SINGAPORE - One used video game technology to train its police officers to tackle crime. The other tweaked jobs in its hotels to employ the disabled and the illiterate.
For their innovations in human resources, the Dubai Police and Indian hotel chain Lemon Tree tied for the Asian Human Capital Award 2015.
The award, which was given out on Wednesday by the Human Capital Leadership Institute (HCLI) at the Singapore Human Capital Summit, honours organisations in the region for exemplary people management practices.
It is sponsored by the Manpower Ministry (MOM) and HCLI, a body established by MOM, the Economic Development Board and Singapore Management University to help firms improve their human capital.
The Dubai Police won the award for its use of virtual game technology to train officers in scenarios ranging from traffic accidents to crime scene investigation.
Colonel Khalid Nasser Al Razooqi, who received the award on behalf of the force, said: "This is more cost-effective, as it is very difficult to put an officer in field training on a daily basis."
He added that the use of the gaming scenarios has saved the force about $33.1 million over the past five years, while increasing police efficiency. For instance, he said, crime scene investigators trained via virtual simulations performed 57.2 per cent better in real scenarios than those trained in classrooms.
The award also recognised Lemon Tree Hotels, which now employs 400 workers with disabilities, or 13 per cent of its staff, and aims to increase this to 16.5 per cent by next March.
Chairman and managing director Patu Keswani said that it was possible to re-engineer job scopes to work around a disability. For instance, he said, an employee who is hearing-impaired could work in a noisy machine room, while another with Down's Syndrome could work as a restaurant steward, folding napkins or arranging table settings.
Lemon Tree also lowered its educational entry barriers from requiring a college degree to accepting the barely literate. In order to make up for the gaps in knowledge, it has an in-house training academy.
Said Mr Keswani: "It's not a question of charity. When we see deprivation around us, we feel helpless as individuals. It's only organisations that can bring together a group of people and get them to contribute back to society."
He added that these practices have resulted in increased employee satisfaction and a greater loyalty from their guests.
IT services company HCL Technologies was awarded a special commendation prize for its "Ideapreneurship" culture, in which employees are encouraged to come up with ideas to help clients outside of their regular contracts.
They get monetary rewards for these ideas, which have earned the company an estimated $450 million more this financial year, said chief human resource officer Prithvi Shergill.
HCLI also released a fresh study identifying challenges faced by HR in Asia, and announced a new leadership programme to groom those in senior HR roles for regional leadership. The programme, which will start in the first quarter next year with an inaugural cohort of about 30, will encompass trainers from both the academic and business arenas.
Said HCLI chief executive Wong Su-Yen: "There are a lot of opportunities for people to learn about HR functional capabilities,but we're really trying to focus on the dimension of how to get HR to be more strategic."
Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say, who was the summit's guest-of-honour, stressed during a dialogue the need for long-term HR planning as well as short-term goal fulfilment.
"I hope you will be very aggressive in pursuing growth opportunities, like a hunter - anything moves, go after it, be cheaper, better, faster.
"But as you pursue the success of today, I hope you will also be nurturing your human capital like a farmer to sustain your progress in your future. I believe the hunter can only succeed in short term, and we as an economy need both hunters and farmers."
The summit, which is in its seventh year, is being held on Wednesday and Thursday at Marina Bay Sands.