Female Employers Doing Their Part for NSMen: Interview with Sylvia Koh, Chief People Officer of CrimsonLogic

July 11, 201911:42 am
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Around the age of 18, every male citizen of Singapore is required to enroll into National Service (NS) and serves a two-year military training period in the uniformed services. Under the Enlistment Act, an employee may not be dismissed on account of being called up for NS duties, meaning that employers are required to grant a leave of absence for them. Employers are also encouraged to communicate and work closely with NSmen employees to ensure that their work duties are covered without affecting their NS commitments.

To commemorate Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Day, we had a candid interview session with Sylvia Koh, Chief People Officer of CrimsonLogic. She strongly believes in supporting the nation’s defence and in turn supporting those who serve. Sylvia has shown that even female employers who have not experienced national service themselves, can show their support for their employees through various initiatives that benefit and recognise NSmen employees in the company.

Read on to find out how female employers could support NSmen in their organisation.

  • Serving National Service (NS) is mandatory for all male Singaporean citizens. How do you ensure that the business won’t suffer from disruptions like this? 

While CrimsonLogic understands that there is an opportunity cost involved, we strongly believe that everyone of us needs to do our part to preserve the Singaporean way of life that we are enjoying.  

From the People perspective, our company has put in place practices and policies to ensure our operations continue to run smoothly while NSmen employees are away. Such plans allow our employees to attend their NS duties with peace of mind.

  • How does having employees called up for NS generally affect companies in the country, especially in small businesses? 

Although smaller businesses may be affected in view of business continuity, companies must be prepared for their employees to be called up for National Service. Companies need to anticipate the frequency that these employees have to report for National Service In-Camp-Training.

I think the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) has been doing a great job of informing NSmen well ahead of time when their National Service In-Camp-Training will take place, so that companies can plan in advance for the absence of these NSmen. It boils down to proactive manpower planning and scheduling of tasks.

  • Does CrimsonLogic actively encourage its male workers to perform their NS duties? 

We are steadfast in our commitment to provide all-round support for our employees to fulfil their NS duties. We support our male colleagues to perform their NS duties to the best of their abilities and seldom request them to defer their training due to work reasons.  As we expect all our NSmen employees to serve their NS duties faithfully, we plan ahead of time and ensure that their roles and tasks are covered when they go for In-Camp-Training.

We also encourage our NSmen employees to maintain a healthy lifestyle and fitness, by participating in our GetFit exercise workouts.

As a form of recognition and encouragement, we also present monetary rewards to our NSmen employees who have achieved a Gold or Silver award in their annual Individual Physical Proficiency Test (IPPT) assessments.

  • How does performing NS duties help employees perform at work? Do you notice any skill development employees achieve after completing the military training?

As an advocate for NS, our company places much emphasis on new employees’ attitude towards NS.  We also value their NS experience as we believe that the NS experience imbues them with resilience and problem-solving skills which cannot be taught in an educational institute.

After their respective NS training, we have observed that our employees are refreshed and recharged.  Our NSmen employees also shared that they value the time reconnecting with their fellow NSmen as well as honing their leadership and interpersonal skills.

  • Why do you think it is important for female employers to support NSmen working in their company?

Our company has put in place policies and practices to ensure that the needs of the various group employees are taken care of.  Employers, regardless of gender, are the backbone of support for our NSmen. As a Singaporean company, we strongly believe in supporting our nation’s defence and in turn supporting the NSmen who serve. Even though females do not need to serve NS, our company has given us a platform do our part for the defence of our nation by support our NSmen co-workers.

  • What kind of initiatives can be made to recognise NSmen at the workplace? Can you share with us how CrimsonLogic supports employees with NSMen-friendly policies?

As one of the NS Mark (Gold) accredited companies, CrimsonLogic has implemented a recognition programme for our NSMen who have successfully achieved a Gold or Silver award for their IPPT assessments. This programme comes in the form of monetary rewards, equivalent to S$100 for Silver and S$200 for Gold awards; and this is on top of what the employees get from MINDEF upon completion of their IPPT assessment.

In addition, we also present a recognition award of S$300 to those who achieve a Service Excellence Award from MINDEF. The winners of these various awards are recognised regularly at our Company’s quarterly town hall sessions, to show our support and recognition for our NSMen and their efforts.

NSMen who participate in the annual SAF Day Rededication Ceremony have a half-day off in lieu for being part of the observance ceremony as well. Lastly, our NSMen are given priority for inhouse trainings such as Leadership Development Workshops and functional training classes. This will help in the holistic development of our NSmen.

Sylvia Koh, Chief People Officer (CPO)

Sylvia oversees the full spectrum in planning and implementing people strategies for the CrimsonLogic Group globally. She brings more than 20 years of HR (Human Resources) experience and leads the Group HR to develop workforce strategies, drives Organizational & Talent Development, and succession planning across the various CrimsonLogic offices and business groups.