I feel compelled to write this here because it appears that management at CapitaLand are only interested in living in their own ivory towers, pretending that everything is fine, and they turn a deaf year to the unhappiness and discontent on the ground. Nobody seems to want to listen. Well, it seems that it is only fair for anyone who wants to work at CapitaLand to have an insider's perspective of what working here is really like.
CapitaLand emphasizes its RICE values. Respect, Integrity, Creativity, Excellence. None of these exist. Except maybe 'Creativity'. There are lots of people here who can come up with the most amazingly creative way to show to the management that they are doing a lot, when they really have not. There is no 'Respect', only ego, arrogance, elitism and a male-dominated hierarchy. As for 'Integrity', well, let's not go there. 'Excellence' abounds in CapitaLand. Everyone seems to be able to meet or exceed their targets, because most of them are superfluous that don't really contribute to the company's performance and growth.
But the truth of the matter is, CapitaLand did do pretty well last year, because of everyone's hard work. But how do staff who have slogged so hard and sacrificed personal and family time to help the company achieve those results in a difficult economy get rewarded? A spectacular increment of $50, thereabouts. How much did the CEO get last year? $5 million. A cool $500,000 more than a year earlier. How's that for showing appreciation to your staff?
To do well in CapitaLand, you need to be one of the 'chosen ones'. A select few who will be a special aide to the CEO for a while, before being parachuted into a fairly senior position, never mind the lack of prior experience and technical skills, never mind that there have been people working there gaining expertise for some time only to have their aspirations for progression stalled or shattered altogether. How do you become a 'chosen one'? The method that is fashionable now is to be a government scholar, or better yet, a President's scholar. The latter is preferred, as the halo effect will give you a free pass for most things, even if you screw up. You will also automatically get credit for the hard work of your colleagues, because nobody can believe that normal staff can deliver good work. Only a 'chosen one' can. When things heat up for you because you've pissed everyone off, fret not. You will have a new position created specially for you to start anew. And don't worry about the sad increments that everyone else is getting. Just for being a 'chosen one', you will get a cushy promotion very quickly, even if you have not done much to prove yourself to your peers or the industry. But that's fine because at the end of the day, all that matters is that you bootlick your CEO.
There's a lot of discontent going on, and I'm just the only one who is willing to speak out about it. Why don't I feedback internally? Because the internal feedback mechanisms are broken. Most are just busy covering their backsides or bootlicking, and will not risk rocking the boat to point out that something is wrong. And in the rare instance that negative feedback finds its way to the top, CapitaLand's management will just brush it aside as a one off and pretend that everything is normal. In fact, they will go so far as to silence criticism. In the past, staff were allowed to post questions anonymously during townhalls, and the discussions were lively and fruitful. But because of one question that was directed at one of the CEO's 'chosen ones', the management decided to shut down this channel. Now, staff must identify themselves before posting questions. And the most recent townhall had a grand total of... 3 questions. All of them planted. We were challenged to be courageous and not be afraid of speaking out, but who are you kidding? CapitaLand does not value staff looking to do things better. It only values staff who are obedient and do not create trouble.
Will CapitaLand management take notice? Probably not. But we need to be valued, and if we are not, we need to vent. Since there's no outlet to vent in CapitaLand, this seems to be the next best option for us.
Senior Executive at CapitaLand