Retaining Employees

Stories and Lessons of How Some Singaporean Companies Are Braving the Tide

Hotels with no guests to take care of, taxis with no passengers to ferry, and a local tech company that is somehow thriving despite it all- how are these companies standing up to the challenges that Covid-19 has brought to the ring?

SINGAPORE HOTELS

With worldwide travel at a standstill and room reservations non-existent, the employees of hotels everywhere suddenly found themselves with no guests to take care of overnight.

But thanks to the quick work of hotel management and the Food, Drinks and Allied Workers Union (FDAWU), many hotel employees have found themselves temporarily redeployed as cashiers, sales assistants and retail assistants.

Redeploy

One of these workers is Mr Alex Yeo, a chef at a Michelin starred Cantonese restaurant, who is currently a sales assistant at The Cold Storage Rail Mall outlet, where he restocks shelves with fresh fruits, vegetables and meat. “Thankfully, I’ve this job now and there’s no need to take no-pay leave. I can also learn new things and meet new colleagues.”

With its daily queues and surge in demand for its services, not many of us may realise that the Dairy Farm group were at one stage facing a severe labour shortage during the Covid-19 pandemic.

With more than 500 staff unable to return from Malaysia during the country’s Movement Control Order in March, the retailer had hired almost 200 Singaporean and permanent resident staff on a temporary basis from seven different hotels to work at its Cold Storage, Giant and Guardian stores.

FDAWU has also been working with government agencies and companies such as food manufacturing firms and fast-food outlets to place some 1,000 hotel workers in new roles, such as SG Clean ambassadors, said its general secretary Tan Hock Soon.

Read Also: 3 Ways to Survive and Grow During a Crisis

COMFORT DELGRO

With many Singaporeans staying home and practicing safe distancing, public transport ridership has unsurprisingly plunged by more than 75%.

Figures have also shown that the point-to-point transport industry with a fleet of 75,000 taxis and private-hire cars saw demand shrinking by as much as 60%.

With long taxi queues a familiar sight no matter which part of our island you’re at, it’s not been an easy ride of our taxi drivers and operators.

Adapting

which is why taxi operator ComfortDelGro recently launched a food delivery service using taxis called ComfortDelivery, where F&B outlets can have immediate access to its fleet of 10,000 cabs.

The service was set up to help taxi drivers during the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly during the “circuit breaker” period, with all fees going directly to the taxi drivers, and no additional fees imposed on the drivers or F&B outlets during the circuit breaker period.

ComfortDelGro Taxi chief executive Ang Wei Neng said: “With ComfortDelivery, we want to give all F&B businesses access to fast, reliable and affordable delivery service that benefits people who ask for the food to be delivered to them; in the process, our cabbies can also earn some extra income during these very challenging times.”

RAZER

You have seen its triple-headed snake trademark, you’ve heard about its philanthropy and good work during the current Covid-19 pandemic, in fact you (or your kids) probably own one or more of its signature multi-coloured devices… but did you know that multinational computer hardware manufacturing company, esports and financial services provider RAZER Inc. was actually founded by a Singaporean?

In 1998 Tan Min Liang quiet being a lawyer and started RAZER Inc. with his gamer friend; Min Liang only had $4,000 in savings.

Today his company is thriving in these tough times; not only are they donating 1 million masks to Singaporeans, they are also committing 50 million dollars to support financial tech businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. So how is this possible you may ask?

Preparedness

Weeks before the virus hit pandemic levels, Razer had already begun a run of campaigns to encourage consumers to “#stayhome and game on”.

The company’s chief investment officer, Edwin Chan said in a recent interview that “it is important to foster a work culture that encourages employees to be decisive self-starters. Leaders have to be aggressive to avoid the cost of indecision, and they must think of backup plans for when the situation changes. A technological foundation is also key for a company to be ready and secured for any crisis.”

Not satisfied with just dominating the gaming peripherals market, Razer has expanded aggressively in the last decade — unveiling the world’s thinnest gaming laptop in 2012, acquiring audio/visual certification company THX in 2016, releasing the world’s first phone for gamers in 2017, and in recent times they’ve also ventured into the future with Razer fintech.

They are perhaps a close to perfect example of “not putting all your eggs into one basket”.

Read Also: How to Make Better Manpower Planning Decisions in Times of Crisis

Next steps for you, the employer

Redeployment, adapting, and being prepared; each company and industry featured today had its own steps and ways in dealing with the economic effects of the pandemic. But how can you follow in their footsteps in keeping your company afloat and future ready?

From finding the right employees for your workplace, to enhancing the capabilities and productivity of your staff, there are a number of employer programmes accessible for you and your workers to pursue.

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