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Changing Mindsets for Business Continuity

Woo & Woo’s second generation leaders take the lead in revamping old human resource policies to attract talent and maintain business growth.


Changing Mindsets for Business Continuity

Woo & Woo Precision Industries Pte Ltd (Woo & Woo) started out as a small engineering firm in 1979. Since then, it has grown into one of Singapore’s trusted businesses for machining services.

Now, after years of success, Mr Jayern Woo, Woo & Woo’s second-generation leader and Business Development Director, felt the need to reassess the company’s human resource policies and shift its focus to attracting local talent to ensure business continuity.

While his father, the company’s Founder and Managing Director, Mr Woo Thim Choy, is focused more on business and revenue performance, Mr Jayern Woo believes that a strong and stable workforce is the key to business survival. “As most of our first generation of administrators and leaders, like my father, have reached or passed retirement age, it’s important that we find and groom the next generation of leaders to ensure that our business continues uninterrupted and thrives,” says Mr Jayern Woo.

Convincing the older generation

Initially, Mr Jayern Woo and his cousin, Mr Zack Woo, the company’s Business Development Engineer, faced difficulties in convincing the elder Mr Woo of the need to build and develop a strong pipeline of local skilled labour within the company.

But recently, the elder Mr Woo realised the importance of a stable and reliable workforce. “Most people do not want to take up technical jobs in labour-intensive industries like manufacturing and engineering, where tedious, menial tasks are performed for long hours,” says the elder Mr Woo. “As a result, we found it difficult to attract and hire new staff.”

Woo & Woo used SPRING Singapore’s (now Enterprise Singapore1) HR Diagnostic Tool in November 2015 to assess its HR capabilities, and identify gaps and areas for improvement.

Improving performance management and benefits

Woo & Woo decided to focus on two key areas for improvement: performance management, and compensation and benefits. “We held discussions with a consultant on steps to improve our HR practices to attract local talent and maintain business growth,” says Mr Jayern Woo.

Salary was the first matter on Woo & Woo’s human capital development agenda. With the consultant’s help, the company conducted market research to benchmark its salary range and benefits for various roles against industry norms.

“Through this exercise, we were able to see what our competitors were offering in terms of wages, staff benefits and other incentives,” explains Mr Jayern Woo.

The company discovered that it was 10% short of the overall industry benchmark. “We realised then that we had to improve our compensation and benefit schemes to align with our competitors across the industry,” he adds.

In April 2016, the company revised the salaries of its key performers by up to 10%. In addition, it created job grades and merit matrices for all positions within the company, establishing clear progression paths.

“We sat each staff down and gave them their new job titles and descriptions, and explained to them where they can go from there and how,” Mr Zack Woo says.

Woo & Woo also drafted and put in place performance appraisal policies and forms to evaluate staff and determine bonuses, pay increases and promotions. “We believe that these initiatives will encourage our staff to perform better and climb the career ladder.”

On the right track to retaining staff

While it is too early to report any significant gains, the company has seen improvements in staff commitment and productivity. “We see that our staff are happier. They tell us that they feel more recognised, involved and appreciated,” says Mr Jayern Woo.

Sometimes, they even volunteer to put in extra hours and effort to get a job done. “Putting in place a proper appraisal system and clearly explaining to our staff how they can progress in their current roles have positively affected their attitude towards work,” Mr Zack Woo adds.

These improvements in staff morale and attitude have also helped change the mindsets of the company’s older generation leaders, including that of the elder Mr Woo. “They can mean only one thing – we’re on the right track, better positioned to attract and retain local talents, and we can continue building our business,” Mr Woo Thim Choy says.

 

1SPRING Singapore merged with IE Singapore to form Enterprise Singapore on 1 April 2018.

Last Modified Date: 05 Oct 2018