Few companies can claim to be successful both in terms of making profit and building a sustainable and life-giving HR culture at the same time. And yet, I think those two aspects make a great company. On the one hand, it’s about making money and innovating to target the customers’ wants, but on the other hand, it’s also about making sure the people who drive the company to success, its employees, get treated well.
According to Peachy Cheng Medina, managing director of The Sleep Specialist company Uratex and guest speaker at a recent Anvil Business Club exchange forum, that is how her company operates. The company prides itself not only with a successful and growing line of products that make sleep more comfortable, but also with an employee support system their staff seems happy with.
Founded in the 1960s by Robert and Natividad Cheng, and having experienced ups and downs — including its warehouse being burned down in 1970 — Uratex prides itself on these critical success factors:
1. Ambition, Leadership, and Purpose
“I have four bosses, now three with the passing away of my dad (founder Robert Cheng), and they provide us with ambition,” Medina said. “They keep on moving the finish line. My dad would always start a new business, my mother would never forgive you for poor work, and Kuya Eddie will always ask for more improvement. And then Uncle William will always require us to be nothing less than world class.”
Medina said that it is important that a company has visionaries, echoing the tones of fellow people in the world of business. The drive that these visionaries have does not only affect their own generation, but succeeding ones as well. Moreover, according to Medina, the four Uratex visionaries always have a sense of purpose, too.
“And they give us a sense of purpose because they are kind, humble, never seeking recognition for themselves, and they are civic leaders always working for a greater purpose of serving society or humankind. So, this gives us some sort of soul and spirit in the company,” said Medina.
2. Customer Intimacy
“We really listen to our customers. We like to know our customers better than anyone else, and then we like to keep our brand relevant, attuned to customer needs,” said Medina.
Medina brings up a very interesting point. She said that Uratex would like to “adhere to communicating our brand values” and they “like to continuously communicate our relevance.”
Why? For Medina, it’s critical that people know these things because even if a company’s products are world class in quality but no one knows about them, sales won’t be successful. Know what your customers really need and communicate with them effectively.
3. Operational Excellence
“One of our strategies to attain operational excellence is getting global experts, global partnerships, and exposure trips for our people,” said Medina.
So, for Uratex, global partnerships don’t just mean additional consultations for the company, but additional opportunities as well. For instance, Uratex has had training sessions and meetings with experts from Florida and Belgium.
4. Valuing People
“In our company, we practice what we call ‘participative management,’” said Medina. This involves a clear distinction of roles. Upper management is concerned with “how to survive,” while the middle managers are concerned with “how to control.”
But at Uratex, it also involves the workforce giving three suggestions every three months. Their workforce is 4,000 strong. And so, every quarter, they have thousands of new ideas for improving the business.
“In valuing people, aside from being empowered, they have to be motivated,” Medina said. Aside from generating ideas, Uratex employees also get the chance to participate in exposure trips, training, and mentorship programs. For them, the complete employee experience revolves around five factors adapted from the ideas of author Josh Bersin: meaningful work, hands-on management, productive environment, great opportunities, trust in the leadership, and overall health and well-being.
Indeed, running a successful business is complex, and there are many factors at play. Hopefully, with Uratex’s business model as an example, other taokes are encouraged to discern what business model suits them best, finding inspiration from Medina and her company.
The author of this article:
An accomplished young Chinese Filipino writer and media personality, Aaron S. Medina is associated with the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the Ateneo de Manila University Chinese Studies Program, the Philippine Association for Chinese Studies, and CHiNOY TV. He has a passion for truth, justice, and Pokémon, too! Follow him on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aaron.joseph.s.medina/