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Saying “yes” to Asian talent through respect and wellbeing: YesAsia’s people  development framework
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Saying “yes” to Asian talent through respect and wellbeing: YesAsia’s people development framework

With a “never give up” spirit, YesAsia Holdings Limited boosts employee engagement through learning opportunities tailored to senior executives and individual contributors.

This article is brought to you by YesAsia Holdings Limited

Established in 1997, YesAsia Holdings Limited is an online retailer headquartered in Hong Kong that engages in the procurement and sale of third-party branded and unbranded Asian fashion and lifestyle, beauty, and entertainment products to customers around the world.

YesAsia’s customer-centric business model requires it to maintain close relationships with customers to identify and respond to their needs as well as the latest market trends. But the e-retailer takes this one step further by identifying and responding to employees’ needs as well. This is part of its seven corporate beliefs, which include the pillars of “people development”, “respect and dignity”, and “teamwork”.

YesAsia’s management team is led by founders Joshua Lau and Priscilla Chu (pictured above), both of whom have been among the pioneers in the e-commerce retail industry since 1998. Both have provided their trust and support to the Human Resources & Administration (HRA) team, motivating them to "never give up". As testament to their faith, the HRA team was able to implement high-impact initiatives for YesAsia’s workforce.

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“Our ‘People Development Framework 2022/23’ and our corporate wellness programme, ‘YS TEAMHUB’, are the two significant initiatives led by HRA in recent years to foster greater engagement and motivation among team members,” affirms Joely Tsang, Director of Human Resources & Administration, YesAsia Holdings Limited.

The People Development Framework 2022/23 involves YesAsia team members of all levels, and consists of four development programmes that aim to impart knowledge and skills, and shape attitudes and behaviours. The programme aligns corporate training with YesAsia's vision, its brand, and its strategic goals, ensuring a holistic approach to company and team member development.

The company’s ‘Let’s Walk the Talk’ development programme comprises scheduled learning opportunities tailored for senior executives, providing them with opportunities to develop and practice executive presence. The programme explores topics that are practical and relevant to senior executives, and enhances engagement through discussions in small cohorts, self-driven learning activities, and one-on-one coaching sessions.

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The “Our Culture Matters” corporate culture workshops explore the significance of YesAsia’s corporate beliefs, and engage team members in open discussions about creating growth opportunities and effectively addressing workplace challenges.

The People Development Framework 2022/23 is further supported by ‘Activity-based Learning’, which offers fun and interactive learning opportunities for individual contributors, and ‘Leadership Skills Training’, which enhances the leadership and personal effectiveness of managerial team members.

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The other high-impact initiative that Tsang cites is YS TEAMHUB, the official staff club of YesAsia, which was formed in order to unite people and foster a positive and collaborative environment.

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Having implemented both workforce campaigns this past year, the HRA team has further had its hands full looking after its multigenerational workforce. Tsang explains: “A one-size-fits-all approach will hardly engage today’s dynamic workforce. Hence, generational acceptance and sensitivity are part of the company’s diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives, together with our people-oriented practices.”

To this effect, YesAsia has undertaken a number of steps, such as the launch of an employee assistance programme in 2019, an employee discount programme created in 2020 offering employees discounted goods and services, a lactation room for working mothers available since 2021, and a flextime programme offering flexible working hours to improve employee morale, provide a sense of autonomy, and boost motivation.

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As a result of this holistic people approach, YesAsia has seen a number of benefits that extend beyond business revenue to talent milestones, such as increased motivation for self-improvement among the workforce, greater achievement of employer branding goals, and more. Tsang shares: “Not only has the engagement rate increased, from 14% in 2022 to 64% in 2023, but we have also attracted the attention of the Hong Kong Council of Social Service, who invited us to share our HR practices in a seminar on ‘Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Workplace’ in August 2023.”

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All of these HRA initiatives would not have been possible without the management team’s support. Tsang says: “I want to express my sincere gratitude for the trust and all the support provided by the management team for all HRA initiatives. Without these crucial components, initiatives would have remained on paper and in emails. Even when facing challenges and obstacles, the management team’s valuable feedback and positivity helped the team overcome them and pursue our goals.”

Concluding the conversation, she urges all leaders to recognise and understand the complexities and dynamics of a rapidly changing world to mitigate potential risks. This, she believes, can significantly improve the strategic abilities of a leader and lead to better outcomes.

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Photos / YesAsia Holdings Limited

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