Monday, April 04, 2005

Don't be harsh in passing judgement on less committed workers, says one employer: TODAY

Letter from Gerald Ang Joo Huat I REFER to the comments by Mr Tan Kin Lian, CEO of NTUC Income, on the work ethics of employees (March 26 and 31). I do agree that, as in everything in life, there are black sheep who tarnish the image of committed and responsible employees.

During 1991, just after the Gulf War, while working for an American electronics MNC, I had candidates who:
1) accepted the job but failed to turn up on the first day,
2) started work but tendered their resignation two weeks later, and
3) quit less than a year later.

Mind you, some of them were straight-A university graduates who had been retrenched earlier.

One thing that stood out prominently that year was that, as a result of the excellent job market following the Gulf War, employers were outbidding one other and offering higher salaries which workers with less than three years' work experience found too tempting to resist.

There is not much employers can do when employees choose to leave citing better prospects. As employers, we have to face the reality that workers look forward to expanding their coffers — especially in today's Singapore — in view of the increasing cost of living (especially medical costs) and the aspiration to have a comfortable life.

Having employed long-serving, as well as job-hopping employees for the last 29 years, I have learnt not to be harsh in passing judgement on the less committed ones.

The premise for my magnanimous attitude lies in this comparison: If a CEO of a large company can leave for another job which offers better perks, not to mention an exorbitant salary, what more for those who earn peanuts?

Much as we wish for more committed employees, we must also understand the aims and aspirations of individuals.

Letter from Gerald Ang Joo Huat

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