Many entrepreneurs dream of running a company with thousands of people. Of course, many of those same entrepreneurs struggle with managing hundreds, dozens or even a team of three. Managing people is difficult because the individual people working for you have different desires, personalities and challenges that you will have to accommodate. Making everyone happy and productive is hard enough with a few. For most managers, managing thousands is near impossible.
It's not impossible for Scott Chiu, board chairman of HCG China. HCG is the largest manufacturer of ceramic construction parts in China and the Philippines. (Yes they make toilets.) On a recent episode of my podcast, YPO's 10 Minute Tips From the Top, I interviewed Chiu, a board member of Young Presidents' Organization (YPO).
Chiu says running a company with 1,000 employees is "straight forward." He claims that while keeping large amounts of people is not without difficulty, there are a few key points to focus on for success.
1. Know your employees' qualities.
Knowing what your employees bring to the table is crucial to bringing out the best in them. Many of Chiu's employees are migrant workers who come from different provinces in China. His company makes it a goal to understand as much as possible about every employee and his or her background so they can adjust conditions to motivate. "Even though China is one country, each province has different dialects, different cultures," he asserted. "You have to understand where the majority of your employees are from that create differences but also creates advantages as well."
2. Make work feel like home.
Many of migrant workers at HCG travel thousands of miles to work for the company, leaving their homes and families behind. Many leave home to seek out a better opportunity, oftentimes leaving behind their spouses and kids for large portions of the year. The company expends resources to create a memorable and inspiring environment for the employees to work in on a daily basis. They will be motivated to give their best if they feel taken care of.
3. Help them attain their dreams.
For a long time, only coastal cities got a chance to develop in China. However, the country is going through an infrastructural shift that is seeing inland cities finally getting a chance to grow and prosper. This is making employee retention harder for coastal city companies, forcing them to reassess how they motivate employees to stay. Chiu works with the employees to meet their goals, be it supporting their families, advancement or a better life for their kids. Once employees are on track to accomplish their dreams, they have less reason to leave.
Each week on his podcast, Kevin has conversations with members of the Young Presidents' Organization (YPO), the world's premiere peer-to-peer organization for chief executives, eligible at age 45 or younger.