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Commonwealth Capital Pte Ltd: Championing Skills

The secret sauce to winning the war for talent is recognising skills, not qualifications.

History is Written by The Victors

In 2021, Commonwealth Capital Pte Ltd (CCPL) supported a customer service executive, Eric Ramos for a Robotics Process Automation (RPA) course. Eric used the skills acquired to code a programme to extract delivery information from pdf sales order and transfer them into an Excel spreadsheet to integrate with CCPL’s enterprise planning system to automate the delivery process.

This saved the department over 1,440 man-hours a year, equivalent to 0.5 headcount. According to Audrey Koh, Group Director, Human Resources, this is one of the many tangible examples at CCPL where skills training has reaped positive returns for the business. 

Workforce Transformation is Entrenched in Business Transformation

CCPL is a group with a diversified portfolio of businesses spanning the entire F&B vertical, from manufacturing, logistics, barramundi farming, to bakeries and restaurants with more than 300 retail points across 13 countries.

A class seminar happening in a university seminar room with a woman presenting

Image by Commonwealth Concepts.

For CCPL, supporting such a diversified business is challenging but the winning formula to bind these businesses is developing both people and skills.

Business transformation is deeply intertwined with workforce transformation and the latter is crucial to deliver success,” said Audrey. 

Since 2018, CCPL has tapped on Enterprise Singapore’s Enterprise Development and Productivity Solutions Grants to support digitalisation. Today, the group is reaping the gains from these transformative projects that range from warehouse, transport, sales, and HR management.

These technologies were able to speed up processes and create a more seamless customer experience. It also frees staff up to focus on more value-added work—all of which contributes to CCPLs overall productivity. 

A woman factory worker packaging food in a manufacturing line

Image by Commonwealth Concepts.

As the company upgraded its systems, it also embarked on parallel efforts to upgrade its team of 1,200 employees. One of the initiatives involved partnering with Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF) to redesign jobs, and invested heavily in staff training to help them adjust to new norms.

We don’t want anyone to be left behind,” Audrey shared. 

Today, the company actively sponsors their employees for SSG-funded courses to help them stay relevant. It has also set up a new talent management program to groom high-potential staff and established structured skills-based pathways to guide employee career development.

Espousing Skills-based Progression

Employees at any levels, regardless of their qualifications and hierarchy, are encouraged to have conversations with their supervisors to discuss their skills and progression opportunities. This has allowed many employees to flourish. For example, Eric Ang, started as a cook and rose through the ranks to be a general manager currently based on his skills harnessed over the years, and not qualifications. 

Factory Workers in a manufacturing line packaging food

Image by Commonwealth Concepts.

Another good example to illustrate CCPL’s inclusive culture is through Daisy Abraham, a 48-year-old mid-careerist who switched from being a nurse to a production assistant role when she joined CCPL. Thanks to her supervisor’s patience and support, and her willingness to learn, Daisy transitioned smoothly to her new role. 

Looking at how far CCPL has come and the plans it has for the future, Audrey’s advice is to make skills development a top-line business agenda to cope with the fast changing business needs. Experience has showed her there are no reasons to regret it.

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