RANK #9: Furama Hotels Singapore

Mr Ng (standing) enjoying lunch at the staff cafeteria. PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

Bringing out the best in people

Creating a culture of trust is Furama Hotels Singapore’s recipe for success

The Furama Group has about 50 hotels in China, Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Australia. Furama Hotels Singapore collectively refers to two properties of the Furama Group that are located in Singapore — Furama Riverfront Hotel and Furama City Centre Hotel.

Furama’s core values — teamwork, hospitality, respect, trust and integrity — support its vision “to be a hotel group that staff, guests, owners and the community take pride in”.

These values helped the organisation to be ranked as a Great Place to Work by the eponymous institute that publishes an annual list of Singapore’s best companies to work for.

Mr William Ng, managing director of Furama Hotels Singapore, says: “The Furama philosophy helps to shape the culture and reflects the company values. It is the essence of Furama’s identity and facilitates our staff in decision-making processes when they come to a roadblock.

“To us, inclusivity means working in a workplace where all individuals are treated fairly and respectfully, and have equal access to opportunities and resources; as a result, they can contribute fully to the organisation’s success. Inclusivity also engenders working together as a team, and breaking down barriers.”

Gathering feedback

Furama Hotels Singapore’s staff who took part in the Trust Index Survey included guest-facing employees dealing with food and beverages, and those in front office operations and the back-of-house operations such as cooks and chefs.

Staff from the engineering, security and housekeeping departments also participated. Other departments that were roped in were finance, sales, marketing, human resource and purchasing.

The majority of the respondents gave positive ratings.

Employees were asked to evaluate their day-to-day work experiences. The survey covered areas such as trust in the hotel leadership team and in their immediate supervisors, camaraderie between colleagues, the pride they take in the work they do, and in the Furama brand.

Specifically, in the area of trust, employees were asked to evaluate the credibility of the leadership team, the extent to which they felt respected by leaders and if they perceived the hotel’s practices and policies to be fair.

Mr Ng adds: “We emphasised anonymity, that is, staff cannot and will not be identified in the survey result. They have to air their views independently based on their own personal beliefs and value systems, and their experiences with the hotels. The results said a lot about the level and depth of trust within the organisation, among staff and the superior- subordinate relationship.

Trust is the single most important ingredient in making Furama a great organisation to work in, says Mr Ng.

“Creating a high-trust culture cultivates a great workplace. We are taking steps like making sure that promotions go to those who best deserve them, open communications, and work-life balance to drive a high-trust culture.”

Building bonds

How does Furama Hotels Singapore go the extra mile to take care of its staff?

Mr Ng says: “Focus on your staff, their welfare, their well-being and treat them like your own family members.

“The future is about talent management, identifying high potential staff at an early stage and nurturing them, giving them compelling reasons to work with us and resist competitive offers. We need to learn to elevate the employer-employee relationship from a transactional one to something more meaningful. In short, we need to learn to engage our staff effectively at all times.”

Showing appreciation

To thank them for their hard work, hotel staff are served a buffet lunch every quarter. The respective heads of department of each hotel will personally serve food to staff in the buffet line.

Twice a month, staff are treated to ice cream. They also enjoy a day off on their birthday.

Furama Hotels Singapore also names a Team Player and a Hospitality Champion every month, and an overall Team Player and Hospitality Champion annually.

Monthly winners receive shopping vouchers and a certificate each, while the annual winners receive cash, a certificate and a commemorative plaque each.

Going the extra mile

Mr Ng says that a great workplace seals an employee’s personal attachment to the organisation, characterised by an intention to remain with the organisation. When staff identify with the values and goals of the organisation, they are willing to go the extra mile.

“When our staff consider the extent to which their own values and goals relate to that of the organisation, we are able to see very committed staff who stay longer and even advocate for the organisation,” says Mr Ng.