As Singapore's labour supply tightens and the workforce becomes increasingly diverse, more organisations are finding that ensuring a fair and inclusive workplace makes good business sense.
In fact, some think that it is critical to their organisation’s success in the war for talent.
With rising levels of education, jobseekers increasingly favour employers who embrace diversity and inclusiveness within their organisations.
These employers also tend to be successful at retaining their talent.
Raffles Hotel Singapore is one such employer, according to assistant guest relations manager Mr Roslee (below), who has worked there for over 20 years and has “colleagues from all walks of life”.
Says Mr Roslee: “Working with colleagues from diverse backgrounds allows me to learn more about them and their cultures. Here, the needs of every employee are well taken care of.
“Every new employee is assigned a buddy, whose role is to help him to assimilate well to the working environment as well as to Singapore.
“As a buddy from the concierge service department, I shadow my new colleague around during day-to-day operations and offer support and advice at appropriate times.
“There are also merit-based programmes in place to recognise employees and feedback-sharing platforms.”
The buddy system has also been adopted by local jeweller On Cheong Jewellery, which partnered mature employees with younger colleagues when the company made the switch from manual sales invoices to a point of sale (POS) system.
Assistant operations manager Tong Kwok Meng says: “Instead of imposing a fixed timeline for us to pick up the technological skills, we were paired up with younger colleagues who assisted us in embracing new technology.
“Although I am 66 years old, On Cheong values my experience and gives me the opportunity to upgrade myself.
“Whether you have been with the company for 50 years or five years, everyone is given an equal chance to upgrade his product knowledge and customer service skills to remain relevant in this ever-changing retail environment.”
Flexible working hours
Swiss Bank UBS is another progressive organisation that has adopted creative ways to support the needs of its employees throughout the different stages of their lives.
Its Asia Pacific managing director for legal and compliance, Ms Jun Wong (below), appreciates her employer’s flexibility in implementing fair and inclusive initiatives that allow her to balance work-family commitments.
“My line managers recognised that family-work flexibility was a priority for me, especially given that I am a single mother and I have regional managerial work responsibilities.
“By having flexible working hours, I am able to look after my young son while taking on a full work load and contributing meaningfully,” says Ms Wong.
For their exemplary employment practices, the three employers were nominated by their respective employees and eventually won the Tafep Exemplary Employer Award in 2012.
The Tripartite Alliance for Fair Employment Practices (Tafep) is keen to showcase the best practices by such organisations to increase awareness of the benefits of implementing fair and responsible employment practices.
To date, more than 2,000 employers have pledged their commitment to being fair and responsible employers.
Fair Employment Badge
Two days ago, Tafep launched its Fair Employment Badge (below), a step-up in commitment for organisations to practise fair employment.
The badge was developed in response to requests from pledge-signers who wanted Tafep to provide them with a visual mark to publicly indicate their commitment.
Among the companies that asked for the badge was precision engineering supplier Fyno Precision.
Its operations co-ordinator Pang Wee Chin says: “Fyno is proud to be a fair employer. We have requested Tafep to develop a badge so that we can identify ourselves as a pledge-signer.
“We plan to use the Fair Employment Badge in all our marketing collaterals. Potential employees are also assured that they are working for a company that is fair.”
In today’s tight labour market, employees have increasingly higher expectations of employers.
Companies that have signed the Employers’ Pledge of Fair Employment Practices get other benefits too: they have access to a range of resources that include complimentary or subsidised training workshops and relevant research and guides.
These will help them to progress towards becoming employers of choice.
Article by Roslyn Ten, general manager of Tripartite Alliance for Fair Employment Practices. For more information on the Employers’ Pledge of Fair Employment Practices, visit www.tafep.sg