Mr Fiat strives to foster a culture of trust and respect in Royal Plaza on Scotts. PHOTO: RAY CHUA

Driven by passion

At the Royal Plaza on Scotts, everyone is a CEO

Look at the job titles of any of the employees at the Royal Plaza on Scotts and you will notice something in common: they are all CEOs.

That is, they are all Chief Experience Officers.

At Royal Plaza, every executive has a key part to play in the organisation, regardless of which role they may have in its grander scheme.

“Our company has embarked on the journey to ‘see people as people’,” says Mr Patrick Fiat, general manager and chief experience officer at Royal Plaza on Scotts.

“People here are not a resource to be expended. Rather, they are capital assets that play an essential role in our development.”

The company’s record is a testament to this philosophy. This year, Royal Plaza has been shortlisted by the Great Place to Work Institute Singapore as one of Asia’s Best Small & Medium Workplaces.

This is not its first showing at Great Places to Work. In 2015, it was awarded the Watch Out World Special Mention Award; last year, it was ranked sixth on Singapore’s Top Best Companies to Work For.

Royal Plaza has also won numerous accolades for its commitment to employee satisfaction, such as the Best Employer (Hotels) 2013 and Best Employer for Commitment to Engagement 2013 by consulting firm Aon Hewitt.

While not everyone at Royal Plaza may fill the role of chief executive officer, every employee is assured that they will have a direct line of communication with their department heads, in accordance with the open-door policy in the company.

CEOs are free to walk into their department heads’ offices at any time to raise concerns, or even just for a friendly chat.

Culture of trust

Royal Plaza also actively fosters a culture of trust and respect. The company has phased out the standard workplace practice of clocking in and out, as well as the submission of medical certificates.

Should an employee feel sick, all he has to do is telephone his supervisor and inform him that he is unfit for work.

Employee benefits are also among some of the best in the business. Royal Plaza on Scotts takes work-life balance to a whole new level by giving all employees access to a salad bar, 24-hour gym and “Chillax Lounge”, which comes with a mini-theatre, aquarium and massage chairs. A new buffet dining restaurant and employee- exclusive spa are just two of the upcoming features planned for CEOs.

For Mr Fiat, these perks are a necessary investment.

“By making the organisation fun to work in, CEOs are driven by passion to make a difference.”

It is no wonder that Royal Plaza boasts an admirably low turnover rate of just 12.7 per cent. Some 34 per cent of its employees have been with the company for over 10 years.

“Retention is the greatest challenge for the hospitality industry,” explains Mr Fiat. “Having a great work environment will give CEOs more reasons to stay with the organisation.”

Mr Fiat attributes Royal Plaza’s high profit margin to its high staff retention. A higher retention rate means less time and money spent on retraining and inducting new employees.

This has not gone unnoticed by other players in the industry, who have invited Mr Fiat to speak to their leadership teams, seeking his advice on how to improve workplace practices.

For Mr Fiat, the key to success is very simple: align employees’ personal goals with organisational goals.

“In doing so, people will feel empowered to be responsible for their own work,” he says.