Strengthening HR capabilities part of strategy towards a manpower-lean F&B sector

June 1, 201610:24 am653 views
Strengthening HR capabilities part of strategy towards a manpower-lean F&B sector
Photo: The White Rabbit/Facebook

SINGAPORE — In a bid to boost employees’ morale, the Lo & Behold Group, which operates popular establishments here such as The White Rabbit and Odette, decided to allow its full-time employees – who have worked for five years – to take a sabbatical for one month, while still getting paid.

Introduced last year, more than 10 employees have taken advantage of the company policy, with some taking time off to travel or pursue their individual interests, said its chief operating officer Andrew Ing.

The Lo & Behold Group’s bold initiative earned the praise of Trade and Industry (Industry) Minister S Iswaran at the launch of the Food Services Sectoral Manpower Plan on Tuesday (May 31), as an example of what the food and beverage industry in Singapore can do to make it a more productive sector.

The plan, which comes under the national SkillsFuture programme, will be implemented over the next five years to drive the sector’s transformation towards becoming manpower-lean.

It will comprise three strategies: Getting companies to tap on technology to reduce manual work of its employees; building a strong Singaporean core through SkillsFuture initiatives and masterclasses; and strengthening the companies’ human resources (HR) capabilities.

“For the food services industry, and indeed for any sector, many of these initiatives that we are talking about are essential for their continued competitiveness and success going forward,” Mr Iswaran said.

“For example, if you are talking about productivity … every business will be looking at it; in terms of getting better outcomes with the same set of resources. This is where the productivity plan with the various sectors and the specific initiatives that come from Spring Singapore and industry associations (are) going to be very relevant,” he added.

Spring Singapore and the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA), which developed the plan in consultation with industry stakeholders and unions, will develop the Food Services Skills Framework to help employers map out clear career progression pathways and skills training for their workers.

Employers will also be able to tap into the HR Diagnostic Tool provided by Spring Singapore to understand their current HR performances and identify possible gaps.

Support from these government agencies, including the Employment and Employability Institute (e2i), will be able to enhance the core HR competencies of the companies.

For their part, young entrants to the industry can take advantage of SkillsFuture initiatives, such as the Enhanced Internships and the Earn and Learn Programme, to ensure they are better prepared for the skills needed in the food services sector, said Mr Iswaran.

Mid-career professionals can also deepen their skills by applying for the SkillsFuture Study Awards – where they will receive S$5,000 to help them with training fees – as well as going for masterclasses organised by the different government agencies.

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