CDL: Committed to Promoting Workplace Diversity and Inclusion

City Developments Limited leverages progressive employee and partner management practices to build a sustainable workforce and supply chain.

Driven by a firm belief that diversity and inclusion strategically enhances its human capital and performance for future growth, real estate developer City Developments Limited (CDL) has been instilling a positive workplace culture by engaging its employees and maximising their potential since it was founded over 50 years ago.

Ms. Esther An, Chief Sustainability Officer, CDL said, “In times of global uncertainty and unprecedented challenges, a sustainable workforce is key to future-proofing any business. At CDL, we believe in building a workplace that puts people first. By focusing on fair remuneration, workplace security, and freedom of expression, we have managed to cultivate an engaged workforce.”

These efforts have also helped the firm attract and retain a skilled and diverse pool of employees, keeping staff turnover low. As of 31 December 2020, workers aged 55 years and above make up 15% of CDL’s employees, while female employees account for 68% of the workforce.

CDL’s people-centric initiatives are widely recognised by the industry. In 2020, the firm was named by HR Asia as one of the Best Companies to Work for in Asia, and by TAFEP (Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices) as a pioneer Human Capital Partner for its efforts in investing in its staff and adopting fair and progressive workplace practices. Additionally, for the fourth year running since 2018, CDL has been recognised in the sector-neutral Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index (GEI) and has been the only real estate company in Singapore to be included.

Building a socially responsible ecosystem

CDL’s commitment to creating a fair, safe and inclusive workplace goes beyond caring for its direct employees, and further extends to its broader ecosystem of stakeholders and partners. All key contractors and workers at construction sites and properties managed by CDL are protected under the company’s stringent health and safety management policies and procedures.

At the EHS Sports Challenge 2019, workers participated in basic health screenings, fringe activities, and games set up by the Workplace Safety and Health Council, National Environment Agency and Singapore Police Force. They also learned about health and safety issues like workplace safety, SGSecure and dengue control

“We recognise that CDL is well-positioned to create a positive impact as a responsible developer, as the built industry has a large footprint of indirect hires through contractors, who rely heavily on migrant workers,” said Ms. An.

CDL influences its ecosystem to prioritise the health and safety of workers through socially responsible procurement processes. For example, as part of the tender shortlisting process, the company requires its builders to have an accredited health and safety management system. It also actively engages its business partners by conducting risk reviews, which covers the whole development process through a customised Environment, Health and Safety (EHS) risk register.

Since 2001, CDL has also utilised an independent audit tool to assess, measure, and improve its main contractors’ EHS management and performance. As part of this ‘5-Star EHS Assessment’ initiative, the company’s main contractors are required to undergo quarterly EHS inspections and audits conducted by an independent audit firm recognised by the Ministry of Manpower, and are appraised on a scale of one to five stars.

The audit results are then presented to its management and site supervisors of the contractors and project consultants at quarterly seminars. These seminars promote the sharing of best practices and peer learning to encourage better EHS performance among CDL’s builders and serves as a platform for site coordinators to report unsafe work conditions and action plans for risk mitigation.

Following the audits, contractors with excellent EHS performance are rewarded and viewed more favourably during new project tendering processes. Similarly, contractors are penalised for any EHS infringements and non-reporting of incidents.

Furthermore, CDL’s project managers actively track workplace safety, health and environment issues at meetings conducted on-site every two weeks with main contractors, workers’ representatives, and other stakeholders with the aim of raising overall safety awareness. Some sites further incentivise workers to identify and report risk.

To influence vendors to monitor and improve their EHS performance, as well as recognise those who have performed well for over a year, CDL also organises the 5-Star EHS Awards, which comprises the CDL EHS Excellence Award and the CDL Workers’ Welfare Award.

Going the extra mile

Along with the awards, CDL also organised an annual soccer tournament – the ‘EHS Cup’ between 2014 to 2019 to build camaraderie among workers. More than 300 construction workers employed by four builders participated in the event. Participants also received basic medical screenings and took part in fringe activities and games.

Participants with Guest-of-Honour, ex-Member of Parliament for Nee Soon GRC Er Dr Lee Bee Wah (back row, in red), CDL senior management and partner representatives at the EHS Sport Challenge held on 1 December 2019

Said Ms. An, “Riding on our longstanding commitment to workplace safety and health as a key focus of our corporate sustainability practices for over two decades, we will continue to prioritise the health and safety of workers at our development sites through robust policies and practices to build a more resilient supply chain.”

The Sustainable Employment Pledge
This article is part of a series of features that share the best practices of partners who have taken the Sustainable Employment Pledge. Companies that take the SBF Sustainable Employment Pledge can display the Pledge Partner logo in recognition of their commitment to being a trusted employer and contributor to the Singapore business ecosystem.

If you are our existing Pledge Partner, simply complete this form to start using the Pledge Partner logo. If you have not done so, sign up as a Pledge Partner here to begin your sustainable employment journey. If you have any sustainable employment stories to share or refer, we would also love to hear from you here!