Catherine Ong

Senior Manager, Customer and Case Management


Catherine Ong

Catherine has been in HR-related jobs since 2008. She first started off in global mobility services, a specialised HR role that assists global assignees with their relocation transitions. Thereafter, she had opportunities to expand her portfolio and gained experience in other functions such as training and development, management of agency workers and other operational matters. She enjoys working with and helping people. Two years ago, she decided to look for a role where she could help more people. Armed with her HR background, she decided to apply for a position in the Tripartite Alliance Limited (TAL), as a Senior Manager in the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP) to handle retrenchment dispute cases. Besides giving her an opportunity to grow in her career, she saw this role as a chance to help more employees in handling their employment issues.


Catherine firmly believes that a people-centred mindset is vital to helping employees and employers address and resolve workplace issues. At the core of any employer-employee relationship are real people, with feelings and needs. By focusing on the people, one can better understand the needs and concerns of all parties, adopt a holistic approach and offer optimal solutions. It also helps improve organisations’ employment practices in the process, contributing to the creation of more fair and progressive workplaces.


In her day-to-day work, Catherine engages employers to ensure their HR practices are fair and progressive, using the Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices to enable them to better their employment practices. She also assists employees who contact TAFEP to seek advice or recourse on retrenchment-related matters. Though handling retrenchment cases is a new area of work for her, her experience in customer service, problem-solving, and people skills proved to be very valuable in her current role, allowing her to continue to place people at the centre of any workplace situation and to give advice or provide solutions. She often comes across individuals in stressful situations, and they are overwhelmed due to their circumstances.


Catherine shares, “It is important that we are committed to being patient and good listeners so that the person feels heard and valued, and to help them overcome their distress.” Sometimes, the phone conversations may stretch for a period of time, but she continues to offer her listening ear and provides guidance and advice to resolve their issues or queries.


What I love about my job is being able to help others and being there for them,” Catherine adds. She recalls a case in which a retrenched employee was disappointed that the employer did not attempt to reach out and provide any explanation and pay any retrenchment benefits. When she got in touch with the company, they acknowledged the employee's case was not handled appropriately due to some miscommunication. The company's director contacted the employee and resolved the matter amicably. The employee was glad to have spoken with the director, providing closure for him. He was appreciative of Catherine’s help and thankful for her support.


Catherine was able to transit smoothly and excel in her current role due to the strong support received at her workplace. Having joined the organisation during the COVID-19 period and working mostly from home, she never felt alone. “I'm grateful to have supportive, caring colleagues and my reporting officer for their encouragement and help during challenging times. This allows me to put my best foot forward, propelling our organisation's efforts in fair and progressive practices.”


Catherine’s reporting officer believes that having a nurturing leadership and a caring team brings out the best in people. “Employees are more willing to go the extra mile when they know the organisation puts its people first, and they have the support and trust of their supervisors and colleagues. There is job satisfaction knowing that they are making a difference at the workplace and in other peoples' lives,” Wee Kee adds with affirmation.

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