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Many companies today are becoming more vocal about their diversity and inclusion efforts, but not all are able to live up to them. At Budget Direct Insurance (BDI), we are committed to providing a supportive working environment not just for women, but for all our employees – through actionable strategies in a fair, honest and transparent manner.

We take a closer look at BDI’s HR policies with Manager, People and Culture, Ms Jessie Koh.

Woman at BDI

Women at Budget Direct Insurance Singapore

How would you describe BDI’s talent acquisition and development ethos?

As an equal opportunity employer, we adopt fair, merit-based and inclusive hiring practices. Our recruitment process is very much in line with the Ministry of Manpower’s (MOM) Tripartite Guidelines for Fair & Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP); we don’t ask for information like your age or marital status, unless you want to share that with us. And even if you do, we won’t consider these factors when making a hiring decision. What matters is that you can do the job well, with the right skills and culture fit.

Similarly, when it comes to career advancement, I'm very proud to say that we live by our values; to foster the career progression of our employees through internal opportunities. We look to advance high performing employees who are living our values and have demonstrated a higher level of capabilities, to the next level of their career. Equal access to progression opportunities focused on performance and potential - that’s our ethos!

How does BDI support women in the workplace?

When we work out any HR policy, we don’t develop it with a gender in mind; we are open to helping working parents – regardless of gender – balance work and home, as with helping other colleagues who need to care for their elderly parents. While these are not entitlements, we want to be able to help support our employees at different stages of their lives.

I’m always sad to hear about people leaving good jobs that they love because they have to choose between family and work. I believe the business should always seek to retain talent by providing practical solutions for our colleagues with family commitments. The last thing we want is for our talented workforce to think that their only option is to resign, so that they can balance their responsibilities.

At the same time, we take proactive steps to nurture the careers of all internal talent – through supporting our employee by embracing flexible work arrangements and building an inclusive, self-driven learning and development strategy. It’s deeply embedded in our culture that we develop everyone, regardless of gender or role.

We have anti-discrimination policies in place and are genuinely committed to carrying them out at all levels and functions. Disrespectful behaviour or harassment of any kind are not tolerated, which is why we go through a stringent recruitment process to ensure that we hire the right people. The success of our hiring practices and the adoption of the BDI behaviours across the business means we have not yet needed to enforce these policies in our 5+ years of operation.

Does BDI recruit mothers returning to the workforce?

We are very committed to giving talented and passionate people who face circumstances beyond their control (e.g. health, family, etc.) the option to make it possible for them to work with us.

We welcome mothers – especially those with prior industry experience – who are looking to return to the workforce. We are always on the lookout for talent to join our team, even on a flexi-time or part-time basis.

Across the BDI organisation, we have working mothers and fathers who are currently on flexible or part-time hours to suit their situation.

Does BDI have any pro-family initiatives in place?

In addition to government-mandated leave, we provide an additional day off on top of our annual leave for employees who are not entitled to childcare leave. This extra day off, known as ‘family leave’ day, is given as we know that even if you don't have a 5-year-old to care for, you may need to take care of your parents, pets, or even yourself!

We are also generous with our maternity leave policy. Though the government mandate is 16 weeks of paid maternity leave for mothers of Singapore citizens, we allow you to take another 8 weeks of unpaid maternity leave if you want to spend more time with your newborn.

We have also extended the usual 3-day government entitlement for childcare leave for non-Singaporeans to 5 days.

Families are important pillars of our employees’ success at work. We keep them in mind, and as much as possible, we want to show our appreciation. This is achieved through our focus on work-life balance and socially, we get them involved! Recently, we held a private movie screening for our employees and their families. Such activities are a small way for us to say “Thank You!” to the families of our team members, who commit a large part of their week to the BDI business. Family members also enjoy discounted rates on our policies.

What else is BDI doing to promote diversity in the workplace?

If we’re talking about different nationalities – we’re a diverse bunch. We aren’t a “local” or “foreigner” type of workplace; you will meet people who are different from you. We always make it a point to ensure that the balance is healthy. When you look at any one team, you’ll find team members of different ages, backgrounds and religious beliefs in one glance.

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