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Anthill Realtors Pte Ltd - Rhonda Wong

How to get your employees to speak their mind

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Rhonda Wong, CEO of Anthill Realtors, also managing recruitment for the company, sets up regular candid sharing sessions with her employees, in a bid to set the right talent foundation for this startup.

Read on for ideas on implementing similar monthly / weekly sessions for your employees, from case studies to cupcakes.

I see talent management as a two-way relationship where the company has to be suitable for the talent, and the talent suitable for the company.

I believe that one can only shine when they are in a suitable environment, working towards a vision they believe in. Therefore, it is important for me to share my vision for the company and core values and see if that aligns with theirs.

It is also important for me to understand their dreams and know for sure that my company will be able to support them in the long run.

Getting talent to speak their mind

A lot of companies take a long time to figure out what suits an employee best and make assumptions about what their employees like. However, I prefer to ask them directly if they are happy with their jobs and get them to share what they want to achieve in their lives, especially with their career.

Most often, these sharing sessions tell me a lot more about my staff, as compared to the quarterly reports and updates. It also helps me to guide them in the right direction for career progression.

In addition, the candid sharing session also helps me analyse if his, or her, current job is aligned with their career goals.

I’ve learnt that not everybody wants more money, especially if it comes with more stress and responsibilities. There are also people with untapped potential that is easily identifiable and can be groomed.

I’ve learnt that not everybody wants more money, especially if it comes with more stress and responsibilities.

However, there are also people who are very comfortable and content with where they are and generally do not perform well under stress.

If my team member’s strengths are not straightforwardly identifiable, I will ask them simple questions such as, “What do they think?”

If I see that they yearn to achieve more, I will discuss possible new roles that would fit their progression or send them for the appropriate trainings, to upgrade their skills. If they are happy with their current role and are doing it perfectly, I don’t see a need to disrupt that.

Show it to know it

In this fast-paced industry, adapting and learning is crucial to the job. Hence, I try to nurture a culture of constant learning with my team.

Every Wednesdays, we will gather and share learning points on a case study or a successful person or business. We also brainstorm on how we can apply these thinking to our own business.

Every Fridays, one of our partners conduct a class for the team and the topics are boundless, ranging from “regional affairs”, “never saying no to your customers” or even “investments philosophies”.

I ensure that the team is constantly learning new skills, through courses such as digital marketing, sales and persuasion, and the art of presentation.

I look for potential employees who show a huge interest in the job, and are responsible and honest. These are the key factors that are important to me.

A company that continues to hire unpleasant employees, for the sake of sales numbers, will end up driving away the good people.

With that said, I also value employees who are driven, creative, intelligent, hardworking and active team players.

Having a good attitude helps build a positive and supportive working environment for everyone. Such an environment is often more important than a clever character who may be able to excel at their jobs but would completely fail in embracing the corporate culture.

A company that continues to hire unpleasant employees, for the sake of sales numbers, will end up driving away the good people.

I also feel it is extremely important to keep staff morale high. As such, our office pantry always has food for the hungry soul. Every Wednesdays, we also have extra goodies such as dim sum, cupcakes and soup to look forward to.

We also have movie nights at our office once a month, celebrate birthdays and reward performing employees with vacations.

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