Speech by Minister for Manpower Dr Tan See Leng at the MOM Partners' Appreciation Event
Minister for Manpower, Dr Tan See Leng , Fairmont Singapore
Celebrating our Journey, Inspiring New Possibilities
Honourable partners, distinguished guests, fellow colleagues. A good afternoon to all of you.
1 A very warm welcome to everyone, including our partners and friends who have tuned in virtually. Thank you all.
2 From my years in the private sector, I have come to appreciate and cherish the value of partnerships. No company, no individual can survive, much less thrive, or progress forward on its own. It does takes hundreds, if not thousands, of unique individuals, entities, businesses and organisations working together just to get a supply chain functioning properly.
3 Now for the last 17 to 18 months since I’ve joined the public sector, I have seen for myself how the public, private, and people sectors work hand-in-hand to deliver critical services. Unlike the private sector supply chain, there is no profits or bottom lines to drive the partnerships. Instead, I think that the motivation comes from the intrinsic desire that exists in all of us – in wanting to serve. It is about how we can all play a part and help one another to achieve a shared objective, and that is for the betterment of our fellow Singaporeans.
4 It is thus especially timely to introduce this new annual platform for the Ministry of Manpower to recognise the invaluable contributions given by every one of you – our most cherished partners. Amid these last two unprecedented years, stakeholders from all walks of life – including associations, businesses, chambers, NGOs, tripartite partners, and even individuals – all of you came together to ensure that Singapore and Singaporeans emerge stronger from the COVID-19 pandemic.
5 To recognise our partners’ outstanding contributions over this past year, we have established the MOM Valued Partner Award, or MVP Award in short.
- We are pleased to recognise 10 exceptional partners today. These awardees include our longstanding collaborators, like our tripartite partners.
- And of course, our new and emerging partners. I hope our new and emerging partners will gather momentum and gather strength.
- All of you have stepped forward unreservedly to work and labour alongside us. I would like to express my deepest appreciation to all the award recipients. You are truly our MVPs!
3C Approach: Consulting, Co-creating, and Co-delivering with Citizens
6 Many of you would have heard about the Singapore Together movement, where the government and citizens work collaboratively for our nation's future. Indeed, this has been on the top of our minds, as MOM seek out stakeholders and citizens to partner with, amidst the immense and intense challenges of COVID-19.
7 We have a 3C approach in partnership: Consult, Co-create, and Co-deliver.
Connecting with Citizens through Consultation
8 First, in terms of consultation, we want to consult widely to better understand the needs and concerns of our workforce, and to gather suggestions, constructive feedback and new ideas.
- One example is the recently convened Tripartite Committee on Workplace Fairness to review and strengthen the existing workplace fairness framework. Consultations with stakeholders are ongoing, and these consultations are facilitated by our tripartite partners. I am grateful to also have the support of the Institute for Human Resource Professionals, Singapore Human Resources Institute, and TAFEP, among many others. They bring their networks and experience to the table, and they allow us to get a good representation of views from various segments and parts of society.
- To keep a finger on the pulse of issues facing different segments of the workforce, I have also recently started a series of dialogues with workers and jobseekers. Through these dialogues, I have gained a better understanding, as well as insights, of the anxieties and apprehensions that our workers and jobseekers face when COVID-19 threatened to take away their livelihoods. I also share the joys of their success, when they tell me stories, when they relayed to me how they have reskilled and started new and fulfilling careers. These success stories are testament of the tight collaboration between Workforce Singapore (WSG), NTUC’s Employment and Employability Institute (e2i), and partners such as the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Placement Partner, Adecco, supporting every worker to reskill, to upskill, and to find employment.
Partnering Citizens to Co-create and Co-deliver Solutions
9 Second, we co-create with our partners. Beyond having their views heard, our partners are often keen to take action and contribute. Hence, we explored new means of partnerships with Singaporeans through the Alliances for Action (AfAs) under the Singapore Together movement. Through these AfAs, we were able to engage passionate and committed Singaporeans to jointly create solutions with us.
- Let me share an example. Close to 40 passionate members from the AfA on Work-Life Harmony co-created five ground-up projects that support and promote work-life harmony in Singapore.
- One notable project from the AfA is the “after-hours work communication policy guide”, which seeks to address the “always-on” work culture – that we are expected to respond to work emails even after office hours.
- The policy guide – you can see how effective it is – it has been developed through close consultation with Singapore National Employers Federation, with senior management representatives, and human resource professionals.
- With this co-created solution, companies now have a reference point on how to establish and set clearer expectations on communication after working hours.
- The AfA for Lower-Wage Workers is another good example that showcases the benefits of co-creating with citizens. Eight ground-up projects to uplift our lower-wage workers were launched by 50 Singaporeans from diverse backgrounds – from businesses, community groups, youths, and unions.
- These ground-up projects include:
- A social media campaign to nudge consumers to show solidarity for lower-wage workers by accepting a small rise in the cost of goods and services; and
- A programme by youths to co-design rest areas for lower-wage workers in their school premises.
- These ground-up projects have shown what is possible when Singaporeans come together and work together to build a more inclusive society. These projects literally bring together everyone in a combined effort to uplift our lower-wage workers!
- Through the AfAs, the government has been able to galvanise and partner the people and the private sectors to create innovative solutions to address issues close to our hearts. It is a triple win outcome - a win-win-win outcome - for all parties involved, as we are engaged in service to each other to contribute to the common good.
- We are now looking at plans to sustain these efforts beyond the AfAs, so that we can continue working with citizens to achieve better work-life harmony in workplaces and uplift even more lower-wage workers.
10 Third, we work closely with our partners to co-deliver solutions. This means that our partners are an important contributor in the policy implementation process. Their ideas and feedback enable us to better deliver services to the public with greater precision and accuracy.
- Take for example, how we built an ecosystem of support for our migrant workers’ mental and physical well-being. We set up Project DAWN, a taskforce comprising representatives from the government, private sectors, and NGOs. This enabled us to enhance mental health awareness among migrant workers, and provide them with a more facilitated and better access to care services.
- We also formed a social support system – Friends of ACE (FACE), a grassroots network of 1,200 migrant worker volunteers from almost 300 dormitories. FACE volunteers help to implement and communicate safe management measures in the dormitories. This is very important as we work to curb the number of COVID-19 infections among migrant workers. They also help to explain the advisories, guidelines and policies in the dorms. Our FACE volunteers also gather timely feedback from the ground, allowing us to deliver better care and support for our migrant workers.
11 With our triple “C” (3C) approach, we have managed to deepen our collaborations with longstanding partners, and we have also managed to cement new ones along the way. Our partnerships have made an impact in improving the well-being and livelihoods of Singaporeans. To MOM’s past and present partners, and I hope, further partners – on behalf of all of us at MOM, we thank you all from the bottom of our hearts.
12 A popular saying goes, “If you want to go fast, go alone. But if you want to go far, and the farthest, we should go and walk together.” It is my sincere wish that all of us can continue our journey to go that extra mile for our society to continue to survive and thrive, and that collectively we can inspire new possibilities together!
13 Thank you.