SINGAPORE: Flag carrier Singapore Airlines (SIA) spends more than S$100 million on training a year, including flight operations training programmes.
According to the airline, its comprehensive training programmes have helped develop its employees. For instance, cabin crew undergo a 15-week training course that follows the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA)'s service excellence framework.
SIA employs approximately 12,000 people in Singapore, including ground staff, pilots and cabin crew. It added that 90 per cent of them are locals, of which 15 per cent are Permanent Residents.
The airline also revealed that it has a low staff attrition rate. On average, cabin crew stay with the company for over 10 years, while ground staff typically serve for 19.5 years.
SIA was sharing its best practices in human resources with more than 100 leaders from small and medium enterprises at the Workforce Champion Series organised by the Workforce Advancement Federation (WAF) on Thursday (May 5). This comes as the Government is encouraging businesses to develop its manpower and upskill employees to improve productivity.
TRAINING SHOULD BE AN INVESTMENT, NOT ADDITIONAL COST
Speaking on the sidelines of the sharing session organised by the WAF, SIA's executive vice president for human resources and operations Ng Chin Hwee emphasised the importance of training employees in the company.
"From SIA's perspective, we see training not as a cost item, but an investment," he said. He added that the company wants to make sure that its staff come out of training "better equipped and higher skilled to serve our customers".
Employees are also rotated across different divisions in the company, and the airline has various schemes to develop leaders. In addition, there are rewards and recognition schemes, such as profit-sharing bonuses as well as various awards.
Ms Rachel Chong, CEO of Sweetest Moments, said she was impressed by SIA’s emphasis on training. "They have a lot of things that impressed me today – their training programmes, the effort that they put into investing into people and how much they really want to train each and every one of their staff," she said.
However, she also said it is a common challenge for SMEs to attract and retain staff. "Being in my industry, it is already very difficult to attract staff, because they find that the F&B industry is not a very attractive industry to be in." She added that employees may also leave due to lean manpower, or get poached by other companies.
Despite these challenges, the Government has an array of programmes to help SMEs upskill their workers, including SkillsFuture courses and those offered by the WDA. Ms Chong said she is looking to tap on these programmes and incorporate them into existing training schemes at Sweetest Moments.