PKT’s Michael Tio tells JOY LEE that a flexible and empowering working environment helps to motivate workers to go the extra mile.

EMPLOYERS often talk about how difficult it is to retain young talents in a company. And it was no different for PKT Logistics Group Sdn Bhd in its earlier days.

“It’s hard to get young talents for a logistics company like ours. They think it’s very old school and boring,” says CEO Datuk Michael Tio.

So rather than compel young staff to follow an established way of running the company, Tio tweaked the corporate culture and practices at PKT to motivate and nurture young ” as well as existing ” talents in the company.

According to Tio, open communication, trust and empowerment are some of the key elements in working successfully with Generation-Y.

He notes that young people value connectivity, and being able to communicate openly with their superiors helps foster trust and a good working relationship among colleagues.

One of PKT’s earlier efforts to bridge the communication gap was to adopt a Facebook-compulsory approach more than two years ago. This has enabled the employees to be more involved with the growth of the company as they are regularly contributing to the conversation at the workplace.

Tio also believes in providing his employees with a flexible work environment to encourage teamwork. PKT’s main hub in Shah Alam has many communal spaces where the staff can work away from their desks, socialise or just relax.

“Our office is not just a workspace. That’s why we have a sauna, big gym and nice pantry areas. The pantry is the most important place in the office. I’m happy to see them chit-chatting and eating at different times of the day. There is Wi-Fi so they can work anywhere, including in the pantry,” he says.

Most employers would hesitate to give their staff so much flexibility. But Tio emphasises the importance of trusting one’s staff to be responsible for their own work and leisure time rather than to dictate how many work hours they put in.

“Because you trust them, they are empowered to do more. They are proud to work for the company. And they won’t purposely abuse that trust. We can’t push them because that means we are constantly monitoring and scolding them. They are not children.

Once we have laid down the target for the year, we should motivate them to work towards that goal. That means cultivating a positive attitude and environment that will nurture them to work,

he explains.

He adds that employees should be allowed to do what they want once they are done with their day’s work.

If they are done with their work, it is fair to let them do something else that they like instead of giving them more work that someone else can’t finish. We shouldn’t punish people for being able to finish their work efficiently” he says.

Tio notes that companies will find it difficult to grow and keep with the times if they do not adapt to attract young talent.

There are other companies that are starting to incorporate all these into their work culture, and it is working for them. You need to bring yourself down to their level. When you connect with them, they will be motivated and inspired to do a lot for the company.

“The young talents will improve and innovate for their company,’ he says.