Meet SPD’s latest service excellence award recipients – Alice Hue, senior volunteer management executive and Nor Jannah binte Muhammad Sabri, senior learning support educator. Making service excellence a part of what they do has helped them build relationships and gain satisfaction in their job. Alice and Nor Jannah share more with UPDATES.
1) Could you briefly describe what you do at SPD?
Alice: I engage with SPD’s volunteers which involves getting to know them and their interests, matching their skills to SPD’s organisational needs, as well as organising training workshops, networking sessions and volunteer appreciation events.
Nor Jannah: I conduct screening and intervention for pre-school children under the Development Support and Learning Support programme. We work closely with schools, parents and caregivers to help children with mild to moderate developmental needs in mainstream preschools.
2) What are some of the challenges at work and how do you overcome them?
Alice: It is a challenge to recruit volunteers who can commit their time regularly on weekdays. Hence, it is important to get the support of corporates, interest groups and home-makers.
Matching suitable volunteers to the organisation’s needs is not easy as well, as volunteers have different interests, skillsets and schedules.
Nor Jannah: Working with schools, parents and caregivers could be challenging at times when they are not receptive or not consistent in carrying out the intervention strategies. We would seek to understand and discuss appropriate ways/strategies that are manageable for them to implement in school or at home. Nevertheless, I am blessed with a great team that helps me both professionally and emotionally at SPD.
3) Could you share one or two memorable incidents at work?
Alice: There are many volunteers who would go the extra mile and I am very heartened that they care, they are committed and they make it a point to contribute. There is a volunteer who was facing tough situations in her life. However, she continued to volunteer with us regularly despite her difficulties and I was very touched.
Meeting these good-hearted people has given me positive vibes. After working with volunteers for 15 years, many of them have become my friends. We have grown and built a rapport over the years and when I ask for their help, they will help whenever possible.
Nor Jannah: It is memorable when the parents, caregivers and children acknowledge your efforts and show their appreciation. This may be a simple thank you text message or an occasional hand written note or drawing.
4) What motivates you?
Alice: I enjoy my work knowing that I could make a difference to the lives of people with disabilities. With the support of volunteers, our clients get to experience different activities. Together, we can improve the quality of life of our clients.
Nor Jannah: Working with children has always been a joy, and seeing these children grow and achieve what they are capable of has been a great motivation.
5) What are your thoughts on receiving the award?
Alice: I didn’t expect it as I just hope to do my job well.
Nor Jannah: It was unexpected, but at the same time heart-warming. I felt that my effort has been recognised and I’m glad to be working with such a great team.
6) How would you encourage the other staff to work towards service excellence?
Alice: There are many people who are willing to help our clients, so we are not alone in this journey. Be committed and stay focused in whatever you do, so that our clients could benefit while our volunteers or partners are engaged in something meaningful.
Nor Jannah: In difficult times, think back on the rewarding moments at work and seek the drive that would help you continue what you’re doing!
Here are excerpts of the compliments our two award recipients received:
“Alice is always professional in her dealings with volunteers and takes initiative to drop by the programmes to check in with the volunteers. On one occasion, after getting to know that volunteers did not have seats during volunteering, she took the initiative to purchase stackable stools for them. She is also compassionate towards volunteers. In another incident, a volunteer had a fall at SPD@Toa Payoh. Alice went the extra mile by making a trip to the hospital and ensured that the volunteer was settled before going home, despite being on half day leave that afternoon.” – Quek Hong Choon, Director, Organisational development.
Nor Jannah binte Muhammad Sabri
“Jannah goes the extra mile to converse in Mandarin to Mandarin-speaking parents and would learn new ways of describing certain intervention sessions so that she can be of better service to the parents and children. She is very accommodating and understanding and often makes changes to her own schedule or takes it upon herself to speak to teachers to work out scheduling matters” – Khairiah binte Jamaludeen, Case management officer.