Keeping on track
by Charles Mak
Hopping from one job to another may sound exciting, especially at a time when market sentiment stands strong. In the long term however, loyalty, commitment and hard work always go the distance.
This is the view of Janet Tang, who looks set to make her first job her last. Ms Tang joined DHL Express (Hong Kong) Limited in 1987 immediately after graduation. Starting out in a desk job as an operations clerk, her 20-year-plus career at DHL has involved an array of positions including sales service representative, telesales, field sales, senior account executive and global account executive. Last year, she received yet another promotion and became industry development manager of the company's global and multi-national customers division.
"At DHL, you're never idle," Ms Tang reveals. "The fast-moving logistics industry presents a wealth of challenges. The company is well poised to transform challenge into opportunity and in turn, facilitates personal and professional growth for staff. This is primarily what retains my focus and loyalty to the company."
Echoing this, Angus Wong, business planning manager, adds that the DHL culture is also a major pull. After completing a business degree at City University of Hong Kong in 1993, Mr Wong initially worked in the credit card marketing business, but left three years later for a more challenging position at DHL's product development division, where he began a prosperous career.
"Everybody here plays a key role and simultaneously works as a closely-knit team towards implementing common goals and a shared vision, helping to foster a corporate culture in which people work, make a contribution and stay."
A leader in her own right, Ms Tang forecasts, monitors and analyses sales performances and revenue, manages a team of staff and also performs departmental tasks and meets customers on a regular basis. She believes maintaining a positive attitude can always help in the profession. "This is particularly true for people in a sales role," she explains. "The world is changing and so are customer needs. You must understand such needs and seek to establish a common ground and develop trust," she says. "Internally, you need to build a strong team to deliver quality customer services."
The best way to motivate staff is to inculcate job ownership, she adds. "People are our biggest asset. My experience in the service industry has taught me that employee satisfaction always leads to enhanced quality and greater customer satisfaction," she says.
Balancing the needs of internal and external customers helps form a common platform, Mr Wong notes. "Internally, you must also learn to understand each department's priorities and offer support," he stresses.
Adhering to this ethos, Mr Wong successfully implemented a major price restructuring exercise involving many stakeholders, which subsequently impacted positively on customers and the company. He notes however that the overall success of the endeavour was only possible due to the collective efforts of various departments within DHL.
"A wide network spanning the functions of a company is exceptionally useful"
His hard work has helped him expand his capabilities and build a "personal brand" which is as straightforward as an immediately-explained acronym ABC â attitude, behaviour, consistency. "First and foremost, you must enjoy what you do and know what makes you tick. The right attitude is also important alongside producing consistently high-quality work." Continuous upgrades are also necessary and in this regard Mr Wong completed an MBA last year to stay ahead of the game.
"On a professional level, communicating common goals and individual needs is vital for reaching agreement or consensus," Ms Tang says. "It is also essential to understand each other's standpoint, roles and responsibilities." Bestowed with numerous industry accolades, including the HKMA distinguished salesperson award, Ms Tang has always looked to building a trusting and mutually beneficial relationship with the people she encounters.
In spite of a busy work schedule, Ms Tang maintains a healthy balance. Her normal working day does not stretch beyond seven o'clock in the evening and when she leaves the office, she leaves her work behind.
"Quality of life is as vital as quality of work," Mr Wong agrees. To keep abreast of ever-changing market trends, he bookmarks or subscribes to market intelligence sources and spends an hour reading and digesting the information while travelling to work. This liberates time at the weekend for friends and family.
Over the years, Mr Wong has worked towards fulfilling the 4Ps (product, price, place, promotion) in marketing, and is on track to management and beyond. "Set a long-term goal," he advises. "Don't turn away from opportunities, even though embracing them may mean extra work."
"Voice your opinions and seek assistance whenever you need it. Open yourself up to networks and friendships. A wide network spanning the functions of a company is exceptionally useful," Ms Tang adds. "Always offer quality and you're on the right track to success."
Taken from Career Times 16 May 2008, p. B18
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