PEOPLE are an organisation’s most important resource, and many employers are recognising the need to invest in developing their staff to engage and retain them.

Organisations like the Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore maximise their talent through consistent and continuous learning, development and recognition. 

The hotel ensures that all its employees undergo a minimum of 250 hours of training a year to equip them with the appropriate tools needed to excel in their positions and meet guests’ needs.

In April 2009, The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia became an Approved Training Organisation when it met the Workforce Development Agency’s (WDA) criteria to deliver courses in-house.

After which, the hotel adopted a series of government-supported sustainable measures, which include the Service Partnership Understanding and Advanced Certification in Training and Assessment (Acta), in addition to its internal initiatives such as the Multi-Tasking Programme.

Staff as trainers

One of the main courses that the hotel embarked on is Acta — a competency-based certification programme — which provides course participants with the essential skills and knowledge to design and deliver training and assessments across different industries.

Trainers are identified among the hotel’s employees and trained for Acta certification to conduct in-house Workforce Skills Qualification courses. 

Currently, the hotel has nine certified Acta trainers and another five employees who are still undergoing training. These employees have to undergo at least four modules to be certified. 

The hotel’s participation in such measures allows it to utilise low periods effectively by focusing on the learning and development needs of its employees, which is in line with its eighth service value: “I have the opportunity to continuously learn and grow”.

Overall, these initiatives have had a positive impact on employee engagement and safeguarded jobs. Employee morale and teamwork were enhanced as well.

In-room dining manager Dickson Tay (left) and learning associate Maisarah Abu Bakar are two employees who were selected to undergo training to be Acta trainers.

Mr Tay has been with the hotel for many years and has constantly upgraded himself.

Through Acta, the active ager says he has a better understanding of the ever-changing working world. He is now able to identify work areas that require improvement and achieve the desired results. 

Being Acta-certified, Mr Tay is able to conduct proper training sessions by employing different instructional strategies for adult learners.

Other skills he picked up include creating a conducive training environment as well as understanding the characteristics of the individual learners.

Most importantly, he is equipped with the necessary skills to guide and motivate fellow employees to work towards achieving team goals.

By sharing his experience and knowledge, he can relate to his colleagues better and discuss relevant issues such as business trends and development.

Says Mr Tay: “As an active ager, I am really fortunate to be given a ‘second’ career opportunity. With the certification under my belt, I can move on to become a full-fledged trainer should I not be able to serve in my current role due to the physical demands of the job.”

Ms Maisarah adds: “A certified Acta trainer is not only recognised within the company but also nationwide. This certification has increased my value in the company and I am also able to effectively share my knowledge and experience with my fellow colleagues.”

Ms Maisarah has become more confident and articulate and is able to communicate ideas across to her colleagues of all levels. Her presentation and interpersonal skills have also been enhanced through the course.

Another useful skill she picked up during the course was the ability to think on her feet. This is extremely beneficial in situations where she has to make decisions on the spot.

Ms Maisarah says the learning does not stop once employees are Acta-certified.

Whenever there are new WDA courses available, trainers are given the opportunity to attend these courses and learn new skills.

She thinks the best part of the training is that it provides her with the opportunity to give back to the community via her vital role in training older and lower-skilled citizens.