Sunday, July 10, 2016

Ex-cabin crew,now a trainer shares her experiences

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  Breaking a person down before building him/her up is outdated.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?


Janey said...

I think some senior crew are worried/ kancheong that some crew may be disturbing pax by chit chatting. It happened to me once, and when the LS relaxed after I told him I had an enjoyable convo with the FSS.

Anonymous said...

..............And the kancheong little Napoleon LS was probably Singaporean.They tend to be paranoid as hell and kiasu too.Most airlines actually encourage the crew to talk to the pax (EK,QR,EY,CX etc ).It's part of good service,something they won't understand-building a rapport.It'll encourage the pax to keep flying SIA. Who'd want to be served by robotic unfriendly crew? Sinkies have much to learn and SIA is far from being number one again.

Anonymous said...

You can read all the leadership books, it will do nothing
to improve the mood, or change the service attitudes.

Managers, CCE, AM are not reading the same books. They create their own
ideologies and approaches. The moment you think you found a wonderfull
technique or theory, and try to apply it on board, the crew will report
you. You'll have to explain to Harry, Sexy, and the Indian.

You have no approval, no training, no procedure, no support.
You will be marked as "smart alec"..
Just go on board, check off the appraisal, check off the safety checks, chocks off, chocks on. The organisation is much too big and much in control by the last few dinosaurs.

TPT is in retirement mode. Like George Yeo said: "Go with the flow...."

Tenacious SQ shih tzu said...

Managers, CCE, AM are not reading the same books?



Tell them its part of their professional development.

Give them incentives for attending such courses.

Where there's a will there's a way.

Anonymous said...

send them for courses?..
Not in their KPI lah...
You forget, SQ management very stingy one.
They send for in-house... just across the lobby in STC.
and they come back... highly stressed, because no one covers
their work.
( which is simply hunting down MC king & queens )

Anonymous said...

Not everyone is tenacious
like u leng chai.

U mean well but not all
think like u.