When is a cup of coffee more than a cup of coffee? The Singapore Workplace Services team has been pleasantly surprised by the positive response they have received to the office coffee perk. Many Singapore employees have been greatly enjoying the reimagined coffee break experience as they come together to connect with their peers. Travis Lim, Senior Manager of Workplace Services, and his team decided to focus on transforming a very common — and historically mundane — office moment: a cup of coffee. We sat down with Travis to learn more.
What was the motivation for your team to create a moment of connection from the typical coffee experience?
We knew that a lot of employees start their day with a cup of coffee, so we started thinking about what that experience was like.
Every time I go somewhere to get coffee, I don’t get a welcoming feeling. It’s transactional. I wanted to make this experience transformative: an experience that could completely change how the employee was feeling. I wanted them to love the experience so much that the coffee moment alone was good enough to make them come back the next day. Part of making that experience great is focusing on how it can help the employee connect to their peers.
The Singapore office’s coffee cart features latte art with familiar faces!
You didn’t just bring in a coffee cart, you took your team to a barista training course to learn about the brewing process and create a truly custom experience. Why was that important to you?
Everything we did to prepare for the coffee cart’s opening was to understand what would make it a memorable experience. The barista training course gave us the knowledge to collaborate closely with our coffee vendor: we adjusted the roast on the coffee beans for a better flavour and let our employees taste it and give us their feedback. We learned that our employees preferred plant-based milk, so we brought in three different options. When there is a holiday or an executive visitor, we add custom designs to the latte art.
Not only is it a positive moment in someone’s day, it creates a natural moment of socialisation that people have been missing. We knew the employee could take time to chat with their colleagues while their drinks were brewing. The cart became a moment of community.
Jasmine Xu (L) and Bonnie Chin (R) creating specialty coffee drinks during the Lunar New Year event
What has been the employee response to the reimagined coffee experience?
We are always trying to get ahead of the experience that employees want so they are excited about what’s next. And it’s working! Employees have told us that the coffee cart is one of the best parts of their day. It’s even working on me; I never used to drink coffee, but now I can’t go the day without stopping by the cart. The baristas know I like cinnamon, so they always add some to my drink. It’s that customised experience — the feeling that we know who you are and we care about the kind of day you have — that we want to give to everyone.
Your team’s curated experiences have been very well-received. What’s the secret to getting them right?
Our strategy is to listen to what our employees want, collaborate closely with our partners, and experiment. Most of all, at every event, we want to turn something transactional into a transformative experience.
This is also not something we achieve alone. We couldn’t do it without the support of our leadership, who fully trusts us to create an environment that is best for employees. The Singapore Culture Guides- employees who volunteer their time to support culture events- and Employee Engagement partners also work hard to deliver many exciting events with us. We are very fortunate to have such supportive partnerships working together to bring the Salesforce culture to life.
L-R: Jasmine Xu, Bonnie Chin, Travis Lim, Tammy Ang, and Brenda Rodrigues of the Singapore Workplace Services Team
Salesforce was named Singapore’s #1 Best Workplace in Technology 2022 (large category) as well as one of Singapore’s Best Workplaces. Both awards are credited to a high rating of employee trust and engagement. The Singapore Workplace Services team’s dedication to building trust and engagement is a testament to the Salesforce culture. We asked Travis’ colleagues about their experience:
What did it feel like when you realised your team had created such a well-received employee experience?
“Ecstatic — it was pure joy to see our employees so happy to see their colleagues in person! You could really see it in their smiles and body language. The catch-up moments everyone was having were really special in those first few weeks. Also, I felt relieved. [It was] a relief to see everyone happy back at their workstations and enjoying the space.”
– Brenda Rodrigues, Supervisor, Workplace Services
“Welcoming our colleagues back to work after lockdown was a huge transition…With more and more employees returning to office to connect and socialise, seeing their smiles and faces give us the reason to keep curating and improving employee experiences in office.”
– Tammy Ang, Lead Coordinator, Workplace Services
Your team goes above and beyond to focus on the employee’s experiences at the office. Why is that?
“It is the culture that makes it different here. Employees are writing their own inspiring chapters and we [live] by our values daily. There is a sense of purpose in doing meaningful work and it is a safe environment where we can bring our authentic selves to work daily. [Because of this,] our team is never afraid to try and change things along the way. And of course, not forgetting about social connection, to listen and understand what the employees really want. Seeing employees’ smiles across their faces is worth going above and beyond!”
– Jasmine Xu, Workplace Services Associate
“Do it from love, not for love!’ – This is how we started together as one team and built our foundation from there. It goes beyond ticking a to-do list. It’s not just about fulfilling just a task, it’s the love of connecting our people together. Passion is the word and it keeps us burning. ”
– Bonnie Chin, Office Service/Administration Manager
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