Royal Plaza on Scotts (FDAWU)
Ideating the Future of Work
Singapore’s tourism sector experienced its “toughest year on record” in 2020 due to unprecedented global travel restrictions and border closures amid the COVID-19 pandemic. For some hotel businesses, aside from soaring booking cancellations, the need to chalk up additional expenses to clean and disinfect rooms became mandatory in the new normal.
At a Glance
Despite the pandemic lull, Royal Plaza on Scotts, a unionised hotel under Food, Drinks and Allied Workers Union (FDAWU), remained resilient. Instead of retrenching staff, Royal Plaza on Scotts focused on helping them grow, as part of its commitment to developing its workforce, particularly during tough times.
As businesses grapple with the effects of the pandemic, companies stand to gain when they invest in their people. To improve work processes and the capabilities of its workforce, particular those in the field of security and engineering, Royal Plaza on Scotts undertook a workplace transformation project with IAL’s Centre for Workplace Learning and Performance (CWLP) in identifying learning gaps and redesigning existing job roles to promote Employee-Driven Innovation.
Learn more about their transformation journey below.
Why the need to develop today’s workforce
The pandemic has caused and accelerated several key shifts such as a changing global balance, accelerating digital transformation and innovation, as well as an increased focus on sustainability.
COVID-19 has drastically changed the way work is being done. The apparent employment-landscape shifts
requires large-scale reskilling of workers to enable them to keep up and function in the new normal.
Nine in 10 employees
in Singapore believe they need to reskill or upskill in order to remain competitive in the job market post-COVID-19.
At the end of the project, two technicians were successfully trained in first level security duties and were deployed on the new job role. Both of them were able to effectively carry out the new role without a hitch.
This was not possible without the support of Mr Subhan, who has actively aided the hotel in designing a training programme to equip engineering employees with security skills. This included the designing the job scope, skills and challenges of the new role: Technician and security officer. In working closely with CWLP and IAL’s certified workplace learning solutionist, not only did Mr. Subhan co-develop the blueprint for on-the-job training, he also played a critical role in ensuring that the project's tasks and deliverables were achieved.
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The project that we had embarked on for the joint Security/Engineering work processes involved redesigning job roles and using Employee-Driven Innovation to ideate how these roles would unfold. The project has been greatly supported by our management and was well-received by our employees – most of our Engineering employees that attended the Security classes passed the Competency Test, obtaining their Security license as a result.
We are appreciative of this Security/Engineering job enlargement initiative and we look forward to the cross deployment of this initiative in the workplace.
Mr. Abdul SubhanAssistant Chief Engineer
Given that the hotel industry was badly hit by the pandemic, one of the critical challenges faced by the project team members was navigating through its impact, particularly with the stringent circuit-breaker measures put in place.
While it is no secret that the hotel industry is heavily reliant on foreign manpower, the challenge presents itself when these employees were unable to return to Singapore due to the nation-wide lockdown. Furthermore, with several hotels under the union being designated centres for foreign travellers, returning citizens and permanent residents to serve out their Stay Home Notice (SHN) period, it caused delays in implementing the on-the-job training (OJT) for employees as several hotels dropped out of the project midway.
However, with the persistence and support from the team at Royal Plaza on Scotts, it made the implementation of training for the combined Security and Maintenance role possible. The aid and flexibility provided by the certified workplace learning solutionist was equally vital – given that discussions and the co-creation of the OJT blueprint had to be done virtually over Zoom.
Nurturing valuable solutions shared by employees who are experts at their roles is critical to the overall productivity and performance of the enterprise and its employees. While the merging of duties across teams such as concierge and security is becoming commonplace across hotels to cope with labour shortage, the initiative of merging engineering and security was the first of its kind for Royal Plaza on Scotts.
To successfully redesign the new job role, the Project Team undertook the following:
Conducted a Job Redesign familiarisation workshop for the Project Team members
Gathered job requirements and employee profiles for analysis
Conducted job observation on the security and engineering facilities to collect job and performance data for analysis
Identified and mapped out the required skills for job tasks
What’s next for Royal Plaza on Scotts
Undoubtedly, the initiative was a great opportunity to transform processes and create meaningful jobs for employees – and at the same time, upskill and safeguard their careers during the pandemic.
Following the initiation of the project, about half of the engineering team have since obtained their security licence from the Singapore Police Force. Encouraged by the results, Royal Plaza on Scotts looks forward to expanding this cross-learning programme for the front office and its F&B teams.