Not many companies believe in giving their staff 30% of the profits or in handing out trips abroad as reward. PKT Logistics is one of the few that does, writes MEK ZHIN.

SAY the names Machu Picchu, glaciers, Rocky Mountain and the great migration of Africa, and it’s likely they would ring a bell with most – thanks to media exposure. But how many people have you met who can say they have witnesses these in person and not through an electronic glass screen at home?

The top management of PKT Logistic Group Sdn Bhd can not only lay claim to having personally seen these incredible sights and many others but also to the fact that it was done on the company’s dime.

The driving force behind the company’s modern approach to management, group managing director and chief executive officer Datuk Michael Tio says this 14-year-old tradition of rewarding staff with trips is still going strong at PKT.

“Generally speaking, I believe that 30% of the company’s profits should be given back to the staff. I have found a lot of ways to make the workplace a fulfilling one that is happy, honest and healthy,” he says.

While the company does have an annual retreat for everyone, the most recent one being to Bali, the jewel of the crown remains the top-tier management trips, whose duration seem to get longer with each passing year.

Tio’s vision is to travel to all seven continents of the world with his upper management team, which is why this year’s trip, their longest to date at 19 days, will be mostly on board one of the two state-of-the-art National Geographic ships to get up close and personal with the wild and pristine Antarctic Peninsula.

The itinerary includes a 14-day tour that will take in incredible vistas of mountains, towering icebergs, ice formations, and among the activities organised are the seach for leopard seals, kayaking in protected waters, and even padlling around icebergs in the midst of penguins, all while accompanied by a team of top experts which may include photographers, marine biologists, naturalists and such.

A further look at the National Geographic website shows that this trip will cost between USD$13,990 and USD$26,720 (RM55,074.00 to RM105,188.00) per person.

Treating your employees as you would your best customers isn’t really a new concept, but there aren’t many companies that are willing to do it.

Sir Richard Branson of the worldwide famous Virgin Group once said: “Success in business is all about people, people, people. Whatever industry a company is in, its employees are its biggest competitive advantage”.

You don’t need to be an expert to see what kind of advantages Branson and Tio’s management styles can bring.

In PKT Logistics’ case, thousands seem eager to join them, if the by the number of people who have joined the company’s talent-seeking FB group run by the HR department is any indication. This also means the company gets to choose the cream of the crop to join its ranks.

Satisfied employees tend to be more productive, efficient and loyal. And they make the most convincing advertisement for your company to boot.

Tio has found that this strong enticement to join PKT is a great way to reinforce the well-known business adage that ‘nobody is irreplaceable’.

“When the top management leaves, business still goes on as usual. This is when the second-tier management has to step up and show their mettle. Every year when I announce the trip, my new clients will become quite flustered and worry that things will go wrong,” he says.

Invariably, though, each year Tio returns to clients who are happy and quite possibly impressed that there were no hiccups and things were smooth sailing despite him and his top managers being away for their trip.

Tio’s management style works hand-in-hand with the company having a clear career path and advancement system – one that is often peppered with incentives.

However, there can only accommodate so many people at the top at any one time, so how does Tio address this bottleneck that exists in all industries and companies?

“Last year, my second-tier management ran a flawless operation while their seniors were away. Therefore, I decided to reward them with their own retreat this year, and their bosses will have to take care of everything then,” he says.

The trip, which took place recently, saw 48 people exploring Perth and South Western Australia for a week, covering 1,170km in total.

If you read Tio’s business card, you’ll notice he has included the tagline “Walk Your Dream”, which is a reflection of his policies at PKT Logistics. And this include seeing the world.

“Sometimes I tell my staff, you just focus on working for me and I will make sure you see the world,” he says.

The good news for the rest of us is that there is a third and secret way to go on a trip with Tio and his PKT family.

“I actually have a secret Facebook group that I have limited to 50 people at most at any one time. They are the supporters of PKT who actively cheer me and the company on despite not being part of it. I personally invite them to the group,” he says.

Among the perks enjoyed by this group, half of whom usually end up becoming a staff at PKT, is that they get to come along on the company’s annual trips. And while these don’t include a peek into the mysterious Antartica, it’s still better than nothing.