OrangeTee & Tie is a leading advocate for sustainability in the real estate industry
More local businesses are starting to realise the importance of adopting a more sustainable approach towards business. At the leading edge of this movement are companies like OrangeTee & Tie, Singapore’s third-largest real estate agency, which is the first among its peers to formally commit to adopting sustainable business practices. The firm recently launched a dedicated sustainability website to galvanise its staff and other like-minded individuals.
“Since last year, we wanted to position our company as a responsible corporate citizen that has a purpose beyond just business. We have been around for 20 years and we want to contribute back to society,” said Michael Tan, Director at OrangeTee & Tie.
To ensure sustainability for its business, its employees and the community, OrangeTee & Tie’s efforts are focused on four areas: social impact, go green, responsible business practices, and technology and innovation.
The Sustainable Employment Pledge
Orange Tee & Tie is the first real estate company in Singapore to take SBF’s Sustainable Employment Pledge, which encourages firms to commit to “foster a vibrant economy through sustainable employment practices and innovation”.
“We believe that income inequality will lead to cracks in society. It is an ongoing issue and the most pressing one to solve. As a business owner, we wanted to play our part. Only when society is stable, then businesses will flourish,” said Michael. “So the Pledge fits in to what we wanted to achieve.”
In this regard, the firm has embraced flexible working arrangements for its staff for better work-life balance. This has become even more critical following the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent Circuit Breaker (CB) measures.
To assist their agents during this period, OrangeTee & Tie rolled out a business continuity plan that enables agents to continue conducting their business – from marketing to payment, without leaving their homes. In fact, the firm had already split its workforce into two teams – one working from home and the other at the workplace – some seven weeks before CB kicked in.
Meanwhile, town hall meetings were conducted virtually though Google Meets to assure and encourage staff during this challenging period.
A path for long-term growth
Beyond supporting agents for their immediate needs during this crisis, OrangeTee & Tie’s commitment to sustainable employment is designed to provide a foundation for its longer-term growth.
For instance, the firm’s lower-wage workers are given opportunities to upgrade their skills and take on more responsibilities in the company. This, in turn, provides them with a clear path for career progression, explained Michael.
The company also invests in mature workers who are able to contribute to the business. “As long as mature workers are able to contribute effectively, we allow them to work for as long as possible,” said Michael. He shared that OrangeTee & Tie has four employees over the age of 60 employed in different roles across the organisation.
A comprehensive strategy
Mr Tan broke down OrangeTee & Tie’s approach towards achieving sustainable employment into four key aspects: Fairness in giving all staff regardless of background and education the opportunity to advance within the company, transparency in the rewards and incentives offered to staff, empowering employees through digital transformation, and investing in a range of training initiatives for all its workers.
The efforts appear to be paying dividends, with OrangeTee & Tie’s employees staying on in the company for an average of six years. This relatively long service period allows the firm to build strong customer relationships and accumulate a wealth of knowledge that provides stability and continuity for the business. It also brands OrangeTee & Tie as an employer of choice among potential hirees.
Said Michael: “This shows that our company has a loyal group of employees and that the company must be doing something right.”
This article was published by Singapore Business Federation on 15 July 2020.