Singapore’s Cybersecurity Agency Believes in the Importance of Co-Creation in EX

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With today’s talent wanting to be involved in the environment/career they find themselves in, it’s important that their voice is heard and they see positive improvements being made, says Tan Soo Huay, Senior Manager (Early Talent Lead).

At the 2022 Employee Experience Awards, Singapore, held in May this year, the Singapore Cyber ​​Security Agency won the Bronze Award for Best Graduate Training Program.

In an interview with Tan Soo Huay, senior director (responsible for early talent)she tells more about the team who have stepped up their efforts to engage new recruits in person, with efforts such as strengthening the mentorship aspect in their program and the challenges of establishing honest and forthcoming communication channels between his program team.

Q Congratulations on the achievement! Could you explain to us the highs and lows of your winning strategy? And how important is it for the organization that the strategy be recognized this year?

The journey that involved being the first in the region to launch a graduate program centered on cybersecurity during the onset of a global COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 had been fascinating both for the organization and for the team. When we launched the Cyber ​​Security Development Program (CSDP), the team was eager to fulfill the promised prospect of developing budding young talents into cyber security professionals through an 18-month program. We were pleasantly surprised by the overwhelming response to our attractive PSDC.

While the COVID-19 pandemic hampered our initial plans to engage our new CSDP hires in person, the team had to adapt by redesigning CSDP and our engagement activities to ensure that the positive experience of our new recruits would even amplify via virtual modes. The EXA award confirms the dedication, resilience and agility of the teams to ensure that every new hire that comes through CSDP will receive the best in-class and on-the-job training experience.

Q Understanding and meeting the needs and expectations of your employees is never an easy task. How did the organization identify business and employee needs and craft the perfect solution?

CSDP’s unique selling point was designed with recent graduates in mind. In addition to partnering with college career agents to better understand how CSDP could attract young talent, the team reviewed survey results to understand what new grads are looking for in their first job. Valuable contributions, industry insights, and wisdom from multiple stakeholders in various divisions of the organization, including our senior management, were essential to the design of CSDP. While there may not be a one-size-fits-all solution, the team sought to build this shared commitment with buy-in from our leadership team to improve the employee experience through constant engagement and open communication. .

As a result, it has helped crystallize many of our direct and indirect collaborations between existing stakeholders within and new incoming stakeholders (potential CSDP hires) to design a CSDP experience in which our talents can thrive.

Q How did the strategy add to the overall employee experience in your organization, in terms of return on investment, when it came to fruition? Share with us the benefits of having such a strategy in place.

With the goal of building a pool of trained cybersecurity professionals to fill the glaring gap in our local cybersecurity ecosystem, CSA has built CSDP on values ​​where diverse viewpoints and perspectives are respected as an open organization. to maximize positive results. We have instilled inclusivity and involvement within CSA management and internal divisions, in addition to engaging our PSDC officers for program feedback and hosting regular tea sessions to they dialogue with the management of the ASC. By incorporating feedback from our stakeholders, CSDP has been able to continuously improve and customize training programs in addition to the appropriate training certifications required on the job, which would better prepare our agents to effectively fulfill their daily roles.

Our CSDP graduates have since been deployed within the CSA and other government agencies, with some also embarking on careers in cybersecurity with the private sector.

Q Could you offer recommendations to your peers in all sectors? What advice or lessons would you have to guide them in implementing something similar for their own EX foundation?

Co-creation is important because talent these days wants to have a stake in the environment/career they are in. It is important that their voices are heard and that they see positive improvements being made. For example, practices such as regularly engaging recruits, collecting their feedback, understanding their development needs, and being open to change. Taking an adaptive approach has proven critical to the success of our development program, as it was designed to make the most of each employee’s experience rather than a single program.

Q If you had to think about it, what is one thing you would do differently in executing this strategy?

Our challenge of being a graduate program focused on cybersecurity in the region was to establish honest and forthcoming communication channels between our program team and our new recruits. As the team looked to develop our new hires through CSDP, we also needed to think about how to help them take ownership of their CSDP experience into a cybersecurity career. Creating an opportunity for people who are passionate about exploring a career in cybersecurity is important, but co-creating that experience early on with our hires would have taken CSDP to the next level of innovation.

That said, we have since introduced regular engagement and feedback sessions with PSDC officers one year into the program’s launch and will continue to work closely with our stakeholders to fill gaps and improve the overall experience of the program. CSDP.

Q Going forward, how will the organization take this winning strategy higher and further in the years to come? Give us an overview of your future plans to develop the overall employee experience.

In the spirit of greater normality in a COVID-19 endemic, the team has stepped up efforts to engage our new PSDC recruits in person. This would include strengthening the mentorship aspect of our program so that our employees can continue their cybersecurity journey with CSA long after their 18-month journey is over. We look forward to building and strengthening a strong camaraderie between our four CSDP cohorts (and growing!) so that more employees remain available to leverage each other’s knowledge, experience, and insights into our cybersecurity ecosystem. growing local. As the saying goes “Cybersecurity is a team sport”, and now more than ever, the cybersecurity community must come together to do their part in securing Singapore’s cyberspace.

The team plans to track and study our retention of recent and upcoming CSDP graduates to gather more information on how we can improve the employee experience for future CSDP/CSA hires. .

Q In 10 years, where do you see the future of HR?

HR is increasingly connected to the business through the digital world. Over the past two years, HR has rapidly adopted digital technologies and tools to support and engage the workforce while going through the COVID-19 pandemic. Years later, HR would play a role increasingly entrusted by its management to participate and strategize with the business as well as to influence decisions where workforce operations might be affected. The future of HR would also involve innovating inclusive ways to support change management from the top of an organization down to the bottom.

HR’s agility and adaptability to navigate the business through constant change will be tested, while adapting to individual employee needs, particularly in talent management and planning. workforce in a hybrid work environment.


Image / Provided (with Singapore Cyber ​​Security Agency team)

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