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21 Dec 2023

SOURCE: Mothership

CPF employees in the office

Not many millennials would stay in the same job for more than a few years, much less at their very first job for over a decade.


Well, 36-year-old Goh Jing Yeen is unlike most millennials.


Goh joined the Central Provident Fund Board (CPFB) fresh out of university in September 2010 and has not looked back since then.


Her reason? CPFB is a place that challenges her and allows her to grow both as an individual and professionally.

What is a chemistry major doing in a social security organisation?

It is worth noting that Goh is a natural-born adventure seeker and enjoys challenges.


Having graduated with a major in chemistry, she knew that she would face a steep learning curve at CPFB, a field completely out of her element.


However, Goh was unfazed as she knew that she would not be pursuing a career in her field of study as it was a niche industry.


"I looked for a role in the civil service because I wanted to play a part in serving Singaporeans and contribute to an organisation where my work will have a direct impact on people."

Got acquainted with CPFB during teenage years

When asked why CPFB emerged as her top choice despite receiving offers from other government agencies, Goh revealed a personal reason that is close to her heart.


She recalled that her Chinese-speaking parents often sought her help to translate and read the letters from CPFB.


As a result, she became closely acquainted with the Board’s various schemes and policies in her late teens.


Due to her familiarity with CPFB, it was only natural for her to take up a position there.

Trying new things by moving across departments in CPFB

While her early exposure to CPFB might have been her gateway into the organisation, what made her stay all these years were the opportunities to move across departments.


This allowed Goh to constantly evolve — picking up various skill sets while hitting different milestones in her career and adding them to her ever-expanding repertoire, which has become a continuous adventure for her at CPFB.


"You need to be comfortable with being uncomfortable to grow."

Started out at the Home Protection Scheme, helping members protect their homes

Goh first started out at the Home Protection Scheme (HPS).

Wai Chung having a conversation with a member of the public

Goh with her colleagues from the Home Protection Scheme. Image courtesy of Goh.

HPS is a mortgage-reducing insurance that protects CPF members and their loved ones from losing their HDB flat in the event of death, terminal illness or total permanent disability.


As part of her role at HPS, Goh often had to interview CPF members to better understand their situation. Their appeals were then reviewed so that her team could provide a customised solution for them.


As with all work, there were highs and lows.


For Goh, some of the cases were challenging as there would be days when she had to handle “emotionally charged” members, as well as provide emotional support for her teammates, who bore the brunt of grievances from members at the frontline.


Be that as it may, Goh and her team were not deterred and remained focused on helping CPF members protect their homes.


In fact, Goh said her team’s compassion during these trying situations was the reason that made her look forward to work.


"Their tenacity in doing the best they can inspired and motivated me the most."


Forged by fire, Goh said this allowed her to form an affinity with her team members.

Wai Chung and Hwee Boon with their children – Shi Cheng (L) and Shi Ning (R)

Goh and her colleagues-turned-friends before CPF relocated to Novena in 2015. Image courtesy of Goh.

Becoming part of the think tank at the policy department

In 2018, Goh was presented with the opportunity to join the policy department.


Motivated by her training in operations and insights into ground sentiments from her stint at HPS, Goh was eager to apply her knowledge to the various facets of policy work.


Goh spent another three years designing, formulating and implementing policies.


"As I went through the thought processes behind every policy, I learnt about the various approaches and tools (e.g. data analytics) we adopted to make decisions. One of them was using data insights to ensure that our policies remain relevant."


She knew that her work would eventually benefit Singaporeans and felt a sense of accomplishment when she saw her policies come to fruition.


One such policy was the increase in tax relief of up to S$16,000 a year for top-ups to self and loved ones back in 2021.

Leading the digital services department without prior training in tech

Never one to shy away from challenges, Goh seized another opportunity to head the digital services department in 2022, despite having no background in technology-related work.


"Having experienced being the 'brain, hands and legs' of policy, my third rotation trained me to be a “unifier”, allowing me to be the catalyst and leverage technology to drive changes in the way we carry out our operational work."


This role required her and her team to make CPFB’s mobile app and website intuitive and easy to use, so as to improve the digital experience for Singaporeans – be it when transacting digitally with CPFB or learning more about the various CPF schemes.


"As the guardians of CPFB’s digital shopfront, we recognise that users are not homogenous. Therefore, we have to put ourselves through different personas in order to design one digital service that is inclusive and easy for all to use.


At the same time, we wanted to ensure that the digital needs of users are consistently being met. Very often, this involves anticipating their unspoken needs when designing digital services that are customer-centric."

Hwee Boon and Wai Chung demonstrating use of CPF Mobile app

Goh and her full Digital Services team. Image courtesy of Goh.

Dispelling misconceptions about working at CPFB

On that note, Goh is grateful that CPFB allows its staff to expand their horizons and exercise their creativity so that the organisation can continuously stay ahead of Singaporeans’ ever-evolving needs.


In fact, Goh shared that a lot of their work entails finding solutions and thinking out of the box.


She added: “Work has never been repetitive. In fact, each day presents a different set of challenges that have to be dealt with.”


The organisation’s innovative environment and culture are an integral part of its DNA that allows staff to adopt and embrace a new way of doing things but also allows them to perform at their best.

Grew personally and professionally

When asked if she would still make the same decision to join CPFB now as she did 13 years ago, Goh replied, "Yes", in a heartbeat.


Besides the challenges that helped her grow, the relationships that she has built and the tight social fabric are also reasons why she has stuck with the same company all these years.


"I made many colleagues-turned-friends over the years who kept me going. I can bounce off ideas with them and talk to them for emotional support. Out of work, some of us have gone for outings and short trips together," she said.


For Goh, the grass is not greener on the other side — it is greener where she waters it.

This article was first published on 14/11/2023.