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Power to its people
RECOGNISING its people as a key competitive advantage, engineering consultants Beca Carter Hollings & Ferner (S.E.Asia) has focused over the years on building up its talent development strategies. Established in 1979 under parent holding organisation Beca Group, Singapore-based Beca provides building, infrastructure, industrial and project management services in the Asia-Pacific region.
With the help of the BE framework, which it first adopted in 1997, Beca has established itself as an employer of choice in the market for design and consulting engineering services. In particular, the framework has helped the management to focus on strong staff engagement programmes, people development and succession planning.
"The BE framework gives organisations like Beca a consistent structure to help improve our business processes, particularly our people development strategies. Our people are our greatest assets. The framework enables us to review our human resource practices, identify gaps and opportunities for further strengthening and make improvements to our people development framework," said Beca managing director Lee Ang Seng.
The company was a first-time winner at this year's BE Awards, where it was honoured with the People Excellence Award.
Following BE adoption, the company now has a more integrated system of people, project delivery and knowledge processes. Managers are able to retrieve business information more readily to make better decisions. Furthermore, there is now an even-greater awareness and focus on people-centric practices among the company leaders after having won the BE award, revealed Mr Lee.
The framework has further helped Beca to systematically track its non-financial performances in areas like project delivery and developing best-in-class practices.
A ROADMAP FOR TALENT
Beca's focus on talent is particularly relevant with its relatively limited resources in the Singapore market, where engineers are in high demand.
"It is a business priority to develop strong engineers who passionately contribute to the transformation of our built-environment, to make every day better for the communities today and into the future," said Mr Lee.
To this end, Beca provides a clear career roadmap for its employees, and adopts a competency-based career framework to ensure its engineers' capabilities are updated regularly. Data analytics on work sharing are also used to improve productivity and reduce costs on projects. To help retain key talent, the company has invested in an Emerging Leaders Programme to groom young engineers for leadership positions. Its success saw the programme's extension to offices in Indonesia and Thailand.
As an advocate of Building Information Medium (BIM) technology, Beca works to ensure that its employees have access to the relevant training to upskill. The company is also among the first in the industry to adopt 3D Virtual Reality to allow its clients to "walk through" their projects. The company's growing use of such technology has helped to improve its net profit over the past three years.
Meanwhile, Beca's Centre of Excellence carries out R&D projects in collaboration with local and overseas universities in the area of green building.
Beca's efforts has paid off in recent years. For instance, for the last five years Beca has produced Young Engineer of the Year Award winners at the national level. And since 2006, the firm's project delivery teams have successfully contributed to the design and delivery of four President's Design Award winning projects: Changi Airport Terminal 4, Park Royal on Pickering, Skyville @ Dawson and Republic Polytechnic. Several of the firm's projects have also received the Green Mark Awards, and its work on Ascott Orchard Singapore saw it bag the Construction Excellence Award.
The company's brand value has been enhanced since BE certification, and helped open doors to new opportunities. "We want to be the preferred partner of choice for architects and clients when we bid for projects together. With the even stronger branding and recognition attained through the BE certification, we will certainly see increased requests for Beca to partner in key projects," said Mr Lee. "They know we have a strong team of engineers to deliver the projects better. They know we are committed to these engineers' success."
Going forward, Mr Lee is looking to replicate Beca's success leveraging the BE initiative for sustained growth in the group's operations outside Singapore. "The BE certification for People Excellence in our Singapore business will set the benchmark for our sister companies across Asean to emulate our example. We have plans to help them in their people development strategies using the framework and experiences that we have gained through the Singapore BE framework."