Building a Caring, People-First Culture for Higher Retention Rates

Read how Kimly Construction develops and values employees in the construction industry.

13 May 2024 Case studies Flexible Work Arrangements Recruitment Work-life harmony Best practices



Kimly Construction Private Limited

Kimly Construction Private Limited was incorporated in 1975 and pioneered progressive construction practices such as prefabrication and Design for Manufacturing and Assembly (DfMA) technologies. Its projects range from residential developments to industrial projects and educational institutes.



Employment size


Employment profile

Executives, managers, operations staff, and construction workers

Business Case

The built environment industry is sometimes perceived as physically demanding, dangerous, and dirty, making it an unappealing sector for job seekers. To boost talent attraction and retention, Kimly implemented fair and progressive employment practices aimed at transforming its workplace culture. It revamped its training and career development systems while promoting better work-life harmony. These ongoing efforts have helped reshape industry perception and position Kimly as a more attractive employer within the sector. 

Featured Fair and Progressive Employment Practices

  • Flexible work arrangements
  • Career development programmes
  • Collaboration with Institutes of Higher Learning to offer internships and scholarships
  • Structured onboarding process
  • Merit-based recruitment
  • Regular employee surveys
  • Anti-harassment policy


To attract new talent and ensure existing employees felt valued, Kimly adopted strategies such as:

Enhancing Employees Through Upgrading Programmes

Employee feedback is important to Kimly. When senior management realised that uncertainty about career development at the company was a concern, they responded by enhancing their training and development programmes. The company also established clearer pathways for career advancement through training needs analysis and a structured competency framework in line with the Built Environment Industry Transformation Map. To further support employee growth, Kimly also set up an in-house training unit called Kimly Academy, offering courses on specialised capabilities as well as soft skills.

The company also implemented the Personal Development Plan (PDP) programme, where managers engage high-potential talents and map out their development plan, giving them a better picture of how they can grow at the company. Moreover, these identified talents are mentored by their department’s management, further cultivating a culture of growth and development at Kimly.

Making Work-Life Work

A five-day work week may be the workplace norm but not in the building and construction industry. Kimly is one of the few companies in the industry to offer a five-day work week to employees. This was adopted in 2016, recognising the benefits of work-life harmony for both employer and employee. However, it can still keep up with project lead times through training its people and teams to be more productive, which have also reduced its reliance on the migrant workforce. Additionally, Kimly has implemented efficient work scheduling, rostering and forecasting to better plan the project work and minimise the necessity for weekend work. This proactive strategy gives employees and managers more autonomy and responsibility to manage their work with their colleagues and teams, ensure projects stay on track while promoting healthier work-life harmony for employees.

Kimly also offers other flexible work arrangements (FWAs) to accommodate diverse employee needs – staggered working hours allow employees to choose their preferred working start time, while ad hoc time off and telecommuting options further enhance flexibility. For instance, recognising the challenges faced by new parents, Kimly offers support by allowing staff the option to work from home fully until they can arrange daycare for their newborns, and provides a dedicated nursing space for nursing mothers.

Today, above 90 per cent of their PMET workforce are utilising FWAs. This flexibility is made possible by a strong culture of trust, and the clear communication of expectations to employees.

Providing Opportunities for New Talent

With the construction industry facing a shortfall in talent, expanding the talent pool is essential. Kimly has been collaborating with Institutes of Higher Learning like universities, polytechnics, and the Institute of Technical Education to offer internships and scholarships. These allow students to experience the industry while establishing itself as a recognised brand and employer of choice. Thus far, 29 scholarships have been handed out, and 49 students have completed internships with Kimly.

Kimly also reaches out to mid-career individuals – the company is part of Workforce Singapore’s Career Conversion Programme (CCP), helping individuals with the relevant knowledge and skills to start a new career in the construction industry. Six employees at Kimly have come through CCP.

Upon joining Kimly, new employees undergo a structured onboarding process, where they are guided by an assigned buddy for up to six months to help them integrate into their roles, ensuring a smooth transition and fostering long-term success within the company.


From 2022 to 2023, Kimly’s attrition rate has fallen from 25 to 18 per cent, while its retention rate has increased from 12.5 to 17.5 per cent during the same period. The company has also seen an increase in positive client feedback regarding staff skills, quality of work, competency, and courtesy– from 81 per cent to 88 per cent in the past 2 years. These significant improvements are a testament to Kimly’s commitment to creating a fair and progressive workplace.

Being a fair and progressive employer is aligned with Kimly Construction’s core values. Given our diverse workforce, we not only have a strong business case, but more importantly, also a social responsibility to develop our people, offer fair opportunities, and support their aspirations. We are committed to building a lifelong learning culture and creating a great and inclusive workplace at Kimly Construction.” - Mr Louis Khoo, Director.

The key to implementing fair and progressive practices is the leadership seeing value in them and investing in them, even though they require extra time and resources. Then, the company should prioritise what sort of practices to adopt based on its strengths and weaknesses,” he adds.