Making the world a better place
By MICHELLE BOON
Everything starts with a dream. A vision. The journey thus far for Eco World Development Group Bhd (EcoWorld) has been nothing short of phenomenal. Formed out of such perplexing times, EcoWorld has definitely proven that with great leadership, teamwork and good old-fashioned hard work, anything is possible. Just shy of its fourth year anniversary, the Group has established itself as a global leader in the property industry.
With a clear and collective vision shared amongst the senior leaders, what the organisation wanted to achieve has always been beyond profit.
Creating the EcoWorld culture
“We (the senior leaders) wanted to create something of value, something that will carry people to the future. The vision came from a collective discussion, capturing the essence of what we wanted to do. We wanted a company that is well-balanced,” said Datuk Chang Khim Wah, president and chief executive officer (CEO) of EcoWorld.
In order to fulfil that vision, it was a matter of gathering great minds and talents. With emphasis placed on attracting the right talents, it became vital to maintain the level of engagement and to create a culture where productivity is high and employees work with integrity.
Despite the uncertain market condition plaguing the country and its economy across various industries, the property market was hit the hardest. This was a time when Team EcoWorld were searching for possible solutions to curb the falling property sales. However, the organisation chose to invest its energy and revenue i keeping its employees safe and well taken care of.
“We really want to engage our staff as positively as possible. We make sure the seniors are very hands-on and we all work really hard. As for the younger staff, we conduct a lot of learning and growth sessions as we place a lot of emphasis on improving their skillsets,” said Chang.
Keeping communications open
It is exciting to be in a room filled to the brim with employees eagerly anticipating the morning’s dialogue session with Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin, chairman of EcoWorld. Like how a father dotes on his children, he speaks with sincerity and authenticity.
As the floor erupts with laughter as Liew cracks a hearty joke, the staff listens attentively to his emphasis on teamwork as the core strength of the company.
“I spend time for an hour or so to speak to employees and my job as chairman is also to explain why and help employees to realign the values of the companies. I’m always ready to listen to new ideas and discuss with everyone,” said Liew.
The Chairman 360° dialogue session is just one way the organisation practises transparency with its staff. With a steady pair of hands, the chairman provides a sense of stability and comfort for the staff.
“EcoWorld is a very happening place. In the morning you could be hard at work but in the afternoon you could be playing the kompang in front of ministers in a ballroom, or you could simply be in the sports club scuba-diving off the coast of Malaysia,” quipped Chang.
“Happening” is more of an understatement of the vibrant culture at EcoWorld. What’s even more impressive is that every event is managed and organised by the employees of EcoWorld. Talk about inclusiveness, it couldn’t get any better than this.
“We believe this encourages individualism and creativity by giving them opportunities to organise events like the luncheon or annual dinners.
“We want to maintain EcoWorld as a place where our employees find engagement, dynamism and cohesion. We believe in taking care of our employees first who will in turn take care of our customers. This is our vision of creating a better industry tomorrow and beyond,” said Chang.
Strength across different generations and cultures
The journey forward through innovation is not going to be easy, particularly working across the different age groups.
“I think EcoWorld’s greatest strength is the amount of exposure we get to different kinds of cultures and ethnicities. . . We also work in Australia and the United Kingdom and that gives us a different perspective on things. The market evolves and we need to keep up. So that’s why by having the new generation joining the company that would help us keep up with things and stay relevant in the market,” said EcoWorld executive director, Liew Tian Xiong.
With pride, Chang explained that it was no accident that EcoWorld has about 60% Gen Y employees, as the senior leaders wanted a workforce that is vibrant, young, willing to learn and willing to go all the way.
The truth is, regardless of the generations of people who work together, everyone shares the same values of EcoWorld.
We’ve only just begun
Everything started with a dream. A vision; and it is just unravelling.
“The journey thus far has been a truly humbling experience. We (the organisation) put in so much hard work and together, with a dedicated team of people, we can finally call ourselves developers once first homeowners move into their homes.
“The future is going to be exciting. To do that with the team right now is awesome as we prepare to scale to greater heights. We’re looking forward to more amazing times in EcoWorld,” enthused Chang.
And winning Aon’s “Best of the Best” award this year is truly a humbling experience. This is only the beginning of a wonderful, sustainable and beautiful dream.
“My career progression in EcoWorld has been nothing but extraordinary, triple promotion recently! One of the greatest perks of being part of Team EcoWorld is the management’s openness to new ideas. I would say this is my biggest motivation to work. Another aspect would be teamwork. You are never alone in this organisation; it is always about teamwork, teamwork and teamwork! It doesn’t matter who you are when working together, as teamwork allows us to leverage on each other’s strengths.”
Unity in Diversity: Anak-anak Malaysia Campaign
EcoWorld’s vision of “Creating Tomorrow and Beyond” is not limited to crafting beautiful and sustainable developments for future generations, it includes the commitment to actively contribute to society by being responsible corporate citizens.
One such initiative is the Anak-anak Malaysia Campaign in celebration of Malaysia’s diversity, and in promotion of unity, harmony and tolerance.
“Through events like this, it develops bonds across hierarchies and ethnicities. And when our people work together, they are able to transfer these amazing experiences back to the workplace. That helps to keep us engaged,” added Chang.
Liew added: “The cultural diversity that we enjoy in Malaysia is something unique to us and one that we should be very proud of.
“We believe in the policy of inclusiveness to build a strong team. Only then, we can create tomorrow and beyond.”
It was never just about the business unit. It is about working together as ONE.
Scaling up with the right kind of support and care
With such high levels of engagement at the workplace and high performance expected of employees, it is crucial to maintain a sense of balance and to provide a firm ground for everyone in EcoWorld.
“We offer more than just a workplace. It is an ecosystem that provides support and care,” said Angelin Low, divisional general manager of group talent management. Low and her team’s indefatigable efforts to ensure employees feel appreciated and treasured.
From simple yet thoughtful facilities and amenities such as child care rooms, nursing rooms, designated car park for expectant mothers, and company-provided lunches, such unmatched devotion comes by rarely from an organisation for its people.
EcoWorld Professional Women’s Network
Not only that, a new women’s network was launched in conjunction with the International Women’s Day 2016.
Dubbed the Professional Women’s Network (PWN), “It was conceptualised as a platform to acknowledge women’s achievements,” said Low.
Executive director, Datuk Voon Tin Yow, believes that this platform empowers women and at the same time, provides a necessary support system that fosters confidence and stability.
“It has never been a ‘men versus women’ world. But it’s about finding the right balance and embracing the strengths of both genders. Thus, propelling the organisation to greater heights,” said Voon.
In addition to that, Low highlighted that it is never to push the women agenda but to change the perception that the property industry is often perceived to be male-dominated. As more and more women have risen to positions of power and with 50% of management positions held by women in the fields of sales, marketing, customer care, finance and talent management, it is in the company’s best interest to help its female employees realise their full potential.
At the end of the day, Low stated: “You can be a professional who aspires to get to the top. You can also be a mum or dad who wants to raise a family. Everyone has a place in EcoWorld.”
Team EcoWorld shares
“My career progression in EcoWorld has been nothing but extraordinary, triple promotion recently! One of the greatest perks of being part of Team EcoWorld is the management’s openness to new ideas. I would say this is my biggest motivation to work. Another aspect would be teamwork. You are never alone in this organisation; it is always about teamwork, teamwork and teamwork! It doesn’t matter who you are when working together, as teamwork allows us to leverage on each other’s strengths.” —Steven Tang, Group Branding
“I joined EcoWorld as a fresh graduate early last year, and the journey has been eye-opening! This company seeks to provide a holistic learning platform to nurture and groom every employee. I have been given the opportunity to work across departments, contribute ideas, flex my creative muscles and take on leadership roles. Thus, I have grown as a team player, speaker and leader.” —Alina Leong, Group Talent Management
“It’s exciting! I joined EcoWorld because I was fascinated by its vibrant atmosphere and work-life integration. It is an amazing place to work, as it is a company with great leadership and talented people. Apart from work, in EcoWorld, we work hard and we play hard together. In short, EcoWorld brings out the best in an employee and being a part of it in itself is a great experience. Team EcoWorld!” —Sheetal Sharma, Group Corporate Governance
“Working in EcoWorld has been an enriching experience ever since joining the company as a fresh graduate. The caring and supportive work environment allows employees to learn about the industry and to grow as a professional through a unique corporate culture that emphasises teamwork and synergy.” —Ungku Iskandar, Group Liaison
“The EcoWorld Leadership Program (EWLDP) framework has enhanced my personal management style. I have now learnt to leverage on my own strengths and improve on my weaknesses. My mentor has given me valuable advice on goal setting through the many discussions that we have had. I have gained insightful knowledge about leadership that allows me to focus on what is important.” —Tracy Low, Sales & Marketing
“Being a part of EcoWorld Leadership Program (EWLDP) over the last year has allowed me to grow as a leader. I have gained invaluable lessons in working with new teammates and project mentors as well as learning about a totally different aspect of EcoWorld’s business.” —Azril Rashid, Investor Relations