HR success with video games and the ‘differently-abled’

by Miklos Bolza02 Oct 2015
Video game training programs and a unique recruitment policy for those with disabilities have helped two businesses snatch up the Asian Human Capital Award 2015 at this year’s Human Capital Summit.
The award, which was given out on Wednesday at the Marina Bay Sands, went to two organisations for their innovative HR strategies:
  • The Dubai Police which uses video game technology to help train officers to fight crime
  • Lemon Tree, an Indian hotel chain which changed its hiring requirements and now employs staff with disabilities and those who are illiterate
The Dubai Police used virtual technology to place officers in training scenarios such as handling traffic accidents to investigating crime scenes.
Receiving the award on behalf of the force, Colonel Khalid Nasser Al Razooqi said the strategy has helped save about S$33.1 million over the past five years.
“This is more cost-effective, as it is very difficult to put an officer in field training on a daily basis.”
The move has also boosted efficiency with crime scene officers trained in virtual simulations performing 57.2% better than those trained through traditional classroom methods. It is also a more interesting way to learn.
“Before, all the training was just theory and lectures. That gets boring and you don’t learn as much,” Major Dr Mansoor Nasser Al Razooqi told Dubai news website, 7DAYS. “By using gaming, it helps the trainees to learn quicker and have fun at the same time.”
As the second award recipient, Lemon Tree has implemented creative hiring policies and now employs around 400 workers with disabilities. This is around 13% of its staff, a number which it hopes to raise to 16.5% by next March.
Patu Keswani, chairman and managing director, said the firm “re-engineered” job scopes to work around a candidate’s disability. He gave two examples, saying that someone hearing-impaired could work in a noisy machine room while a staff member with Down syndrome could fold napkins or arrange table settings in the restaurant.
The hotel chain also lowered its educational entry barriers. Instead of requiring a college degree, Lemon Tree now accepts those who are barely literate. They have started an in-house training academy to boost employee skills and knowledge.
“It's not a question of charity. When we see deprivation around us, we feel helpless as individuals. It's only organisations that can bring together a group of people and get them to contribute back to society,” Keswani said.
These measures have also improved employee satisfaction and increased customer loyalty, he added.
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