What good HR practices can we learn from SME Employer of the Year – Jason Marine Group?

Electronics firm Jason Marine Group has been awarded the SME Employer of the Year in February. The founder, Mr Joseph Foo attributed the success to a revamped HR programme that helped it to attract and retain talent and lift earnings. Net profit for the six months to Sep 30 was $1.1 million, compared with a net loss of $1.9 million in the same period ago.

It is indeed heart warming to know that good HR practices can drastically transform the performance of a company.

What good HR practices can we as HR professionals learn or consider adopting into our organisations?

1. Use of HR tools to assist them in selection process
Although it is difficult to find talent in the market, Jason Marine still goes through a profiling exercise to identify people who is a better fit with the company. While Jason Marine accepts that the interview process may be longer at times, they do not want people to come and go. Hence, they want potential candidates to understand about the company and think carefully about joining the company.

2. Good Retention Policies
Due to the ongoing war for talent, Jason Marine makes sure that there are good retention policies and this includes building in feedback mechanism. For example, introduction of town hall meetings, departmental meetings and interest group meetings

3. The Heads of Department are part of the HR team
- The company believes that the HODs are also part of the HR team as it not just the HR team to take care of the people

4. Learning and Development
Believe that learning is a continuous process. The founder also attends courses and seminars to learn about best practices and the firm frequently encourages the staff to join associations and different interest groups so as to throw in ideas in an idea scheme.

5. Lessons about building employee’s careers
The founder mentioned everyone wants to be developed and trained, to continue to improve – not just training in terms of skills but also experience and
exposure. For example, Jason Marine attaches their staff to their principals overseas for exposure and understand how their European and American principals work.

6. Lessons about career path
Staff want to see prospects and growth. Over the last two years, Jason Marine has built a talent pipeline where they identified potential candidates who can grow with the company and groom them. While they do not promise the staff the job (ie promotion or pay package etc) but they tell their staff that if things go
well, there is progression within the organisation.

7. Communication and HR policies
The Founder mentioned that with good communication and HR policies, the staff have a better sense of belonging and are more motivated to work as a team improving the business.

8. Hiring and Retention Practices
Communicating the Values (Character, Competence and commitment) of the company to the candidate
Informing the candidate the expectations the firm has of them if hired.

For junior staff, they will ask the candiate how much supervision do they require. For managerial staff, they will ask if they are able to innovate, creative and do things better.

9. Going the extra mile for candidates
Jason Marine makes it a point to find out potential candidate’s passion and drive and makes sure that the candidate is doing what he/she is cut out for.

10. Learning lessons from Early Days
In the early days, Jason Marine did not have a stringent selection process and hence it affected staff turnover. With the recent HR initiatives, they have successfully reduced staff turnover by half, from 2012 to last year.

11. Matching employees with their passions
Jason Marine believes on the above. There was a case whereby they wanted to promote a service engineer to a manager. However, the firm respected the employee’s wish to continue to deal with equipment, hence they promoted him to a senior service engineer instead.


Arthur Khong,
Principal Trainer, HR Law Academy