07 Aug 2015 12:00:00 AM

Sunway Women’s Talent Project

Published on September 2, 2013
From a tin-mining company established in 1974, Sunway Group has thrived to become one of Malaysia’s most formidable property-construction groups, with a multitude of established businesses in more than 40 locations worldwide.

“Government and organisations need to work together to increase women’s participation in the workforce and support women’s progress through the organisation. Some specific examples include provision of tax, subsidy or incentive from the government to establish childcare facilities, offering the option of working from home, longer maternity leave, or setting up women development programmes to equip women with the necessary skills to raise their ambition and profile. Organisations may also adopt more flexible working hours and result-oriented performance evaluation instead of assessing employees based on hours worked.”

- Ybhg Tan Sri Dr Jeffrey Cheah, AO. Founder and Chairman, Sunway Group

Sunway Group encompasses 12 business divisions namely Property, Construction, Hospitality, Retail, Leisure, Commercial, Trading & Manufacturing, Building Materials, Quarry, Healthcare, Education and Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT). Sunway REIT is one of Malaysia’s largest REITs with an enviable portfolio of growing assets comprising retail, hotels and offices throughout Malaysia. It was incorporated in December 2010.

Community Builder, Innovator, Enriching Lives remain Sunway Group’s core tenets infiltrating our developments as we build landmarks across the region. The Group’s flagship development which has garnered global recognition is the 800 acre Sunway Resort City, an engineering tour de force, and the first green township in Malaysia that has been certified by Green Building Index. Located a mere 20 minutes from Malaysia’s capital city of Kuala Lumpur, the township stands as an icon for human endeavour, innovation and forwardness, as it was literally resurrected from a tin mining wasteland. With over seven million square feet of world-class facilities, the Sunway Resort City attracts 40 million visitations every year. Sunway Resort City comprises more than 7,000 residential and commercial units. It is a highly sought-after place to live, work, learn, play and shop, and stands as the only integrated resort city in Malaysia, epitomising Sunway’s trademark “resort living within a city” concept. It remains today as one of the region’s most preferred tourist destinations.

Visionary leadership, perceptive and transparent corporate policies, and synergistic teamwork have shaped the Group into becoming what it is today – a leader in all areas it specialises in. Sunway is the only Malaysian organisation in the Asia Pacific region that was ranked sixth in the Hewitt-Fortune-RBL Top Companies for Leaders in recognition of its unflinching commitment to human capital management.

For almost four decades now, corporate responsibility (CR) continues to augment Sunway Group’s business model, operating strategies and corporate culture as we actively engage our stakeholders and the communities we serve. Sunway, whose core tenets include community building and enriching lives, approaches CR through championing three key areas of focus namely Education, Healthcare and C.A.R.E. projects- an acronym for community aid, reach-out, and enrichment. CR forms an integral part of our business framework and strengthens the sustainability of our businesses as we expand our presence worldwide. Intertwined with Sunway’s core values, we remain committed to creating a positive and far-reaching impact on the nation and humankind through our CR efforts.

Sunway’s Women Talent Project

Sunway recognises the need to attract new talents and to retain existing ones in the workforce. We have built a team to formulate a game plan to attract and retain women talents in the organisation:
  • To become an Employer of Choice

  • To continuously attract new talents – especially women talents who have left the workforce

  • To continuously retain our talents – setting up support facilities and flexible work arrangements
With this flexible work arrangements and family friendly facilities in place, Sunway hopes to attract and retain a more skilled and diverse workforce while strengthening its brand as an Employer of Choice. We also hope to see an increase in employee engagement, motivation and commitment while balancing work and family commitments.

The key steps:

  • Obtained support from Senior Management to include initiative in the Company’s Business Plan

  • Set up a working committee consisting of different members from Group Human Resources (GHR)
Timeframe & Key Milestones:
  • PHASE 1 (Q1 & 2, 2013)
    Support Facilities

    • Set up Childcare Centre

    • Set up Mother’s Room at Menara Sunway followed by other offices

    • Set up designated Car Parking Space for pregnant mothers at Menara Sunway followed by other offices

    MaSRA Award

    • Present initiatives to attract and to retain women in the workforce
  • PHASE 2 (Q3, 2013)
    Flexible Work Arrangements
    • Begin with FlexTime

    • Explore other Flexible Work Arrangements e.g. working from home, part time, job sharing, etc
    Special Leaves

    • Improve maternity and paternity leaves

    • Explore other special leaves e.g. childcare/family leave, sabbatical leave, etc
  • PHASE 3 (Q4, 2013)
    Women Forum
    • Establish a women’s network to support women in advancing their career while fulfilling personal and family commitments
    Career Opportunities for ATP
    • Identify suitable positions for women, retiree, OKU, etc

    • Expand pool of talent

Key Stakeholders:
  • Senior Management

  • Business/Subsidiary Heads

  • Subsidiary Human Resources

Challenges Faced & Actions to overcome:

As we are currently at the infancy stage of implementation, we are closely monitoring the initiatives’ outcome.

Overview & Description:
  • High Quality, Affordable Childcare
  • A strategic alliance was forged between R.EA.L and Sunway Century Sdn Bhd – a subsidiary of the Sunway Group in February 2013 to provide high quality and affordable childcare, which will benefit the community and many working parents within Sunway Group. The new R.E.A.L Kids preschool centre will open in January 2014.The location of this upcoming R.E.A.L Kids centre is centralised and strategic, offering convenience and accessibility to Sunway staff cum parents who are working nearby. It will be purpose-built, complete with amenities and state-of-the-art facilities. Sitting on a land area of 17, 137 square feet with a built-up area of 15, 645 square feet, the kindergarten will feature facilities like swimming pool, computer lab, library, music room, M.I. rooms, playground, among others.

  • Mother’s Room
  • Sunway constructed a Mother’s Room in June 2013 to support the needs of mothers who wish to continue breastfeeding after they return to work from maternity leave.The room is fully equipped with four comfortable chairs, refrigerator, sinks, electrical outlets, and cleaning supplies for the purpose of expressing, storing, and collecting breast milk.

  • Designated Car Parking Space for Pregnant Mothers
  • In the same month, Sunway also allocated designated car parking bays next to the lifts for pregnant women in their third trimester for their convenience and ease of commutation. Escort assistance is provided by the Security Office on the same level.

  • Improved Maternity Leave
  • Sunway has also recently reviewed its maternity and paternity leave policy. Expectant mothers may now look forward to an extended maternity leave with 30 additional days on top of the statutory 60 days with an option to work from home.At present, only civil servants and banking personnel are given 90 days maternity leave. Sunway Group will be the first private, local conglomerate in the country to implement this benefit.

  • Flexible Work Arrangements
  • Sunway is committed to putting in place flexible work arrangements starting with all working mothers. Options of Flexible Work Arrangements:

    • FlexTime:
    • Working mothers are given the opportunity to clock in at 8am, 9am or 10am around a set of required “core hours”. This will allow mothers to juggle between work and family commitments

    • Working From Home Option:
    • Employees may apply to work from home on a case-by-case consideration

    • Other Arrangements:
    • Part time work is also made available to employees on a case-by-case basis

  • Networking Event for Women: Mother’s Day Special
    Sunway organised its first Mother’s Day Celebration on 10 May 2013 in honour of all mothers and for the sacrifices they have made. Guest of Honour, Puan Sri Dr Susan Cheah, Director of Sunway Group, together with more than 400 Sunway moms attended the inaugural celebration held at Sunway Medical Convention Centre.Sarena Cheah, Managing Director of Group Strategy and Corporate Development, paid tribute to both mothers and grandmothers in her heart-warming speech, and shared that Group Human Resources (GHR) is working to build the necessary infrastructure to support the needs of working mothers.Next, winners of the Sunway Mother-Child Lookalike Contest were announced. The contest, held two weeks before the celebration, received over 50 entries from all the different Business Units.Sunway Moms also experienced a ‘live’ cooking demo by David Morris and David Lee, two world renowned chefs from Sunway University’s Le Cordon Bleu. While David Morris demonstrated how to prepare a fuss-free French toast, David Lee shared with the crowd how to bake healthy muffins in a fast and effective manner!

    Another highlight of the event was the exclusive Floral Fashion Show sponsored by Fleurs @ Marrakesh, an award-winning floral design company based in Sunway Resort Hotel & Spa and Sunway Pyramid. Dressed in Fleurs’ unique floral fashion pieces, twelve Sunway Moms sportingly did the catwalk on stage much to the cheers and applause of an appreciative crowd! Overall, it was an exciting afternoon for the Sunway Moms.

Key Guidelines:
  • High Quality, Affordable Childcare
  • Open to all Sunway staff

  • Mother’s Room
  • Open to all Sunway mothers who wish to continue breastfeed after they return to work from maternity leave

  • Designated Car Parking Space for Pregnant Mothers
  • Open to Sunway’s pregnant women in their third trimester

  • Improved Maternity Leave
    • Confirmed female employees with minimum one (1) year service with the Company

    • Female employees with good performance track record

  • Flexible Work Arrangements
    • Confirmed working mothers with minimum one (1) year of service and has good performance track record

    • Working mothers employed under contract basis, part-time basis, and/or shift works are not eligible to participate in the flexible work arrangement

    • When assessing requests for flexible work arrangements, factors to be considered include:

    • Impact on business and/or operational needs e.g. financial impact, efficiency, productivity, and   customer service

      Eligibility/criteria for the flexible work arrangement

      Reasons related to family obligations

Impact on the organization:
Attract and retain women talent in the organisation.

Women in the organisation benefited:

Sasterine Lee Yook Lan,

Senior Manager
Planning Sunway Construction Sdn Bhd

“After trying to conceive for many years, I finally gave birth to a baby girl mid May last year. However, during my confinement period, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer”.

Lee was at a crossroad, thinking about the options she had. The management did not hesitate to give her the much-needed work-from-home (WFH) option as she was one of the key leaders from the planning department working on the high-profile MRT project. During this period of time working from home, Lee managed to focus on her career as well as look after her mother and bond with her newborn.

“I really appreciate what Sunway has done for me. To the Company, this may seem like a small matter but it meant a lot to me and my family”.

Ong Chiek Wee
Compensation & Benefits Group Human Resources

Ong left the workforce to be with her daughter, as she strongly believes that being present during her daughter’s early childhood years is utmost imperative to her future. Ong was almost certain she would never return to the workforce until she heard about the Sunway’s women initiatives.

“The flexibility of a three-day work week arrangement, with minimum impact on the time I get to spend with my daughter is great! Sunway is indeed leading with passion – having a heart for its employees.”

Direction for the business in terms of gender diversity:
Getting more women into the boardroom – To ensure more women move into the boardroom, one of Sunway’s initiatives moving forward is to organise our very own Women Forum. The event would be an excellent platform to help women discover career advancement opportunities, encourage them to step out and step up, as well as network with senior leaders in the organisation.

Improvements to be made to the initiative in future:
  • Mother’s Room – Roll out to all subsidiaries/offices

  • Improved Maternity Leave – Continuously review policy

  • Flexible Work Arrangements – Continuously review policy & introduce up-to-date flexible work arrangements