Opening Address by Mr Chee Hong Tat, Senior Minister of State for Finance and Transport at HCS – WSG Masterclass on 19 July 202219 Jul 2022
Ladies and Gentlemen
1. A very good afternoon and I am happy to join you today.
2. Although I am no longer with NTUC, I thank the organisers for inviting me to speak at this virtual event about Job Redesign, which is an important area which I worked on with sisters and brothers during my time with the Labour Movement.
3. This afternoon, I also wish to pay tribute to an honourable gentleman whom I greatly admire and respect – the late Mr Richard Magnus. We are glad that his family members (Mrs Eileen Magnus, Mr Keith Magnus, Dr Dana Teo, Ms Stephanie Magnus and Mr Daniel Ong) are here with us today.
4. Job Redesign is an important area of workplace innovation. This was true before Covid-19, but I believe the pandemic has made it more salient and it has become more urgent for our tripartite partners to move ahead together on this front.
a. Job Redesign can have a positive impact on making our jobs and workplaces more inclusive, more productive and more meaningful.
b. It can support our efforts to achieve better welfare, better wages and better work prospects for workers through enterprise and workforce transformation.
c. And it can help to forge a stronger workers’ compact anchored by Singapore’s unique model of tripartism, which in turn becomes a pillar of strength in our overall social compact.
6. Against the backdrop of an ageing society and a tight labour market, we need to continue investing in our people and enhancing the quality of our jobs.
7. Workplaces must be inclusive and safe for our workers, covering both physical and mental well-being. Job Redesign can contribute to this.
8. Reshaping job functions and responsibilities through Job Redesign can also make existing jobs more meaningful for workers and increase their satisfaction levels.
a. For older workers, making work less physically demanding through automation and process re-design can allow them to continue working longer, if they wish to do so.
b. The process also benefits younger workers, as the work becomes more pleasant and more productive.
c. For example, Tan Tock Seng Hospital has reduced the total amount of walking distance for healthcare workers by nearly 50% through a remodelling of their wards.
d. They also improved productivity through clever use of design and technology, including equipment to reduce the physical strain for our healthcare workers when they care for patients.
e. To share another example, Certis Cisco redesigned their security and customer service jobs to allow part-timers to work during peak hours. Previously, Certis Cisco mostly relied on full time staff for their operations.
f. With increasing flow of travellers through the airport, the company explored flexible ways to deploy its manpower. It identified peak periods to be from 7am to 12pm and rolled out a 4 to 6 hours part-time role for workers staying near the airport.
g. The adjustment in shift hours allowed the part-timers to continue with their daily routines and family responsibilities. It attracted more Singaporeans to join the company, and allowed Certis Cisco to have sufficient manpower to meet peak demand.
h. This is a win-win arrangement for both workers and employers.
10. For example, I met Sister Veny during a visit to Raffles Hotel before the pandemic. She is a Senior Housekeeping Supervisor and a Union Leader of in the Food, Drinks and Allied Workers’ Union.
11. She shared with me that Raffles Hotel redesigned the training process to incorporate the use of photos and more visual cues to train employees with learning disabilities to serve as housekeeping runners. Raffles Hotel also broke down the instructions into smaller steps and provided bite-sized training to the employees.
12. Job Redesign is also used in the Built Environment Sector, to make jobs more attractive for local workers. Together with skills upgrading, this will enable our workers to have better jobs and earn higher wages.
13. An example is ISS Facility Services Private Limited which provides manpower to render portering services in the hospitals. The original work scope for porters includes transfer of patients or items (specimen, medication etc) from ward to clinics or operating theatres. This was time-consuming and tedious.
14. Through the introduction of a smart e-porter system:
a. This has helped save time and improve efficiency.
b. Each porter could view his total number of tasks and outstanding tasks in the system with real-time data.
a. ISS is now also embarking on placement and training initiatives with e2i to attract more locals for these roles.
b. Through structured training of about 2 months for the Porter / Senior Porter role, the company plans to equip the trainee with adequate knowledge and skills required.
c. When workers go the extra mile to do their jobs well, there would be incentives and rewards from their employers to acknowledge their good work.
17. The late Mr Richard Magnus was a strong advocate for Job Redesign. He recognised its potential to transform workplaces, enhance jobs and improve worker outcomes.
18. We thank Mr Magnus for his leadership and vision in this important area of human capital development, and for always having a special place for our workers in his heart and looking out for ways to improve their well-being.
19. Under the programme, HCS will develop and deliver programmes to CTC Companies – these are company training committees that companies have formed with NTUC – to build their job redesign capabilities and awareness.
20. The programme had been designed with hands-on exercises and local case studies to enrich the learning needs of management and staff.
21. NTUC e2i will support the programme with up to 70% of course fees co-funding.
22. Through this tripartite collaboration and with support from Government, Labour Movement and the industry, including employers and training providers, we aim to equip more companies and workers with the skills to derive maximum value from Job Redesign.
23. Let me conclude by sharing a quote from Sir Winston Churchill, who said “we shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us.”
24. I believe this concept is also applicable to Job Redesign: “we shape our jobs and then they shape us.”
25. I encourage CTC companies - in fact, all companies - to continue with your job redesign efforts and work with the Labour Movement through Tripartism to transform companies and workers, so that workers are equipped with necessary skill sets and can remain relevant and employable in this fast-changing business environment.
26. Through these efforts, we strive to make every worker a better worker through upskilling; make every job a better job through Job Redesign; and then match the better workers to the better jobs to achieve a win-win outcome for both employers and workers.
27. Thank you.