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Discuss your views about Singapore business & economy, current policies & issues, starting a business in Singapore.
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sundaymorningstaple
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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Fri, 14 Aug 2009 6:11 pm

ukdesigner wrote:it's very standard practice in the Uk to block hotmail, MSN, facebook etc etc and whilst I've never gone down that route I see so many of my local friends here are constantly updating their accounts, uploading photos etc etc which I wish to try and avoid.

I do always encourage staff to enjoy work and I consider myself to exceptionally reasonable when it comes to time off, downtime and personal calls but I find that alot of people will answer their phone even in meetings which I find incredibly rude and unproductive.

I offer incentives for staff to grow with the company like better roles, profit sharing and the like so hopefully that'll encourage them to think about work rather than organising their lunch plans but then again that's a really tall order! :lol:


Welcome to Asia and Singapore in particular. Unfortunately, you are learning and will learn a hard lesson if you don't loosen up a wee bit, that you are no longer in the UK, just like SE and I have learned that we are no longer in the US. It's a different ball game. And unfortunately - no matter what you might think - It's their ball game. It doesn't take long for a company to get a bad reputation for employee relationships.

In the pest control business where I, we all know one thing. It's easier to catch ants with honey than it is with piss & vinegar (even if it's the drinking kind! :wink: )

Hope it all works out for you.

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Postby ukdesigner » Fri, 14 Aug 2009 6:33 pm

you are learning and will learn a hard lesson if you don't loosen up a wee bit


I actually take offence to that. When you run and own your own company you learn that time is money and money that's being depleted from your own pocket when someone is not working, not your employers.

As it happens I have run my own successful business for many years and have employed staff many times. I was just trying to find out what's the norm here with regards computer usage and whilst I am happy for staff to use the internet, email friends and even use facebook in-between the quiet moments I certainly don't expect them to do it when it's busy. Simple economics really. No work = no pay or even no job!!

My staff have always enjoyed working with me and we have a laugh and joke but when it gets down to doing the business, that's exactly what we do. Whilst I understand the cultural differences here compared to the UK if I find a member of staff taking the piss they'll know what is and is not acceptable. After all, it is MY company and I set the rules. I have even entered into their duties that they must be polite and courteous to clients. I won't put up with crap or complaints from clients, tardiness or lack of enthusiasm. In over 10 years running a business I have never had a complaint about rudeness, lack of quality in the design or the approach to a job. That's the way I run my business and that's how I want it. Mine is based on reputation and quality and that will continue even here.

I actually intend to include a clause in the employees contract about computer usage and as my business is digitally based and alot of items are copyrighted (and not just to me) I don't want those things just taking a walk!
Don't p*ss me off! I am running out of places to hide the bodies.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Fri, 14 Aug 2009 6:52 pm

Wasn't meant to put you down. It's a shame you took it that way. I have, like other here, run companies both here and in the US. I had over 185 employees at one point in Washington DC back in the '70's. I have 200+ today at the moment. As the HR & Finance manager, I am pretty well clued in about the local worker versus the local American worker in the US (albeit from a different era) :oops:

It was a steep learning curve when I stepped into a similar position here many year ago. Nobody is saying that you were ever a bad employer. I am only saying Asians are not the same type of people and Singaporeans are different still. We can only react to your written word as it was written. And it is easier to catch ants with honey....... :wink:

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Postby ukdesigner » Fri, 14 Aug 2009 7:13 pm

I understand what you mean and that it's only the written word you can see and not the person so it's hard to judge how they actually say it. But even so it was a bit heavy handed and I am pretty chilled out. You'll find most designers are and British and Aussies even more so.

I have always subscribed to a relaxed and fun working environment which tends to bring the best out of people. However I won't put up with the lax way I know some people work and certainly my clients won't, especially my UK based ones. In actual fact I am thinking of keeping the local staff to deal with some of my local clients. My UK ones would eat them alive here and spit them out and then that'll be my 1st ever complaint and possible loss of a client.

It'll be interesting what type of person comes for an interview and how they react. Do people turn up in jeans to interviews or do they make an effort and put a skirt and blouse on (for a woman before you say anything :oops: ) and a pair of trousers and a shirt for men? Although I work in jeans and t-shirt I would expect someone to make an effort for an interview or is that expecting too much?

There's so much to do and explore on the job front, along with premises etc etc. Oh well looks like I've got a busy few months ahead of me.
Don't p*ss me off! I am running out of places to hide the bodies.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Fri, 14 Aug 2009 10:29 pm

I've had locals come for interviews in polo shirts and also in business shirts & ties and everything in between. A lot seems to be geared on the "title" of the position that you give them as to how they actually will come attired. So, instead of a clerk, you need an accounts assistant. Instead of asking for a Technician, you ask for an Engineer. I'm not kidding here! :o This is from the clients as well! As a recruiter often the client would call me up and ask for an engineer and then call me back after a number of resumes, saying everybody wants too much money. I'd finally cottoned to the fact and would as them if the "Engineer" could sign off on the job. Normally the answer was NO. So I'd ask them do they need a degree? Most would tell me that a polytechnic diploma was sufficient so I'd tell them that what they are looking for is a Technician. They would say no, I want an engineer. So then I'd know that they were looking for a technician only. :roll: But if you call them an Engineer, then they would wear a business shirt and tie for the interview (but were usually late! - I hate that one as well! :x ), Technician? Steel Toes boots, t-shirt chino's or denim's. Elevated titles, having absolutely no bearing on the actual JD, will get them to dress a little better but then there are those who just don't seem to care....

But, if you want to know the truth, I personally don't give a damn what they wear. I wear a polo shirt and jeans in the office every day. I also meet clients the same way unless they are government contracts (~60-70% of all our business). I only care if they can do the job. Performance and track record is all that I care about. If working in shorts and singlet gets them to produce at maximum, I'm all for it. I do draw the line at micro-skirts though as I find it too distracting personally as I'm a dirty ole man! :P

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Postby ksl » Sat, 15 Aug 2009 1:17 am

Good post SMS! This is very true and relevant in Singapore and many Asian Countries.

One can also break it down again from MNC, medium and small enterprise, it's kind of like the hierarchy in civilian life in many Countries, your communication skills matter.

I think we can agree that graphic design has got a long yard stick and if one does have any idea of creative arts, then it is even more difficult to hand over the task, art is very personal to every designer, and business developers, so its about satisfying needs, that are not at all tangible.

Many marketing & sales MBA's do not have a creative side, and cannot relate to what should be expressed in brand imaging, which is very important, so Identifying a graphic designer that can be relied upon to deliver something useable, is an asset to any company,

I have seen my fair share of bad advertising and when it is bad I mean very bad, and one is paying for a design to encourage sales. Not to advertise at a car boot sale.

What I really love about this website, is the ability to pull on peoples knowledge and strengths, not weaknesses, but it is a chat forum, so it should really be taken light heartedly unless it is located in a folder for serious talk.

Even then you will have clowns like me, that will seek out alternatives, because that is my nature, if i can do something easier, or it increase my margins, i will evaluate the procedures.

:wink:
The problem with an open market is that the price one pays is relevant to a companies target market and marketing strategy, so that what we see, maybe called an exploitation factor which is always there, but you do not have to pay the price. what is value for money?

I've had work done by UK design, very professional and highly competitive, when I compared to the local designers, so really its a matter of what is your budget, can I accommodate.

Now to be here in Singapore, and to help contribute may also include, the time it takes, to educate a local that is exceptionally talented yet lacks the personal skills in customer relations.

So it is a give and take problem that needs to be looked at, not only educational ability skills. For a MNC it's entertainment money, for a startup businesses is being developed, its a role of the dice, they cannot afford to employ the wrong person. Expansion needs a very careful planning procedure that includes, what if!

The worst scenarios are the nightmare, alternatives procedure needs to be in place to ensure you survivability.
SMS: But, if you want to know the truth, I personally don't give a damn what they wear. I wear a polo shirt and jeans in the office every day. I also meet clients the same way unless they are government contracts (~60-70% of all our business).



Basically if you are not capable of maintaining MNC rates, you become localized, and it may even drop in accordance with your true abilities, who knows.

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Postby barOne » Wed, 16 Sep 2009 12:28 am

I am also looking for place to rent. About 200sq ft.


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