Hotel goes the extra mile to help 72-year-old worker enjoy her golden years

Madam Tan Kim Hing gets to mentor her younger colleagues, who have in turn imparted new skills and knowledge to her.
Madam Tan Kim Hing gets to mentor her younger colleagues, who have in turn imparted new skills and knowledge to her.PHOTO: ROYAL PLAZA ON SCOTTS

While most 72-year-olds are probably blissfully retired, Madam Tan Kim Hing is happy to continue her work as a housekeeping attendant at the Royal Plaza on Scotts hotel.

With the flexible work arrangements offered by the hotel, the quality of her golden years has not been compromised.

Upon her request, the hotel has granted her a permanent afternoon shift and a 22-hour work week since 2016.

This enables Madam Tan to walk her grandchildren to school every morning.

Having been with the hotel since 1987, Madam Tan carries out duties that include maintaining the cleanliness of the public area and attending to guests' requests.

She said, through the hotel: "I am glad that I can continue to contribute to society and the hotel. I've also built strong bonds with my grandchildren, thanks to this arrangement."

While such flexi-work arrangements are rare in the hotel industry, they have been made available to 17 of Royal Plaza on Scotts' workers, out of whom 15 are aged 50 and above.

Implementing such arrangements is difficult for hotels as it is challenging to strike a balance between employees' needs and business needs, especially during peak periods.

But the hotel believes the benefits outweigh these challenges, said Mr Patrick Fiat, general manager and chief experience officer at Royal Plaza on Scotts.

"Mature employees are valuable assets to the organisation as they are able to share their wealth of experience with the younger generation. They are a source of committed and reliable workforce, which can be tapped to fill in the gaps for the labour crunch," he said.

Meanwhile, Madam Tan continues to enjoy her work and the friendships she has formed with her co-workers.

"I've been given opportunities to mentor younger colleagues, who have also taught me new skills and knowledge.

"Now, I'm updated with the latest trends and issues of the younger generation, which help me bond with my grandchildren," she said.

Christie Chiu

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 13, 2019, with the headline 'Hotel goes the extra mile to help 72-year-old worker enjoy her golden years'. Print Edition | Subscribe