j u l y 2 0 0 3 6 1 www.ps21.gov.sg/challenge .ps21.gov www.ps21.gov.sg/challenge Public Service for the 21st Century A balancing act Managing work and family life is easier with work-life strategies 10 MPA’s m-services win recognition 4 Benchmarking innovation practices 8 FROWN on the barriers to innovation 14 Take part in the Challenge Online Readership Poll. More on Page 2 j u l y 2 0 0 3 CONTENTS 3 A LINE FOR YOU Give your name, ministry, ministry address and telephone number. Published Look… no fence! “The joys of achieving work-life harmony”. Please write to the Editor of Challenge at PS21 Office, 29 Heng Mui Keng Terrace, Singapore 119620, We would like to hear your views and suggestions on the cover story, 4 WHAT’S HOT MPA’s m-services win recognition contributions will receive an exclusive gift from the PS21 Office. fax to 6775 3461 or email to LEONG_shih_yeng@psd.gov.sg. Now everyone can enjoy e-services Your POWER suggestion could win you $1,000! Towards harmony in diversity Excuse me, are you satisfied? 8 AT THE MINISTRIES Benchmarking innovation practices 9 FOCUS ON SERVICE Secrets to keeping the cash register ringing 10 COVER STORY VIEWPOINT The joys of achieving work-life harmony Fostering a work-life friendly culture Keeping a healthy balance at KKH Caring for the welfare of prison officers 14 INNOVATION IN ACTION Frown on the barriers to innovation Challenge is published monthly by the PS21 Office, Prime Minister’s Office (Public Service Division), 15 A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A PUBLIC OFFICER Publishing Consultant: Pagesetters Services Pte Ltd Printed in Singapore: National Photo Engravers Editor: Leong Shih Yeng, PS21 Office Editorial Advisors: Lim Huay Chih and Tan Chee Seng, PS21 Office Top of the class Committee • Eileen Lee, Quality Service Committee • Cheryl Lee, Staff Well Being Functional Committee 16 STAFF MATTERS Editorial Team: Tan Cheng Pheng, ExCEL Committee • Chong Kian Beng, Organisational Review MINDEF launches two e-services MCDS scores four firsts in family life campaign 18 HEALTHY BODY, ACTIVE MIND Halt the salt 29 Heng Mui Keng Terrace, Singapore 119620. T 6874 7558 • Fax: 6775 3461 19 CHALLENGE QUIZ VOLUME NINE ISSUE SIX 20 The Singapore Innovation Award Email: LEONG_shih_yeng@psd.gov.sg • Website: www.ps21.gov.sg We’re sorry for an error In the June issue of Challenge, we stated that Mr Peter Chan is the Permanent Secretary el: (PS) of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). That is incorrect. Mr Chan was the former PS of MHA. The present PS is Mr Tan Guong Ching. Is Challenge Online up to par? Now is the time for you to give your views and feedback on Challenge Online. Tell us what you like about it and how we can improve for your reading pleasure. Your opinions count! Log on to www.ps21.gov.sg/challenge to take part in the Challenge Online Readership Poll today! LOOK... NO FENCE! Some travellers in Holland noticed there were many cows in the open. But there was one thing very strange. The fields did not have fences around them. Yet the cows did not try to move out of the fields. A Dutchman explained: He said that when a cow is young, the farmer brings it to cold water and puts its legs into the water. Of course the cow does not like it. But it remembers from that time onwards not to walk into water. The travellers saw that the fields had water around them. But the water was very shallow. The cows could easily walk through them. However, because of the lesson on cold water they learned when they were very young, the cows keep away from the water. There is something for us to learn here. When we first started work, we were told to do things a certain way. We were also told not to do certain things, and to keep away from certain people and certain places. Now that we have spent many years on the job, we should think over these instructions. Don’t simply accept the rules. Ask the reason for the rules. If the reason is no longer sound, change the rules. Or even better, get rid of the rules altogether. Think also about the way you do your work. Is the method still good for today? Is there a better approach? Are there better ways to use your time and energy? Next time you see cows on TV or in a magazine, see if there is a fence. If there is no fence, ask why? Could it be due to a lesson in its childhood which the cow never learnt to question later on in life? And what about us? What is preventing us from trying new ways, doing new things, having fun in our work – even though there is no fence around to force us to stay where we are? Lim Siong Guan Head, Civil Service What’s Hot 4 MPA’s m-services win recognition The Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) is making news with its mobile services. It recently clinched the prestigious Intelligent20 Award 2002/03 for two services which allow port users to access vessel-related information from anywhere and at anytime through memo pagers and handphones. By MPA iven Singapore’s extensive shipping G network and the heavy traffic in its port, shipping personnel increasingly require real-time and up-to-date vessel information. This information enables them to perform their day-to-day operations efficiently in order to provide prompt and reliable service to the ships. As these shipping personnel are always on the move, the ability to access vessel details through wireless means is an added advantage to their operations. MPA launched two new services to enable subscribers of MARINET, its e-commerce system, to gain access to critical information with ease. (For more details on MARINET, see Challenge MPA recently clinched the Intelligent20 Award September 2002 issue.) 2002/03. Vessel Movement Alerts Within 20 seconds, they will receive a message Using this service is easy. MARINET customers just with the latest information on the vessel. For have to indicate the names of their vessels and example, if the vessel is arriving in the Singapore the nature of events that are of interest to them. port soon, the users will receive an SMS message They can choose to receive an update on a vessel’s informing them of its expected time of arrival. estimated time of arrival. They can also request to Services gain popularity be alerted when the vessel arrives, when it berths, Since the introduction of the mobile services in as well as when it departs Singapore. July 2002, MPA sends out an average of 30,000 Customers can also messages per month. INTELLIGENT20 choose to be alerted AWARDS MARINET user David Lew is one happy through their memo These annual awards customer. He said, “In the past, I had to make pagers or handphones are given by many calls to the Telephone Vessel Enquiry via the Short Message Service to get information. The new services have Intelligent Enterprise Service (SMS). dispensed with the need to call. Now the Asia magazine. The Vessel Mobile information reaches me automatically.” four key areas With this service, More e-services assessed MARINET customers can Twenty-four e-services were also recently are innovation, easily get information launched, bringing the total number of online customer satisfaction, on a specific vessel. services now available to the maritime c h a l l e n g e product/service They only have to send community to 32. Of the 32 e-services offered, quality assurance and an SMS message 30 are transactional in nature. This means that returns on technology containing the vessel’s users can complete the entire transaction online. investment. full name to MPA’s There are plans to develop more e-services in j u l y computer system. MARINET in future. 0 3 What’s Hot 5 Now everyone can enjoy e-services oday, more than 95% of the government T By Tay Geok Chen, IDA services that can be feasibly delivered online have already been made available online. As online transactions become the norm for interactions with the Government, the Infocomm Development Authority seeks to ensure that no Singaporeans are left behind. The eCitizen Helper 3P Partnership Programme is a collaboration between the people, public and private sectors (or 3P). It was launched in March 2003 by Deputy Prime eCitizen Helpers are at hand to assist Singaporeans Minister Lee Hsien Loong. It aims to provide all in using government e-services. Singaporeans with the means to transact with the Government online, even if they do not own Singaporeans can enjoy many benefits as a a computer at home or do not know how to use result. For example, they can take their passport the Internet. photograph at a Fujifilm shop and apply for their Under this programme, partner organisations new passport online at the same shop. They can and companies will deploy eCitizen Helpers to also get assistance with online payment, so there assist Singaporeans in using government is no need to write a cheque, fill in the form and e-services, whether it is applying for a passport, post the application form. Furthermore, this encashing Economic Restructuring Shares (ERS), service is free of charge to all Singaporeans. checking Central Provident Fund (CPF) To encourage more organisations to statements, filing income tax, participate in the eCitizen Helper 3P Partnership Organis paying parking fines or Programme, the Government will provide funds ations t want to hat join the registering a new business. based on a fee-per-service model. This means that eCitizen Helper 3 So far, the People’s each time an eCitizen Helper in a participating Partner P ship Pro Association’s 22 eClubs, 19 organisation assists the public to transact with can find gramme out more Fujifilm outlets and NTUC the Government online, the organisation will be www.eC at itizen.g Fairprice’s Office 1 have joined paid a fee ranging from 30 cents to $2, depending ov.sg. the programme. on the nature of the transaction. Your POWER suggestion could win you $1,000! The POWER (Public Officers Working on Eliminating initiatives are also automatically considered. Ministries Red-tape) Suggestion Award recognises public will also be asked to nominate other outstanding officers whose suggestions have eliminated outdated suggestions, such as those accepted through the SSS. and unduly cumbersome rules and regulations. What are you waiting for? Worth $1,000, the award is given out twice a All you have to do is suggest a good way to slash red year. Up to six winners are awarded each time. tape and you will be on your way to becoming $1,000 How do I qualify for the award? richer. What’s more, you will have the satisfaction of Any public officer who contributes a suggestion knowing that you have made life easier and better for that cuts red tape, whether it pertains to the the public we serve. So make your suggestions through internal or external rules of an organisation, is any of the following channels soon! automatically eligible for the award. • POWER: www.intranet.gov.sg/mof/mfe Suggestions accepted under the POWER, Pro- • PEP: www.mti.gov.sg Enterprise Panel (PEP) and Zero-In-Process (ZIP) • ZIP: www.zip.gov.sg What’s Hot 6 Towards harmony in diversity Why is Deepavali also known as the Festival of Lights? What are the differences between Building Communities: Harmony in Diversity “Aidilfitri” (Hari Raya Puasa) and “Aidiladha” Topics covered include: (Hari Raya Haji festivities celebrated by • Understanding our multicultural community Muslims)? Why do Eurasians take their wedding • The power of values photos after the wedding ceremony? Why do • Analysing our perceptions • Stereotypes and prejudices the Chinese celebrate the Dumpling Festival? • Shared values and practices Read on to find out how the Civil Service College Highlight: can shed some light on these questions. Religious Harmony Tour to places of worship Course dates: Division 1: 30 – 31 Jul and 29 – 30 Oct Division 2 and 3: 15 – 16 Jul and 28 – 29 Oct Cost: $395.20 (inclusive of 4% GST). Officers from ministries only need to pay $205.20 per participant (inclusive of 4% GST) and those from statutory boards only need to pay $357.20 per participant (inclusive of 4% GST). The PS21 Office will provide co-funding under its development grant. Venue: Civil Service College ingapore is a country of varied ethnicities, S races and religions. Though we may not fully understand the traditions and practices of all the racial and religious groups, we will probably have wondered about their significance at some point in time. Maintaining harmonious communities in a diverse society like Singapore requires ongoing efforts by individuals and organisations to promote mutual understanding and appreciation. Within workplaces, diverse teams can achieve synergy if they build collective understanding, trust and engagement. The Civil Service College is organising a two- day workshop entitled “Building Communities: Harmony in Diversity”. Public officers will gain a better understanding of different cultures, perceptions and assumptions, so that they can engage citizens with enhanced sensitivity. The workshop also supports organisations’ efforts to strengthen social cohesion among employees. So sign up for this engaging, experiential and fun programme and discover surprising and special c h a l l e n g e facts about the ethnic and religious groups you belong to and the people you work with. For any queries, contact Ms Cindy Chan at DID: 6874 1773, or send an email to email@example.com. j u l y 0 3 What’s Hot 7 Excuse me, are you satisfied? n ditio a tra as sta blish er service you e HDB’s interviewers now use PDAs to capture customers’ feedback. If cus tom d views every goo do: that e, to pens what see an ex r knows By Management Services Section, HDB n its drive to excel in service delivery, the satisfaction survey ou I Housing and Development Board (HDB) in 2002. Now there introduced an annual customer satisfaction are two ways to survey in 1995. Conducted in-house by the Manage- gather feedback — mana se it. But , it takes mi mini as an as ent aspec serv ge ice a com plete if y set ly dif fer on Heilm t. eier ment Services Section of the Corporate Develop- through face-to-face G eorge ment Department, the survey serves to monitor and telephone interviews. the satisfaction levels of HDB’s customers. Since And besides gathering then, over 1,000 customers are surveyed yearly. feedback on its counter and telephone services, The method of collecting customers’ feedback HDB now also wants to know what its customers has changed over the years. Initially, HDB officers think about the letters that are sent by mail. The conducted face-to-face interviews to gather satisfaction rating scale was also revised. feedback on the service received at the HDB Excellent results service counters and over the phone. So far, the results have been encouraging. In 2002, Various service improvement measures were 100%, 99% and 97% of HDB’s customers were at subsequently implemented, and there was a least satisfied with its counter services, telephone steady increase in the customer satisfaction services and written correspondence respectively. ratings over the years. As a fact, over 95% of the customers surveyed in 2000 were at least Going paperless satisfied with the services provided at HDB’s This year HDB piloted a new initiative that does away with paper-based surveys. Its interviewers frontline counters and telephone call centres. now carry personal digital assistants (PDAs), Improving survey processes which allow customers’ responses to be easily In 2001, HDB wanted to review the survey captured and electronically uploaded. This move methodology and processes. Several focus group greatly enhances the efficiency and professional discussions with its customers were conducted. The image of the interviewers. feedback then formed the basis for HDB to review So the next time you visit a HDB service the survey methodology, rating scale and service centre or branch office, don’t be surprised when attributes used to measure customer satisfaction. someone with a PDA in hand asks you, “Excuse HDB subsequently revamped its customer me, are you satisfied?” At The Ministries CIVIL AVIATION AUTHORITY OF SINGAPORE 8 Benchmarking innovation practices By Alvin Tan, CAAS T he Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) believes in benchmarking its innovation practices against those of the best public and private organisations in its drive to become an innovative organisation. It recently implemented two innovation practices under its I-Star Framework (for more details on the framework, see Challenge December 2002 issue). The Inno-Scan initiative and the I-Exchange Session enable CAAS to benchmark its innovation practices through CAAS staff learnt about SCDF’s Innoventure exploration, exchange and execution. Scheme and enjoyed a tour of InnoventureLAND. Inno-Scan The Inno-Scan initiative involves conducting an (Baggage Control 1), Airport Management “environment scan” of organisations with Division, “The visit to SCDF was both enriching and inspiring. SCDF would indeed be a good “An important aspect of innovation is connectivity, and I yardstick by which am happy that in our innovation drive, our two to measure CAAS’ organisations have made the connection to share and learn innovation efforts.” from each other.” — Asst Commissioner Rajoo Gopal, SPF I-Exchange Session The I-Exchange Session is a sharing session innovation practices, and subsequently conducted with another organisation to facilitate organising visits to these organisations. mutual sharing and learning of innovation practices. On 25 March 2003, a study trip to the On 2 April 2003, CAAS initiated one such Singapore Civil Defence Force’s (SCDF) session with officers from the Singapore Police InnoventureLAND was organised for 22 CAAS Force (SPF). The session was hosted by Assistant officers. Hosted by SCDF Chief Innovation Commissioner Rajoo V. Gopal, Director Service Officer Captain Alvin Tan, the trip included a Development & Inspectorate Department of SPF. presentation on SCDF’s Innoventure Scheme It was held at 3I-Central, the learning-cum- and a guided tour of InnoventureLAND (for innovation centre located at the Ministry of more details on the scheme, see Challenge Home Affairs Headquarters. (To find out more January-February 2003 issue). about the centre, see Challenge June 2002 issue.) CAAS officers enjoyed the trip and found During the I-Exchange Session, officers gave it an eye-opener. Said Mr Tan Lim Him, Head presentations on SPF’s Innovation Framework and Management By Mistake Policy, and CAAS’ I-Star Framework. The CAAS team then went on a tour of 3I-Central. Positive outcomes CAAS officers gained much information and insights from the Inno-Scan study trip and the I-Exchange Session. CAAS will do a comparative study of the c h a l l e n g e innovation practices adopted by the organisations. It hopes to identify key areas where it can further enhance its innovation initiatives under the I-Star The CAAS team found the I-Exchange Session a Framework in order to sustain its competitive j u l y useful and meaningful experience. innovation edge. 0 3 Focus On Service 9 Secrets to keeping the cash register ringing By QSC Secretariat o the Dairy Farm T Group, every customer is a $2.6-million gold mine. This is why: Assume a customer spends about $50 per trip to the supermarket. He shops there twice a week for 50 years (he starts shopping there from as young as 10 years and continues till he is 60). He conveys his positive shopping The 4th QSC visited Cold Storage and gained many tips on service quality. experience to about 10 family members and friends. That multiplies to approximately $2.6 recognised that black beans are part of the million in revenue for the supermarket. mainstream Hispanic diet and the request was possibly from an expatriate. Even though Cold Proven business strategy Storage does not normally carry the product, Rajes The Dairy Farm Group shared that delighting went out of her way to locate a supplier who could customers is central to its business strategy to import it. She told the customer that Cold Storage improve customer counts, sales and profitability. was willing to import other products associated with Hispanic cuisine and she would inform “In this highly competitive world, we all need to him whenever they arrive. Such is an remember that there is always someone willing to example of a staff who delight your customer if you don’t.” — Cold Storage proactively seeks to CEO Silvestro Morabito please the customer. Winning confidence Dairy Farm’s Guarantee This in turn improves team morale and gives the Scheme helps to win customers’ confidence. For Group an edge over its competitors. example, if the price of an item is captured wrongly This philosophy percolates throughout Dairy (due to a glitch in the bar-coding system) or if an Farm’s 360 retail outlets and 5,000 employees in item is scanned twice (due to human error), the Singapore. Besides Cold Storage and Giant, Dairy customer will be given the item free of charge. Farm also owns Guardian Pharmacy, Jasons, Customers can get a full refund or replacement for 7-Eleven and Photo Finish. purchased items that are not fresh. If customers Meeting customers’ needs find expired items on the shelves, they can bring The trends and lifestyles of Singaporeans are the items to the Duty Manager and get a $5 voucher. constantly changing. Dairy Farm thus has to The Scheme also extends to the items on continuously adapt to the changing profile of promotion at Cold Storage on Fridays. If an item its customers. a customer wants to buy has already been sold For example, a customer with a South out by the time he/she reaches the supermarket American accent regularly called up Cold Storage after work, Cold Storage will allow him/her to asking for a particular Campbell brand of black buy the same item at the promotional price when beans. Learning & Development Manager Rajes it is next available. Cover Story 10 The joys of achieving work-life harmony Enhanced cost effectiveness, better employee performance and help in recruitment and training are some advantages of adopting work-life strategies. It is no wonder more and more organisations are promoting work-life harmony simply because it makes good business dollars and sense. By Work-Life Unit, MCDS ince SP Consulting (International) Pte Ltd S introduced work-life friendly initiatives such as flexi-work arrangements and paid childcare leave two years ago, there has been zero staff turnover. The team from the Work-Life Unit. At Procter & Gamble’s Singapore office, a telework scheme has helped to boost staff productivity, reduce environment so that their staff can focus on their jobs office rental costs, as well as enable new mothers to while they are at the job. balance work and family demands. Towards work-life harmony These are just two examples of companies that have The Ministry of Community Development and Sports gained from implementing work-life practices. These (MCDS) formed the Work-Life Unit in 2000. That year, companies are convinced that helping employees to MCDS also formed the Tripartite Committee on Work- strike a healthy balance between their work and personal Life Strategy with the Ministry of Manpower, the life benefits both employees as well as the company. National Trades Union Congress and the Singapore However, every organisation needs to realise that National Employers Federation. promoting work-life harmony is a MCDS and its tripartite partners jointly organised BENEFITS OF business imperative. the biennial Family Friendly Firm (FFF) Award to ADOPTING recognise companies for their work-life friendly efforts. WORK-LIFE Why work-life strategies Results show that more employers are recognising STRATEGIES are critical the need to promote work-life harmony. In 2002, there • Ability to attract Organisations that want to recruit was a significant 27% increase in the number of and retain top and retain the best staff have to organisations participating in the award compared to respond to social and economic talent 2000. There was also a more than three-fold jump in trends. The increasing number of • Less staff the number of companies meeting the award criteria, dual income families as well as the turnover, resulting in double the number of award winners. growing elderly population have recruitment and given rise to the “sandwiched” Win-win approach training costs generation — employees who have Despite the encouraging results, much remains to be • Higher staff to take care of both their children done. Changing mindsets takes time, said Mrs Wee- and their elderly parents. Employers Lee Gracie, Deputy Director, Work-Life Unit. morale and have to recognise that their staff “It took the US, UK, Australia and other advanced commitment have multiple roles to fulfil. countries nearly 20 years to build a work-life friendly • Less absenteeism, Globalisation and technology culture. Given that Singapore only embarked on lateness, sick leave advances have affected how, when promoting work-life harmony in 2000, it would take • Greater and where work is done. The desk- us some time to build it,” she said. productivity and bound workplace is increasingly Addressing concerns regarding the current poor being replaced by the mobile economic situation, Mrs Wee-Lee added, “I would like to competitiveness workplace, and it is not uncommon encourage companies to look beyond the pressing bread • Better service for staff to work at odd hours to and butter issues and consider the significant, long-term c h a l l e n g e delivery connect with clients located in other impact of work-life practices on their bottom-line, that • Lower overheads parts of the world. Addressing the is on morale, productivity, talent attraction and retention.” • Enhanced time bind/famine is hence crucial. Ultimately, the work-life strategy addresses both Employers need to create a more organisational and personal aspirations. It is the win- corporate image flexible and supportive work win approach that benefits everyone in the long run. j u l y 0 3 Cover Story 11 Fostering a work-life lea as To S h D rn how ely MC activ famil y friendly culture n bee oting ge 17 om e pa pr se life , . he Work-Life Unit adopts a three-pronged T By Work-Life Unit, MCDS approach to fostering work-life friendly workplaces. You and your organisation can benefit from the various initiatives and resources provided by the Unit. Promoting work-life strategies Work-life strategies include providing flexible work arrangements (eg. flexi-time, regular part-time, compressed work week, telecommuting); leave Check out www.aboutfamilylife.org.sg to find out more about the benefits of work-life harmony. benefits (eg. marriage leave, paternity leave and family care leave); employee support schemes (eg. workplace partners the Civil Service College to conduct training childcare centre, health and wellness programmes, for local consultants and human resource practitioners. social activities for singles and concierge services); as If your organisation is interested to take the first small well as having a favourable work-life infrastructure step towards becoming work-life friendly, it can sign up (eg. conducting employee needs assessment, as a corporate Family Life Ambassador at no cost to designating a team to work on work-life issues.) promote family life education programmes to staff. Organisations can adopt a cafeteria approach by Similarly, if you as an individual want to promote family providing a basketful of work-life programmes and life education to your friends/relatives, you can also sign employees can select the programmes which best up as an individual Family Life Ambassador. Simply sign meet their needs up to a certain cap value. up with the Family Education Department of MCDS. (For The Work-Life Unit co-organises the Family more details, visit www.aboutfamilylife.org.sg.) Friendly Firm Award to recognise organisations that Building local expertise and resources have successfully adopted work-life strategies. The Unit ran the Work-Life Consultancy Training The Unit has also organised over 120 sharing Programme last year to train 19 local private-sector sessions/seminars for about 8,700 employers and consultants to provide work-life consultancy. Interested human resource practitioners. local companies can tap on the expertise of these Currently, the Unit conducts bimonthly work-life consultants to implement effective work-life strategies. sharing sessions, and participates in networking sessions Research conducted by the Unit and other useful organised by various business organisations. It also resource materials such as guidebooks and pamphlets can be accessed from the MCDS website. Facilitating funding for consultancy and training The Unit also helps organisations to secure resources for implementing work-life strategies. For example, the Unit administers financial assistance schemes for both small and medium enterprises to help and encourage them to embark on the work-life journey. Local organisations can obtain enhanced funding under the The Work-Life Unit has produced a lot of materials and Skills Development Fund (SDF) for staff to attend work- resources to aid companies in their work-life journey. life strategy training. Managing Your Work and Life: An Introduction to Work-Life Harmony MCDS presents a three-part programme: The Work-Life To find out more about work-life harmony and Unit will give an introduction to work-life harmony, relevant financial assistance schemes, or to get IBM Singapore will share the winning results of adopting updates on other events, visit www.mcds.gov.sg, send work-life strategies, and a certified life coach will give an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Work- tips on how to attain personal work-life effectiveness. Life Unit at 6355 8032. Thursday, 31 Venue: Date: Thursday, 31 July 2003 • Time: 7.00 pm to 8.30 pm • Venue: library@orchard (snacks provided) Cover Story 12 Keeping a healthy balance at KKH personal and family commitments besides their work responsibilities. Our work-life programmes have been developed to support our people in fulfilling these commitments, and to enable them to perform more effectively at work.” Portfolio of initiatives Many initiatives have been adopted. A unique one is the Wind Beneath My Wings Award. Mooted by KKH’s CEO, Dr Jennifer Lee, the award recognises the family members of staff who have been very supportive. The winners are nominated Winner of the Wind Beneath My Wings Award by KKH staff and selected by a panel of judges 2002 — Mdm Yew Woon Chooi, wife of Dr Christopher Chong. from the management team. So far, two family members have received the award. Besides launching the award, KKH was the Staff at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital first hospital to offer junior doctors the choice (KKH) are happy with the many work-life to work part-time. Dr Allyson Tan was one of the initiatives that enable them to give their best doctors who benefited from this arrangement. at work, as well as to fulfil their personal With the enhanced part-time work aspirations and family commitments. arrangement, KKH staff can choose the number of hours they want to work, and they get to enjoy t work, Dr Shani Tan is a dedicated By HR Performance Management Division, KKH A anaesthetist. Outside office hours, she is a passionate mountain climber. In fact, she provided base camp medical support for the pro-rated benefits. KKH also launched the Kids@Work Scheme to provide back-up childcare for staff on a short-term basis. Staff with children above seven First Singapore Mount Everest Expedition Team years old may bring them to KKH’s Family in 1998. Since then, she longed for more Resource Centre when their regular caregivers adventure but could not find the time to pursue are unavailable. her interests. She finally fulfilled her dream of There is also a lactation room and going mountain climbing in Alaska when her boss convenience services such as dinner pick-up, gave her a year off. laundry services, postal services and grocery Dr Allyson Tan is another case in point. She delivery. The staff also enjoy family activities, was grateful when her supervisor agreed to let healthy lifestyle programmes and other benefits. her work part-time after she gave birth to her third child. She was surprised when she was later Positive outcomes promoted as she did not expect career Since introducing flexible work arrangements in advancement. She said, “It really shows that we several departments, KKH has enjoyed these benefits: are valued at KKH.” • Optimal manpower to meet business needs, eg. ability to deploy more staff during Commitment to staff peak periods A two-time winner of the Family Friendly Firm • Flexible and responsive workforce to meet the Award, KKH is committed to providing a supportive changing needs of the business and flexible work environment for its staff. • Cost savings (without cutting jobs) Explaining the Hospital’s winning approach, • Improved productivity and teamwork Ms Chee Thong Gan, Senior Manager of KKH’s among staff c h a l l e n g e Work-Life Unit, said, “Delivering a consistently Furthermore, in the Employee Opinion Survey high standard of care and meeting the rising 2002, 85% of the 1,919 KKH staff who expectations of our customers require participated indicated that work-life initiatives commitment and dedication. are important in affecting their decision to j u l y “At KKH, we recognise that our people have continue working in the Hospital. 0 3 Cover Story 13 Caring for the welfare of prison officers he Prisons Department’s efforts to promote framework for providing staff welfare. By ASP Letitia and ASP Norman, Prisons Department T work-life harmony are certainly paying off. In fact, the Department was the only public agency among the 23 organisations which won To ensure that the programmes meet the needs of staff, regular feedback sessions are organised. The feedback from a recent survey on the Family Friendly Firm Award in 2002. the welfare needs of staff is also invaluable to The Department values its workforce and has programme organisers. introduced a spate of initiatives to help staff Staff response has been very positive. Recent strike a healthy balance between work and survey results indicate that the work-life family life. initiatives have helped to strengthen the bond Programmes have been organised to increase between the staff and the Department. staff volunteerism. Said ASP Letitia De Zilva, Head The officers are also pleased with the various Welfare, Prisons Department, “Teamwork, respect activities organised. Said ASP Norman Mohd Zain, for one another and the community are two of OC Housing Unit, Moon Crescent Prison, “My our core values. We believe that volunteerism is family and I have attended the annual Prisons Family a good platform for prison officers to develop Day, children’s educational tours and seminars, to such values and we would like to inspire our name a few. These activities were tailored to our officers to extend their roles as Captains of Lives needs and were simply fantastic because beyond their work. they enhanced family togetherness.” In the pipeline The Department aims “As Captains of Lives, our prison officers are to develop two new responsible for steering positive change in offenders. initiatives every quarter. From experience, officers are most productive and In the next quarter, it is looking to introduce inspired when they are not distracted by family programmes that focus problems.” — Mr Chua Chin Kiat, Director, Prisons Dept on building strong family ties, enhancing racial harmony and promoting “In this way, they will not only find satisfaction teamwork amongst staff. and meaning in contributing to the community Plans are also underway to organise but also make an impact on other lives.” programmes that will help older staff to prepare The prison officers help out at various welfare for retirement. homes. In 2001, 15 officers even went on a social The Department recently co-organised a trip service visit to Cambodia. for single officers to Pulau Tioman with the Other work-life initiatives include outdoor Singapore Police Force. The Department also looks activities, self-interest programmes like a basic forward to more collaborations with other vehicle maintenance workshop, talks and seminars agencies in future. on various topics, and corporate card memberships for places of interest. In touch with officers A working group, headed by the Assistant Director, Staff Development, was formed to review the strategic Prison officers helping to set up a mini vegetable garden at the Singapore Convalescent Home (The Children’s Society). Innovation In Action 14 FROWN on the barriers to innovation veryone knows the importance of By Service Quality Centre Pte Ltd E innovation or has his/her own concept of what it means. However, not everyone practises innovative thinking. Why is this so? What are the obstacles to innovative thinking? Well, when it comes to innovation, there are some “barriers” you should FROWN on: 1. Fear of failure — All too often, we are caught up with the mundane affairs of work. The fear of failure causes us to focus only on doing what we do best, what we are familiar with, and what leads to recognised paths to success. Soon, methods of working become stale, but everyone is comfortable. So how do we overcome this barrier? To do so, we need to look at new ventures and trying out new ideas as learning experiences rather than in terms of success and failure. 2. Rigidity — We are often bound by rigid policies and regulations. However, in this dynamic world that we live in today, customers’ needs are constantly changing. So we need to challenge norms and policies that no longer apply today, so Course participants at Service Quality Centre find as to remain relevant and to meet customers’ needs. that activating creativity can be a fun-filled 3. Thinking there is only one right solution — learning experience. What is one plus one? Is your answer two? This question was posed by an interviewer to some Archive ideas may one day serve as solutions to potential candidates for an accountancy position. other problems. The person who was finally offered the job 4. Wrong assumptions — Jack and Jill were lying answered simply, “Anything you want it to be.” on the floor with puddles of water and broken We can learn from this glass around them. What happened? Did you incident. When it guess correctly that Jack and Jill are goldfish? TIPS FOR INNOVATION comes to making This story can teach us a good lesson about • Dare to try out decisions, we need to making wrong assumptions. Sometimes we make realise that there may assumptions due to our experience and new ideas be more than one prejudices. However, when facing a challenge, • Be flexible and right answer. There we need to be objective. We need to follow the adaptable may be many possible facts and not our assumptions. • Find multiple answers of which only 5. Negative thinking — Have you ever heard a solutions to a one is the best or newscaster announce this over television: “We problem the most practical have good news today! All 142,336 planes landed solution. So when safely at airports around the world…”? I doubt • Be objective — you are faced with so. We do not listen enough to positive words. follow facts not challenges, generate Negative thinking can slowly affect our lives. So assumptions as many solutions as stop thinking negatively and be positive. You can c h a l l e n g e • Think positive possible and write start today by hanging around positive people. thoughts them down. Weigh In conclusion, be aware of and frown on the • Hang around the consequences, barriers to innovative thinking. You will also positive people choose one solution positively affect those in your circles when you j u l y and keep the rest. think big, think differently and think innovatively. 0 3 A Day In The Life Of A Public Officer 15 Top of the class hian Ai Ling reaches her office at 6.30 am T on weekdays and does not leave till 6 pm. She also works half-days on Saturdays. She has been with the same organisation for over five years — and she simply loves her job. Ai Ling is Head of the Humanities Department at Crescent Girls’ School. Diane Goh from Radin Mas Primary School Ai Ling (left) and Diane win the hearts and minds of also works long hours. Before she became Head their students. of the Mathematics Department, she even spent her weekends with her students on outings and project idea and then develop a website — all within often invited them over to her place. three months. This took place in 1998, when Since their promotion, Ai Ling and Diane have advanced technologies were not common in schools. been given a lighter teaching load, but they have After much hard work, Diane and her team taken on more responsibilities. Besides developed a virtual zoo with students in Hawaii. overseeing their department’s programmes, they And during her school’s IT Open House, guest of have to coach and look into the training and honour Education Minister Teo Chee Hean was most development of the teachers under their charge. impressed to witness a live teleconferencing session. Ai Ling has also “Some people think a teacher ’s role is to teach spearheaded many IT and mark, that’s all. That was in the past. The projects, one of which was a collaboration with the teacher ’s role has since evolved....” — Thian Ai Ling Singapore School for the Deaf (SSD) to concep- As key members of various organisational tualise and produce the committees, they are involved in strategic first original sign-language storybook for the SSD planning for the school. There are also many students. The storybook has also been made available administrative duties, not to mention student on the Internet so that more people can enjoy it. projects and school-wide programmes. Making a difference To top it off, they are involved in committees At the end of the day, teaching is really all about that steer their schools towards attaining touching lives. To both Diane and Ai Ling, it means professional standards like the Singapore Quality giving their time, attention and even their handphone Class and the People Developer Standard. numbers to their students. And they have found that Said Ai Ling, “Besides knowing our craft very their greatest rewards are intangible ones. well, that is how to maximise the potential of our Said Ai Ling, “When my first batch of students students and to prepare them for the future, we entered university, I was very, very excited and happy have to enable our schools to become professional for them. They graduated this year and many of bodies by charting new paths and benchmarking them received first class honours. I’m now looking our schools against private organisations.” forward to attending one of their weddings.” Many exciting challenges It warms her heart when her former students “There are so many things that require our visit her every Chinese New Year and Teachers’ attention. It can be a struggle balancing our Day, and call and send SMS just to stay in touch. multiple roles,” said Diane. Diane’s care for her students has also left a Added Ai Ling, “Another challenge is working deep impact. One year, her class appealed for her well with groups of people of different ages — our to remain as their form teacher for a third year. students, their parents, other teachers and vendors.” And when they had completed their PSLE and Adopting new technologies can also be a rigorous received their results, 34 out of 40 of them learning experience. For example, when Diane’s received A*s for mathematics. principal proposed doing a collaborative IT project, “That was one big moment for me. I thought Diane took on the task although she had practically ‘Wow! I’m in the right job!’” she said. zero IT knowledge and a very tight deadline. She had Both winners of the Outstanding Youth in to source for an overseas school to work with, and Education Award, Diane and Ai Ling hope to inspire form a team of primary students to come up with a many more young lives in the years to come. Staff Matters 16 MINDEF launches two e-services By NSmen Payments Centre, MINDEF perationally Ready National Servicemen O (NSmen) are paid their rank allowance each time they return for NS-related activities. Whether they are employed or self- employed, they are entitled to claim their make- up pay from the NSmen Payments Centre of the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF). Recently, two new initiatives were added to the slew of initiatives introduced over the years to make the claiming of pay more convenient for NSmen. SMS pay alerts From April 2003, NSmen will no longer receive hardcopy payslips sent by snail mail. Instead, they NSmen can now receive SMS pay alerts. will be notified via the Short Message Service (SMS) three days before they are paid. e-Payslip On receiving the SMS alert, an NSman can To complement the SMS pay alert initiative, choose to check the actual amount credited into MINDEF introduced e-payslips in March 2003. his account by keying in his NRIC number in a NSmen can now log onto www.miw.com.sg preset format. Once this information is validated, to view their accounts and print their payslips. he will receive a second SMS indicating the In addition, they can also browse through a host amount. Alternatively, NSmen can log onto of other online enquiry functions that have been MINDEF’s e-services portal, www.miw.com.sg, to made available since April 2001. check the details of their allowance. Eighty percent of the NSmen who gave To ensure that SMS alerts are not sent to a feedback indicated that they would use this new wrong mobile phone user, a feature that allows service to check their pay details. unintended recipients to notify MINDEF has been These two new initiatives have transformed built into the system. This feature also helps the way of “doing business” at MINDEF. The MINDEF to maintain an accurate database. benefits include reduced operating costs as there The feedback from NSmen has been positive is no need to pay for hardcopy payslips, postage to date. The majority indicated that they prefer and handling charges. The new services are also SMS alerts to hardcopy payslips. efficient and more convenient for NSmen. FEEDBACK FROM NSMEN ON SMS ALERTS • “This is certainly a step forward.Keep up the good job.” c h a l l e n g e • “Good service! I will know earlier when I will receive A sample of an e-payslip that NSmen can view and print out when they log onto my payment.” j u l y www.miw.com.sg. 0 3 Staff Matters 17 MCDS scores four firsts in family life campaign By Susan Koh Woon Siok, MCDS he Ministry of Community Development T and Sports (MCDS) is actively promoting family life. Besides organising National Family Week, the ministry also recently launched PARENTING TIPS Mr Chan Soo Sen, MCDS Minister of State and also Chairman of Family Matters! four new initiatives. Singapore, said, Teenage years are turbulent, National Family Week exciting and confusing. Parents need to This year’s National Family Week was held from prepare for this adjustment way before their 7 June to 15 July. It brought families closer children reach their teenage years. It is together through participation in over 60 events important for adults to understand that their and workshops. The theme “We’re Family… and children are in the midst of forming their Friends” was chosen because it celebrates kinship and youthful energy. own identities. Nagging and dictating them no longer work. Guide them but remember Exciting happenings to allow them personal space to grow and MCDS also introduced four new initiatives recently. The first is the Kin-ergy website where teens can mature into responsible young adults. The participate in an online forum and gain tips on winning formula to building a closer various topics related to family, school and relationship with your teenagers is trust community life and more. They can also seek advice and support.” from counsellors from family service centres. The second initiative is the Short Message Service (SMS) facility available on the Kin-ergy website. With this facility, teens can register their parents’ mobile phone numbers and vice versa to receive surprise voice messages from famous radio personalities Glenn and Rod. Teens can also opt to receive SMS alerts about fun-filled events and activities for the family. The ministry is the You’ll find the Kin-ergy website at www.kin-ergy.com both fun and informative. first organisation in Singapore to offer such a service through a website. MCDS also produced and distributed a 100- page magazine to schools. Insightful and entertaining, Kin-ergy covers topics such as pop culture, family relationships, friendship, stress management, falling in love and dressing up. To top it off, MCDS was the first ministry to commission an “Amazing Race” local reality gameshow. In this programme entitled “Kin- ergy”, teams consisting of a parent and his/her teenage child pit their problem-solving skills against each other in an island- he wide race to win $15,000 arn t and To le e worth of cash and prizes. rtanc alancing impo of b fits fe, Watch out for this five-part, bene ily li Parent-child teams pit their skills against each other an d fam ory in this series which airs from 24 June to 22 July. weekly series! work over st he c – 13. see t s 10 on page Healthy Body, Active Mind 18 Halt the salt alt or sodium S chloride is one of several sources of sodium in your diet. Table 1: Sodium content of commonly eaten dishes Cooked dishes Dry fishball noodles Mee soto Serving size 1 small bowl 1 bowl Sodium (mg) 1,650 2,680 A diet high in sodium Nasi briyani with chicken 1 plate 1,660 increases the risk of Laksa 1 small bowl 1,590 Char kway teow 1 plate 1,460 getting high blood Chicken rice 1 plate 1,290 pressure and stroke. Ideally, you should Table 2: Sodium content of commonly used processed foods Processed/Preserved foods Serving size Sodium (mg) consume less than one Chinese salted cabbage (hum-coy) 100g 1,860 teaspoon (5 g) of salt Luncheon meat 1 slice 400 a day. Roasted peanut, salted ½ cup 380 Where is the sodium Salted egg 1 medium egg 350 in food? Ham 1 slice 320 French fries 1 regular serving 200 High sodium is Potato crisps 1 packet 180 found in fast food, instant sauces, canned Table 3: Sodium content of commonly used seasonings Sauces/Seasonings/Gravy Serving size Sodium (mg) vegetables, processed Salt 1 teaspoon 2,000 meat, common sea- Salt substitutes (potassium salt) 1 teaspoon 865 sonings such as baking Stock cube 1 teaspoon 920 soda, baking powder MSG 1 teaspoon 620 and monosodium Oyster sauce 1 teaspoon 345 Light soy sauce 1 teaspoon 365 glutamate (MSG), and Dark soy sauce 1 teaspoon 203 foods described as Tomato sauce 1 teaspoon 114 broth, cured, corned, pickled and smoked. Animal-based food products generally contain higher quantities of sodium than plant-based products. Tips to reduce sodium in your diet • Choose fresh vegetables, poultry and meat over processed, cured or pickled food when cooking. • Be a savy shopper by choosing products with the Healthier Choice Symbol. These products • Taste your food before adding salt and/or have lower sodium content, lower fat content sauces. If you must add them, do it sparingly. and/or higher dietary fibre content. • Eat two servings of fresh fruit and two servings • Be aware that even products labelled of fresh vegetables daily. They are naturally “reduced salt”, “low salt” or “lightly salted” low in sodium and rich in vitamins, minerals, must be consumed in moderation. antioxidants, phytochemicals and dietary fibre. • Spice up dishes with natural seasonings such • Glutamate is a natural taste enhancer. Most as shallots, onions, garlic and ginger, and fresh food including meat, poultry, fish and natural ingredients such as chicken bones, vegetables contain glutamate. Vegetables mushrooms, soybeans and peanut. Avoid rich in glutamate include peas, tomatoes, stock cubes and other artificial seasonings. corn and mushrooms. Add glutamate-rich • Use salt sparingly and only at the end of ingredients to your everyday meals as they your cooking. provide natural flavours without the need for salt and sauces. Using salt substitutes is not the solution to c h a l l e n g e reducing sodium consumption. Many of them contain potassium in its place, which is harmful HealthLine: for people with certain medical conditions. Try 1800-223 1313 (for personal health advice during office hours) the above tips instead. For a healthy heart, halt 1800-848 1313 (for 24-hour pre-recorded health information) j u l y the salt. 0 3 19 CHALLENGEQUIZ j u l y 2 0 0 3 ANSWERS to June 2003 Quiz 1 Which agency obtained the ISO 9001:2000 certification recently? ROMM 2. What does “OASIS” stand for? Online Application System for Integrated Services 3. What is the address of the Civil Service One-Stop Job Portal? www.careers.gov.sg 4. What is the name of the Answer the following questions on the contents of new column in Challenge? Cut Red Tape this issue of Challenge: 5. Answer “true” or “false” to this statement: If you smoke, you inhale over 4,000 1. Which award did MPA receive recently? chemicals with every puff you take. True 2. Name the two innovation practices launched by CAAS recently. 3. What is the name of the award launched by WINNERS KKH to honour staffs’ supportive family of June 2003 Quiz members? 1. Mary Lee, PA 2. Tong Siak Hong, HDB 4. At which website can NSmen go to view their 3. Kuda Vidanage D. S., IDA payslips? 4. Hartini Jamaludin, NEA 5. Kho Ai Kuan, MOM 5. What is the sodium content of one regular 6. Siti Khadijah, CPF serving of french fries? 7. Sofiyanty Bte Salleh, MHA/ICA 8. Ong Lung Hua, SLA 9. Lim Kou Siew Yong, NUS 10. Siti Nur Affnie Bte M. Kasbi, CPF Send your entries to PS21 Office, 29 Heng Mui Keng Terrace, Singapore 119620 by 28 July 2003. Email us at email@example.com or fax to 6775 3461. Give your name, ministry, ministry address and phone number. The first 10 Congratulations to the winners, correct entries drawn will receive a token of appreciation from the PS21 Office. who will each receive a pen.