Why employee engagement strategies matter

employee engagement strategies

Why employee engagement strategies matter

What exactly is employee engagement?

Despite being a popular concept in HR and management circles, the term ‘employee engagement’ is often misunderstood. It tends to be mistaken for either employee job satisfaction or happiness.

Employee satisfaction is about meeting your employees’ fundamental needs so that they feel content with their job and working conditions. Employee engagement, by contrast, is more about how connected your people feel to your organisation, and whether they are willing to go ‘above and beyond’.

Discovering how to improve employee satisfaction in an organisation is certainly important. However, implementing effective employee engagement strategies could prove invaluable for your company. Below, we explore why, before outlining some ways that your company could increase employee engagement.

Why is employee engagement important?

Employee engagement is a win-win for both companies and their employees. According to one expert, “People who are highly engaged at work not only provide greater value to the organisation but also experience a better quality of life at work.”

As it turns out, engaged employees create a significant amount of value for the companies they work for. In 2016, researchers at Gallup reviewed existing employee engagement studies and found that “engaged employees produce better business outcomes than other employees do – across industries, company sizes and nationalities, and in good economic times and bad.”

More specifically, the Gallup researchers identified that, compared to their less engaged counterparts, engaged teams had:

  • 41% lower absenteeism;
  • 17% better productivity;
  • 24–59% less turnover;
  • 10% better customer ratings;
  • 20% more sales; and
  • 21% higher profitability.

In short: the research found that employee engagement significantly affects almost every business success metric.

what is employee engagement

The latest trends in employee engagement

Knowing all of the potential benefits of increasing employee engagement is one thing. Actually making it happen can be more complex (and the best strategy can vary for different companies). To help your company find the right approach, here is an overview of some of the latest trends in employee engagement strategies:

01 Providing managerial support to employees

According to The State of Employee Experience 2021 research report by EngageRocket, the most impactful way to influence engagement in Singapore is to provide managerial support to employees. Specifically, employees want to feel comfortable discussing work-related problems with their managers. Training managers to use empathy and openness may help to facilitate these types of conversations, and ultimately, help to improve relationships with employees.

02 Giving clear, regular feedback to employees

Another impactful way to influence engagement identified in the EngageRocket research is to regularly provide clear feedback to employees. Ensure that managers in your organisation schedule regular one-on-one meetings with employees so that providing feedback simply becomes part of the workplace routine. Make KPIs for employees straightforward too, so that they can receive more precise feedback.

03 Listening to employees and acting on their feedback

93% of survey respondents in the 2021 Singapore Employee Experience Trends Report believe that it is important for their company to listen to feedback. However, only 21% of respondents said that their company acted very well on feedback. Help the managers in your organisation to develop concrete action plans for incorporating feedback, and regularly report on progress to both employees and senior management.

04 Rewarding and recognising employees

‘recognition for good work’ was one of the top five drivers of employee engagement identified in the 2020 Singapore Employee Experience Trends Report. Implementing an Employee Share Option Plan (ESOP) can be an effective way to motivate employees and increase employee engagement.

latest trends in employee engagement

How ESOPs can improve employee engagement

An Employee Share Option Plan (also known as an Employee Stock Option Plan) gives employees the option to purchase company shares at a future date for an agreed price. ESOPs differ from Employee Share Plans (including ESASs and ESPPs) in that they only give employees the future option to buy shares. In an ESAS or ESPS, employees either receive fully paid-up shares or can purchase them outright.

One of the fundamental mechanisms behind the success of ESOPs as an employee engagement tool is the concept of ‘ownership culture’. Essentially, ESOPs allow employees to become part-owners in the company they work for. As a result, employees tend to feel valued at work and become invested in the company’s long-term success, which in turn increases their share prices and dividend payments.

Beyond increasing employee engagement, ESOPs can also help to improve staff retention and wellbeing. In 2020, a Rutgers University analysis of employee attitudes towards ESOPs found that “employees with greater psychological ownership are less likely to leave and experience burnout.” A second, subsequent study found that companies with ESOPs had “dramatically outperformed” non-ESOP companies during the pandemic in job retention and maintaining employee work hours and salary.

In short, ESOPs can create a win-win for both employees and their companies. They are a great way to reward and compensate employees, which helps to boost engagement while at the same time freeing up cash for your company. And ultimately, better employee engagement could lead to significant increases in profitability.

Keys to a successful ESOP

However, ESOP success relies on how well a company communicates the plan’s value to employees and manages plan administration. Making it easy for staff to accept offers, track benefits, exercise options and sell shares in real-time means they are more likely to find value in an ESOP. One way to give employees this type of ESOP visibility is through a self-serve platform such as EmployeeServe.

Demo of EmployeeServe platform

Demo of EmployeeServe platform

Another key strategy to boost employee participation in ESOPs, is to develop a comprehensive staff communication plan. This plan must clearly explain the purpose of ESOPs and their value before the company begins to implement an Employee Share Option Plan. Our experienced employee share plan team can help your company communicate all the ESOP benefits to your staff and answer any technical questions.

In addition, there are a wealth of administrative processes required to successfully maintain an ESOP. You must ensure that your company has adequate resources to administer the plan. Instead of allocating in-house resources to do the time-consuming ESOP admin work, our dedicated employee share plan team here at BoardRoom can take care of it all for you. Our systems and processes are entirely flexible, allowing us to tailor a solution to meet your needs.

How BoardRoom can help you implement your ESOP

While ESOPs have many advantages, they can also be challenging to implement without the right tools and expertise.
Speak to one of our experts today about how we can help your business to implement and administer a successful Employee Share Option Plan.

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Introducing Ignite All-in-one Payroll HRMS

Introducing Ignite All-in-one Payroll HRMS

Having a fuss-free, user-friendly Human Resource Management System (HRMS) is half the battle won when it comes to maximising efficiency of your HR team and even your workforce in general.

Here’s a breakdown of what you can expect when you outsource your payroll processing to an experienced regional payroll service provider like BoardRoom, supported by our HRMS platform Ignite to streamline your HR administrative process. Click the video below to view some of Ignite’s key features.

A Quick Glance on Ignite's Key Features

BoardRoom supports payroll processing in 17 countries across Asia Pacific including Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, China, Australia, Japan and more. By entrusting us with your payroll, you’ll get exclusive access to our HRMS platform, Ignite.

Ignite cloud-based HRMS system is designed to meet even the most stringent payroll compliance & statutory requirements and offers up to 11 different languages (English, Traditional Chinese, Traditional Chinese Hong Kong, Simplified Chinese, Bahasa Indonesia, Japanese, Korean, Thai, Vietnamese, French and Spanish), ensuring true multi-country payroll processing. Coupled with a full suite of convenient self-service functions, Ignite enables your employees to carry out standard HR tasks without draining resources from your team.

Ignite HRMS comes with 5 core HR modules:


Ignite 5 modules

Ignite also comes with an intuitive mobile application designed for mobility to empower your workforce to stay connected 24/7, with instant access to their payslips, claims and leave application, anytime, anywhere.

Ignite, Mobile App

Flexible user interface with Ignite, Mobile App

Payroll Module

Monthly payroll processing can be a tedious and stressful affair. Ignite payroll helps make these a breeze by eliminating the need for manual calculation from your payroll processing equation.

With its advanced automation function and the ability to process complex statutory compliance calculations in 10 countries across Asia, Ignite ensures utmost accuracy and efficiency for your HR team.

Ignite payroll processing

Payroll processing on Ignite desktop

Personnel Module

Whether you’re a manager or a HR representative, Ignite can help you keep track of important employees’ details. Crisis management is a whole lot easier when you can access emergency contacts and roster information in one single platform to make the necessary calls. That’s lesser downtime for your operations and a burden off both management and employees’ shoulders.

Ignite Personnel Module

Ignite desktop, featuring employee details management

Leave Module

Managing leave is as simple as a tap of your finger. Employees can easily calculate their leave balance without consulting the HR team and effortlessly apply for annual, sick, maternity leave and more. They’ll also be able to upload supporting documents such as medical certificates the moment they apply for leave, reducing the need to remind them to send in their documents.

Ignite Leave Application

Ignite mobile, apply leave on the go

Managers can also view their employees’ leave requests – even for staff that are under a different jurisdiction’s payroll – and approve them on the go.

Ignite Leave Approval

Approve leave on both Ignite desktop and mobile app

Attendance Module

Keep track of your roster changes in real-time and notify your employees of new or updated shifts instantly. Arranging shifts or calling in back-up can be as easy as consulting the calendar on your Ignite app – you’ll have a bird’s eye view of who’s available for call and how many shifts they’ve done to optimise the scheduling process. You can even set up automated notifications to back-ups and supervisors to inform everyone of who’s on urgent leave which cuts down time needed for someone to coordinate and notify those affected.

Ignite Attendance Module

Ignite desktop showing daily attendance management

Offshore or remote working attendance clocking can be easily tracked with the use of Ignite’s GPS technology. Additionally, the integration of iBeacon Bluetooth function enables employees to clock in/out using their smartphones. All attendance data is then automatically recorded on Ignite all without the need for any manual steps.

This cuts down time needed for manual submission and verifications of timesheet for the convenience of users.

Ignite Clock attendance

Employee attendance clocking on Ignite mobile

Claims Module

Claims are also a piece of cake with BoardRoom’s Ignite. Application, processing and approval all takes place on the platform. It also supports the uploading of supporting documents, even on your mobile so that you can apply for claims at your convenience.

Ignite Claims Management

Submit claims on the go with Ignite mobile app

Ignite is the right fit for organisations of all sizes with its all-in-one functionality including Payroll, Leave, Claims, and Time & Attendance. Your employees and HR teams will be able to benefit from the intuitive self-service features of the platform, enjoy the accessibility of a cloud based HRMS, all through the convenience of a mobile app.

Contact our payroll experts today to learn more about Ignite’s functions and how it can empower your HR team’s payroll processes.

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Considering online company incorporation in Singapore?

1. online company incorporation Singapore

Considering online company incorporation in Singapore?

Is it best to use online company incorporation services in Singapore?

Singapore consistently ranks as one of the best places in the world to do business because of its strategic central location, attractive tax structure, highly competitive economy and political stability.

Therefore, it’s unsurprising that the city is also a leading global start-up hub. As the number of new start-ups has grown, online company incorporation services in Singapore have increased.

While these service providers offer speed and convenience for straightforward setups, businesses with more complex structures will benefit from engaging an expert incorporation services provider.

What ‘self-serve’ online incorporation services offer

Many online incorporation companies have appeared in recent years. They usually offer ‘self-serve’ incorporation model services. Essentially, they take care of the basic company incorporation paperwork and administration for you, including:

  • checking and reserving a company name;
  • preparing registration forms (based on information that you provide through online forms);
  • filing with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA);
  • drafting the company constitution; and
  • preparing the corporate compliance kit (share certificates and registers).

Incorporating online is a modern trend offering speed and convenience. For example, local businesses can be incorporated within three hours using the ‘self-serve’ method. As a no-frills service, it’s an attractive, affordable option for companies with simple business structures.

However, there are some pitfalls to be aware of when incorporating your business online. Typically, online incorporation services don’t provide advice and guidance on how best to set up a business in Singapore to meet your specific needs. Without expert incorporation advice, your company risks increased costs and non-compliance as a result of:

  • selecting the wrong business structure which has significant long-term implications for tax and personal liability obligations;
  • overlooking important local statutory requirements such as obtaining work permits; and
  • missing out on the valuable corporate tax incentives available in Singapore.
risk of incorporate business online

Why engage an expert incorporation service provider?

There’s a lot more to incorporation than paperwork. While the ‘self-serve’ model takes care of the simple administrative aspects of business registration, it doesn’t optimise your company setup for ongoing growth and profitability.

Unlike the majority of online incorporation service providers, professional services firms like BoardRoom focus on the bigger picture for your business. In addition to taking care of the business registration paperwork for you, our team of certified professionals can assist you with all aspects of incorporation, including:

  • tailoring the ideal setup and business structure for your company to minimise tax and personal liability obligations;
  • flagging any potential compliance risk oversights;
  • applying for any relevant tax incentives;
  • providing advice on and applying for work permits, residency passes, dependant passes and permanent residency;
  • establishing an efficient, automated payroll process and accounting system for your company; and
  • providing a nominee director, a company secretary or a local registered office, where required, to meet your statutory incorporation requirements.

Which incorporation service is right for your company?

Larger companies or those with complex structures are more likely to benefit from working with an expert incorporation service provider such as BoardRoom. Our team of incorporation professionals can guide your company on the most suitable setup and ensure that all compliance requirements are taken care of.

Using the ‘self-serve’ option may be more appropriate for smaller businesses, particularly those with a limited budget. Additionally, online incorporation can be done relatively quickly when company structures are less complex because the process is more straightforward. For example, you could save a good deal of money if you complete the company incorporation process yourself if you are:

  • a Singaporean citizen wanting to set up your own business; and
  • the only shareholder and do not intend to add more shareholders.

However, your needs will be very different if you are part of a foreign company looking to enter into the Singaporean market, especially if:

  • you already have several entities in other countries; or
  • you are part of a consortium of businesses looking to incorporate.

In these cases, your organisation will likely need expert guidance on the best way to set up and structure your new company in Singapore.

online incorporation services

Set up your company for long term success with our incorporation experts

Online incorporation using the ‘self-serve’ model is a good starting point. However, to set yourself up for success long term, it’s worthwhile investing in a more sustainable and holistic approach that leverages expert knowledge.

From commencement to completion, BoardRoom’s team of experienced, certified professionals can guide you through incorporation, so it’s done correctly for your type of business.

For over 50 years, we have helped businesses like yours thrive through using our company setup, incorporation and company secretarial services.

Speak to one of our incorporation experts today to find out how we could take your business further, faster.

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BoardRoom People Expertise: Payroll Case Study

Payroll Expertise

BoardRoom People Expertise: Payroll Case Study

Client Profile

The Client is a multinational company that owns some of the world’s most iconic beverage brands that are enjoyed globally.

The Asia-Pacific branches make up almost one-fifth of their operations, where BoardRoom is currently the payroll outsourcing provider for 10 countries – Singapore, Australia, Japan, Korea, China, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and Myanmar. In total, we are responsible for 100% of their APAC workforce, which totals 1687 employees.

Payroll Challenges

One of the challenges MNCs face when expanding or maintaining payroll operations within Asia-Pacific is the lack of understanding between subtle nuances across labour governance frameworks in the region.

About BoardRoom


We provide Payroll Outsourcing services across 17 countries, including Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, Hong Kong & Mainland China


We take care of the payrolls of almost 24,000 employees across Asia Pacific

first-time accuracy

100% first-time accuracy for payroll processing

01 Ensuring Compliance to Latest Payroll Regulations

With its diverse cultural landscape, Asia-Pacific is well-known for its intricate payroll needs that often require specialised knowledge. Payroll regulations change frequently, which can prove challenging for HR teams to keep track of, especially if they’re unfamiliar with the country’s labour laws. This lack of knowledge can negatively impact companies through payroll fines and dissatisfied employees that experience payroll miscalculations.

This is especially challenging for larger companies due to their diverse employee payroll profile which requires an in-depth knowledge of the different payroll calculations and deductions for each employee. As a result, some HR teams in MNCs can struggle to ensure payroll compliance while also performing administratively heavy tasks such as checking and dispersing wages.

02 Impact on Productivity

When operating across multiple countries, payroll processing can often be done in siloes by individual payroll teams resulting in a lack of standardization across processes and workflow. Moreover, as companies expand into new markets, it can be challenging for the HR management to maintain oversight with every country and or states unique legal and social landscape. This can reduce productivity of HR teams as more effort is required to check errors and ensure accuracy.

Companies with rapid expansion plans might find it hard to build their HR administrative operations within the quick timeframe required to meet growth ambitions. The Client recognised this fact and identified the need for an experienced regional payroll outsourcing partner who could support their growth across Asia-Pacific.

The Solution

With the above challenges in mind, BoardRoom focused on how we could streamline their payroll operations. With our expertise in processing payroll for large multi-national companies across the Asia-pacific region, we support them as they continue to grow.

01 Ready Access to Regulatory Advice

The first step was ensuring that they could access the depth of regional knowledge and expertise that the BoardRoom team possesses. Companies spanning multiple jurisdictions require timely guidance on regulatory updates or necessary deductions, which BoardRoom provides. From advice on ad-hoc bonus payouts and the deductions required or what reliefs for payroll-related taxes that the company can qualify for, BoardRoom has the expertise to advise accordingly. In addition, our team’s experience and expertise enables us to analyse existing HR frameworks and optimize processes for the best payroll performance.

02 Standardised Framework

Next, we looked into centralizing standard payroll operations across the APAC branches, meaning they were able to shift away from siloed payroll processing. Through analysis of existing structures, BoardRoom made informed recommendations to assist in streamlining of processes. This helped boost efficiency of their regional payroll processing and provide more control and foresight for planning.

Capitalise on BoardRoom’s Asia-Pacific payroll experience today

As a global company, payroll compliance is challenging to maintain consistently across the APAC region. That’s why picking the right payroll outsourcing partner is essential to keeping your payroll processing as compliant as possible. A reliable partner like BoardRoom will be able to:

  • Guide you on specific local payroll advice across the region
  • Advise you on regulatory concerns and relevant updates
  • Help you standardize processes across the region

Are you interested in engaging our expertise to optimize your regional payroll processing? Reach out to us to discuss in greater detail how you can capitalise on our experienced regional payroll experts.

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How to Start a Business in Singapore

how to start a business in Singapore

How to Start a Business in Singapore

How to Start a Business in Singapore

Thinking of starting a business in Singapore? You’re not alone. As the legal landscape in Hong Kong continues to evolve, many companies are choosing to set up second headquarters in Singapore. And it’s easy to see why when the country is:

  • consistently rated by the World Bank as the best country in Asia to do business and the second best nation in the world to do business;
  • ranked first in the world for political and operational stability in the Global Innovation Index 2020; and
  • ranked first in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region and fifth in the world for economic competitiveness by the IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook 2021.

Expanding into a new international market is exciting for any business, but it also presents its own set of significant challenges. For many executives, the first hurdle is understanding how the company formation regulations and processes work in the new jurisdiction.

Our guide below gives you an overview of everything you need to know about how to start a business in Singapore.

Singapore Market Profile

Office rental pricing: Average monthly rent for grade A office space in Singapore was $SGD 9.90 per square foot for the second quarter of 2021.

Average office space density: 10m2 per person

Fixed internet download speed: 256.03 megabits per second in July 2021

Mobile internet download speed: 85.93 megabits per second in July 2021

Gross Domestic Product US$ bn: 340

Population (million): 5.70

Official languages: there are four official languages spoken in Singapore including:

  • English;
  • Chinese;
  • Malay; and
  • Tamil.
what language is spoken in Singapore

Benefits of setting up a company in Singapore

As one of the largest business centres in Asia, Singapore offers many benefits to companies looking to establish a presence in the region, including:

  • Attractive tax structure: Singapore’s corporate tax is fixed at a competitive rate of 17% on chargeable income, whether a company is local or foreign. There are several corporate tax relief schemes available, including:

Tax Exemption Scheme for New Start-up Companies

Qualifying companies are given the following tax exemptions for the first three consecutive years of assessment (YAs) where the YA falls in:

YA 2020 onwards
  • 75% exemption on the first $100,000 of normal chargeable income; and
  • A further 50% exemption on the next $100,000 of normal chargeable income.
YA 2010–2019
  • Full exemption on the first $100,000 of normal chargeable income; and
  • A further 50% exemption on the next $200,000 of normal chargeable income

Partial Tax Exemption for all companies

All companies, including companies limited by guarantee, can enjoy the following tax exemption:

YA 2020 onwards
  • 75% exemption on the first $10,000 of normal chargeable income; and
  • A further 50% exemption on the next $190,000 of normal chargeable income.
YA 2010–2019
  • 75% tax exemption on the first $10,000 of normal chargeable income; and
  • A further 50% exemption on the next $290,000 of normal chargeable income.

Corporate Income Tax Rebate

Given to all companies:

YA 2020 onwards
  • 75% exemption on the first $10,000 of normal chargeable income; and
  • A further 50% exemption on the next $190,000 of normal chargeable income.
YA 2013–2019

In addition, there are many corporate tax incentives available to foster economic growth within the country. Our expert tax team here at BoardRoom can advise you on the tax incentives your company may qualify for.

Singapore does not tax capital gains on the sale of fixed assets or foreign exchange on capital transactions.

However, companies (irrespective of tax residency) operating in Singapore are taxed on income sourced in the country and foreign income when remitted to and received in Singapore.

But, as the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) states:

Companies that are Singapore tax residents can enjoy tax breaks on foreign income as follows:

a. Upfront exemption or reduction in tax imposed on the foreign income, when foreign income is derived in a jurisdiction that has an Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreement (DTA) with Singapore;
b. Tax exemption of specified foreign income such as foreign-sourced dividends, branch profits and service income; and
c. Foreign tax credit for the taxes paid in the foreign jurisdiction against the Singapore tax payable on the same income.

Singapore business competition
  • Highly competitive economy: Singapore is one of the most competitive economies in the world, ranking first in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region and fifth in the world for economic competitiveness by the IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook 2021.
  • No foreign ownership restrictions: 100% of the shares of incorporated companies in Singapore can be owned by foreigners or foreign companies (except for broadcasting and domestic news media). There are no export tariffs and foreign exchange controls in Singapore, but there are import tariffs on:
    • intoxicating liquors;
    • tobacco products;
    • motor vehicles;
    • petroleum products; and
    • biodiesel blends.
  • Bilingual business communication: English is widely used in Singapore, making it easier for foreign investors to establish companies within the region.

How to establish a company in Singapore

Here is our step-by-step guide for how to register a business in Singapore:

01 Choose a company type

The two most common company types for businesses operating in Singapore are:

  1. Limited Liability Company: This entity type means that a business is set up as its own legal entity. Foreign investors often prefer this type because it offers limited liability for business owners. Companies can be limited by shares or by guarantee.
  2. Foreign Company Office: Foreign companies can register in Singapore as either a representative office or a branch office. Neither option creates a separate legal entity, however, so all liability extends to the parent company.

02 Give your company a name

Your company must avoid choosing a name that is:

  • the same as an existing business name already approved by the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA);
  • undesirable ie., names which are vulgar, obscene or offensive; and
  • prohibited by order of the Minister for Finance.

You can search the online business and company name register in Singapore, BizFile, to check if your preferred name is available.

03 Set up your company structure

Next, you need to determine the structure of your company per the following requirements:

  • Directors: a minimum of at least one person. One director needs to be a natural person (ie. an individual). Directors must be aged 18 years or older and be either:
    • a Singaporean citizen; or
    • permanent resident; or
    • a person with an Employment Pass; or
    • a person with an Entrepreneur Pass (EntrePass).

To satisfy your local director requirements in Singapore, we provide a nominee director service.

  • Shareholders: a minimum of at least one shareholder. 100% of shares can be foreign-owned.
  • Company secretary: a sole director must not act as the company secretary. To register a company in Singapore, you must appoint a natural person who lives in Singapore as a company secretary.

We provide expert company secretarial services so that your company can meet all of its statutory obligations in Singapore.

  • Share capital: the minimum issued capital must be at least $SGD1.
  • Registered address: must be a physical address in Singapore, not a P.O. Box. If your business does not yet have local office space, professional service firms like BoardRoom can provide your company with a registered office location.

04 Submit company registration application

A foreigner looking to operate a business in Singapore that is venture-backed or owns innovative technologies is eligible to apply for an EntrePass. This will allow them to submit their application online through BizFile. However, foreigners without an EntrePass should consider engaging with the services of a registered filing agent, such as BoardRoom.

05 Make other permit and business licence applications (if applicable)

Depending on the type of business you operate, you may need to apply for other permits and business licences. Find more information about permits and licences here.

how to open a business in singapore as a foreigner

How to successfully open a business in Singapore

While it can be complex, the process of opening a business in Singapore as a foreigner doesn’t have to be difficult. Our team of company incorporation experts at BoardRoom can guide you through every step of the incorporation journey to make it as smooth and seamless as possible.

Not only can our team help you incorporate with ease, but we can also take care of your company secretarial needs.

Speak to one of our specialists today to get started in setting up your business in Singapore.

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Payroll Compliance: Keeping Abreast of the Evolving APAC Landscape for Global Organisations

Payroll Compliance APAC

Payroll Compliance: Keeping Abreast of the Evolving APAC Landscape for Global Organisations

Payroll Compliance: Keeping Abreast of the Evolving APAC Landscape for Global Organisations

Compliance is more than just a box-ticking exercise – it is the building block of credibility and reliability for organisations, particularly companies with a multinational presence who are subject to greater scrutiny.

Our Payroll Associate Director, Prem, deep dives into the various strategies you can implement today that mitigate your risk of non-compliance when processing payroll across multiple jurisdictions.

Key takeaways from the video includes:

  • What questions organisations should ask when assessing payroll outsourcing vendors to determine they are keeping up with changing regulatory landscapes.
  • How global organisations can stay up to date with evolving payroll needs.
  • Which countries in APAC have the most complicated employment requirements.

Click here to play the video

More about Prem

Prem V. Kumar has over a decade of experience in payroll management across APAC.

His expertise lies in organisation and he has a gift for breaking down the specific talents and roles needed to optimise the efficiency of payroll processing. As the Regional Payroll Associate Director, he is responsible for ensuring a seamless regional payroll processing experience for clients who operate across several jurisdictions.

Some of the key projects that Prem was responsible for includes the end to end overseeing of a regional payroll project of over 12,000 headcounts. Today, he has cultivated a well-rounded regional payroll team who are responsible for some of our bigger clients.

Are you interested in learning more about navigating through the complex payroll requirements in the APAC region? Reach out to our payroll experts today to learn more.

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Payroll Process: Setting your HR Team Up for Success

Payroll processing

Payroll Process: Setting your HR Team Up for Success

Payroll Process: Setting your HR Team Up for Success

Numerous studies have proven that a continuous delay in employee’s salary distribution can impact their job satisfaction. That’s why timely payments are vital in maintaining good workforce morale and can decrease turnover rates in many organisations.

However, it’s no easy feat to keep payroll running efficiently whilst ensuring that precision is not sacrificed for prompt salary disbursements. While achieving a zero margin of error is not possible, there are still some ways that payroll processes can be enhanced to reduce the likelihood of miscalculations.

Watch the video below where our payroll expert, Prem, Regional Payroll Associate Director, shares with us tips on how organisations can process their payroll with a low margin of error.

Click here to play video

More about Prem

Prem V. Kumar has over a decade of experience in payroll management across APAC.

His expertise lies in organisation and he has a gift for breaking down the specific talents and roles needed to optimise the efficiency of payroll processing. As the Regional Payroll Associate Director, he is responsible for ensuring a seamless regional payroll processing experience for clients who operate across several jurisdictions.

Some of the key projects that Prem was responsible for includes the end to end overseeing of a regional payroll project of over 12,000 headcounts. Today, he has cultivated a well-rounded regional payroll team who are responsible for some of our bigger clients.

Speak to our payroll experts today to find out how BoardRoom can enhance your payroll processing.

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Payroll process steps in Singapore: your questions answered

payroll process steps

Payroll process steps in Singapore: your questions answered

The payroll process steps in Singapore: your questions answered

Small payroll errors can have massive repercussions in Singapore, including expensive fines, reputational damage and employee dissatisfaction. That’s why knowing the payroll process steps and understanding payroll compliance obligations is critical to operating successfully in the country.

To help your company stay compliant, our team of payroll experts have answered your most pressing payroll process questions.

1. What information do I need for payroll in Singapore?

To set up employees on your company’s payroll in Singapore, you need their:

  • full name;
  • date of birth;
  • date hired;
  • immigration status;
  • identification number;
  • current job start date;
  • pay frequency;
  • pay currency;
  • pay amount;
  • self-help group contribution status;
  • payment method; and
  • bank account details.

2. What are the working conditions and wage requirements in Singapore?

  • Working hours: employees in Singapore work either:
    • a nine-hour workday with an average working week of no longer than 44 hours, and (most commonly) two days off per week; or
    • an eight-hour workday, working six days a week.
  • Pay cycles: salaries in Singapore are typically paid monthly.
  • Minimum wages: there is no minimum wage in Singapore. Salaries are negotiated and mutually agreed upon by employees and employers.
  • Overtime, rest day and holiday pay rates: overtime is paid at 1.5 times the employee’s hourly basic rate of pay. This rate is capped at the salary level of $2,600 or an hourly rate of $13.60 (excluding manual labourers).

Employees can work up to 72 hours of overtime per month. Rest days and public holiday pay rates vary depending on several factors outlined here.


wage requirement in Singapore

3. What are the holiday and leave requirements for payroll?

  • Paid holidays: there are 11 gazetted public holidays per year.
  • Annual leave entitlements: employees are entitled to between 7-14 days of paid annual leave, depending on their length of service with the company.
  • Sick leave entitlements: employees are entitled to between 5-14 days of paid outpatient sick leave and 15-60 days of paid hospitalisation sick leave, depending on their length of service with the company.
  • Maternity leave entitlements: new mothers are entitled to 16 weeks of paid maternity leave if:
    • their child is a Singaporean citizen;
    • they have previously worked for the employer for three continuous months before the birth; and
    • they have given their employer at least one week’s notice before going on maternity leave.

Employers can submit reimbursement claims to the government under the Government-Paid Maternity Leave Scheme.

  • Paternity leave: government-paid paternity leave of two weeks is available for employees if:
    • their child is a Singaporean citizen;
    • they have previously worked for the employer for three continuous months before the birth; and
    • they are or had been lawfully married to the child’s mother between conception and birth.
  • Childcare leave entitlements: parents of Singaporean citizens are entitled to six days of paid childcare leave per year. Parents of non-Singaporean citizens are entitled to up to two days of paid childcare leave per year. However, to be eligible:
    • their youngest child must be under seven years of age; and
    • the parents must have been working with their employer for at least three continuous months.

Employers will pay the first three days, and the government pays for the remaining three days.

  • Unpaid infant care leave entitlements: parents of Singaporean citizens are entitled to six days of unpaid infant care leave per year. However, to be eligible:
    • their child must be under two years of age; and
    • the parents must have been working with their employer for at least three continuous months.
  • Other non-compulsory leave types: Employees can also apply for the following optional leave types. They are not statutory requirements but subject to employer approval:
    • marriage leave: typically three days paid leave per year
    • compassionate leave: typically two to three days of paid leave per year
    • birthday leave: one day of paid leave per year
    • exam leave: typically two days of leave per subject
    • eldercare leave: at the discretion of employers. Public service agencies currently offer two days of paid parental care leave per year.

4. What social security and statutory contributions must employers make?

  • Central Provident Fund (CPF): employers and most employees (Singaporean citizens or permanent residents only) must contribute to the CPF retirement benefits scheme.

The CPF contribution rate for employees varies depending on their monthly salary, whereas the employer contribution rate for employees aged up to 55 years is 17%.

  • Self-Help Group (SHG) Funds: these are voluntary employee contributions to less privileged and low-income households of the communities that each employee is a part of. There are four SHG funds:
    • Chinese Development Assistance Council Fund (CDAC);
    • Eurasian Community Fund (ECF);
    • Mosque Building and Mendaki Fund (MBMF); and
    • Singapore Indian Development Association Fund (SINDA).

Employers deduct the SHG contributions from employee wages. The contribution rates vary per fund but range from $0.50–$30 per month.

  • Skills Development Levy (SDL): employers are required to contribute SDL for all their employees (irrespective of their immigration status) up to the first $4,500 of each employee’s total monthly wages.

The levy rate for SDL is 0.25% or a minimum of $2 (for total wages of $800 or less). This supports training and workforce upgrade programs.

  • Foreign Worker Levy (FWL): this levy applies to foreign workers with a Work Permit or S Pass Holders. It does not apply to employees under Employment Pass (EP).

The FWL rate varies depending on:

    • industry type;
    • whether the employee has a Work Permit or an S Pass;
    • employee skill level; and
    • the number of foreign workers employed within the company.

More information on the FWL is available here.


Social Security Payroll

5. Are payslips mandatory in Singapore?

Yes. According to the Ministry of Manpower in Singapore, “employers must issue itemised payslips to all employees covered by the Employment Act.”

6. Is ‘13th month pay’ mandatory in Singapore?

No. 13th month pay is not mandatory in Singapore, but it is the cultural business norm.

7. Do all employees have to be on payroll?

All employees covered by the Employment Act must have payslips; therefore, they must all be on payroll.

8. Can I do payroll myself?

Of course. However, the process is a lot easier, simpler and more accurate when you outsource payroll to a specialist provider like BoardRoom.

9. Do employers pay taxes on payroll?

Employers in Singapore are not required to withhold taxes from an employee’s salary. However, employers must withhold tax for foreign workers for at least one month if they cease working in Singapore, or if they leave Singapore for longer than three months.As discussed above, employers must also make social security and statutory contributions for their employees.

In addition, many employers also offer some form of private health insurance for their employees. While this is not mandatory it is a cultural business norm in Singapore.

Singapore Payroll

Want expert help in processing your company’s payroll in Singapore?

As you can see from the information above, many complexities surround the payroll process steps in Singapore. This makes it extremely challenging for companies with offices in the country to remain compliant.

Moreover, payroll compliance regulations change frequently, so staying up to date can be complicated and time-consuming, especially if your company has a high-volume payroll.

We can help you to create an efficient, accurate and compliant payroll process.

Speak to our specialist team today to organise a free payroll health check and find out how to reduce payroll costs and compliance risks for your company.

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Boost employee satisfaction with an HRMS payroll solution

Boost employee satisfaction with an HRMS payroll solution

How the right HRMS payroll solution can increase employee satisfaction and boost HR efficiency

Time is a finite resource. As a busy Human Resources (HR) manager, you know this better than most. It may well be the reason you’re reading this article right now. You’re looking for solutions to reduce your team’s administrative burden so they can focus on improving employee satisfaction.

Adopting a payroll solution with an integrated Human Resources Management Software (HRMS) platform is one way to make this happen. Although, given how busy you and your team are, you may think that you simply don’t have the time to upgrade or change your HRMS.

The good news is that engaging an outsourced payroll partner can make the process seamless.

How? Let’s break it down.

The payroll challenges you are facing

At the moment, you might be working with a legacy payroll system that’s not flexible enough to do what you need it to do quickly and effectively. This makes it challenging to:

  • generate reports from data across payroll and HR;
  • easily sync your current system with other platforms and apps;
  • meet the current demands of employees if your system doesn’t have mobile capabilities;
  • access and store data from a system that is not fully integrated across key HR and payroll modules such as time and attendance, leave and claims; and
  • process multi-country pay runs.

As a result, your HR team could be:

  • taking longer to process payroll because of having to do manual calculations or reconciliation;
  • overwhelmed by servicing employee requests while trying to juggle payroll support and processing; and
  • spending too much time generating individual reports specific to each non-integrated system. The information in delayed reports may become irrelevant which reduces reporting accuracy.
Outsource payroll in Singapore

How an overall payroll solution with the right people, systems and processes can help

Payroll difficulties can be easily overcome by adopting an overall payroll solution that combines the right people, systems and processes. What do we mean by this?

By outsourcing payroll to the right people, you’ll have a team of experts by your side, like our specialists here at BoardRoom, who can take care of all aspects of payroll for you. But, you also need to have the right systems and processes in place to manage payroll efficiently and effectively. That’s why outsourcing to a professional payroll outsourcing provider with an integrated HRMS payroll platform, such as BoardRoom, offers a fundamental solution to any payroll problems you might be encountering.

More specifically the right payroll solution can help you and your team to:

01 Save time with employee self-service functions

Imagine how much time your HR team would save if employees could check their own leave balances, access payslips and update their own personal information on a mobile app using employee self-service (ESS) functions.

Not only can ESS functions increase HR efficiency, but they can also improve employee satisfaction. Managers can easily sign-off on their team members’ timesheets and leave requests. Staff can avoid the inconvenience of having to contact HR team members to perform simple actions like submitting timesheets, claims and leave requests or accessing payslips and rosters. It also means that staff can receive timely, detailed advice from HR teams when they have more complicated and complex requests.

02 Make reporting quicker and easier for better decision-making

Without the right payroll solution, generating reports that combine payroll and HR data is time-consuming. For example, to create a report on employee salary and rewards, you might have to hunt down the information you need from:

  • different systems;
  • Microsoft Excel spreadsheets;
  • databases; or even
  • individual emails.

In contrast, a good payroll solution means all of your regular reporting is taken care of by a team of payroll experts. Plus, any ad-hoc reports you need can be generated at the click of a button.

Beyond this, securely storing all of your HR and payroll data in one platform with the same outsourcing provider makes it quicker and easier for your team to generate reports based on the most up-to-date information, enabling them to make more effective decisions, faster.

Better yet, your team can use the time they once spent generating reports to now focus their efforts on what really matters, such as increasing employee satisfaction.

03 Process multi-country pay runs accurately and efficiently

In the APAC Region, payroll regulations are complex and frequently change. It’s hard enough for even the most experienced HR teams to stay up-to-date with the payroll regulations of one country, let alone those of multiple countries. Combine that with a legacy payroll system that makes adjusting payroll formulas and data inputs for each nation’s unique regulations difficult, it’s easy to see the benefits of a good payroll solution.

An overall payroll solution with the right people, systems and processes minimises your exposure to these compliance and regulatory risks. It means that an experienced and knowledgeable team takes care of payroll compliance for you. This includes updating payroll formulas correctly into an advanced HRMS software solution that has the capability to easily process multi-country pay runs.

Looking for an outsourced payroll partner with an all-in-one, integrated HRMS payroll solution?

When coupled with an expert outsourced payroll provider like BoardRoom, our integrated, cloud-based HRMS payroll solution, Ignite becomes even more powerful.

Our superior payroll solution combines the right people, systems and processes to empower your employees, reduce your administrative burden and ultimately increase HR team efficiency by:

  • eliminating the need for multiple payroll systems;
  • providing unparalleled reporting for better decision making; and
  • processing accurate multi-country pay runs for you to maintain compliance.
All-in-one HRMS System Ignite
All-in-one HRMS Solution, Ignite

Speak to our team of payroll experts today about how we can meet your company’s specific payroll needs.

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Outsourcing payroll improves HR efficiency and reduces costs

Payroll efficiency

Outsourcing payroll improves HR efficiency and reduces costs

How outsourcing payroll can improve HR efficiency and reduce costs

As a Human Resources (HR) manager, you want your team to focus on strategic HR imperatives, not back-office administrative tasks. But all too often, your team has to spend precious hours on time-consuming jobs like processing payroll instead of focusing on strategic priorities like employee engagement or talent management.

If your HR team is already stretched to the limit, managing payroll can be even more of a challenge. You know that a late pay run can result in unhappy employees. You also know that a rushed pay run may have errors. The last thing you want is to generate costly fines or lawsuits for your company because of a simple payroll mistake.

The solution for many companies in Singapore and the APAC Region has been to outsource their payroll.

Let’s look at how outsourcing payroll could improve HR efficiency while also reducing costs.

Save valuable time while preventing costly compliance errors

HR team responsibilities have grown significantly in recent years from day-to-day personnel management and administrative tasks to now delivering key company objectives. In between scheduling interviews, running performance appraisals, and processing payroll, HR professionals can struggle to find the time for core strategic imperatives.

This means essential but non-urgent goals like strengthening company culture and employee experience often suffer. It’s no wonder that many HR teams are feeling stressed and overwhelmed. And when HR teams are overstretched, payroll errors may happen.

Small payroll mistakes can have big consequences for your company, including:

  • Costly non-compliance fines and even employer jail time: as just one example, employers in Singapore who fail to pay Central Provident Fund (CPF) contributions for their employees correctly and promptly can be taken to court. If they’re convicted of late CPF payment offences, employers face up to $5,000 in fines per offence and up to six months’ imprisonment for a first offence.
  • Reputational damage: payroll errors can generate negative publicity for your company, resulting in distrust from both clients and investors. In turn, this can reduce profits and lower the value of your company.
  • Employee dissatisfaction: getting paid correctly and on time is a basic expectation for every employee. Repeated payroll errors can lead to employee dissatisfaction, which can ultimately reduce productivity and increase staff turnover.

Payroll outsourcing vendor

In the APAC Region, payroll regulations are complex and change frequently, making it more difficult for HR teams to stay up-to-date. If your company also operates within multiple countries, payroll compliance becomes more difficult as your team needs to stay abreast of each nation’s unique regulations.

Outsourcing payroll frees up the time your HR team previously spent attempting to keep up with changing compliance regulations and doing tedious, repetitive payroll processing tasks. It gives them the capacity to properly concentrate on core strategic activities that add more value to the business.

Enhance productivity by streamlining processes and making data analysis easier

Expert payroll outsourcing vendors use advanced, all-in-one Human Resource Management System (HRMS) solutions to automate and streamline payroll processing. This eliminates the need for manual calculations or data input, which can significantly increase the speed and accuracy of your pay runs.

More streamlined payroll processes also enhance productivity by enabling your HR team to spend their time and energy on core strategic business activities. Beyond this, your company would no longer need to purchase the latest HRMS software upgrade or maintain the cloud security to support it – generating yet more savings.

Additionally, outsourcing payroll can improve HR efficiency by making data easier to analyse. Different types of advanced HRMS software used by payroll outsourcing vendors can provide unparalleled reporting capabilities and workforce visibility. Detailed reports can be generated at the click of a button, providing business insights faster and more easily. Armed with these insights, your team can make better strategic decisions for your company.

All-in-one HRMS System Ignite
All-in-one HRMS Platform, Ignite

Access to a team of experts without the salary costs

Finally, outsourcing to an expert payroll service provider gives your company access to a pool of HR knowledge specialists without the expense of retaining them in-house. Our team of payroll experts here at BoardRoom have worked across multiple industries, and in multiple countries and situations, which means they can:

  • guide you on best practices;
  • identify key risks and potential problems, and provide practical solutions that save your team time and resources;
  • ensure your company remains up-to-date and fully compliant with all relevant payroll regulations; and
  • provide regular reports and valuable insights for your business.

Not only that, but you can also take advantage of the wealth of knowledge that our team of professionals at BoardRoom have across a range of business disciplines, including:

Our centralised services enable you to receive assistance in multiple fields while streamlining your outsourcing processes.

"Outsourcing payroll makes sense"

If your HR team is feeling the pressure to do more with less, now is the time to consider outsourcing payroll.

Our team of payroll experts at BoardRoom can take care of payroll for you, freeing up your team to refocus on delivering strategic HR imperatives like strengthening company culture and increasing employee engagement. Essentially, this means increasing your HR team’s efficiency, while reducing costs as outlined above.

That’s why outsourcing payroll makes sense for so many companies in Singapore and the APAC Region. Speak to our payroll specialists today about how to outsource payroll services for your company.

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