Often, the most valuable conversations are with people we don’t meet. There’s something everyone has to offer, we just have to be open to hearing new ideas and perspectives. Curious to know the happenings within the group, with the help of the management we reached out to Kenneth. Taking this opportunity to kick start the Elitez Group series of #connectwith our people.
Working from home has become a new normal, being new to the group, it’s undeniably we have not met Kenneth, our Healthcare Operations Executive now. He has gone through a transition from FMCG to the Healthcare industry, we were excited to receive Kenneth and for him to share his story with us. While we were setting up, a man dressed in black with a sleeve of tattoo approached us.
“Hello, Kenneth? Nice to meet you, we are from the marketing department. Apologies, please give us a minute and take a seat here.”
Elitez: Let’s go back to the start. Can you share more about yourself with me?
Kenneth: Hi I am Kenneth, the Healthcare Operations Executive from Daryl’s Team. I have been with Elitez for about two to three years. Prior to joining Elitez, I worked in Sales for Singtel retail and OCBC loan. Instead of doing sales, I wanted to try something different so here I am in the operation team. Back then, I have gotten into Elitez through a friend’s recommendation. For me, the transition from Sales to FMCG Operations was a significant one.
Maybe you could help us understand how do operations work?
In healthcare operation, our working hours are in contrast to the regular office hours. We deploy part-time staff to Hospitals – entrance screeners and antigen rapid test (ART) staff. As operation executives, it is important for us to fully understand the details of the work deployed well.
The entrance screener entails temperature screening, they have a questionnaire script to ask the visitor before they can allow them to enter the premises. ART staff helps visitors or patients to perform ART.
Within the hospital, there are many different department and scope requirements. My main focus is on the Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) project and my primary responsibility is to ensure that part-time employees report to work.
What is a normal day like for an Operations Executive?
It’s definitely not a 9 – 5 job, I have to get up at dawn to ensure everyone goes to work. We basically have a number of shift from 5am, 7am, 8am, 10am – as some part-timers tend to oversleep and it’s my responsibility to call them to make sure they go to work. If not, I’ll have to report to the client and check if a replacement is required.
So, when do you end your day?
It really depends, after the checking in for the morning shift, if there is any task that requires my attention or if there are any client inquiries, I will attend to them. The operations function like a mini standalone Human Resource department so I do the payroll as well.
Our promise to the staff is getting their payout on time, it can be immediate payment like next day or by weekly arrangements. Our office cut-off time for payroll submission is Thursday at 10.30 pm, it usually takes me two to three hours to complete.
The timing-wise, it is as and when I am needed. I am entrusted with a lot of control and flexibility in terms of how I planned the time out. For instance, I take a wink, wake up in the afternoon and continue working on my other operational work until the day ends. Occasionally, I stay up throughout the night just to ensure I get things done and am prepared for the next morning.
How did you end up moving from FMCG to Healthcare Industry?
The pandemic had an impact on the FMCG operations. When the regulation and circuit breaker was implemented, brand activation was reduced to none. Hence, the manpower requirement was significantly reduced. Many businesses are experiencing lows and a proposition was made to me to support the business continuity.
This prompted me to join Daryl’s team and assist with healthcare operations. I wasn’t sure what Daryl’s Team did at the time, so I was still focusing on the FMCG before totally immersing myself in Healthcare.
What was your concern when you decide to move to a different industry?
My main concern was working with a different team. I am pretty introverted and rarely initiate conversation, it can be awkward. I had worked with my previous colleagues for several years and knew some of them personally outside of work. It is a concern whether I can communicate with my new colleagues. However, as I get to know the team better, it is much easier to grasp the work, and things are looking up.
On top of that, it is a steep learning curve and a lot for me to digest. It took quite some time for me to learn the entire structure of TTSH and transit over completely.
How has the team supported your industry switch?
Daryl has been really supportive and has given me a lot of assurance that there will be people to help me when I need it, so I would not be left out to dry and unsure what to do. Andy has been a great mentor, till date if I have any doubts or situations that I am not sure how to manage, I can still approach them and they will advise me.
What is the commonality between your FMCG Role & Healthcare Role?
It would be managing and communicating with part-timers as well as having to understand the groundwork and react swiftly if any situation arose.
And what has changed?
My responsibilities have changed, I take in more stuff with the TTSH project. I am in charge of more aspects from staff hiring, scheduling to the processing of payroll. Even though both are operations, the job scope is a lot different and healthcare has a steeper learning curve in a way.
Can you share more with us in detail?
In FMCG, I would arrange for the job seeker to come down for an interview. If everything goes well, I would give them a brief, train them on the products and explain what our client wants to accomplish. After which, I would assign their deployment for that week and it was mostly on ad hoc basis. FMCG projects were short-term – for example, a client needs promoters for brand activation over a month, and the next month it could be for another new client so it’s ever-changing. We moved from projects to projects so it’s less in-depth.
As for healthcare, it’s a long-term project, and there is more for me to learn; from understanding to shaping the development of operation function, liaison with our clients and staff, processing of payroll, other all the coordinating and backend work.
What do you like about your FMCG Role then?
I enjoyed the fixed working time that FMCG provides, it’s more straight forward and I get work in the office on a regular hour and get more work-life balance.
What do you like about your Healthcare Role now?
It is probably the learning and development, I have a much bigger role now and it helps in career growth with every new thing I learn like planning and rostering while managing the TTSH project.
What is one thing you wish to bring over from FMCG to Healthcare Role?
I can’t say that I have anything I would want to bring over as they are two different industries.
What skills are transferable and what other new skills have you picked up?
Communication and management skills are transferable and in fact, I am in liaison with more stakeholders than I was previously. When I was in FMCG, I managed 30 to 50 people, but at TTSH, I manage a group of 100; daily deployment would be 40 to 50 people.
I have picked up payroll in the process. FMCG has a fixed pay rate from hour to hour, whereas TTSH has a variable hourly rate for different timings. I have to wear multiple hats to familiarise myself with the different pay rates, who was deployed to which station, and their scheduled work time.
What is your BIGGEST CHALLENGE from this transition?
Understanding the whole TTSH structure took me about two to three months which is crazy! There are far too many stations and shifts, with at least eight shifts per day. Finding replacements and keeping the morning shifts running at the same was a challenge.
I had to keep track of which shifts can cover for another, as well as the days of their roster before and after so I don’t overwork them. Those who worked the previous night shift, for example, will be unable to cover the following morning shifts.
How do you find the transition so far?
Andy, Samion and Daryl’s support was extremely helpful throughout the transition and my learning journey. They give me ample time to get comfortable so I can gradually adapt.
I did not take on full payroll right away, Andy would pass me 20 first and increase the following week. Andy, in particular, was doing the same things so he handed it over to me before he got involved in other stuff. So far, so good with the transition.
I can say that I’m pleased now.
It was quite “jialat” for me initially because the work hours are different and I need to get up early to check the attendance. I need to know which part-timer is working which shift and whether or not they will MIA
I have learned to gauge myself through experience from the daily communication with the part-timer, understand their behaviour patterns, and then plan the schedule that fits each of their character and personality.
What would you advise for people who have to make changes in the industry and switch teams?
Keep an open mind and embrace the change. When taking on a new role, be prepared to handle more responsibilities and to be versatile; what you learned previously may not be applicable now. Be open to new experiences and don’t get too hung up on the roles and responsibilities that can change. It doesn’t mean that the last time you did payroll and hiring, you didn’t need to manage people when you moved to your new job. I didn’t know how to bill then but have since learned.