reward good work

Siemens group of companies in Singapore presented hampers, featuring honey purchased from MINDS Social Enterprise, to thank health workers.PHOTO: SIEMENS
Siemens group of companies in Singapore presented hampers, featuring honey purchased from MINDS Social Enterprise, to thank health workers.PHOTO: SIEMENS

With many people now working remotely, commending an employee for a job well done can be tricky.

German technology company Siemens  circumvented this issue by launching a platform during the circuit breaker. Called STAR (Share Thanks and Recognition), it allows managers to appreciate their staff by writing an e-card, giving STAR points which can be exchanged for gifts and vouchers, as well as awarding cash bonuses – all with a click of a button. 

The platform is not just top down, but staff members are also able to write e-cards and award points to their peers to acknowledge good work.

“During the lockdown, employees were anxious about whether their work would be visible to their colleagues and managers, since everyone was working remotely,” says Ms Winnie Chik, head of talent acquisition, employer branding and diversity at Siemens Asean. 

“By removing the usual paperwork around merit awards, the platform empowers managers to appreciate and recognise their staff instantly, keeping them motivated.”

Such initiatives, among others, have seen the company leapfrog to 42nd position in the Singapore’s Best Employers 2021 list, up from No. 71 the previous year. The firm also topped the Engineering, Manufacturing category this year.


Siemens has equipped its Singapore office at Siemens Center with its Smart Workplace technology to enable hybrid working model.  PHOTO: SIEMENS

Work from anywhere

The pandemic has shown companies in Singapore that working remotely offers many advantages, and is possible on a much wider scale than originally thought.

With employees wanting greater flexibility in deciding where to work, Siemens became one of the first large companies here to make mobile working permanent – even beyond the pandemic.

Employees now have the option to work remotely for two to three days a week. In consultation with their supervisors, they can choose the work locations where they are most productive, be it at home or a co-working space.

“We want to empower our employees shape their work themselves to achieve the best possible results,” says Dr Thai-Lai Pham, chief executive officer of Siemens ASEAN. “With the new way of working, we’re motivating our employees while improving the company’s performance capabilities and sharpening Siemens’ profile as a flexible and attractive employer.”

For those who wish to work in the office, Siemens has also put in place smart workplace technology to support the safe return for over 650 employees. The smart workplace solution integrates location, usage and smart building data from intelligent IoT sensors with a mobile app by Siemens-owned Comfy.

Employees can use the app to do different things such as reserving a desk, receiving company-related updates, locating co-workers and personalising the temperature and lighting levels to ensure comfort.

Since the app is integrated with the Land Transport Authority’s open-source platform, Land Transport DataMall, they can even enjoy real-time bus arrival information with the tap of a button.

Supporting employees through challenges

When the circuit breaker first kicked in, most companies focused on setting up remote work technology systems and ensuring that their employees were familiar with teleconferencing software.

But Siemens went a step further. On top of creating awareness about the technical aspects of using collaboration tools, it rolled out webinars that guided team members on how to conduct online meetings more interactively.

Leaders were also advised on how to manage, motivate and engage their remote teams.

“Initially, I couldn’t get used to the shock of having so many online meetings, and it was difficult to have proper discussions,” said project manager Chang Ee Yjourn.

“The company provided us with training on collaborative tools like Conceptboard, where we can document our discussion and easily return to where we’ve left off previously, making our meetings more efficient.”

Instead of lengthy courses, employees were given modular, bite-size training sessions through mobile and Web-learning platforms such as the LinkedIn Learning platform. They could also pick the modules they wanted and learn at their own pace.

Managers are also initiating more catch-ups with their staff to check in on them.

“These meetings give me the opportunity to showcase what I’ve done for the month,” said Mr Chang. “It helps my supervisor to understand the needs and challenges I’m facing, so he can see how to support me in my work and career.”


Siemens fast-tracked the production of medical-grade face shields for front-liners at Tan Tock Seng Hospital using additive manufacturing. PHOTO: SIEMENS

Helping the community

Beyond supporting its employees to give their best, Siemens Group of Companies in Singapore had also reached out to community members affected by Covid-19. 

They presented hampers, featuring honey purchased from MINDS Social Enterprise, to 20 hospitals and 18 polyclinics to thank health healthcare workers.

They also raised over $185,000 for charity organisation Food from the Heart and non-profit organisation HealthServe to feed needy students and their families, and support social assistance programmes for migrant workers, respectively.

Additionally, the company fast-tracked the production of medical-grade face shields for front-liners at Tan Tock Seng Hospital using additive manufacturing.

“It’s been a challenging period in endless ways,” says Ms Chik. “But having witnessed Siemens Singapore’s response during this difficult time, I’ve never been prouder to be a part of the organisation.”

Correction note: An earlier version of this article said that Siemens climbed the Singapore’s Best Employers 2021 list to 45th position, up from No. 71 last year. It should be 42nd position. We are sorry for the error.