Hotels give workers the five-star treatment to keep them happy

Free meals, iPods and dry-cleaning services on the house.

These are just a few of the measures that have been adopted by hotels and resorts here to keep their staff happy.

As the labour crunch hits the hospitality industry, key players are increasingly turning to innovative measures to retain and keep their employees happy.

The Singapore Marriott Hotel is one such establishment that has spared no expense in pampering its staff.

In 2008, it spent $1 million to build Club B2, a staff-welfare project that consists of a gym, massage chairs, entertainment systems and a library just for its workers.

Last year, it implemented a rewards system that allowed staff to redeem items ranging from shopping vouchers to iPods. Points awarded are dependent on positive customer feedback.

The Marriott is not alone in thinking out of the box.

Raffles Hotel Singapore employees have their own staff restaurant where they dine for free.

Marina Bay Sands provides alteration and laundry services for its employees. But beyond the tangibles, the management also promotes a healthy work-life balance by organising a wide variety of dance and aerobic workshops.

Similarly, the measures adopted by Shangri-La's Rasa Sentosa Resort and Spa go beyond amenities and are focused on its staff's future prospects.

"By developing clear career paths for employees, they will be motivated and feel like they belong. This is essential for staff retention," said a spokesman for the resort.

Last year, this sentiment was actualised when management trainee programmes were implemented to give employees a fast track towards promotion.

Such measures seem to have worked.

At the Marriott, part-time staff turnover has fallen by one-fifth within the year, while the rest of the hotels have reported increases in the rate of staff retention.

For Marriott duty manager Nurkhairunissa Abdul Rashid, the measures certainly seem to be working. "We are like a family... and this is definitely a place to grow and stay to build a rewarding career," said the 25-year-old.