Labour Day: 8 Ways to Express Your Appreciation

Contributor: Sher Yen

Thank you noteWhat is Labour Day to You?

Is it another public holiday to relax at home, another day to kick up your feet and watch some television programme? Whether you are an employer or employee, it is definitely a day to celebrate the achievements of all workers.

Labour Day or International Worker’s Day is the best day to show your gratefulness to the people who worked and contributed to the company. A simple gesture or acknowledgement indicates your appreciation to their hard work, and this creates good vibes towards the manager or employer. According to a survey, 78% of people would work harder in their jobs if they were recognized. Why not make some effort in thanking your employees?

8 ways to express your appreciation:

  1. Recognize achievements – Write words of recognition on a sticky note and place it on their desk area. Alternatively, write an email to everyone. It shows you pay attention, it shows you care, it makes people feel valued.
  2. Most people appreciate food. Take them out for lunch!
  3. Surprise staffs by bringing in ice cream, doughnuts, cookies or other treats.
  4. Gift certificates or vouchers – A pair of movie tickets or holiday vouchers that shout, “Thanks for your hard work, you deserve a good rest!”
  5. Genuinely thank your employees or subordinates face to face, see the expression on their face change.
  6. Provide opportunity, give them training. Most employees appreciate when company invest in them. It shows that the company trusted them.
  7. A company sponsored social event, such as a holiday party or happy hour.
  8. Keep the pantry stocked all the time with healthy snacks, fruits, juice, coffee and tea. Brain related work consumes a lot of energy and what better way to keep them awake by keeping their energy level high.

As an employer or an employee, it is best to show your appreciation to each other from time to time.  Not just on Labour Day!


Doing Business Across Borders: Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil

Contributor: Sher Yen

April 16, 2014, Kuala Lumpur – Directors, entrepreneurs, decision makers and top managers came together on Saturday, April 12th for one purpose: to learn from the real people who make borderless business possible in “Doing Business Across Borders: Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil” seminar.

GLOCAL is a term that puts together the idea of business globalization with local execution insights. “The foundation of a thriving regional business is a strong local presence. Strong local presences require the experience, skills and knowledge of local people, local information, local everything at the street level,” the Managing Director and facilitator of the seminar, Tan Aik Seng stated during the opening session. This seminar was organized with the intention of helping businesses to expand overseas by connecting them with people with real on the ground experience and expertise.

Tan Aik Seng, Executive WorkPlace International

Opening session

Forty two internationally business-minded participants attended the seminar, including Mr.Chung Tze Hien, Director of MABC – Mulpha International Berhad; Mr. Wei Xiao Gang, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (Malaysia) Berhad,  and other notable top managers. Speakers shared their insights on their respective country: China, Taiwan, Japan, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand and Brazil.  There were also questions targeted towards more mature economies such as Taiwan, Japan and Australia.

Duff Watkins, Mitch Tomizawa, Dr. Benchalak on "Doing Business in Australia, Japan, Thailand"

From left: Duff Watkins, Mitch Tomizawa, Dr. Benchalak on “Doing Business in Australia, Japan, Thailand”

Mr. Tomarelli of MAIT Italy shared his experience of managing his remote staffs across the region.  He emphasized the need to “constantly get them [the employees] to update [their progress] on a weekly basis,” and “bring them for factory and HQ visits so as to imbue the organization culture and values to their remote employees.”

Tan Aik Seng, Daniel Liu, Federico Tomarelli, Lucille Wu on "Managing Gen Y across borders, Doing business in China, How to manage your employees remotely and Doing business in Taiwan"

From left: Tan Aik Seng on “Managing Gen Y Across Borders”, Daniel Liu on “Doing Business in China”, Federico Tomarelli on “Managing Your Employees Remotely” and Lucille Wu on “Doing business in Taiwan”

The seminar ended with Tan sharing on “Managing Generation Y across borders”. This topic helped us understand that similar traits are found across all generations regardless of class, creed or race. “Generation Y is a product of Generation X, and so on.” Managers should take responsibility in recruiting, training and managing talents. In return, employees should take responsibility and accountability of their work. When it comes to nature versus nurture, one cannot escape nurturing too.

Executive WorkPlace International is an executive search and on-boarding firm specialising in the search of key technical, professional and managerial positions. We take the time to understand “who do you REALLY need to get onboard?”

For more information, visit

Glocalized Business

Glocalization is no longer just a concept but actual initiatives by multinationals to customize its products and services for the locality or culture in which it is sold.    Many companies are discovering their globalization strategies need to be tempered with local insights and execution know-how from experienced people on the ground.

New jobs in marketing insights and social media are gaining popularity.  Huge monolithic multinationals are recruiting people who are skilled in marketing insights and social media to help transform their traditional organizations into nimble, agile and glocal companies.

Traditional barriers to greater international and regional trades have crumbled.  Securing work permits to work in a foreign country by skilled and young professionals have eased greatly.  The advent of internet and the commoditization of air-travel have massively multiply global and regional trade.  The impetus for greater glocalization is the realization by multinationals that it is easier to embrace diversity than to homogenize the global market.

Multinationals have to struggle with labour challenges, infrastructure and environmental constraints, non-trade barriers to local market access, inadequately developed institutions, legal nightmares, intellectual property rights infringements, and other business culture shocks.  Foreign managers have to think out-of-the-box solutions to unconventional challenges and issues.

Many of the speakers emerged from the trenches after surviving the great Asia Pacific transformation from the backwater economies to many of the world leading economic power-houses of today.  They will share with you their survival strategies, tactics and know-how to avoid pitfalls should you decide to take the plunge.

Allow these real world practitioners to guide you.  Come meet and network with people who are “DOING BUSINESS ACROSS BORDERS: Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil.”   They will be there on the 12th April 2014.


Event: DOING BUSINESS ACROSS BORDERS: Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil
Date: 12th April 2014
Time: 8am – 6pm
Speakers: Daniel Liu – “Doing Business in China & Hong Kong”
Lucille Wu – “Doing Business in Taiwan”
Mitch Tomizawa – “Doing Business in Japan”
Dr Benchalak Phutinart – “Doing Business in Thailand”
Duff Watkins – “Doing Business in Australia, NZ, Brazil”
Federico Tomarelli – “Managing your remote employees: An Italian Manager’s experience of going GLOCAL!”
Mohamad Abu Bakar – “Managing Generation Y across borders”

EARLY BIRD RATE: First 10 early birds will received a copy of “First-Time Leader” by George Bradt & Gillian Davis.

To register, visit, contact +603-79553686 | +6016-209 7310, or email

partners strategic partners

Inspirational Friday: King of Duty Free in Thailand

620x434Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha
Age: 56
Source Of Wealth: duty-free, Self Made
Residence: Bangkok, Thailand
Net Worth: 1.5 Billion
#7 riches in Thailand
#1154 billionaires in the world.

The King Power Foundation was established by Mr. Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, Group Chairman and CEO of King Power Group of Companies. His initial vision for the foundation was to benefit Children’s Health and Education, and to provide a variety of programs for the underprivileged in Thai society. Since its inception on 24th December 2004, the foundation has raised 1,445 million Baht, which it has presented to His Majesty the King, and dispersed to various other projects within the Kingdom of Thailand.
Revenues of King Power which has a monopoly on retail operations at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport and the recently revamped budget airport, Don Muang started surging in 2012. This gain plus new information on his shareholdings which include a 4% stake in Thai budget airline Nok Air, gave his wealth a boost, earning him a spot on the Forbes Billionaires list for the first time. He also owns English football team Leicester City and attends all of team’s home games.Vichai changed his surname from Raksriaksorn, when the monarchy bestowed upon him the honorific Srivaddhanaprabha, which means “light of progressive glory.

Three Myths about Yourself

Answer the following:

  1. Your personality changes over the years, you have changed for the better, yes or no?
  2. You will grow the most at your weakest area, yes or no?
  3. A good team member gives in his or her all to help the other members, yes or no?

If you agree to all three questions above, you are succumbing yourself to the three foremost myths about yourself!

Jim Rohn once said, “Work harder on yourself than you do on your job”.  When you are unable to achieve something, what’s stopping you is none other than yourself.  What you believe affects your behaviour and eventually your action.

Myth No. 1 – As You Grow, Your Personality Changes

66 percent of us believe this to be true.  The truth is AS YOU GROW, YOU BECOME MORE OF WHO YOU ALREADY ARE.  Our behaviour changes according to situation, skills develop overtime, but our core personality remains the same throughout our whole life.  Most people find it comforting knowing that we can change.  The main focus is to put your strengths to work, knowing your personality, your goal should be agree up and focus on the forces that are already there.

Myth No. 2 – You Will Grow the Most in Your Areas of Greatest Weakness

61 percent believe this to be true.  It’s not about ignoring weaknesses. You will learn and grow the LEAST in your areas of weakness.  Truth is YOU WILL GROW THE MOST IN YOUR AREAS OF GREATEST STRENGTH.

You will be at the peak of your creative powers in your areas of strength, you will bounce back faster at what you are good at.

Question: Why won’t you grow in the area of weakness?

It is in our biological system – The Brain finds it easier to create new synaptic connections in those areas of your brain where you have abundant synaptic connections, thus you grow the most where you are already strong.  Your 2nd system will push you to seek out situations where you can play your strengths because these repeated behaviours develop your strength further, all in the name of survival.  The more competitive you are, the higher chance of survival!

Myth No. 3 – A Good Team Member Does Whatever It Takes to Help the Team

91 percent agreed to this statement.  There’s a common saying, there’s no “I” in team.  Truth is A GOOD TEAM MEMBER DELIBERATELY VOLUNTEERS HIS OR HER STRENGTHS TO THE TEAM MOST OF THE TIMEEach individual has their own strengths. An effective, well rounded team has individuals that play their strengths to the maximum.

Just like a football team, each member plays their role according to their strengths.


Now that the Myths are busted, most of you would strongly feel discomfort with the naked truth.  But the truth is never easy to swallow.  Once accepted, you will realize how easy it was to excel from there on.

With reference to the book “Go Put Your Strengths to Work” by Marcus Buckingham.

Impossible Key Performance Indicators – Setting It Right

Contributor: Sher Yen

Do you hate being measured?  Do you think your key measurements are unreasonable?  Have you ever gotten a measurement of 100 percent occupancy rate throughout the whole year?  That DOES sound ridiculous, even to us.

These are some of the frustrations brought up by a few top managers who joined us for the management briefing workshop.

“How do we achieve a target when we can’t even determine the leading indicators?”

“These are unrealistic goals within such ridiculous timeline!”

“There are too many grey area.”

If you have heard of Stephen Covey, you would have heard of his Four Disciplines of Execution, also known as the 4DX.

The 4 Disciplines exist for one reason: to execute on a plan in the midst of the whirlwind of distractions.  When you see the results, it is already a LAG measurement, the effect of your doings.  The leading indicators serve as a weekly measurement that works towards your Wildly Important Goals (WIG).


The 4 Disciplines of Execution

The 4DX acts like Moses guiding his people through the red sea.

To set the employee’s key performance indicators, you must have a legit road map to achieve it. The leads are the road map.

First, set your Wildly Important Goals, then determine the daily activity that contributes to the WIG.  Keep a scoreboard that you can track on a weekly basis.  The final step is to be accountable of the results, for better or worse.

4DX example

Research shows that only 15 percent of employees actually know their organization’s most important goals. There are either no goals or too many goals – or people aren’t sure which goals matter most.

By Frankly Covey

Do Take Note: it is strongly discouraged to have too many goals. The more you try to do, the less you will accomplish.

number of WIG


To answer those frustrations, managers must first clarify and communicate the main goal of the company, the main goal of each individual and how their goal contributes to the company.  Determine if the WIG is reasonable, if it is achievable with the set of lead measurement, focus and discipline your way through the whole year.  Finally, always allow two way communications and listen to what your people have to say, clarify their doubts.

Everyone Comes With an Agenda… Or two

Contributor: Sher Yen

What happens when an executive search firm and an event comes together – employees flocking in to seek for a greener pasture.

It is exceptional for an executive search firm to organize events due to the nature of our business.  But Executive WorkPlace International has been organising talks, workshops and seminars.

The purpose of these events?  In view of business, to generate more leads.  In view of relationship, to foster better relationships with our clients and candidates.  In view of marketing, to establish our name and position as head hunter within the spawning industry.  As consultants in this executive search industry, we are more than willing to share our know hows with the rest.

With no surprise, the first people who eagerly sign themselves up are the “sales” agents.  Second in line, the job seekers.

Our last Chinese New Year Gathering took place on 14th February, in conjunction with both Chinese and Western Valentine’s day.  After the event, we conducted a post mortem.  The first thing we all agreed upon; to be selective when it comes to attendees.  We have gotten complaints of pushy insurance agent asking insurance related questions during the “Interview Your Neighbour” Ice Breaking session when they were supposed to interview each other using the name cards as a mock resumes – A fun way of providing interview tips for hiring managers.

“I am not looking for a job,” Stella* said.  “I just can’t work with local china man bosses!”  She went on sharing her experience and knowledge with me for at least an hour.  We also met a few attendees of such, who were apparent with their intentions.

Everyone comes with an agenda.  We have our agenda, participants have their own agenda.

As candidate, this IS one way of conducting your marketing campaign.  Knowing a few head hunters personally is beneficial because you get an insight to the market (assuming they cover the job function or industry of your interest).  You could actively seek their advice in relation to hiring and onboarding matters, or for their core service – to get the right people you need for your organisation.

It is also a good networking arena to meet managerial level executives.  Occasions like these are usually an informative session where we provide real life examples of recruitment and people management.  After all, information sharing is the new networking.

There is nothing wrong when you come with an agenda or two, but do practise good participant ethics and let’s not become the party pooper of the day, shall we?

*Names have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.

Event photos can be found here.