In the second of a four-part LinkedIn HR Leadership series exclusive to HRD, MINOR Group’s chief people officer, Jeed - Patamawalai Ratanapol, shares six principles on how HR can help a brand go from startup to global phenomenon
19000 rooms. 151 properties. 1800 restaurants. 307 retail trading outlets. 110 different nationalities of people working together across 32 markets.
When I think about these numbers, it makes me take a deep breath and wonder at what we as a business conglomerate have been able to achieve together. It is the story of a Thai startup which beat all odds over the last four decades, to become a global phenomenon.
It has been an exhilarating journey: a journey with people - for people.
A story about amazing entrepreneurs, great leaders and daring challenges that could never have been imagined when we started 40 years ago.
Today, I want to share six principles which I believe helped us reach there. Six principles which I believe can work for any organization, be it a startup or a mature workplace.
Six principles that helped guide me to become the professional I am.
“When you think about business growth, the economy doesn’t drive numbers. People and culture do”
In an increasingly competitive hospitality and service sector, where economic downturn and changing consumer behaviour is part of the norm, the one thing that has always stood out for me, is driving the right culture. That - is a brand’s biggest differentiator.
At MINOR group, we live that philosophy. Our belief is that if we can hire and groom talent which has the best potential, then they will drive themselves to propel organizational growth. It is this vision that has ultimately woven operational excellence into the DNA of our organization. It is part of our culture.
So, irrespective of whether you are in accounting, finance or the front desk – operational excellence, in service of the customer, is core for us. One has to hold the highest standards of efficacy to deliver the best customer experience – which for us is the biggest driver of organisational growth.
“Potential is part of a mindset”
For me, potential is about the ability to create a future. To drive what the organisation will need in the future to be successful.
That ultimately is more of a mindset than a skill.
A mindset that allows you to go beyond your comfort zone, dares you to take risks, question the status-quo and stretch the boundaries of what you think you are capable of. At MINOR group, our people policy hinges on identifying this potential in the right people. It requires a high level of self-awareness and accountability where you can truly ask yourself whether what you are doing every day is driving value for the customer and if the answer is no, then you stop.
Skills can be learnt, but the key to unlocking true potential lies in attitude and in MINOR group when we see that attitude, we make a hiring offer.
“Brand doesn’t build people. People build brands”
If we look around and see iconic brands, they have one thing in common. They have all successfully changed with the changing dynamic of customer lifestyle. They have kept themselves relevant to ever changing customer expectations.
It is one of the biggest challenges for any organisation. Leadership and management has to predict this change and be nimble enough to make rapid adjustments. For MINOR Group, focus on driving 100% customer satisfaction is something that keeps our leadership team awake at night.
Customer focus is our core value. We have to stay proactive, monitor customer expectations to understand the trends, so that we can provide a service before it’s even asked for. We then have to hire the right people and the right bench, who can imbibe the same value.
Personally for me, successful brands are built by empowering people to deliver 100% of customer satisfaction, repeatedly. They have to counter social, technological, political and cultural vagaries and keep in sync with the expectations of newer generations of customers.
“We all want to work for the best company, with the best leader and the best colleagues. But how do we make that happen?”
At MINOR Group, we have a simple philosophy. Our talent brand is built by the people who work with us. The value of our talent brand is communicated by them, in their voice on digital platforms and social networks. Not by glitzy ad campaigns driven by millions of dollars.
People bring authenticity when they tell their own stories to which others can relate to. It is this authenticity which is key. When they talk about what they are proud of at work, their passion and the fun they have in charting new horizons, it opens a door for those who don’t work with us, to look into. They understand the culture we value as an organization, the tenets that have made us successful and the opportunities that we provide for inclusive growth.
We believe that even though we are a global conglomerate growing rapidly across geographies, entrepreneurship is at the heart of our growth story. We want our employees to feel like entrepreneurs and act like professionals. Our leaders are people who were keen to spot opportunities that would benefit the organization and forged ahead in an entrepreneurial spirit to convert those opportunities into new businesses, new processes and new systems. They are all individual entrepreneurs who can write their own success story.
The beauty is that the collective of their individual success stories is the unified success story of MINOR Group.
That according to me is the essence of building a talent brand. It is kind of like choosing the right life partner. The margin of error is small, so building authenticity and trust is core to the right foundation.
“Employees are the best advocates of a brand”
Good talent begets good talent. Given our entrepreneurial spirit at MINOR Group, we want every employee to build their succession plan while on the job. We empower them to talk about our culture and their lifestyle at work, on social networks like LinkedIn where professionals can engage. We don’t want to create advertising to communicate our culture. Our people are our best brand ambassadors.
When they celebrate their success at work and share it with a larger community, it enables them to connect with others who share the same values and passion. It enables them to make new connections, exchange new ideas and attract new possibilities.
We celebrate those whom we value through recognition and they in return embody our culture as part of their own identity. This creates word of mouth advocacy which is far more powerful than carefully crafted marketing messaging.
If I look into our next five years, I can easily say we will need an additional 50,000 employees. When you think about that number in isolation it seems large, but if we reverse our outlook a little it can be so simple.
If every single employee in our office referred one person from their community networks, we would reach that number easily without having to spend millions of dollars and still get the best talent at the same time - because as I said earlier, good talent begets good talent.
“Attracting good people is not just the job of the recruiting function or HR division. It is a belief and value system which has to be lived by every single employee for us to attract the best talent.”
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