How To Keep Your Team Of Millenials Engaged Remotely

Faced with a global pandemic, empty offices and the great digital migration, Mr. Chionh Chye Kit, CEO & Co-Founder of Cynopsis Solutions, knew one thing for sure – adapt to survive. Leading a team of millennials, Chye Kit is working to combat money laundering (AML) at his Singapore-born FinTech Firm – Cynopsis Solutions. He co-founded Cynopsis … Continue reading "How To Keep Your Team Of Millenials Engaged Remotely"

Faced with a global pandemic, empty offices and the great digital migration, Mr. Chionh Chye Kit, CEO & Co-Founder of Cynopsis Solutions, knew one thing for sure – adapt to survive.

Leading a team of millennials, Chye Kit is working to combat money laundering (AML) at his Singapore-born FinTech Firm – Cynopsis Solutions. He co-founded Cynopsis Solutions in 2014 and works to provide Regulatory Technology (RegTech) solutions for both financial and non-financial companies around the world enabling them with a better regulatory outcome by simplifying complex Compliance processes.

Chye Kit is the first to agree that the two top concerns for companies now are revenue growth and containing costs. But this is not enough to grow a sustainable business in the long run. IBF spoke to Chye Kit about growing and sustaining a successful business, especially during these turbulent times.

Finding Opportunities Amid Mounting Challenges

As the effect of Covid-19 took a hit on the economy, companies both big and small grappled to stay afloat with everyone forced to stay at home. Cynopsis Solutions was not sheltered from the economic domino effect. As with most businesses, it was able to contain some cost with the Job Support Scheme under the Supplementary Budget 2020.

However, their prospective clients were also focused on cost containment and reluctant to try anything new in the early months of the outbreak. This affected a key pillar of any profit-driven business – growth.

 “This crisis forced people to think about the sustainability of their business model, Fintech especially,” said Chye Kit.

Cynopsis Solutions took this disruption in their stride, persisted in looking for alternative business opportunities. Chye Kit and his team proactively reached out to clients to enhance and customize their existing product, thus generating new revenue growth.

The introduction of the MAS Digital Acceleration Grant (DAG) also helped emphasised the importance of going digital to the industry. It swayed some companies who were sitting on the fence to cushion the investment in RegTech solutions for AML and Know Your Customer (KYC) needs.

Furthermore, the crisis forced some brick and mortar stores to rethink the way they did business and forced them to explore new ground by reaching out to their customers digitally. This was a silver lining for Cynopsis Solutions, as they were able to provide solutions to such businesses, helping them to transform digitally and giving them the necessary tools to reach out to their customers at the same better comply with regulatory requirements.

People Makes the Business – managing remote employees across the globe

However, Chye Kit did not just face external challenges – with Circuit Breaker implemented on 7 April 2020, his employees were forced to start working from home. Despite having a team of millennials that were largely adaptable and excited with the novelty of working from home, the team at Cynopsis Solutions had additional challenges as some of them found themselves stuck in different countries due to the various lockdowns and travel restrictions across the region.

Not being able to interact socially with colleagues and friends, and the main question of job security looming over everyone’s minds, Chye Kit decided to conduct fortnightly Ask-Me-Anything sessions with his staff to give them quick and transparent updates about the business. These casual and interactive sessions were attended by all staff across the different markets and help to keep the staff morale up and engaged. These sessions also helped assure his staff, both in Singapore and overseas, that things were running business-as-usual and that they would continue to be taken care of.

Chye Kit, however, recognised that these efforts to increase morale would not be sustainable in the long run.

 “For a better team outcome, business owners need to satisfy the needs of employees – salary, flexibility, autonomy and personal development.” says Chye Kit.

As an added encouragement during this crisis, Cynopsis Solutions has also rewarded all eligible employees globally with a one-off Covid-19 cash support of S$500 each paid in July. Chye Kit believes that as Cynopsis Solutions remains resilient during this tumultuous period, it is the tenacity and commitment of its team members that will drive the organisation forward.

Thus, on top of his Ask-Me-Anything sessions, he decided to continue to invest and train his people – not just internally but also bring in external professionals, such as his partners at International Compliance Association (ICA).

Learning Leads to Long-term Success

Recognising the importance of investing in his people for sustainable growth, Chye Kit appreciated the S$90 million support package announced by MAS in April for the Financial and FinTech sectors in training their workforce,  during the economic contraction caused by COVID-19.​ Under this Enhanced Training Support, firms and individuals can enjoy course fee subsidies for IBF-STS and FTS Programmes and also Training Allowance Grants (TAG) for IBF recognised courses.

With the Enhanced Training Support, Chye Kit saw an opportunity to send his employees for further training. He partnered with the International Compliance Association (ICA) to send his employees across different departments such as sales, client servicing and technology to get certification on AML and KYC. Even with the disruption of Covid-19, ICA made sure that training would still proceed as per normal with the Cynopsis Solutions staff via an interactive learning platform.

The programme that the team at Cynopsis Solutions attended was the ICA Certificate in Know your Customer, which was conducted in late July. Additionally, a team member was enrolled into the IBF-STS program – ICA Advanced Certificate in Regulatory Compliance (IBF Level 1).

ICA, like many other training firms, had to adapt fast when circuit breaker was introduced.  ICA had to transit their  face-to-face workshops into virtual classrooms using different platforms. 

“At the time, everyone in ICA was on a very steep learning curve. We were learning how to use  Zoom, TEAMS and WebEx for Training. We were redesigning the workshops, to ensure that the students would be equally engaged with the content as they would have been in a more traditional environment. And we were training the trainers, developing their skills to make sure they connected with the students in this new medium,” says Helen Langton CEO, ICA Asia Pacific.

“Virtual classrooms are great for focused learning. A lot of content has to be delivered in a short space of time. It is important to keep individuals focused on the topics being discussed and analysed.  Research suggests that learning delivered in short, focused bursts is far more likely to be retained and today’s students are more used to learning delivered in that way. The feedback from the students from our programmes, including Cynopsis, has been very positive.  I think individuals have not only understood that learning has had to change during these rather uncertain times, but they have embraced it,” she added.

Besides ICA, Cynopsis Solutions has also sent 2 Marketing Associates to attend a 3-day Fast Track Digital Marketing course offered by another IBF-accredited course provider. This course equipped the staff with the useful techniques and ideas about the ever-changing digital marketing landscape.

These efforts have not been in vain and sent a strong signal to the people within his organisation that Cynopsis Solutions is serious about investing in them, and that the company is appreciative of their work.

The training also gave his staff better appreciation and perspective of their business and its dealings, helping them evolve in their role and be able to build a better business to withstand any hurdles they may face.

Hard Work & Training – There Is No Secret Formula

As the impact of Covid-19 takes its toll, it is unsurprising that most business are now set to survival mode where cost containment will play a big part. With this, some might not be motivated to invest in training as it will incur additional cost to the company.

However, Chye Kit’s advice to fellow FinTech Firms or even small medium enterprise (SME) financial institutions in Singapore is that investment in people is fundamental for long-term success:

 “What makes a successful and sustainable business, is not just how brilliant your product is, but being able to retain and grow good people,” shared Chye Kit “and to demonstrate that the company is appreciative of their work. One way is to provide training.”

As a (adjunct/part time) trainer himself, Chye Kit firmly believes that investing in training will help firms develop a sustainable business for the long-term. Only through upskilling its people, can a FinTech Firm better adapt and keep up with an ever-evolving industry.

While FinTech Firms cannot control the consequences of Covid-19, what they can do is adapt and change the way they operate to overcome the current crisis.

 “Recognise that there are things that you can change, and things that you cannot. So leaving aside what is inherent and concentrate on things that you can make a difference to the people around you especially your employees would ensure a more meaningful outcome for your business in the long run.” shares Chye Kit.