Talent recruitment is generally considered one of the biggest challenges confronting startups in Hong Kong.
Peggy Choi, co-founder and chief executive of LYNK, which provides expert matching services, thinks otherwise, saying that staff management is a more strenuous task.
The matchmaker connects clients with experts who can help them develop their businesses, and receives a commission for its services.
It has continued to grow since its establishment in 2013. Headquartered in Hong Kong, LYNK has offices in Singapore and Mumbai, and has expanded to Hengqin in Zhuhai as well. It is the first startup to receive the Cyberport Marco Fund.
Talk to understand employees
Of a small build and gentle voice, Choi leads a multicultural company with more than 30 staff.
She said the company positions itself as a startup targeting the global market. It has staff from Hong Kong and other places like Burma, Argentina and mainland China.
A team with diverse backgrounds, expertise and languages is aimed at satisfying the clients’ manifold needs, she said.
To manage such a team, communication and empathy are crucial.
She spends plenty of time holding one-on-one chats with her staff to know what they are thinking.
Choi also encourages colleagues to be empathetic and try to understand each other in order to avoid unnecessary conflicts.
Startups are very much vision-driven. It is difficult for a business to work out if supervisors and subordinates do not share the same set of values, she said.
When hiring employees, Choi tries to ascertain if the candidates have values that are consistent with the company’s philosophy and objectives. She said this is important to develop mutual trust.
Many startups, including LYNK, experience talent drain.
She cited the case of one employee, who resigned because he thought he lacked opportunities for career advancement in the company.
“He was a smart guy with huge potential. As someone in senior management, I, of course, wanted him to stay,” Choi said. But the employee decided to move to another company where he felt he had a brighter career path.
Choi learned “a valuable lesson” from that incident, and is now able to think from employees’ perspective and plan for them a career future.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Aug. 14
Translation by Jonathan Chong
[Chinese version 中文版]