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CIO Workshop: Trust your employees

Jack Loo | May 25, 2011
To engage your workers, organisations need to be transparent in their communication.

C-level executives need to create trust across the organisation as they attempt to latch onto the current economic revival, according to Lee Kwok Cheong, CEO, SIM Global Education.

"Organisations need to be transparent to their employees. You must communicate openly as you bring about your ideas to your employees," said Lee. He was speaking at the keynote address for the 24th CIO Workshop yesterday.

In order to inspire the employees, organisations should "set an exciting vision, something aspirational, otherwise they will seek employment elsewhere given the current favourable economic situation," added Lee.

Held over five days in Singapore's Red Dot Museum, and in Hong Kong and Shenzhen, the CIO Workshop is jointly organised by Accenture and the island nation's Information Technology Management Association (ITMA). The theme for this year's conference is "From downturn to growth: The complexities that come with it".

For OSIM's founder and CEO Ron Sim, he took a different path of guiding his staff where he would empower his IT team to set up its vision and objectives to contribute to the organisation. "I would ask them on where they see themselves in three years' time, what role do they have in the company," said Sim.

Sim revealed that a strategic restructuring initiative during the recent recession tasked the IT team to create a system that allows a clearer view of the business. "Now we can find out sales performance of each shop at three different timings during the day," he added.

Xs, Ys and baby boomers

The convergence of the baby boomer, X and Y generations at the workplace was the topic for the panel discussion chaired by Grace Chng, editor, Digital Life.

Panellist Fum-Ko Joon Chin, people development & engagement (organisational development function), Infocommunications Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), raised the point that workers should not be too dependent on the use of technology, such as social media, to communicate. "We must be the masters but not slaves to technology," she said. She added that when IDA moved to a new office, numerous meeting areas were set up for workers to engage on a face-to-face basis, instead of just relying on communication technology.

Fellow panellist Subra Shankar, director of Asia Pacific enterprise solutions sales, Intel, commented that the consumerisation of IT meant that employees would bring their own devices to the work place, and it is important for the IT function "to be able to ensure that the infrastructure can handle multiple devices and operating systems".

Panellist Zeng Rongyao, systems analyst, Housing and Development Board Singapore, pointed out that the existence of social media in the workplace cannot be denied. A Generation Y worker is one that can multi-task work as well as leisure, thanks to the alt-tab function, said Zeng. "When I want to take a breather from work, I just switch windows to my Facebook," he said.


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