3 things that I have learnt working with elderly workers

Most of the time, when you walk into a Greendot outlet, you will be welcomed by an amiable elderly service crew. Some people might wonder why do I hire elderly instead of young people. From our experience, young people can learn faster, work faster and they inject a youthful energy into our environment.

Yes, it might be true, but elderly workers have their value and significance too. Throughout my time working with them, I have more pleasant experience than unpleasant ones. In fact, I am grateful that I have a group of really kind, caring and hardworking elderly workers. They have taught me so much from the way they work, they way they treat others, and the way they live their lives.

Lesson #1 – The way you do one thing defines the way you’ll do everything. Every act matter.

I was cutting a watermelon in the kitchen one day and one of my elderly staff came over and say, “Boss, your watermelon pieces are too big, very difficult to put into the mouth” For a moment, I was defensive and I put a piece into my mouth and replied, “You see, the size is just right, doesn’t make much difference.”

She then responded, “It’s too big for people like us. The size makes a difference. We must think for the customer.”

After that incident, I reflected and realized what the staff said was very true. Every little thing we do matter; even though it may be something very insignificant. It’s not about making life easier for yourself but in the process makes life difficult for others. We must learn to think for others. The little things you do today will determine the results you’ll see tomorrow.

Lesson #2 It is not about the ability; it is about the ‘heart’.

I have a very ’special’ elderly staff who never fails to bring me through a roller coaster ride of emotions when I work with her. When she first started out working at Greendot, she was always doing the wrong orders and due to her hearing problem, she couldn’t seem to communicate well with the customers. But on the other hand, her presence always brings so much fun and laughter to us. We tried our best to encourage her and help her as much as we could but the last straw came when she caused a blackout in the outlet due to her carelessness. We almost wanted to dismiss her, but thankfully we didn’t. Instead, we continued to care for her and guide her. Today, she has been promoted to a senior crew and she is performing very well in her job, with praises from the customers and appreciative reviews from her colleagues.

She made me realize that it is not about how much ability you have. It is about how much are you willing to learn. It is about daily practice with relentless perseverance. It is about focusing on your role and not being affected by other people’s opinions of you. It’s about having the ‘heart’ to serve.



A picture with Auntie Shirley on her birthday

Lesson #3 – Anyone can be a leader in his or her role.

When we just started out at Bedok Mall, we were very fortunate to have several amazing staff.  There is this particular staff, who is always so full of energy and positivity. Although she may be just a service crew in title, but her attitude was like one of a leader. She will always take care of her colleagues and go out of the way to surprise the customers.

Cutting dishes into smaller pieces for elderly so that they can chew easily; Remember the name of customers; Coming early voluntarily to help her colleagues on days where we were busier. She is so dedicated till the extent, a regular customer asked me, “Is she the boss of the outlet?”

She is the perfect example of being a leader in what she does. Every role in an organization is important. Anyone can be a leader in his or her role. You don’t need title to be a leader because leadership is not a title, it’s an action. It is the action that you do that makes you a leader, not the title you have.

Love is our biggest source of energy and positivity. Being fathers and mothers, these elderly workers understand what is love. They know how to care for others and how to bring the best out of others. These are valuable qualities that they bring to our team. This source of energy and positivity is the secret to the growth of our Greendot. We are thankful for this group of unsung heroes.


The Greendot team at Paya Lebar Square


We do not care about your ability. We only care about your heart.

If you have the heart to care, to change the world for the better, contact us and we can talk more! 🙂


Career Progression


Yong Hong

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