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Helping mid-career professionals adapt and grow

Mr Azharie Mudakir, assistant director of operations, with Mr Fiat at the front office. The hotel values mid-career staff like Mr Azharie and believes in the cross-pollination of ideas across generations.
Mr Azharie Mudakir, assistant director of operations, with Mr Fiat at the front office. The hotel values mid-career staff like Mr Azharie and believes in the cross-pollination of ideas across generations.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

In the fourth of a five-part series where leaders under the Human Capital Partnership Programme share ideas on developing talent for a strong Singaporean core, Xin Yun speaks to Mr Patrick Fiat, chief experience officer and general manager of Royal Plaza on Scotts, about how his firm helps employees to flourish.

Q What does human capital mean to you?

A We strongly believe in the old adage that "happy staff make happy guests". As the workplace happiness index increases, the guest satisfaction increases in tandem. The percentage of repeat guests has been growing steadily over the years - from 43 to 45 per cent, from 2014 to last year.

The tagline for Royal Plaza on Scotts - What Can We Do For You? - reflects our service and this is demonstrated by the management towards the employees first. We listen to them at sessions like junior board and middle management meetings and ask them what we can do for them.

Q What are some ways the hotel has overcome manpower issues while encouraging lifelong re-employability?

A We always encourage our team members to hire new talent based on brand-fit and continue to attract talents of all ages and professions.

  • In the spotlight

    Royal Plaza on Scotts embraces mid-career talent like Mr Azharie Mudakir, who joined in 2011. He was with the Singapore Police Force for 13 years and moved on to the National University of Singapore.

    He joined the hotel as a security and fire safety manager when he was 37.

    Mr Patrick Fiat, chief experience officer and general manager, said: "With the switch in job scope, he has also adjusted his behaviour to fit the personable and hospitable vibes of the hotel industry. He was identified for his potential and was put on an essential learning programme to better equip him with key skills required of a bigger role, before being promoted to assistant director of operations."


    THE PROGRAMME

    The Human Capital Partnership (HCP) Programme is a tripartite initiative to grow a community of exemplary employers focused on staying competitive by investing in human capital development. HCP recognises and supports employers committed to programmes that nurture a stronger Singaporean core, maximise complementarity between locals and foreigners, and enhance skills transfer from foreign to local employees in order to increase the capabilities of the workforce.

    To find out more about how you can be part of the HCP Programme, contact Tafep (Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices), the HCP programme manager on 6302-2782, e-mail us at hcpartner@tafep.sg or visit https://www.tafep.sg/human- capital-partnership-programme for more information.

Continuous learning, cross-section and development opportunities are key. Measuring the talents' engagement index is also incorporated in the management's balance score cards and performance reviews.

Our annual staff turnover is at 16 per cent, significantly below the industry average of 37 per cent. The low turnover is a testament to our effective retention and talent development strategies.

Q How has Royal Plaza on Scotts developed its human capital, including mid-career talents?

A Cross-departmental development is highly encouraged here, to help our talents explore their strengths or grow their portfolio. We've many success stories of team members growing laterally across the organisation.

For instance, assistant human resources manager Dawn Yeo Hui Ying was guest services assistant manager at the front office in 2008 and she wanted a change.

When an opportunity came eight months later, she was the first to be offered the position of a human resources coordinator, despite having no related experience. The hotel also sponsored her in 2010, for a certificate in human resources at Singapore Human Resources Institute.

Q Sounds like the Human Capital Partnership Programme is a good match for Royal Plaza on Scotts.

A We joined it as we believe strongly in building on our service branding, not only with guests but also with our employees, to bring our service standards to the next level.

The titles we've won such as Best Employer (Hotels) and Best Employer for Commitment to Engagement by Aon Hewitt are meaningful milestones and especially significant for us as an independent hotel, as we are walking among multinational corporations. Such accolades and partnerships are testament to our commitment to be a great workplace, which helps attract talents with a good brand-fit.

Q How do you help mid-career employees fit in?

A The organisation recognises the need to embrace changes, as the younger generations of X, Y and Z are making up a substantial part of the workforce. The highly connected younger generations are enthusiastic and full of passion to make a difference and bring new ideas into the company, but the experienced older generations have their pool of knowledge that the organisation can tap.

The management style needs to strike a balance. So retention and development of a multi-generation workforce is an important aspect of managing manpower.

Cross pollination of ideas across generations is a great platform for talents to learn from one another, bringing better and refreshing processes here.

Q What other practices does Royal Plaza on Scotts use to help employees adapt and grow?

A Improving productivity with multi-skilled talents by training them continually is one. Such talents increase productivity and, in turn, bring higher revenue for the organisation and pay increment.

Besides investing in automation and technology to help ease the labour-intensive work, we continue to focus on training programmes to ensure that the workforce is ready to take on multiple roles.

Brought to you by: HUMAN CAPITAL PARTNERSHIP

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 08, 2017, with the headline 'Helping mid-career professionals adapt and grow'. Print Edition | Subscribe