Old Chang Kee is probably a place you’ll go to at least once if you’ve been living in Singapore for all these years.
Their history is pretty impressive, becoming a listed company with more than 70 outlets from a small, humble store at the Old Rex Cinema on Mackenzie Road.
What’s even more impressive is founder Han Keen Juan who, instead of lauding his own impressive achievements, credited it to luck, timing, government grants and customer loyalty.
When you walk into an Old Chang Kee outlet anywhere, you’ll most probably see that most of the staff manning the stores are the elderly, and that’s no coincidence actually.
The founder, now executive chairman of Old Chang Kee felt that his empire has benefited much from society and wanted to give back to the society which led to the policy of favouring the elderly when hiring.
Around 80% of the staff hired are above the age of 45, and he said that the elderly carries themselves with pride when working for this mega brand. He gave the example of them keeping the Old Chang Kee uniform on even after work because they’re proud of the work they’re doing.
It’s not the money that really motivates them, he said, but the sense of pride and self-sufficiency that keeps these elderly coming back to work.
They come to work on time and rarely absent themselves from work unless necessary. These elderly just wants to be recognised as contributing members of the society, and he’s happy to give them this opportunity to do it.
To suit the aged workforce in Old Chang Kee, there was a need to do a restructure of the system such as changing the list to pictures of food items to cater to illiterate or people with poor vision.
Good and successful businesses have to learn how to give back to society after being helped so much by them and this is the philosophy Mr Han Keen Juan follows even till today.
For example, if you’ve brought items from Old Chang Kee back in 2010, you’d have realised that the paper bags used to contain their curry puffs has the Youth Olympic Games logo; this was a move done of their own volition, not because they were asked to by the organisers.
But anyways, the “Old” in their name has nothing to do with their hiring procedure #justsaying
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