I left the airline for a career in training and consultancy.
Recently, I trained a group comprising of mostly newly hired young customer service consultants in a beauty and wellness chain.
During the session, these young consultants were tardy, constantly playing with their smartphones and taking photos of each other at inappropriate moments-generally disruptive and disrespectful. After the session, I had a chat with their in-house training manager, she shared the company has its hands full dealing with them in terms of attendance, high turnover rate and poor attitude.
Training this group made me reflect on my experience in STC-those behaviors wouldn't be tolerated. STC was a culture shock. Previously, I've never experienced military style turn out, especially the collectivism where trainees are indoctrinated to look, think and speak the same. When my parents attended my graduation, they were shocked to be greeted in military style.
The values STC instills in trainees are excellent-punctuality, discipline and respect to name a few-these values are lacking in some young people. Even enforcing greetings is crucial as some don't greet their own family members. However, the methods STC uses to enforce these values should be reviewed-scolding, talking down and instilling fear. Are these methods relevant in keeping up with the times? Cabin crew training in STC lasting about 3.5 months is amongst the longest in the industry. Based on personal observation, toward the end of training, trainees become emotionally unstable, suspicious of each other and irrationally fearful. Breaking a person down before building him/her up is outdated. Furthermore, the seed of "dog eat dog" is planted from the beginning.
For cabin crew to be world class, they need to have flair, autonomy and creativity to go the extra mile for service, with the confidence that their airline has their backs. Most SIA cabin crew do the minimum by following black and white for fear of being complained by their colleagues or passengers. I've been chastised by senior crew for having casual banter with a passenger during lull period because this senior wanted to control all the actions of juniors under him-he didn't permit this bantering. That said I'm still grateful for the character building experience in SIA cabin crew and for instilling some positive values which I carry forward. For SIA cabin crew to retain their world class standard, the culture must change and change should start from STC. How about grooming the next generation of cabin crew with love, kindness and fairness?