Passion to serve

Vivien Shiao Shufen 25 Feb 2013

The best hotel is not necessarily the one with the most luxurious décor, or the one with the most impressive facilities. More often than not, it is the one that provides the best service.

Park Hotel Group is one organisation that understands the significance of customer satisfaction in the hospitality industry. That is why it has taken on the challenge to train its staff and ignite a fire within them to serve guests. It is inspiring them to live up to the group’s brand promise: “Discover Love”.

“Love is the core of our philosophy at Park Hotel Group, and we believe that true hospitality begins with service delivered with passion,” says Mohammed K Rafin, Senior Vice President of the Park Hotel Group. “We want to build a workforce that takes pride and care in what we do and finds joy in giving our best to all.”

Park Hotel Group’s approach towards training goes beyond just talk, and its efforts in that respect have been widely recognised. The company was awarded the Workplace Skills Qualification (WSQ) Training Excellence Award in the Hotel and Accommodation Category twice in 2010 and 2012, and the WSQ Most Supportive Employer (Hotel Category) award in 2011. As a further testament to its commitment to staff development, the group’s CEO Allen Law was also presented with the WSQ Advocate Award in 2012.

Sowing seeds

With all the accolades received, it is clear that staff training is serious business in Park Hotel Group.

In 2009, the business was accredited as an Approved Training Organisation (ATO) by the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA), and certified to provide an array of WSQ programmes to its staff.

To further enhance its learning and development initiatives, the Park Hotel Academy was established last year as the official training and development facility within the Group.

“The Academy sets out to motivate our employees to grow and advance in their competencies and skill sets, thereby enabling them to continually exceed guest expectations with exceptional service,” explains Rafin.

The Park Hotel Academy offers a full syllabus of both corporate and customised programmes including lessons on “Orientation and Induction”, “Corporate and Brand Philosophy”, as well as a wide range of WSQ modules under the Tourism, Food and Beverage, and Service Excellence frameworks.

“Aligning our training programmes with industry accreditations lends credibility to both employee capabilities and the company’s competitiveness,” explains Rafin.

In addition, the group has developed a team of Adult Educators, which forms the pillar of its training structure. With more than 20 in-house trainers, all certified with the WDA-accredited Advanced Certificate in Training and Assessment, Park Hotel Group has one of the largest pools within the hospitality industry.

“We see staff training as an investment,” says Rafin. “Therefore, the group accords much attention and allocates a significant amount of our yearly budget to staff training and development, which includes enhancing the capabilities of our Park Hotel Academy.”

Leadership development

At Park Hotel Group, developing talent is another key priority, as the organisation aims to groom leaders that will take it to the next level.

It has an 18-month Management Trainee Programme which prepares and identifies talents with flair for hospitality service and an aptitude in leadership and management. This is conducted through intensive traineeships in the hotels, with a long-term view for succession planning.

The programme comprises of three semesters, each lasting six months. It provides the management trainees with an immersion experience in each of the three main divisions of the hotel operations – namely housekeeping, front office, and food and beverage.

A combination of core on-the-job, generic skills training and assessments, as well as selected external training programmes serve to orientate, induct and educate, with the eventual aim of allowing management trainees to take on critical responsibilities and decision-making roles at the mid-management level.

Exceptional employees may also be identified for continuous fast-track development, and groomed for a senior management appointments after four to five years with the group.

Park Hotel Group also has a Hotel Operations Specialist Team job-redesign scheme that focuses on employees’ multi-skilling in the front office, food and beverage, and housekeeping departments.

Under the model, even the most junior-level rank and file employees, through continual training, can rise up the wage ladder to command $1,600 per month as a supervisor, more than $2,000 as an assistant manager, and more than $3,000 as a manager.

This scheme has been so effective that it was adopted by the National Trade Union Congress’s Hospitality and Consumer Business Cluster for implementation of a new progressive wage model for Singaporeans working in the hotel sector.

Training targets

New employees, regardless of the departments they belong to, are encouraged to complete three internal programmes and five WSQ courses within six months of joining the organisation. Thereafter, each employee undergoes at least 40 hours of training annually.

In addition, Park Hotel Group also supports its staff on both part-time advanced diploma programmes as well as full certifications in disciplines directly related to their field.

Despite this impressive track record when it comes to training staff, Park Hotel Group has no intention of resting on its laurels.

In the road ahead, Park Hotel Group aspires to deepen and widen its “Executive Development and Growth for Excellence (EDGE)” training for professionals, managers and executives (PMEs) within the organisation.

Initiated by WDA, EDGE training develops the capabilities of PMEs beyond their existing technical expertise, allowing them to better contribute to organisational growth and productivity.

To further enhance staff skillsets, Park Hotel Group is also taking steps to include programmes that involve the sharpening of analytical, conceptual and evaluation skills, job safety skills, interpersonal skills, personal management and development skills, as well as productivity and innovative skills.

Bearing fruit

With all the effort and investment put into sowing seeds in its staff, Park Hotel Group is starting to see the fruits of that labour.

“With staff training and development as our core initiative for retaining talent, one of the tangible benefits is declining turnover rates,” says Rafin. “We also find greater camaraderie amongst employees, and between management and staff, undoubtedly due to the increased interaction during training class.”

He added that the satisfaction of staff at the workplace is naturally reflected in their outward attitudes towards guests, who in turn, have given positive feedback on their service standards.and on them being truly being able to “Discover Love”.

 

About Park Hotel Group

Park Hotel Group manages, owns and develops Park-branded hotels around the Asia-Pacific region. Established in Hong Kong in 1961, the group moved its headquarters to Singapore in 2005. Its regional portfolio consists of eight properties across three countries and six cities. In Singapore, it operates the Grand Park Orchard, Grand Park City Hall, and Park Hotel Clarke Quay.

 

Newly launched Career Service Centre

In July this year, Park Hotel Group launched a Career Service Centre (CSC) on the premises of its Grand Park City Hall on Coleman Street. An extension of the Park Hotel Academy, the CSC is a resource centre equipped with brochures and videos, allowing employees to learn more about the various training programmes offered.

To guide employees on their career progression, the CSC provides them with access to information and advice on Career Development roadmaps. Helping employees assess their career options and plan for career transition is one of the strategies implemented to enhance the value of human capital within the Park Hotel group, increase staff responsiveness to market changes, lower attrition levels, and strengthen employee engagement and productivity.

 

 



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