Serene Ng (2<sup>nd</sup> row, 1<sup>st</sup> from left) with her colleagues; She is one of the 52 winners of the Because iCare Awards 2012
Serene Ng (2 nd row, 1 st from left) with her colleagues; She is one of the 52 winners of the Because iCare Awards 2012

There are over 12,000 employees in CapitaLand Group. Whether they are in Singapore, Mianyang or Marseille, each of its staff knows the importance of caring for each other and for their stakeholders because intrinsic to the corporate culture is the belief that people matter. This could not be better expressed than in the company’s credo of “Building People”.

To help the Group put it all into action, CapitaLand initiated the Because iCare programme in 2011. The campaign aims to encourage employees to speak up and be proactive, listen without prejudice, and respond with care to help the company be better and do better.

Those who embodied this BiC spirit were honoured with the BiC Award that was introduced the next year. 52 winners were chosen from 267 people nominated by their colleagues. These are some of their stories from across the Group.

Listening in Singapore

He had been suffering from insomnia for months. He would lay awake for hours and find himself unable to sleep until dawn. His work was beginning to suffer and carrying on seemed meaningless. Through the regular meet up, he was able to share this with his boss, then the head of IT, CapitaMalls Asia, Serene Ng. Despite her usual heavy workload, Serene listened patiently to his story. But more than that, Serene lent him a helping hand.

“I told him to take a break to take care of his health, and rethink what are his priorities. I told not to worry about his projects, we would work as a team to cover him. Our staff’s well-being is important. Everything else can be re-arranged and managed,” said Serene.

True to her word, Serene and the rest of the team took care of all the projects.

“I believe working is about working with people. People are assets. So I always try to put myself in the other person’s shoes,” said Serene.

The story has a happy ending. Her employee was able to return to work after a good break.

“During my break, I never received a single call from office. When I returned to work, Serene told me she deliberately informed the team not to disturb me during my break. I really appreciate the fact that I can work with such a caring boss like Serene. Besides work, it is such compassion that makes my department, my company different,” said the subordinate who did not wished to be named.

Helping in China

Helping her team has always been Senior Executive, Cash Office, Mianyang Fucheng, CapitaMalls Asia (China), Xiong Fen’s mission. She organises team building activities to build them up and even sets up forums so her colleagues from different departments can share ideas freely and foster open communication. Beyond work, she organizes informal gatherings like barbecues as well.

“Cashiers can’t chat during their work hours so they have very little opportunity to bond with each other. And we have two shifts of cashiers so some of them don’t even get to meet each other at work. So these activities help them get to know each other better,” said Xiong.

She also takes it upon herself to help her colleagues improve. She worked out a Service Superstar (服务明星) reward system that awards points for good performance.

“A cashier’s job can be mundane and tiring, and they have to work 10.5 hours shifts. I came up with the idea of having this 服务明星 (Service Superstar) award to motivate and encourage them. It is a monthly award, where the staff that performed well will be recognized. Her name and photo will be placed on the board so that all colleagues will know that she has done well. This is how we recognise and motivate our staff,” shared Xiong. This system is so effective that it has been adopted by the regional offices as well.

Her colleagues appreciate her unflappable approach to challenges. She is ever at hand to help those in need and unfailing in her concern for others, going so far as to visit those who have been hospitalised.

“I believe in the human touch. We all have our ups and downs. So when my staff faces certain problems or issues, I will try to make time and listen to them.”

Serving in France

Senior Receptionist, Citadines Prado Chanot Marseille, Priscilla Pons has been with The Ascott Limited for five years. During which, she always takes it upon herself to mentor the newer colleagues.

“It’s important to welcome the new person and take care of them because it creates a warm atmosphere at work,” said Priscilla.

“I have had different bosses in my five years here and each taught and trained me to be who I am at work. I have them to thank for because they believed in me and gave me many opportunities to learn and try different things. Now, I am just returning the favour by helping the new employees.”

“Priscilla has a very positive learning attitude and is always keen to take up the tasks and challenges presented to her,” agreed her colleague, Patrick Legrand, Area Manager, France South & French Riviera, The Ascott Limited.

Indeed, her outstanding track record and work attitude makes her an ideal role model. She always goes well beyond expectations to help the guests. Once, she helped a regular guest with his apartment-hunting, giving him advice on which were the best places for young families. On another occasion, she accompanied a Norwegian guest who could not speak French to the police station to report the loss of his wallet.

“I couldn’t let him go alone,” she admitted.

When an elderly guest who had gone to France for a medical treatment passed away, she got the team to put flowers in their apartment and a condolence letter comforting the family.

“In this job, it’s very important to listen to our guests and our colleagues. We have to work as a team work and support each other.”

Throughout the world, wherever there is a CapitaLand staff in action, listening, speaking up and acting with care are assured. That is the Because iCare promise.