Employee turnover is a common concern in the field of human resources, and Lee Xuereb, Chief People Officer at Vassallo Group, acknowledges that this continues to be a significant challenge. One of the most pressing challenges, he says, has been sourcing the right human capital for the Group’s various companies; a challenge that has been exacerbated over the past 12 to 18 months due to fierce competition. “The changing attitude towards work, with a shift from having a job with a sense of meaning to one more focused on making money and enjoying life (outside of work), has influenced the market’s volatility. In addition, industry-wide competition for the same resources has driven up recruitment costs, compounded by rising living expenses,” he explains.

While highlighting the importance of providing training and qualifications to employees, Lee acknowledges the important work that Learning Works does to upskill team members within Vassallo Group. This ensures they have the necessary tools and certifications to meet the Group’s evolving needs. As Vassallo Group relies heavily on foreign employees, government policies and practices play a crucial role in shaping its HR strategies. Lee stresses the need to adapt to these policies by ensuring the recruitment function aligns with regulations. “For example, we focus on timely documentation and maintaining up-to-date identity cards to comply with government requirements, while fostering a harmonious relationship with the authorities.”

Last year, Vassallo Group implemented new IT systems in HR management, introducing a time and attendance system, as well as a new payroll system after extensive consultation and research, revolutionising attendance measurement and streamlining processes such as leave applications. The Group aims to have its full implementation in place by the end of Q1 next year. Additionally, it plans to extend the use of these systems to digitalise documentation, enhance employee interaction, and facilitate direct communication with the workforce. From a personal perspective, Lee emphasises the challenges he has faced in managing HR teams within the Group, particularly when a leadership transition occurs.

He underscores the importance of his team’s support, allowing him to seamlessly step in and out of different teams as needed. “This is essential for maintaining the Group’s HR functions effectively, despite the limitations of my time. The strong relationships built between the various HR teams have been instrumental in providing this unwavering support,” he smiles. Finally, Lee is clearly proud of the Shine Awards, an annual celebration of employees and their achievements, part of Vassallo Group’s commitment to fostering a thriving workforce. “This year, we included an external judge to ensure objective selections and revised categories for a fairer distribution of recognition across different companies within the Group. As for next year… we have a few surprises in store!”