Story and Photos by Jonathan Tan
One hotel has gone beyond having a big heart to setting up structured programmes to build careers for special needs workers.
“As part of InterContinental Hotels Group’s (IHG) commitment to celebrate difference, we believe in extending fair and equal opportunities to our colleagues, and providing an enabling environment for individuals with special needs,” shared Gabrielle Choy, area director for human resources at IHG Singapore, Malaysia and Batam.
In the last 10 years, this culture of inclusiveness has seen IHG properties in Singapore develop structured work experience and employment programmes to equip special needs individuals with the necessary skills for full-time employment. In fact, they have been partnering organisations such as the Association for Persons with Special Needs and Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore on these programmes.
The group’s managers are also trained to adequately support these individuals at work.
“Our human resources team places great emphasis on raising awareness about the effective ways to communicate with the individuals, including being patient and checking on them regularly to understand the challenges they encounter at work,” added Ms Choy, who is also director of human resources at InterContinental Singapore.
A Difference Made
Guan Chau Kok, 29, is one such employee who is enthusiastic about his work at the InterContinental Singapore, a unionised company.
“I like working here because I get to earn my own money. Everyone here are also my friends. And I like Shao Wei, my supervisor, because he takes care of me,” he said.
Having been with the hotel for nearly four years, Chau Kok may have gotten used to his day-to-day work as a houseman. Even so, Supervisor Ren Shao Wei still makes an extra effort to look after him and explain new tasks simply and patiently.
“Everyone here will look out for Chau Kok. When he’s doing his cleaning work along the corridors, we will all give way to him,” he said.