Building High-Trust Culture in Times of Crisis: The Certis Response

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Despite the immense challenges in 2020, Great Place To Work Singapore have worked with leaders from homegrown organizations in Singapore. These thought leaders alongside their leadership team conducted the Great Place To Work survey right in the midst of the pandemic because they want to hear straight from their people how they are doing and how they are coping. That speaks volumes of their hearts and of their leadership.

Pre-COVID-19, it was a common sight to see Certis security officers around Singapore in our shopping malls, airports, and even on the road.

Having so many frontline officers, Certis was undoubtedly significantly impacted by the pandemic which has caused airports and shopping malls to close.

Asked to share some of the measures that they took to take care of the livelihood of their 16,000 strong workforce all over Singapore, and some of the heroic measures they made to take care of their own people, so that they can take care of the people of Singapore, Mr. Paul Chong, CEO of Certis Group had this to say:

“Covid came as a big surprise to everyone, in fact, we were probably the first few who heard about it in late January or, just before the Chinese New Year, we were suddenly called up by MOH to say ‘you gonna prepare and standby for quarantine operations’. This is something we practice a lot with MOH, but what we didn’t expect was the scale, and this was the Chinese new year, mind you. And from a few tens of people it very quickly escalated to hundreds and thousands of people because of the scale, it has gone into. Because it was all very new, we had to develop new SOPs and we actually mobilized our Training Institution as well. We pulled back a lot of our people from the airport, obviously, travel has slowed down, we put all of them to new training, and then we deployed them.”

The Psychological well-being of their people was also important. Mr. Chong continues:

“Because so little was known about the virus at the very beginning, it was quite frightful for our people because we were not medical professionals, although we worked side by side with the health promotion board nurses, so we have to make sure that everyone is confident with the kind of protection that we give to them, and then we slowly ramp up the operation.”

While that was such a daunting situation, Certis did not waver and most importantly, placed people’s wellbeing FIRST, above all else. To ensure that the livelihoods of their staff are taken care of, jobs were shifted instead of lost – employees were reskilled to support other organizations that needed more manpower, such as Government Quarantine Facilities (GQF) and Community Care Facilities (CCF), to battle against COVID-19.

A strong commitment to their people was led by the leadership’s example of taking pay cuts so that all staff could be supported financially. Bonuses were brought forward to June, one-time wage supplements and pay increases helped to motivate their rank and file staff out there in the frontline.

Certis has indeed gone above and beyond to ensure the care and safety of its people in times of crisis, and by continuously giving back and ensuring the safety of the community. They are truly a hero within our midst, and we are proud to rank Certis as one of our Best Workplaces in Singapore for 2020!

Watch the Full panel interview of Mr. Paul Chong together with two other thought leaders from the frontlines.

Hosted by our very own Managing Director, Evelyn Kwek, and moderated by our Global CEO straight from Oakland California, Michael Bush, this panel discussion brought to you by Cadence Design System, is truly one of value.

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To be eligible for the World’s Best Workplaces list, a company must apply and be named to a minimum of 5 national Best Workplaces lists within our current 58 countries, have 5,000 employees or more worldwide, and at least 40% of the company’s workforce (or 5,000 employees) must be based outside of the home country. Extra points are given based on the number of countries where a company surveys employees with the Great Place to Work Trust Index©, and the percentage of a company’s workforce represented by all Great Place to Work surveys globally. Candidates for the 2017 Worlds Best Workplaces list will have appeared on national workplaces lists published in September 2016 through August 2017.