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

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.

Top 10 Common Questions posed to a Head Hunter

top 10 common questions for headhunters

Contributor: Sher Yen

As head hunters, we throw a gazillion questions to the candidates in order to understand them better, but we are often placed on the interrogation chair too. Let us solve the mystery that you have been pondering by answering the top 10 common questions posed to a head hunter.

1. How did you get my name/number?
Recruiters often get referrals with the promise of not revealing their sources. Other methods include cold calls, connecting through social media such as LinkedIn and Facebook, sharing opportunity through online forums, and networking at events and exhibitions.

2. What is executive search?
In the Asia region, some employees might not be familiar with the term “executive search”. They call them recruiters regardless retainer or contingency firm. An executive search consultant or a head hunter is a person who identifies and approaches suitable candidates employed elsewhere to fill business positions in their clients’ company. Contingencies are committed to their cases, normally handling up to 4 or 5 cases. They spend time understanding the industry, meeting potential candidates face to face, sourcing for the best fit candidate.

3. What is this regarding?
Usually when a recruiter calls up, he or she is presenting a job opportunity. There are times when some candidates would misunderstood thinking the client has selected them when it is only in the preliminary stage. It is also beneficial to share your resume with recruiters to open up other job opportunities in future.

4. Who is your client?
During the first engagement, recruiters are hesitant to reveal the client’s name. Francesca Cohn from shared, “Usually, it’s because the client doesn’t want irrelevant candidates contacting them. The purpose of engaging a recruiter is to save their time. Once I screen the candidate, then I can assess whether it’s worthwhile providing detailed information about the company and opportunity.”

5. How long has the job been open?
Clients would engage with recruiters when they are unable to fill up the critical positions. Thus, it is normal if a job has been vacant for 4, 5 months. Though the longer a position is vacant, the more likely it is less important.

6. What is the reason for the open position?
There are mainly two possibilities: a new position or replacement. A new position often signifies an expansion of a company, or the need to delegate responsibilities because the existing employee is overwhelmed with work. A replacement is not necessary a bad sign as there are a few likelihoods: existing employee got promoted, there are no capable successor within the company, or an existing employee left for a better opportunity.

7. What is the compensation package?
Dollars and cents are important because we are living in a capitalist society. But other key factors to consider include career growth, exposure and the prospect company’s portfolio and culture. Recruiters are reluctant to share the compensation package for two reasons: one, salary differs with each company, even if they are from the same industry. Two, we advise clients to look into skill sets rather than remuneration, a good candidate always comes with a price.

Common questions by clients
8. Why should a candidate work with a recruiter than to apply directly?
Cohn commented, “It is all about relationships, and often times, the candidates that are referred to me are passively looking. I read a survey once that said more than 50% of the workforce at that time would consider a new position if someone contacted them directly, but would not look for a job online or apply to a job posting. This is what motivates me when I’m direct sourcing.” An executive recruiter is motivated and has the time to cultivate relationships with folks that might not be looking today or would be open for the right opportunity but aren’t actively looking for a new job. And an executive recruiter has no ethical issue with direct sourcing from a competitor.

9. Why would your candidates be of better quality than those that apply directly to us?
Posting job vacancies on job portals would attract more irrelevant applications because it is as simple as a click away. Head hunters are like snipers, we have higher pertinence in getting the right candidate than shuffling through hundreds of resumes. We find out what are the Must Have Nice to Have for the position, source for talents from relevant industries and these are usually passive candidates who are less likely to job hop.

10. What makes you think a headhunted candidate would not join another competitor if he or she is being headhunted again?
Firstly, it creates a bad reputation for the candidate. Secondly, it does not look good in their resume. Thirdly, as executive search firm we emphasize on onboarding program for new hires. This is an essential effort from both employer and employee to increase the retention rate while reducing onboarding failures.

F.U.D.E.S. For Thought

Contributor: Sher Yen

A field of game is more than just the sport, the athletes, or the triumph of your favourite team; it is a learning instrument where leaders can pinch a point or two.

What is the one common connection among soccer, basketball and rugby?

If you answered ball, you are right. All these games require a ball to function.

But the ball is just an extended tool in these adrenaline pumping, impassioned activities.

These games, in its essence require the formation of a team to work.

After all, what excitement could one derived from seeing two individuals chasing pitifully after a black-and-white panelled ball in a 7,140 square metre field? Brazil would have lost its identity should the whole soccer economy collapsed.

Team sports are games that rely heavily on teamwork, unity, and discipline. Like a pack of wolves, an alpha male will guide its pack. Its leadership will either lead the pack to its prime or succumb to the hands of cold, harsh reality – starvation and death.

Ted Sundquist, the man who spent sixteen years in the National Football League, is eminent for his F.U.D.E.S. leadership system. Inspired by the legendary coaching agent Bob Lamonte who instilled the thought of forming his own vision before leading a team, Ted infused his coaching experience in the Air Force and NFL to create his own “road map”.

As his book titled “Taking Your Team to the Top: How to Build and Manage Great Teams like the Pros”, it is apparent that running a company, be it a global corporation or small business, builds on the same foundation as leading a sport team.

The acronym F.U.D.E.S (pronounced as foods) derives from the first letter of each keyword – Focus, Unity, Direction, Excellence & Success.

As a leader, you need to keep all aspects of the organisation centred on its objective and goals.
Focus and concentration will be the driving force of change.

The spirit of oneness makes each member place “team” above personal objective or aspirations. Everyone understands the importance of their role and how their efforts contribute to the goal of the organisation.

The alpha male guides and directs its pack in the most effective hunting formation. Similar habit should be practiced by leaders. Leaders will need to create detail plans and procedures in every phase. Work to create opportunities rather than to avoid failure

The team should achieves excellence by working harder and smarter.

The driving factor in decision-making is knowledge. Every interaction is an opportunity to generate information. Knowledge leads to the right people and in turn the creation of the right processes and procedures to produce results.

Players and employees should be cultivated as “assets” rather than used as “commodities”.

On the field is the inevitable result of implementing and executing focus, unity, direction and excellence. You need to create a work environment that convinces the staff and players that they are capable of achieving the “Impossible”.

Achieving the “Impossible” is about change. The road to SUCCESS is about how quickly and effectively this change is implemented. Change occurs more efficiently when people are excited about the future rather than resisting it. Only then will positive concrete results occur.

SUCCESS brings long-term organizational stability, a winning energy both on and off the field, and ultimately a club that others seek to “model” themselves.

Feast or Famine, Win or Lose, Profit or Lost – Team management determines them all.