There are people in your team, or in your company; however, have you ever thought how many of them can really collaborate in a team to perform well enough to meet clients’ satisfaction or even more? Especially, that is crucial in Southeast Asian companies whether they can win the competition for highly skilled human resource because of the high mobility of human resource, and a company’s growth is depends whether you can acquire people with great potential and have them work continuously.
For example, there are an increasing number of global companies coming to Southeast Asia for “offshore development,” which they consign system and application developments overseas as with the background of cost reduction and shortage of engineers, and each development base can be more competitive with excellent engineering human resource who are capable of delivering products or services with credible quality as ordered within the deadline.
Founded in 2013, Asian Tech Co., Ltd. (Headquarters：Da Nang City, Vietnam) had the same issue of “training excellent human resources” for the company had increased in its workers rapidly up to 200 within two years after its foundation due to its capital allowance with Monstar Lab, Inc. (Headquarters：Tokyo, Japan) in May, 2015.
However, having working experiences in Japan as an engineer, the CEO of Asian Tech, Truong Dinh Hoang, established the system that excellent human resources who have been trained within the company will train new members by “raising each worker’s ownership.” As the result, its workers have built their relationships of trust with clients so that they are often chosen for the next project as well. We interviewed Mr. Hoang the key and how to train “human resource with ownership.”
Create a company based on working experiences in Japan
Q. What brought you to start your business in Vietnam?
I studied in Japan while I was in university and then worked there, but I was interested in “creating some service useful for many people” rather than doing business by myself. My first job was an engineer for a Japanese system developing company, and I obtained several new programming languages every time working for a different company.
On the other hand, I could not know what users of my product said or felt about my product, so I changed my job. In the new environment, I could join projects from planning and feel users’ reaction to what I made. Later, an application of my developing began to be on track in Vietnam, and I decided to go back and started my business.
Q. Does your experience in Japan have any influence your current company?
Based on my working experience in Japan, there are two things I especially cared when I made this company. The first thing is to understand Vietnamese and communicate based on their culture. Recently, there are a lot of Japanese companies opening their offshore developing bases, but their local workers leave their company because they keep their own way.
Vietnamese people are really industrious and hard-working, while they are not very confident with themselves and get abashed when their mistakes are pointed out in public. In terms of leader-member relationships, members become uneasy and doubt that they are not expected or trusted if they feel the distance between. So, I take these characteristics in creating our company culture as well as Japanese good sides.
The second point is to think much of every worker’s happiness. Many of Japanese working ways cannot be said “happy” because they are exhausted while commuting in train or they work with a tired face everyday. I think what defines happiness differs depending on each person, but at least we can be happy if we are doing what we like. In order to do it, we have to understand ourselves to make what we like clear.
Influenced by the environment and timing, our sense of value and perspective are likely to change, so I try keeping the environment where each one can stop and recognize what they really like once in a while. I expand our company and its business caring everyone’s happiness but not just numbers of the workers. Thus, we strongly care about recruiting, training and career making so that each one knows why they work and keep their motivation.
Recruit untrained graduates who grew in two-month training
Q. What is unique about your recruiting?
The most unique point is that we have a two-moths training for all new graduate applicants about engineering skills and how to proceed your work before interviewing and document eliminations. We have a specialized organization with about 50 trainers and a newly-build large training room accommodating 50 people. In the training, each applicant can choose the skill they want to learn such as developing android or web designing and are taught the skills mainly in practical levels.
Applicants are evaluated by attitudes toward working, and 360 degree feedbacks from both assigned evaluators and other applicants based on their contribution to the development through the training. With 200 applicants this year, we had four trainings and recruited 60 of them who met the passing line.
Raise ownership by describing in their own words
Q. Is there anything you intend to do in training your workers?
I raise everyone’s ownership by providing opportunities of describing their ideal career or what they undertake in their own words. There are three different opportunities to describe; a whole company meeting, feedback time for each one’s work, and company information sessions for recruitment. Held every moth, our whole company meeting is unrelated to our business; we all focus on thinking about our mindset for happy life and how to design our career. In the meeting, not only I talk to them, but also some workers express their thoughts. Regardless of their career in our company or their age, they present their goals and resolutions, which recognizes presenters more about what they say as well as make the other workers more courage and stimulated.
Also, every Monday morning, we make random groups beyond project teams to share each one’s current work and problems and ask questions and feedback each other. Telling others about your own work brings you responsibility, and feedbacks from others give you new perspectives and findings.
Additionally, managers explain the company’s vision, behavioral principles, and business projects in recruiting sessions. Putting what the company values into their word enhances their consciousness that they are representing our company. By expanding what you talk about from your personal life and your work to your company, what you represent becomes wider.
Train managers with ownership by specified career paths and practice
Q. How do you train and evaluate the managers?
I especially focus on training excellent leaders and managers who will lead this company. In our company, everyone starts their career as an engineer, but after growing in one’s career at some point, their path is divided in technical leaders, business managers and technical expert engineers. Each path has small career steps, there is a specific job description for each step. After building your career as a manager or a senior manager, it is possible to become the president of a subsidiary eventually.
Technical leaders who direct engineering teams and business managers who build our business by communicating with clients are the core of our company because they are required to achieve result with members in a team, so we have soft skill trainings for them. Famous lecturers from Ho Chi Minh City offer workshops for us about various contents such as coaching and management communication. They teach and practice what they learn from the lecture to their team member. I pick up the lecturers, but our managers will actively decide everything other than that.
Based on these lectures, each manager and leader is evaluated based on their management skill. The criteria are not only the result but also their team members’ attitude toward working such as whether they are excited to work or enjoy their teamwork. It has been closed to three years since our company was found, and finally we have managers who represent our company.
More workers work with ownership
Q, What is brought as a result by training members and managers?
The biggest change is they stop making excuses when there is a trouble. In the beginning, there were members who blamed others or clients for troubles. However, now we have more workers who takes responsibility to the trouble and move into action. Nowadays, there is scarcely any manager who makes excuses. Each member has a role and responsibility, and I always tell everyone to “take everything as your matter if there is something wrong.”
It is possible for us to change what is related to us, but we cannot change others. If you take everything as your matter, you can come up with a solution for sure, and you come to think how to solve the problem naturally. On the contrary, if you blame others, you will not think by yourself, which never leads you to the solution. I believe that by looking everything from this perspective, anyone can change their life and success in the end.
I definitely want my workers to understand this thought, so my goal is that everyone in our company can practice this idea individually. In that meaning, I am very happy that many of them stop complaining and making excuses. Also, there was a change within the relationship between us and our clients. As the consequence of improving their attitudes for work, self-awareness and the quality of thinking by raising their attitudes, they came to make suggestions to the clients actively as a team instead of just finishing their work. Furthermore, now we have more clients who choose our company for the next project as well after achieving their trust.
Experience comes from both knowledge and trying and becomes “personal magnetism”
Q. What do you think will be necessary for the managers within the company?
With the more members you lead, the more “personal magnetism” is required, which is attracts and interests others enough to influence others. Thus, I provide the workers with various opportunities to try a new thing. Personal magnetism is brought only by positive energy, so if you can produce own positive energy, you can have many excellent human resource involved. The positive energy comes from those who have wholesome mind or a great aura, so people should accumulate various experiences to achieve it.
Recently, we are redefining what is “experience” by remaking our company philosophy. For me, the definition of experience is “a multiplication of knowledge and trying.” Although some may say they have ten years’ experience, it is not experience which grows yourself if they have continued the same thing without acquiring new knowledge. On the other hand, knowledge without trying is not what is actually practical.
The reason why I value describing in own words is that people can change a general idea to their knowledge by putting it in their own words. If you continue to say what you learn over and over, it becomes a part of your knowledge. I often tell my workers that it is important to change your way of thinking if you want to change yourself. If you input positive thoughts, you can take them into action, and by continuing it becomes your habit, then your character, and finally your life. I realize that anyone can change through training our workers.
Create services useful for many people in an attractive company with attractive people.
Q. What do you want to achieve in your company in the future?
As the company, I would like to expand our business besides offshore developing to provide a service which helps many people in the future. My goal of starting a business was not offshore developing but developing a service used by many people, and has not changed. We have build the basis of developing since we founded. From now, we will have many people who represent our company, so I am thinking what technology actually helps people to be prepared when the time comes in the future. It is my ideal to have workers within our company who run a commonly-known service in ten years.
With this view, I want to train those who exemplify our company vision and create an environment where company representatives can exert their utmost ability. My company has just started, so it is the key for our company growth to develop in the center of people. The company consists of people, so I want to make an attractive company by training “personal magnetism.”
Asian Tech has created their culture of “taking everything with ownership and make action” because Mr. Hoang has kept caring the workers, believing in them, considering their happiness and working on to change. As a result, the company has grown and built trustful relationships with clients. The systems cannot be changed easily, but we can change our mindset and attitude toward to team members. It is people with ownership who brings results that will become the center of the organizations in the future.