Optimising Manpower for Optimised Service and Quality
12 April 2013
At our first NTUC Learning Journey of 2013, some 50 union leaders will embark on a learning journey to Holiday Inn Singapore Atrium (HISA) to see how with every hand to the plough – management, union and cluster – working together, it is possible to make better use of manpower, instead of trying to get more manpower to improve service standards and quality in the hospitality sector.
The unionised hotel under the Food, Drinks and Allied Workers Union (FDAWU) presently employs about 260 staff with over 60 per cent being Singaporeans and PRs. Despite the common refrain from the hospitality sector asking for more foreign manpower, the reality is as Singapore tightens the inflow of foreign manpower, businesses must better optimise their available manpower – whether it is local or foreign.
The 508-room hotel has been trying and able to enhance the use of its available manpower through:
Improving productivity so that its workers can carry out their jobs more effectively and efficiently,
i. Skills upgrading and multi-skilling so that staff can be cross-deployed, and
ii. Strengthening the Singaporean Core through executive development programmes.
With better planning and use of manpower and tapping on available funding and using technology, HISA has managed to boost productivity, improve wages for its employees and strengthen the Singaporean Core, which is part of the Labour Movement’s Progressive Wage Model (PWM).
HISA is considered a first-mover in the PWM for the hotel sector through its innovative productivity initiatives, particularly in utilising NTUC e2i’s Inclusive Growth Programme funding to improve work processes and share gains with their lower wage workers. Since 2010, HISA’s productivity projects have benefited over 144 lower wage workers. Gain-sharing ranging between 6 to 17 per cent was shared. See Annex A for more information on the various productivity initiatives.
Strengthening Singaporean Core
To strengthen the Singaporean Core in its staffing, HISA has tapped on the 12-month Executive Development Programme (EDP) for three potential local management trainees to be groomed for managerial positions. The EDP is a structured management trainee programme mooted by NTUC’s Hospitality & Consumer Business Cluster in consultation with NTUC’s e2i (Employment and Employability Institute) and the Singapore Workforce Development Agency to attract and retain mid-level Singaporean PMEs with the aim to build the Singaporean Core in the hotel sector.
One of the trainees is from a local polytechnic and has recently commenced on the EDP in March 2013 with HISA. A trainee with a diploma qualifications start at $1,800 which will be increased to $2,000 upon completion of training. A degree holder can start at $2,500 and can earn $3,000 upon completion of training.
As an alternative source of manpower, HISA has been employing People With Disability (PWD) since 2009 and currently employs 17 full-time PWDs across three departments (Staff Restaurant, Stewarding and Housekeeping). They are first placed together with able-bodied employees and put on a progressive training programme where they are taught each job task in individual steps. HISA works closely with their family members and caregivers as well as training coordinators from the voluntary welfare organisations) to ensure they are comfortable with their job scope and work environment. HISA aims to hire more PWD in 2013.
Skills Upgrading – Multi-skilling for Security Officers and Bell Service Agents
To make better deployment of workers, HISA’s Security and Bell Service employees undergo skills upgrading before they can be cross-deployed. As such, they also have better opportunities to progress in their careers and can take on higher positions.
For Security Officers, they undergo 30 hours of concierge training and 10 hours of bell service training, to be cross-deployable among these three departments (Security, Bell Service and Concierge). Upon completion of training, a Security Officer would see his salary increase by an average of 15 per cent, while a Security Supervisor could see his salary increase by an average of 18 per cent. Supervisors who do well can also be promoted to Security Executives.
Bell Service Agents, depending on their current skills ability and aptitude, are given options to undergo either 40 hours of front office training or 40 hours of WSQ security training (Guard and Patrol Services, and Handle Security Incidents and Services). This will allow them to be cross deployable across either of the two departments (Bell Service and Security). They too can enjoy wage increase of about 10 to 15 per cent after training. See Annex B for profiles of two employees who have been multi-skilled and cross-deployed.
Today’s Learning Journey was jointly organised by the Ong Teng Cheong Labour Leadership Institute (OTCI), the Food, Drinks and Allied Workers Union (FDAWU), NTUC’s Hospitality and Consumer Business Cluster, NTUC’s e2i (Employment and Employability Institute) and Holiday Inn Singapore Atrium.