Solution for better service and to beat the labour crunch
Showcase: The Holiday Inn Singapore Atrium
From security guards to bellboys, and from bellhops to security duties – this is the innovative cross-training implemented by the Holiday Inn Singapore Atrium to beat the labour crunch and to provide better services.
This creative approach has been held up by the National Trade Union Congress (NTUC) as a model in boosting productivity.
Hotel general manager Sam Davies confessed that the hotel almost gave up on hiring its own guards in 2009 because it could not find enough Singaporeans for the job. Consequently, the security positions were outsourced.
But a year later, the hotel decided to return to hiring its own security staff so that it would have better control over the service quality.
In order to make the security guard position more attractive, it added new duties and requirements to pick up other skills. At the same time, it offered a higher salary for this expanded role.
All existing nine guards have since taken part in 40 hours of concierge and bell-service training while five of 10 bellhops have attended security training.
The hotel raised the salary from 10-18% for those who were willing to receive cross-training.
For example, hotel guard Mr Faizal Mas'odi, 35, went through concierge and bell-service training. Now he carries luggage for guests and delivers newspapers to rooms when he patrols the corridors in the morning. He earned a promotion and his monthly pay rose from $1,300 to $1,800.
"At first it was difficult having to serve customers, but the more I do, the better I got," he said. "It is still basically about customer service."
Vie versa, 54 year-old bellhop Nelamogan Dharmalingam signed up for the security course last year because it was a refreshing change.
After passing the police licencing test for guards, he now does guard duty when there is a shortage of guards over and above his bell-service duties. His monthly salary rose from $1,500 to $1,690.
"The cross-training of guards and bellhops could be implemented in other hotels too", says NTUC labour chief Lim Swee Say.
He encourages companies to share their productivity enhancement solutions.
"Don't keep it a secret," he urged.