By Chae Eun-mi
Managing director of FedEx Korea
During difficult economic times, many companies around the world go all out to operate in the most cost-effective way. It is very natural that corporations try to save every penny in their pockets. Some global companies close down underperforming offices overseas; some restructure their organization; and some begin a round of lay-offs. This last practice is what I don’t like to see. I have always felt that employees are the essential asset of one’s company.
From my experiences working in Korea, Koreans are among the hardest working people in the world. They genuinely enjoy facing tough challenges and working through them, they are quick learners, and they are adept at finding ways to improve. In my humble opinion, they are the main driving force of Korea’s economy and fuel companies to succeed in and out of Korea.
Moreover, in a country where other resources that drive up the economy are relatively lacking, it is critical for business in Korea to put strong emphasis on its human resources. So, personally and as a managing director, I strongly believe in strengthening the “assets” rather than dismissing them in the blink of an eye.
Working as the managing director of FedEx Korea is a happy experience for me, because the company’s philosophy reflects what I want to accomplish as an executive. And more importantly, the philosophy fits very well in Korea.
FedEx is acknowledged as a great company to work for by its employees because our company is based on a philosophy called “people-service-profit”’ (p-s-p). We view ‘people’ as a top priority. More specifically, we support the belief that when the employees _ the internal customers _ are satisfied with their work, the quality of service to external customers will be carried through accordingly. Ultimately, improved internal service will lead to customer satisfaction, thereby creating profits for the company.
Operating under the p-s-p philosophy, FedEx Korea has accomplished quite a feat. We were selected as the Best Employers in Korea for four consecutive years from 2007 to 2010, and we were admitted to the Best Employer for Women in Korea’ in 2011. More importantly, our employee turnover rate of 2.94 percent truly showcases how effectively the p-s-p philosophy has been for us.
However, our practice of putting emphasis on people _ human resources _ before profit does not end there. Knowing the importance of people in Korea’s economy, FedEx Korea also tries to reach out to nurture and develop young people _ the future leaders of Korea. This is achieved through our corporate social responsibility activities. Two major activities that align with our corporate p-s-p philosophy come to my mind. One is the FedEx-JA (junior achievement) international trade challenge and the other is the FedEx career camp.
Now in its fifth year, the FedEx/JA international trade challenge helps students in the Asia Pacific region become familiar with the realm of world trade. From their experience, students enhance their knowledge of product distribution, promotion and sales. They also get a chance to develop their aptitude for competition, teamwork, risk-taking and self-confidence. By providing practical knowledge and know-how, we cultivate our young people and help them realize their potential as future business leaders.
Another program aligned to our emphasis on people is the FedEx career camp. We initiated this program in 2011 to provide practical assistance to university students about to launch their careers. The participating students, who are sometimes cut-off from mainstream global career opportunities because they attend universities outside of Seoul, participate in activities including one-on-one résumé clinics, a mock interview session and group projects.
Again, FedEx Korea tries to deliver concrete assistance to future leaders in Korea and to help them succeed in their career paths.
With a lack of natural resources that fuel a nation to develop, putting emphasis on our people is a good strategy for strengthening business prowess and success in Korea. I believe that nurturing talent, looking after employees and bringing on young people so they are a stronger “asset” to their future companies, are key to the growth of this country’s economy.