Private Sector Businesses Take the Lead in Fostering Inclusion at the Workplace

Published on : Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Pan PacificUpon graduation from Delta Senior School, Jane (not her real name) started working at PARKROYAL on Pickering. Over several months of patient training from her supervisors and team mates, Jane, who has mild intellectual disability, overcame her fear of damaging guests’ laundry and scalding from the iron and was eventually offered full-time employment at the hotel. She is one of five full-time Employees with Disability (EWD) hired by the hotel, which has placed other EWDs in departments such as Food & Beverage, Kitchen and Stewarding.


Enabling individuals with disabilities through employment

Jane is also one of more than 30 EWDs who had undergone training at the hotels under Pan Pacific Hotels Group (PPHG) in Singapore. This was shared by Mr Gino Tan, Area General Manager for Singapore, at the Group’s inaugural seminar on “Fostering Inclusion at the Workplace” today at PARKROYAL on Beach Road.


Co-presented with United Overseas Bank (UOB), SG Enable and Central Singapore CDC, the seminar welcomed the award-winning The Lemon Tree Hotel Company to deliver the keynote and inclusive hiring leaders such as NTUC Fairprice and UNIQLO on its discussion panel.


[From left to right] Mr Tan Yong Kai, Inclusive Hiring Advocate Ms Aradhana Lal, Vice President – Sustainability Initiatives, The Lemon Tree Hotel Company; Ms Denise Phua, Mayor, Central Singapore District and President, Autism Resource Centre; Mr Gino Tan, Area General Manager for Singapore and General Manager for Pan Pacific Singapore; Ms Susan Hwee, Managing Director and Head of Group Technology & Operations, United Overseas Bank; Mr Tan Ying, Deputy Director and Head of HR Partnering, NTUC FairPrice; and Ms Gisele Wong, Human Resources Manager, UNIQLO Singapore


Mr Gino Tan, Area General Manager for Singapore, PPHG, and General Manager for Pan Pacific Singapore, said, “As one of Singapore’s largest homegrown hospitality companies, we are committed to enabling individuals with disabilities by providing them with meaningful and sustainable employment opportunities. We would like to encourage like-minded companies join us in our pledge to promote an inclusive and diverse workplace. There’s still a long way to go, but with the support of our community partners, we will keep pioneering new initiatives for the hospitality sector towards the full integration of employees with disabilities into the workplace.”


Ms Susan Hwee, Head of Group Technology and Operations, UOB, added, “At UOB, we appreciate the importance of diverse abilities and skills through the people we hire and draw on the various strengths they bring. Since 2013, our colleagues with autism have made up more than a third of the 56-strong team at the UOB Scan Hub. They lend their high levels of attention to detail, precision and concentration which are required to ensure the best outcomes for the jobs at our centralised unit for document digitisation.”


Ms Ku Geok Boon, Chief Executive Officer, SG Enable, also said, “We are pleased to see the efforts made by employers to hire and integrate employees with disabilities into their workforce. We hope that this sharing of best practices by PPHG and UOB will encourage other business leaders in the industry to join them in inclusive hiring.”


Ms Denise Puah, Mayor, Central Singapore District, highlighted, “Central Singapore CDC believes that a society is as strong as the extent to which it is inclusive. One of the key settings that inclusivity needs to be embraced is the workplace. Many successful businesses are leading the way in promoting an inclusive workforce, and have the track record of profitability and staff morale that support this. Hiring inclusively therefore makes good business sense, and the sooner businesses see the value of this largely untapped workforce, the better it’ll be for their organisation and their brand.”


160 business leaders and human resource practitioners from more than 80 companies attended the seminar, including leading hospitality players Marina Bay Sands, Grand Hyatt Singapore and Raffles Hotel Singapore. The event was graced by Mr S Iswaran, Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry), as pictured below.


Pan Pacific Singapore is the first hotel in Singapore to pilot SG Enable’s School-to-Work Transition Programme (S2W), which offers customised training pathways and work options for students with disabilities who have the potential to work.


Earlier this year, Pan Pacific Singapore launched a nine-month programme which is tailored to meet the individual abilities and preferences for its four trainees, who were recommended through SG Enable. Geared towards employment as an eventual outcome, the hotel took into consideration various aspects including the trainees’ shorter attention span, and started them on a three-hour shift for the first three months before increasing it to five hours, and only after the trainees’ job coaches and supervisors had ascertained that they were able to perform the assigned tasks with ease. The trainees have shown good progress to date and full-time roles have already been identified for three of them.


Speaking at the seminar and for the first time in Singapore, Ms Aradhana Lal, Vice President of Sustainability Initiatives at The Lemon Tree Hotel Company, shared their experiences from implementing inclusive hiring practices for the last decade, which has yielded numerous benefits for the business. Hiring from a bigger talent pool resulted in a more diverse workplace where creativity flourished, leading to higher employee engagement and satisfaction. By integrating inclusivity to its hiring strategy, The Lemon Tree Hotel Company effectively made it a core part of their brand identity and won over customers, old and new, which formed a loyal and engaged following.


Based in India with a network of 40 hotels, The Lemon Tree Hotel Company has employees with disabilities making up 13 per cent of its total workforce, many of which belong to economically and socially weaker segments.

Source:- Pan Pacific


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