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Shortage of skilled workers

How a 5-star resort in Malaysia combats a shortage of skilled workers

Executive Director of Bangi Golf Resort and Bangi-Resort Hotel in Malaysia Soh Chung-Ky knows young Malaysians like to sleep long into the morning. To combat this culture, he offers them work on the afternoon shift. To win new staff and keep them motivated he has also created a few other innovative ideas in the past five years…

Automated processes beat manpower

For Soh Chung-Ky, Executive Director of Bangi Golf Resort and the adjacent Bangi-Resort Hotel in Malaysia, it is not easy to find staff. A lot of young people do not want to work. They either choose to work part-time or not at all. How does this hotel director handle the situation and attract people to come and work in the hospitality industry? 

Over the past five or six years Soh has implemented more and more automated processes, purchasing new machines and systems to make work more efficient, creating higher turn-over with less skilled workers. For example, the manpower and chef intensive process of wok stir frying has been automated and the hotel saves labour because it uses braising pans with automatic stirring.

Health and safety is especially important for Bangi Resort. New ergonomic potwashers help maintain a cleaner warewashing area. The task of sanitizing chopping boards every four hours, for example, has totally changed. Rather than manually handling the boards, the process has been converted into a more pleasant task with less steam and reduced handling thanks to a Meiko potwasher.


Sleep well, work well

Soh is ready to make compromises. For example, knowing young people have difficulties waking early he offers them a shift after lunch. Mothers who need to bring their kids to school and need to pick them up in the afternoon are offered a four or five hour shift according to the times they can manage. Soh is willing to pay above market rate and he offers free meals to his employees. This is necessary because as an employer he competes with companies that offer office jobs which are much more popular.

Young people especially prefer facing a computer rather than dealing with people face to face. They appreciate a well-defined seven or eight hours workday in a comfortable office building. Hospitality means communicating with customers and sometimes with difficult ones too. Therefore, Soh is happy to make compromises in salary, working hours and he offers a comfortable working environment.


Soh Chung-Ky, Executive Director
Soh Chung-Ky, Executive Director of Bangi Golf Resort and the adjacent Bangi Resort Hotel

Training unskilled people is easier

Whenever he has the choice between an experienced worker and an unskilled or inexperienced one he chooses the latter. Why? His machines and processes are more or less self-explanatory and after a very short training phase people are ready to work independently. Teaching someone who is not of the trade how to operate the machines is easier than brainwashing someone who has worked in another hotel before.

At Bangi Resort Hotel many things are done differently than in other hotels. Soh finds it harder to teach skilled staff to adapt to his processes then teaching unskilled workers everything from scratch. Therefore, motivated people are always chosen over experienced ones. And Soh likes working with schools. There he recruits new staff. He hires pupils for internships and trains them. When they do a good job, they are offered a contract after three or six months. This works out very well.

This is Bangi‘s employer branding! By providing an innovative working environment the resort and hotel manages to attract and to keep just enough staff.  

Chefs at Bangi Golf Resort vacuum packing food
Chefs at Bangi Golf Resort vacuum packing food to preserve the freshness. Braising pan with automatic stirring blades in the background.

The key to success

The key to the successful staff policy at Bangi Golf Resort and Bangi Resort Hotel lies in the management’s instinct for innovation and looking after their people. Investing in automated workflows supported by the latest technologycuts down personnel costs but also makes workplaces much more attractive in a competitive industry. Catering for the work-life-balance of the staff highly motivates employees and makes them stay with the company longer than is common in the hospitality industry.