Wellbeing programmes at centre of 3M’s victories

October 13, 2020 | 16:31
COVID-19 has been causing great negative impacts on businesses and their employees and in this landscape, company culture is a decisive factor for standing firm. Dang Thanh Thuy, HR leader at 3M Vietnam, talked to VIR’s Bich Thuy about how important corporate culture is to ensure sustainable growth.

The culture within an organisation really is a foundation for every company’s sustainable growth efforts, and the COVID-19 pandemic has provided an exceptional time to highlight its importance. What is the basis of the 3M culture and how has the company strengthened it in Vietnam?

1513 p13 wellbeing programmes at centre of 3ms victories
Dang Thanh Thuy, HR leader at 3M Vietnam

Culture is the way things get done at 3M, driven by more than 96,000 innovative and inclusive people in more than 87 countries around the globe, and specifically about 200 employees at 3M Vietnam.

In 2018, we identified how our culture operated and how it should operate in the future. We identified five elements that exemplify our culture when we are at our best. Each element contains defining characteristics that we can incorporate through new approaches and ways of thinking. They are customers at our core, innovating boldly, powered by inclusion, winning with agility, and unwavering integrity.

At 3M, you can grow through challenging work and build a meaningful career with support from leadership. The company’s bespoke learning portal, Develop U, contains curated learning channels aligned to each enterprise-wide human resources priority. The platform hosts thousands of pieces of content including e-modules, book abstracts, and video training.

Employees can easily access live workshops and virtual instructor-led training offered on a quarterly basis to ensure curriculum addresses current needs and trends. Specialty training is offered for data science and digital transformation upskilling.

3M has made a significant investment in the implementation of the growth mindset philosophy and principles, first with leadership and followed by a multi-month campaign to instill new learning habits. We understand the important role that relationship-based development can play in helping employees navigate 3M culture, environment, opportunities, and more.

3M’s culture creates a safe environment to give and receive open and honest feedback outside of formal performance reviews. Similarly, the company offers tools and mechanisms to recognise great work and contributions, big and small.

In the wake of COVID-19, we’re using our recent learnings and experiences to refresh 3M’s approach to our employees support and development programmes and others as well.

We understand that our employees are going through challenging times when their home and work lives blended due to the pandemic. This has resulted in impacts on their mental health and personal wellbeing. 3M wants employees to feel supported, no matter what their situation looks like. The Employee Assistance Program offers a variety of tools to support our 3Mers.

Additionally, in Vietnam, we have launched a variety of wellbeing programmes, virtual engagement, and learning activities to support our employees.

This year we are reaffirming our commitment to FlexAbility to further empower 3Mers to customise when and where they work. Its evolution allows for more inclusivity – reflecting individual roles, personal circumstances, and helping to better balance business and personal aspects of life.

In implementing a virtual system, what challenges did the team come across, and how did you overcome them?

Implementing such systems company-wide was not easy, but our leaders are dedicated to advancing our employees’ progress. Strong enthusiasm from our employees also helped.

What we did in Asia this year is to leverage the current work-from-home situation. While face-to-face classroom learning was ruled out in the foreseeable future, we had many employees who were hungry to learn.

The only challenge we faced was that employees have not been enticed enough to learn through the virtual medium in the past. We are now in the right place at the right time, and it was only the question of proper marketing and promotion, and of course, senior leadership buy-in.

Therefore, we came up with the ‘Learner of the Quarter’ contest, where employees who complete a minimum of three courses can enter a lucky draw. The contest drew many employees’ attention to virtual learning, while highlighting the benefits and attractiveness of this medium as well. Thanks to strong support from our senior leadership across Asia and all the individual countries, the initiative seems to be heading for a huge success.

Having depth of knowledge to support and develop your people in this challenging time, could you share recommendations to help local small- and medium-size enterprises replicate and adjust their human resource operation to fit with the new normal?

Each company and organisation has its own structure of human resource and vision of the leadership. COVID-19 has made us think more about the way we perform and ensure connectivity in the new normal landscape. Ensuring employees’ health, safety, and connectivity is our key priority.

Health of employees is as important as their work. This is the reason why we provide resources and services to comprehensively protect their health and families on the three aspects of physical health, mental health, and emotion.

We also have online forums like the Yammer social network, and emails to help them share knowledge about physical and mental health. We use online platforms for staff and leaders in Vietnam and elsewhere in the region to share their experience.

At 3M, we are recognised with many awards related to outstanding individual and collective achievements, and leadership expertise in many fields such as awards for engineers, business and marketing, and finance teams, as well as those for outstanding groups of employees who are named in SEA 110 League, Learner of the Quarter, Employee of the Year, and many others. We also have the Peer to Peer Recognition Programme. These are the initiatives helping 3M promote its company culture towards success.

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