People at the Centre of It All for Suntec’s HR Champion

Categories: Editor's Pick

Grace Yang’s blood runs blue and yellow – the corporate colours of Suntec Singapore. Such is the depth of her dedication towards the organization, where she has worked for close to 15 years. 

As the Senior Director of Human Resources (HR) and Business Solutions in Suntec Singapore, Grace prides herself on being “The community builder for the company”. Even though there are 200 permanent employees within Suntec, Grace makes the time to delve deep into every individual’s story as much as she can.

That, she believes, is the essence of – to understand every employee and support well-being in every way possible. 

Grace’s whole-hearted care towards her people is clearly manifested in her approach to projects. 

“We only undertake a project if there is a clear purpose to help our people. Does it bring value to our people?” Grace shares. Fundamentally, Grace stresses that “people must be the focal point” of everything that HR does. 

In fact, Suntec Singapore values every new hire so much that they must go through a one-month induction. During this month, new hires meet all Directors and rotate through every department to get a comprehensive understanding of the business. They are not given any official duties during the induction, it is solely a time for them to understand, adapt, and adjust to the new environment.

This induction process might seem laborious, but it is part of Suntec’s commitment to providing the best for their staff.

Through her work, Grace hopes to help line managers realize the value of HR to their business.

For example, Grace has played a key role in shaping Suntec Singapore’s culture, in an industry where workforce challenges such as talent attraction and retention are significant. Last year, Grace spearheaded a change in Suntec’s HR Management System. Since its launch, the team has attained an impressive 94% utilisation rate which also resulted in better-engaged employees. 

With the rapidly evolving demographic landscape, Suntec Singapore also focuses on the development of its Singaporean core, with an average local workforce of 84%. The team has put in place a comprehensive work matrix for the dynamic workforce and some initiatives supporting workforce development and retention include an early engagement matrix for employees due for retirement, re-employment, job redesigning and collaboration with SCORE on the hiring of ex-offenders and other initiatives with SCORE.

Grace believes what differentiates Suntec from many others is their workforce’s ability to embrace new technology in a short period of time. She highlighted, “we must be clear that any initiatives implemented for the employees must serve a good purpose for the workforce yet attaining positive business outcome; there must be a balance.”

Grace was one of the first to sit for the IHRP Certification assessments and is now recognized as an IHRP Senior Professional. She has since encouraged her entire team to achieve certification as a mark of standards and professionalism.

To her, this certification is more than just a piece of paper crediting her as a “qualified” HR professional. Rather, it is a reflection of her experience and validation of the knowledge she has acquired over the years. She also sees belonging to a community of like-minded professionals is an opportunity to learn from others and do better. 

With passionate leaders like Grace, the HR profession is well-positioned to become a strategic enabler that drives innovation and positive change for organisations.

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