Inside Sarawak Energy’s culture of excellence

The HRD Employer of Choice awardee shares its roadmap for a high-performance culture

Inside Sarawak Energy’s culture of excellence

For the world’s top employers, excellence at work isn’t just an ideal – it’s a way of life that calls for inclusive growth across all levels of the organisation.

Before companies can set out to improve their performance, they first need to foster an inclusive environment where change is “co-created” with their employees, stakeholders, and partners.

“People are our greatest asset and they need to be nurtured to achieve their highest potential,” said Datu Sharbini Suhaili, Group CEO of Sarawak Energy, which was recently named HRD’s Employer of Choice for 2020.

“We engage with our employees and listen to them because we believe in diversity and inclusiveness – based on competency and meritocracy – to ensure the sustainable development of our talent,” Datu Sharbini told HRD in an exclusive interview.

Read more: Employer of Choice 2020

The roadmap to excellence

Sarawak Energy is committed to building a high-performance culture. At the heart of it is a comprehensive talent development programme called A.D.D. our Talent.

“In 2017, we launched a Sarawak Energy roadmap towards excellence in project delivery, health, safety, security & environment and operations underpinned by talent management excellence and a high-performance culture,” Datu Sharbini said.

“Through this, our aspiration or end goal is to make Sarawak Energy a great place to work and an employer of choice,” he said. “We approached our culture change programme holistically and co-created initiatives with our people.”

In January, the company took this commitment toward excellence to a new level when it unveiled the Sarawak Energy Excellence 2022 Roadmap.

“The purpose of SEE2022 is to express our bold desire to move our company from good to great,” Datu Sharbini said. “Our people will make us the best operator and regional powerhouse by capturing growth through continuous improvement and leveraging technology and digitalisation.”

“As part of our People Strategy, we will continue to ‘A.D.D. our Talent’ – which stands for Acquire, Develop and Deploy. It is important that we acquire the right talent at opportune moments and develop these talents through a structured development plan that covers both functional competence and leadership skills,” the CEO said. “Once developed, we deploy them into the right roles and responsibilities that challenge their capabilities.”

“While we are helping our employees achieve their true potential, we also see the importance of making them [feel] a sense of belonging; happy as they enjoy collaborating with one another.”

“In doing so, we hope to retain our best talents and continue to be the Employer of Choice for more years ahead.”

Employee feedback and fit-for-purpose programmes

Sarawak Energy gives leaders across the business the freedom and flexibility to introduce “fit-for-purpose high-performance culture programmes” anchored on the company’s core values of courage, unity, respect, integrity and accountability, otherwise known as CURIA.

The company also holds an annual employee survey to measure engagement and the overall organisational climate.

“The honest opinions and critical feedback of our people have been instrumental in assessing how we are doing, what and where we have done well; and in identifying our hotspots for improvement,” Datu Sharbini said.

“We believe that our employees’ positive experience in the workplace translates into optimal productivity and consequently impacts our company in a meaningful way.

“By caring for our people, as well as recognising and rewarding them accordingly, our company culture is further strengthened, leading to enhanced productivity overall,” he said.

Read more: Sarawak Energy Berhad

Rising up to the challenge

Sarawak Energy played a critical role in ensuring members of the community – from households to business establishments – were powered in their day-to-day operations amid the COVID-19 crisis.

The company’s commitment to its employees, however, never faltered. “The well-being and safety of Sarawak Energy staff remain our top priority,” the CEO said.

“Sarawak Energy has kept the lights on for Sarawak during this challenging time while keeping everyone as safe and as engaged as possible and providing equipment and support for them to perform optimally.

“A special ‘thank you’ goes out to our frontliners and essential service colleagues who continue to work tirelessly to provide uninterrupted electricity supply and services to our customers,” he said.

Sarawak Energy engages with employees by stepping up internal communications and “encouraging a culture of caring for each other”.

While most staff members have been working from home and only minimum manpower is assigned on site, teams are getting things done with the help of the right technology and by “remaining true” to the company’s core values, Datu Sharbini said.

“The New Work Arrangement that we are currently on succeeds because of how much value our

people put in terms of accountability and trust, both as individuals and collectively.

“During this unprecedented time, we were presented with many challenges, but our people responded to the situation with agility and adaptability – we continue to deliver despite all the challenges we have experienced,” the CEO said.

The winning formula

Sarawak Energy invests time and resources into employee development and well-being.

“The winning formula for a successful HR programme to power up our workforce combines discipline, dedication, commitment, hard work and passion,” the CEO said.

Being recognised as HRD Employer of Choice “validates our collective efforts and investment in making Sarawak Energy a great place to work,” he said. “It is a great motivational boost for us and continues to instil a sense of pride within our workforce.”

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