Private Sector Businesses Take the Lead in Fostering Inclusion at the Workplace
Pan Pacific Hotels Group launches seminar on inclusivity with presenting partners United Overseas Bank, SG Enable and Central Singapore CDC
Singapore, 20 July 2017 – Upon 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.
Employees with disabilities widen talent pool, build brand loyalty and engagement
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.
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About Pan Pacific Hotels Group
Pan Pacific Hotels Group is a wholly-owned hotel subsidiary of Singapore-listed UOL Group Limited, one of Asia’s most established hotel and property companies with an outstanding portfolio of investment and development properties. Based in Singapore, Pan Pacific Hotels Group owns and manages close to 40 hotels, resorts and serviced suites with some 12,000 rooms including those under development in Asia, Oceania, North America and Europe. The Group comprises two acclaimed brands: Pan Pacific and PARKROYAL. Pan Pacific is a leading brand in Asia and the Pacific Rim with hotels offering premium accommodations and services. PARKROYAL is a collection of comfortable leisure and business hotels and resorts located in the heart of cities and interesting locales across Asia Pacific. For more information, visit www.pphg.com.
About Global Hotel Alliance
Global Hotel Alliance (GHA) is the world´s largest alliance of independent hotel brands. GHA currently includes brands such as Alila, Anantara, Art Series, AVANI, Corinthia, Doyle Collection, First, GLO, Individual Collection, Kempinski, Leela, Lungarno Collection, Marco Polo, Meritage Collection, Meydan, Mokara, Omni, Pan Pacific, PARKROYAL, Per AQUUM, QT, Rydges, Rixos, Shaza, Tangram, Thon, Tivoli and Ultratravel Collection encompassing over 550 upscale and luxury hotels with over 110,000 rooms in 76 different countries. For more information, visit www.gha.com.
About United Overseas Bank
United Overseas Bank Limited (UOB) is a leading bank in Asia with a global network of more than 500 offices in 19 countries and territories in Asia Pacific, Europe and North America. In Asia, UOB operates through its head office in Singapore and banking subsidiaries in China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand, as well as branches and representative offices across the region.
UOB believes in being a responsible financial services provider and is committed to making a difference in the lives of its stakeholders and in the communities in which it operates. Just as UOB is dedicated to helping customers manage their finances wisely and grow their businesses, the bank is steadfast in its support of social development, particularly in the areas of art, children and education.
About SG Enable
Set up by the Ministry of Social and Family Development in July 2013, SG Enable is an agency dedicated to enabling persons with disabilities and building an inclusive society. It seeks to provide comprehensive support to persons with disabilities across different life stages. For more information, please visit www.sgenable.sg
About Central Singapore CDC
Lying at the heart of Singapore, the Central Singapore Community Development Council (CDC) serves more than 975,000 residents living in Ang Mo Kio, Bishan-Toa Payoh, Jalan Besar and Tanjong Pagar Group Representation Constituencies (GRCs), and Radin Mas, Potong Pasir, and Sengkang West Single Member Constituencies (SMCs). The CDC envisions a self-reliant, vibrant and inclusive Central Singapore District. It works in close partnership with schools, voluntary welfare organisations (VWOs), grassroots organisations (GROs), government and commercial agencies to fulfil its mission of assisting the needy, bonding the people and connecting the community.
Annex 1 Pan Pacific Hotels’ Group’s inclusive hiring practices
Making inclusive employment a business-first decision
Recognising the immense value that inclusive hiring can bring to the workplace, Pan Pacific Hotels Group has engaged community partners SG Enable, Sport Singapore and Central Singapore CDC on several initiatives to provide employment opportunities to persons with disabilities, including athletes.
As one Sport Singapore’s spexBusiness partners, the Group is committed to providing employment opportunities to national athletes and to support them while they pursue their sporting ambitions. When para-sailor Yap Qian Yin was employed as a full-time Finance Executive in 2016, the Group worked closely with Sport Singapore to ensure flexibility in the job requirements to accommodate her training schedule. To better integrate Qian Yin into the workplace, the Group tapped SG Enable’s Open Door Programme, which is supported by the Ministry of Social and Family Development and Workforce Singapore, and redesigned the physical environment— from the workspace to the washroom— for the wheelchair-bound national sailor.
Promoting inclusive hiring in the hospitality sector
Pan Pacific Hotels Group is currently exploring the customisation of Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ) training modules in the hospitality sector for people with disabilities, and will explore hiring trainees who have completed the course. The Group is also planning to offer internship opportunities to tertiary students with disabilities who are passionate about a career in the hospitality sector.
Annex 2 List of Panellists and Moderator
- 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
- Ms Gisele Wong, Human Resources Manager, UNIQLO Singapore
Moderated by Mr Tan Yong Kai, Inclusive Hiring AdvocateBack to Top