Yahoo! retains staff with sticky culture
Singapore – While most companies plan to use financial rewards in their retention strategy, Yahoo! intends to attract and retain staff with its “fun culture”.
Talent attraction and retention have been a big issue for most companies in Singapore recently. It is no different for Yahoo!, particularly as the city-state has a small pool of skilled digital media professionals.
Jessie Lim, HR director for the tech company in Southeast Asia (SEA), says despite the widely predicted impending global recession, Yahoo! has plans to boost its headcount in the region. “We are continuing our expansion plans in SEA because this is an emerging market.”
Yet while many employers focus on talent management programmes as a key hiring strategy, Yahoo! has a different approach. It prefers to boost job satisfaction levels instead.
“We retain [staff] with a fun culture,” Lim says. “Fundamentally, Yahoo! stands for spontaneity, innovation and empowering people to reach their potential.”
Its SEA headquarters will be launching an innovation programme – that was adapted from its global “Hack Day” initiative – in Singapore over the next two weeks. In the US, Yahoo! developers would be invited to work in teams on projects that require them to “hack” on particular products. They are given 24 hours to take it apart and put it back together again in another format.
Launched as “SEA Innovation” here, Lim says instead of having staff take apart a product, teams made up of four employees from different departments will engineer something “entirely from ground zero”. Funding and time off would be given to staff on request.
Lim says, “It can be an idea or a business plan. [The main purpose is] We want to encourage cross-collaboration relationships between different job functions.”
While HR leads and facilitates the programme, Lim stresses that her team does not “monitor or direct” staff to participate in it. “It’s more of encouraging them if they would be interested to participate in the programme.”
Likewise, there are no formal processes or official meetings to check on the teams’ progress. “We are friends here and we always know what other people are working on. It’s having a friendly chat,” Lim says.
Organising CSR-related activities and showing unity have also been other key elements in engaging staff, Lim adds. According to her, its annual employee engagement survey has shown that CSR programmes have been one of the many reasons people stay with the tech firm.
Yahoo! recently launched the “Purple Hope” community initiative in support of the Children’s Cancer Foundation after one of its staff made a personal contribution to the charity.
In a show of camaraderie, 11 other Yahoo! employees will shave their hair off to raise funds for the CSR initiative.
“It has always been a big part of our DNA,” Lim says. “When people join Yahoo!, they know that the company is truly embedded into the society and the community.”
Please visit http://sg.news.yahoo.com/purplehope/ to find out how you can make a donation to the charity today.
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