In a recent article, I shared six opportunities to solve your company’s labour shortage.

Table - Challenges & Opportunities in talent shortage

Today, I will give five real-life HR secrets of businesses which took the initiative to solve their labour woes.

  1. Offer high potentials a career fast-track

A few years ago, Park Hotel Group struggled to manage 3 types of manpower shortages at different times of the day.

  • Cafés: morning buffet period
  • Housekeeping: between check-out and check-in periods
  • front desk: during afternoon check-in periods

It was frustrating being unable to redeploy staff during the respective peak hours as their staff were not cross-trained to do the various job scopes.

This challenge prompted the hotel chain to work with the Employment and Employability Institute (e2i), which is one arm of the Labour Movement helping to match better workers to better jobs.

Together, they redesigned a whole new career path targeting high potentials (identified within their staff pool) who would be trained in the F&B, housekeeping and front desk skills.

After training, hotels could deploy them to bottleneck areas immediately to ensure customers are served faster, increasing customer satisfaction. This career fast-track, called a HOST program, offered higher pay and faster career advancement which helped the hotel retain skilled Singaporean staff.

Progressive Wage Model


Source: NTUC This Week

2. Groom a Singaporean Core with Progressive Wage Model

Knowing that depending heavily on cheaper foreign labour would not be a viable long-term HR plan, the HR department of YTC Hotel made it a priority to groom a Singaporean core of employees.

This hotel not only offers internships to high-potential students from polytechnics and ITE, but also works with the union (Food, Drinks and Allied Workers’ Union or FDAWU) to develop a Progressive Wage Model based on a Progressive Skills Ladder with matching WSQ courses.

This helps the hotel attract Singaporeans to fill its PME positions and also ensures their current rank-and-file Singaporeans have an opportunity to do well in their careers.

 

3. Create a positive and safe environment

To ensure good staff continue to stay, YTC Hotels tapped on the communication and mobilization strength of the union (FDAWU) to create a positive and safe work environment for staff.

Based on ground feedback from employees, FDAWU negotiated for family friendly practices such as flexi-work, company-paid paternity leave (beyond what the government legislates) and re-employment of staff aged 62 to 68 years old.

The union also helped convince mature workers to learn how to use technological initiatives such as the Ezi-Maid Bed Lifter to ease their physical burden and avoid injuries.

Mature workers deployment

Source: NTUC This Week

By giving the staff a peace of mind that their employer is accommodating towards their needs and is also willing to retain good employees regardless of age, YTC Hotels could avoid unnecessarily high staff turnover and focus on grooming high potentials.

 

 4. Creating opportunities for special-needs Singaporeans

YTC Hotel has also gone one step further to work with SG Enable to offer housekeeping jobs to Singaporeans with special-needs.

After completing their training under the hotel’s housekeeping department, these special-needs staff do not have a special term attached to their job title and are given a designation just like any other staff.

These staffs are assigned to mentors (usually senior housekeepers) who train and oversee their work in the hotel rooms.

HR also facilitates the training and communication between the housekeeping department and SG Enable so that the mentors and housekeeping colleagues learn how to manage various temperaments of these special-needs staffs and work better with them.

 

5. Hire ex-convicts

Benny Se Teo, owner of Eighteen Chefs, has been grooming ex-convicts and giving them a second chance to work in an honest profession.

It has not always been easy, but the tides turned after he discovered the secret to hire and retain them when he saw how ex-offenders in Jamie Oliver’s Kitchen were each mentored by two international chefs.

He, like many other F&B businesses, also tapped on the government and Labour Movement to obtain productivity grants for kitchen equipment and develop Progressive Wage Models to retain and motivate his workers.

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