No Task Too Small

Because iCare Award winners’ small ideas make a huge difference for the company and its people

Issue: Apr 2012

Joe Meng Qi’s (centre) attention to details helped to avert potential safety issues and won him the inaugural Because iCare Award
Joe Meng Qi’s (centre) attention to details helped to avert potential safety issues and won him the inaugural Because iCare Award

People often assume that to achieve great things, grand gestures are required. Sometimes, it is the little things that can make a huge difference. At CapitaLand, nothing is too small to escape the attention of its conscientious staff. The winners of its inaugural Because iCare Awards are living proof of that.

The inaugural Because iCare Awards was presented to 33 employees last November (read Speak Up, Listen and Respond Because iCare) to acknowledge the good work they have done to engage co-workers in meaningful ways. Employees are encouraged to speak up constructively, listen actively and respond accordingly in an environment of acceptance.

A Keen Eye that Keeps You Safe

As the Supervisor of Security Department at Somerset JieFangBei Chongqing in China, it is Joe Meng Qi’s job to look out for things that could threaten the safety of the property, its guests and his co-workers.

“Daily surveillances of the grounds are a must,” said Meng. “Sometimes, it may seem like a small matter but it can become a safety hazard that can endanger lives or threaten the security of the property. Hence, it is important to be vigilant.”

For example, something as innocuous as a cluttered passageway may simply be an eyesore to most, but to a security personnel like Meng, it presents a possible fire hazard. So, not only does he patrol the property, he constantly reminds the staff to ensure the passageways are clear of clutter. Another oversight he spotted was unlocked office doors at the end of a day - a risk issue that could lead to a breach of security or loss of property. These days, Meng has a system in place that reminds the person in charge to lock the doors or return to the premises to lock the door if he has forgotten to do so.

It is this keen eye for details that has helped Meng avert many potential problems. It is also this level of attentiveness and sharp observations that led Meng to come up with an idea that enhanced the experience of residents staying at Somerset JieFangBei Chongqing.

“I noticed that guests sometimes leave things in taxis when they leave our property. Tracing the taxi in question to retrieve the items can be difficult,” said Meng.

Hence, he suggested that employees jot down the license plate numbers of every taxi that ferries residents from the serviced residence so that, if the need arises, tracing the taxis would be a cinch. It has been more than six months since the idea was implemented. “It may take a little more work but everyone was willing to do it because we all wanted to make things better for our guests,” said Meng.

The Housekeeping team at Somerset Grand Cairnhill Singapore benefitted from free English lessons conducted by Senior Manager, Karen Ngiam (centre, in pink top)
The Housekeeping team at Somerset Grand Cairnhill Singapore benefitted from free English lessons conducted by Senior Manager, Karen Ngiam (centre, in pink top)

A Simple Gesture that Goes the Distance

Noticing when things that are amiss and acting on them is something that Karen Ngiam, Senior Manager of Housekeeping at Somerset Grand Cairnhill Singapore, does consistently.

“I observed that many of our employees are foreigners with minimal or close to no knowledge of conversational English. This makes it difficult for them to communicate effectively with their colleagues and guests, and also to identify and name the items in the apartment,” said Ngiam.

It was a simple observation but a useful one. Instead of raising the issue to her bosses, Ngiam decided on a pro-active approach. She put together a simple picture book training manual for the non-English speaking housekeeping attendants and took it upon herself to conduct daily English lessons for them.

“It is important to share the knowledge and experience in Housekeeping that I have gained over the years. I am passionate about training staff and the sense of achievement and satisfaction that I feel when they succeed certainly makes all the time spent training them worthwhile,” said Ngiam with obvious pride.

The free English classes have also been warmly received by the staff who are happy to put their new English skills to good use - communicating with residents and going about their daily tasks more efficiently. Overall service standards have also been enhanced.

“I strongly believe in being flexible and allowing myself to be open to changes. Only then can we collaborate successfully with our colleagues because we all come from different backgrounds and bring with us different life and work experiences,” added Ngiam.

Li Yang’s suggestions helped to reduce the practice of issuing unauthorised receipts
Li Yang’s suggestions helped to reduce the practice of issuing unauthorised receipts

A Commitment to Integrity

Receipts may be something most people discard, or ignore at best. But these tiny slips of paper are important for tracking transactions, which Li Yang saw as a potential issue amongst tenants in CapitaMall Nan’an in Yibin, Sichuan province of China. “I noticed that some tenants often didn’t issue receipts for sales, bypassing the central control system to hide transactions and avoid paying a fee to the mall. This made it difficult to audit transactions and keep a record of sales figures,” said Li, Assistant to the Tenant Management team at CapitaMall Nan'an.

To control the use of under-the-table trading receipts, Li suggested that letters be sent out to these tenants to ask them to report their sales figures on a daily basis. Periodic spot checks by the Operations Department were also suggested.

“I know this would make the tenants unhappy, so I also came up with ideas that would appeal to them to make it a win-win situation for all,” said Li.

One such suggestion was to issue scratch-and-win cards to shoppers with each purchase. Prizes could only be redeemed with receipts, prompting shoppers to request receipts from the shops. But the promotion also made shoppers want to spend more at the mall, benefitting the retailers. For not letting something small go unnoticed, Li has managed to turn an issue into an opportunity and minimised the problem of unauthorised receipts.

Chen Ping (centre in pink) leveraged on social media to reach out to a whole new clientele
Chen Ping (centre in pink) leveraged on social media to reach out to a whole new clientele

A Single Idea that Reaches the Masses

For Chen Ping, Marketing Communications Executive at CapitaMall Deyang, Sichuan province of China,a small matter also went a long way to making a marked difference in his job. This young man saw how social media in China was catching on with the youths and suggested to use the platform to enhance the marketing of mall promotions.

“I like to keep in touch with the latest in technology and society. That’s why I am personally interested in social media. At the same time, I also study what my competitors are doing and I noticed that they, too, are riding on the popularity of social media to reach a wider audience,” said Chen.

He quoted one marketing campaign on Group Food Purchase last April which he participated in. Promotions for buddy or group meals were publicised online. Participants could register and make reservations online to enjoy the substantial discounts from food retailers. Chen helped to manage the online campaign. The campaign that required virtually no effort on the part of the retailers, except for the provision of discounts, was a big hit with both tenants and shoppers.

That same strategy of using the Internet was also employed in the renaming of Deyang Mall. Tapping on the online community, Chen prepared customised mall collaterals such as mugs and umbrellas and gave them out to netizens who helped to spread the mall’s new name online. Within two weeks, the awareness level of the mall’s new name was greatly heightened. Chen also created a Weibo account for the mall and used that to explain the rationale for the new name. The method was so successful that it has become a template for promotion of mall activities in other CapitaMalls in Shapingba, Mianyang and Yibin, China.

These Because iCare Award winners have demonstrated that every little bit of effort, every observation of the tiniest detail can lead to getting the job done better and making the company more efficient. It is such caring efforts and willingness to speak up to highlight areas of improvements that deserve to be applauded and emulated.

 

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