Logistics company PKT is happy to help SMEs cultivate a work culture that prioritises employees and empowers them to do more, reports JOY LEE.

IT is often said that mentoring gives one a much-needed advantage, be it at the workplace or as an entrepreneur.

And those who have come under the wings of PKT Logistics Group Sdn Bhd CEO Datuk Michael Tio likely will agree that it indeed helps to learn from someone who has been there.

Tio believes there is much to gain from being mentored and from mentoring others.

But mentoring is not just about passing on wise words, he notes.

“You share and learn through action. We believe in leadership by example. And when you have something good, it’s good to share,” he says.

One of those who have gleaned from Tio’s practices and subsequently changed the culture at his company is Feruni Ceramiche Sdn Bhd CEO Ngei Chee Chau.

PKT first caught Ngei’s attention some two years ago. Out of curiosity, he dropped in on PKT during the company’s career day to find out why there was a long line of people waiting to work for the logistics group.

Ngei soon saw that Tio was doing things differently at PKT, making the logistics provider a rather interesting place to work at. He decided then to try to learn from Tio and was quick to sign up for the first Hull University Business School (HUBS) programme study tour, organised by Tio, in 2013.

“He picked my brains throughout the trip. He asked about management, talent, culture, everything. He really maximised the trip with us,” Tio recalls.

And if one were to observe what goes on at Feruni, one would notice that a similar lingo and work culture has been cultivated at the tilemaker.

These days, Feruni emphasises the importance of developing its talent, which Ngei says is the company’s biggest asset.

Feruni also recently revamped its headquarters to reflect a more vibrant workspace with facilities such as a gym, recreation room and a library among other things.

Ngei is passionate about transforming the tiling industry, much like Tio is doing for the logistics industry.

Tio notes that other business owners or managers have also started to adopt similar work practices and have enjoyed a positive change as employees responded favourably to a more conducive corporate culture – that empowers them to do more.

“They have learned to manage certain issues in their companies, and they find that their staff have improved and are innovating for the company’s growth. It shows that the culture really does work. This is why we think this is the right way to go,” says Tio.

The close relationship between Tio and the other entrepreneurs also provides all of them with a support community where they continue to encourage each other to be better entrepreneurs and employers.

Tio is open to having SMEs knocking on his door for help or to be mentored. He relishes being able to share what he practices with other business owners to improve the collective work culture in the industry.

“We have a lot of companies and even government agencies coming to visit us to see how we do things. We are open to other SMEs coming to us.

“It is important to pass on what we know. It is also part of our social responsibility because at the end of the day, employees benefit from having a good work culture in the company,” he adds.