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Andrew Tan invests in Silverlake Axis' people profitably

Updated: Jan 12

INTERVIEW: "Employee satisfaction always powers a company’s performance, and no company has ever gone broke by caring about their staff too much," says Andrew Tan, group managing director of Silverlake Axis (SAL).

True enough, the Singapore Exchange-listed IT company recorded 2022 as its best financial year, with its strongest-ever revenue worth MYR736.5 million (SGD225.7 million), 18% higher than in 2021.

Chief of Staff Asia talked to Tan, a key driver of cultural change in the firm, uplifting employees with continuous learning initiatives and HR collaborations for an improved and structured performance and reward management framework.

As the head of a banking software developer serving the top 20 banks in Southeast Asia, Tan opened up about his endeavour of investing in people, having strong work-life harmony and steady employee engagement, and contributing revenue drivers to the company.


Eyes on the prize: A steady employee engagement


COS Asia: What kind of steady employment engagement have you practised in the company? What innovations are in the offing?

Tan: Managers play an extremely vital role in ensuring that employees feel supported and empowered at work, which is key to employee engagement. We identified gaps in the leadership competencies that are targeted in the Leadership Development Programme.

To celebrate and recognise our employees’ dedication and efforts, we introduced the Employee Recognition Program.

We host workshops to create a united organisation with a strong sense of identity and share similar core values.

The Debi Wellness Programme also comes into play to cover both aspects of employee well-being and employee engagement, where we emphasise preventative care through semi-flexible benefits. Debi has features where employees could access live, and on-demand fitness classes, attend wellness workshops or seminars, and access virtual teleconsultation and mental health coaching services.

We also have a monthly training newsletter on training and development called SAL Mind Couch.

The aforementioned initiatives came about from both the leadership teams and from what the employees have shared in our annual Group-wide Employee Engagement Survey. And we do not stop there. We work to continuously improve all initiatives through feedback.

Some innovations include:

  • Incorporating a robust HR technology to meet the increasing business expectations on HR analytics using the HRIS (Human Resources Implementation System).

  • Introducing Silverlake One Academy as part of HR’s transformation to better support our diversity, and One Silverlake to improve employee development and retention. Employees will have an overview of their career roadmap, while management of employee skills will be optimised as we keep better track of our employees’ skill levels and progress.

COS Asia: Much has been said about satisfying employees to create greater revenue. This also entails costs on the management side. As a leader, how do you weigh the options and ensure that the cost would be worth it?


Tan: Satisfying employees is about more than just the large gestures. Oftentimes, it is the small things that add up, and small actionable changes can create a huge ripple effect. Starting with something as simple as listening to feedback and having regular review sessions go a long way. These smaller pieces require attention to feedback and consistency.

My priority as Group Managing Director is to ensure that all stakeholders are involved in improving the satisfaction of employees, and maintaining open and clear channels of communication. Working with the HR team helps in making sure that the costs incurred are worth it in the long run.

The “costs” and efforts we expend putting these pieces in place pay dividends in the long run that can’t be replicated otherwise.


COS Asia: If you were to set a limit on satisfying your workforce, what would it be? Because they say too much of anything could also be disadvantageous.


Tan: Essentially, not losing sight of what matters and knowing why we began this is key to making sure we do not go overboard and become disadvantageous. It is hard to define an outright limit because you never know until you try something. In HR, every person, team, and department is different. Instead of putting a limit, we try to be intentional in everything we do.


This feature was extracted from Chief of Staff Asia's exclusive interview with Andrew Tan, Group Managing Director of Silverlake Axis. For further coverage please see the below link:


Andrew Tan: HR at the business core yields better performance

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