Human Resource

Rethinking Wellness at Work

Last week, Melissa Norman, our Founder and MD, wrote about the “Great Resignation” specifically, the boundless opportunities this phenomenon presents to business leaders and employers to reconsider the way they treat their people, as well as steps toward building mutually beneficial relationships with their workforce.

Needless to say, the pandemic has changed how we work, and deal with our mental and physical health. As a result, the expectations of our workforce have evolved, with health and wellness at centre stage. Now is definitely a good time for leaders and companies to consider new ways of implementing solutions that support and promote employee wellness.

To create a good, holistic employee wellness programme, leaders must remember that hugely successful systems start with a company’s culture itself – where norms, beliefs, and values are shared across an organisation. Without a strong culture as the guiding principle, companies run the risk of having a disorganised mess of wellbeing and wellness efforts that are not anywhere near where they should be. These efforts can appear to be half-baked and unauthentic. and may not be as effective as hoped.

Employee wellness efforts should go beyond providing employees mental and physical health support. One such effort is providing day care in the workplace. 

Kind hearted

This benefit can singlehandedly improve employee morale, reduce turnover, and attract a wider variety of talent. Although providing workplace day-care can be costly, many companies find that it saves money eventually as it has proven to decrease employee absenteeism and turnover. There are other economical options to consider such as bring-your-baby-to-work programmes and on-site day care collaborations between small companies.

A fitness lunch programme is another that will appeal to all of your team member. With only an hour for lunch, a healthy meal is not quite an option. Why not try providing your workforce with a 90-minute fitness lunch programme for a couple of days a week; giving them enough time to get in some steps, hit the gym, or even head home for a healthy homemade lunch. Other options include subsidised catered lunches and snacks, which many employees appreciate!

As the world of work evolves, the authenticity of workplace wellness programmes is key to recruiting and retaining the best talent. All businesses, big or small, can benefit from some form of wellness programmes at work, particularly if these are implemented transparently and genuinely!

Human Resource

A Recovering Economy Provides Great Opportunities for Continuous Improvement

Job openings are on the rise as Malaysia’s economy recovers this year, as evidenced by the latest MIDF Employment Survey report. Employment rose to a record 2.9 per cent year-on-year in March 2022 (Q122), while the labour force grew steadily at 2.2 per cent year on year.

While this is a good sign, some problems remain, such as a lack of talent. With the uncertainty associated with geopolitical tensions and rising corporate spending, many are suggesting that a full labour market recovery is now unlikely to return to pre-pandemic levels; and they are not wrong. The average unemployment rate in Malaysia is 4.0 per cent for 2022, higher than the pre-pandemic level of 3.4 per cent.

This, however, might not be the case for long as job opportunities will eventually stabilise as businesses adapt to rising inflation and tighter financial conditions. When that happens, even those who are not currently in the workforce might come back; and this group of talent will certainly be more open to taking up the right job offer with the right terms!

women discussion
employe union

The best thing now is for employers to promote integration into the working life, and for employees to improvise on their skills and abilities through training and development.

We have not left the forest yet, but we will get there for certain! Now is the best time for both sides of the fences to apply positive improvements that will add value to the business and its workforce!

Human Resource

How to Resolve Workplace Conflicts When Our People Clock In Post Pandemic

As corporate Malaysia moves into the endemic phase, we are seeing more people returning to the office.

This means more face-to-face interaction with colleagues, and for those who joined an organisation in the midst of the pandemic, it could mean that they are meeting their colleagues on a regular basis, for the first time in close to two years!

As a result, there may be some friction during this adjustment period, leading to conflicts in the workplace.

Workplace conflict occurs when there are disagreements between employees due to opposing interests, personalities, beliefs, or ideas. Conflicts in the workplace are natural and inevitable when people with different backgrounds work side by side, every day for more than 7 hours.

However, conflicts in the workplace can be beneficial, and if managed correctly, they will make a difference to your organization. Read on to learn more about how to deal with workplace conflict in a healthy way.

Prioritising the root cause of conflicts
  • Usually there are several types of conflicts in the workplace: from personality conflicts to interdependent activity conflicts; when the misadventures of one department can cause problems for another department, to conflicts of work styles; and even leadership style conflicts.
  • By identifying the root cause of a conflict, you can find the best way to move forward and help both sides come to a resolution more effectively.
Keeping Conflicts Private
  • To have a constructive conversation, make sure you find a safe and private place to talk. It is important that parties to a conflict feel comfortable and safe in expressing their concerns.
  • Make sure all parties involved have enough airtime to speak up and present their grievances so that neither party feels inferior to the other. While it is important to get as much information from the conflicting parties as possible, the mediator must also ensure that no one person dominates the conversation.
Focusing on behaviours and events; not on personalities
  • As a mediator, it is important that you attend the meeting with a neutral attitude. Avoid taking sides and listen to each person without partiality.
  • Also, during the conversation, try to find any underlying sources of conflict that may not be obvious at first.
  • Depending on the situation, one-on-one conversations may be required, as some people may feel uncomfortable with direct confrontation. Find a common ground and work out a solution that all conflicting parties agree on.
Allocating responsibilities between the parties
  • It may also be helpful to allocate responsibilities between the parties in resolving a conflict.
  • Each person involved in the conflict must understand what is expected of him or her, and what effective measures he or she must take to move the situation towards resolution.
  • In short, stick with the discussions with a “let’s-work-out-a-solution” attitude, and until you have worked through each area of conflict.
Building on success to future proof similar conflicts
  • Once this is done, look for preventive measures that can be taken to avoid similar conflicts from reoccurring.
  • Preventive measures will also help you to know what you can do when the problem returns.

Generally speaking, workplace conflict is inevitable, but managing and resolving workplace conflicts is an integral part of achieving organisational goals. By continually trying to fill the gaps in communication, you will prepare your team to minimise conflict in the best possible way!

Human Resource

From the ‘Great Resignation’ to the ‘Great Adaptation’

You have probably seen the phrase the “Great Resignation” pop up with shocking regularity over the past few months. After all, 2020 and 2021 are seen as years of unprecedented layoffs in Malaysia and around the world. Today, with conditions gradually normalising, one might assume that everything is returning to normal and that employees can easily return to work. This is far from the truth!

Our employees have learned a lot about themselves and their work during the pandemic. Many of those who left their jobs due to mass layoffs, have started their own businesses and are now incredibly happy with the flexibility and life balance they have always wanted for them and their families.

Mass layoffs and retrenchments caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have also led to an increase in requests for jobs in the gig economy. Indeed, this industry has defied the pandemic, especially delivery and e-haling services, which to this day continue to take on more laid-off workers and those facing declining incomes.

The gig economy has not only revolutionised the concept of nine to five work but has also changed the way conventional work is viewed due to its flexibility and empowerment; both of which are supportive of the balance between work, family hours and personal needs.


Family gathering

Even women, most of whom as we know are mothers and primary caregivers, find it difficult to stay engaged in a traditional work schedule. This problem started during the pandemic with increased family responsibilities due to children and family members being home all day. Today, as office doors reopen, women who want to keep working are asking for more flexible hours to appreciate the overall quality of life.

So, as corporate Malaysia and SMEs adapt to the full opening of the economy, let us look at factors impacting Malaysia’s very own Great Resignation:

  1. Flexible working is not an option; it is a necessity
  • Employees want the best of both worlds.
  • The pandemic has shown that work is now more focused on results, speed, and flexibility.
  • If a company wants to retain employees and attract the best talent, it should consider letting employees choose how they prefer to work; whether it is remote work, in-office, or a hybrid format.
  1. Leaders must be in touch with their employees; authentically
  • How can we build meaningful relationships as we look forward to a hybrid future?
  • The challenge for leaders in a hybrid world goes beyond investing in technology to maximise productivity for profit.
  • Today, it is about a deep and heartfelt emotional connection with employees.
  • Is this easier said than done? Yes. However, small steps towards greater authenticity can be achieved by simply listening to employees and acting based on their recommendations and requests.
  1. There is no wealth without health; sine qua non
  • Unfortunately, it took employers a pandemic to recognize that we are ALL in the business of health.
  • Many employers already see the need to invest in the health and well-being of their workforce, with the only clear difference being in the ability to act between large and small employers.
  • Simple and low-cost initiatives such as biometric checks, health and wellness activities, nutrition support, and meditation classes can make a difference.
  • While some employees may ignore them, simply knowing that such programmes are available to them is a tangible benefit towards enhanced employer reputation.
  • However, keep in mind that your employees should be the driving force behind your health and wellness strategy; enabling you to purposefully support them, build their self-esteem, and promote relationships between all parties.
  1. Talent is everywhere; especially in a hybrid work world
  • Hybrid jobs are important for more than just the convenience of employees.
  • For employers, it is a powerful tool to overcome talent shortages in various fields, as it can turn freelancers into a viable addition to your workforce.
  • Organisations today can choose from a much wider selection of talent, beyond geographical limitations.

Like many of the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the ‘Great Resignation’ brings with it limitless opportunities for business leaders to rethink their approach to employer-employee relationships. Is it not then best described as the “Great Adaptation”?