With a bronze for Excellence in Workplace Culture and silver for Excellence in Business Transformation at HR Excellence Awards 2020, Singapore, Clarence Yeo, Chief Executive, Home Team Academy, talks about measuring the effective of HR strategies using KPIs in the corporate scorecard, which includes course effectiveness, and augmenting this using people-centric KPIs, such as engagement scores.

Q What is your organisation’s winning HR strategy, and what are some milestones you’ve accomplished along this journey?

As the Corporate University of the Home Team (HT), Home Team Academy (HTA) plays a crucial role in people development. Effective training enables successful operations; and successful operations will result in higher public confidence and strong support for the HT.

With a lean, diverse and transient workforce of less than 90 staff, the buy-in and support of our people is key to success. Hence, we adopted a people-centric transformation framework which encapsulates the core of HTA (vision, mission and brand), and the four strategic thrusts of training & learning, people, technology & digitalisation, and partnership. Through this ‘Gem’ framework, we strive to achieve organisational excellence, future readiness and global leadership.

Aligned to our shared vision of ‘a leading corporate university in homefront safety and security’, our staff come together as a cohesive family of ‘HTA-Enablers’ to achieve extraordinary results.

The milestones which we have accomplished included the achievement of Tier 1 results for our corporate scorecard (the highest attainable achievement for MHA) for four consecutive years; a 600% and 400% increase in the number of courses organised and participants outreach respectively for the past four years; and bringing our leadership programmes to the global and whole-of-government (WOG) audiences. We have also received numerous awards and accolades, including the GovInsider Innovation Award, Singapore Quality Class Star with People Niche, Energy Efficiency National Partnership Award, Green Mark Platinum (Super Low Energy) and ISO 45001 certification.

Q How has this strategy helped you achieve your HR priorities, and what role has the leadership played in helping make this initiative a reality?

People drive transformation efforts. Therefore, getting the buy-in and support from staff is crucial to ensure a successful transformation journey. Hence, HTA has established a ‘HEART of HTA’ framework which provides a systematic pathway for officers to be developed to their fullest potential, as follows:

  • Holistic wellbeing - Creating a happy, healthy and 'learningful' experience
  • Engaged officers - Keeping the communication channels open and accessible
  • A valued partner - Recognising and rewarding staff contributions
  • Respected professionals - Training and developing staff to be respected professionals individually and collectively as the Corporate University of the HT
  • Technology-enabled & digitalised work environment - Enabling staff to work productively

As strong advocators of the HEART of HTA culture, HTA Leadership Group practises people-focused leadership. They actively nominate staff for training and development programmes, and encourage them to attend social activities. They also engage staff through multiple platforms like townhalls and dialogue sessions to discuss ideas and address concerns. Specifically, the Chief Executive (CE) and Deputy CEs conduct one-to-one engagement with staff to understand their career aspirations and provide support.

htas transformation framework

Q Unexpected roadblocks are part and parcel of executing any initiative. What were some of the barriers that you and your team experienced while rolling this out, and how did you successfully get past them?

As organisational transformation accelerates, the new areas of work and significant output increase had led to increased workload. To address this, we continuously reviewed and streamlined our organisational structure and work processes, and leverage technologies to improve staff productivity. We have also ramped up our efforts in communications and engagement to address officers’ concerns and improve their morale.

In addition, when HTA first implemented the HEART of HTA culture, there were concerns about staff buy-in. We surmounted this by leadership commitment, to provide the right signaling such as leading by example and translating our core values into desired behaviours which leaders and staff can relate to.

Q What was your gameplan for measuring ROI of your HR strategy? What are some proud achievements you can share with us on this front?

Effective HR strategies lead to effective organisational outcomes. To measure effectiveness of HR strategies, HTA tracks key performance indicators (KPIs) in our corporate scorecard, which included course effectiveness. We also augment it using people-centric KPIs, including engagement scores from Employee Engagement Survey and training hours. These KPIs assess staff satisfaction and well-being, as well as their learning and development which are important in creating a positive and high-performance workplace.

We are proud to witness significant improvement in our staff engagement and satisfaction scores in recent years. Our strong ‘HEART of HTA’ culture has prepared and empowered our officers to go the extra mile, which enables HTA to punch above our weight. This has resulted in many successful milestones as shared earlier. It also enabled HTA to successfully stepped-up as part of the WOG efforts against COVID-19. HTA is one of the first government agencies to manage a government quarantine facility, a dormitory isolation facility, and a dormitory for relocated foreign workers at HTA, while continuing our training role.

Q Given just how quickly the external business environment is adapting, how do you continue to ensure workplace wellbeing is a top priority for your employees and senior leadership?

HTA is in the business of people development in the HT, and we will lead by example in the development and engagement of our own staff. HTA will continue to enhance officers’ professional and personal effectiveness through structured training pathways and developmental opportunities. We will leverage technology more aggressively through our Technology & Digitalisation Masterplan to improve staff productivity. We will also solicit feedback through various engagement platforms.

We are committed to continuously invest in our family of HTA-Enablers to equip and empower them with the relevant skills to meet future challenges, so that collectively, we can progress to achieve our vision of ‘a leading corporate university in homefront safety and security’.


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