Corporate culture counts too


  • Columns
  • Monday, 03 Oct 2016

(From left) Happy Ferunians Lee, Edwin and Dashini.

Good wages matter, but an open-minded management and a flexible workplace are also important. Why else would a medical doctor join a tiling company like Feruni? MEK ZHIN finds out.

YOU KNOW you may have stumbled on a place that cares for its employees when joining its ranks is called “being part of our big family”.

To become a Ferunian — that’s what staff at tile retailer and manufacturer Feruni Ceramiche are called — is to be at the centre of a system driven by the idea that employees are a priority.

After embarking on an exercise to revamp company culture and environment a while back, Feruni has achieved a few milestones, including attracting a qualified doctor, Dashini Paramasevam, to join as a talent agent.

“I am able to relate and connect with Feruni because of the core values it’s built around. The values align with what I strongly believe in,” says Dashini.

This was echoed strongly by industrial design fresh graduate Lee Sheng Fong who joined Feruni’s new product development team — his first job. He says the emphasis on culture struck him as special and attracted him to join.

“Seeing the passion and ambition of the managing director is also very inspiring. It makes one feel it’s worthwhile contributing to such a business,” Lee explains.

Dashini says she loves the open communication style at Feruni, which she thinks is unique.

“Everybody is treated equally regardless of their position here. There is a lot of transparency within the organisation, and the system is such that it’s open to new approaches.” she adds.

Thai national Edwin Walanut Ung, on the other hand, represents another kind of milestone: the Feruni work culture is helping it to regain former employees.

“Feruni has changed a lot through the years. I feel it provides good opportunities for career advancement more than ever before, which is what attracted me to rejoin. I like it that opportunities will open up as long as one has the interest and ability,“ he says, adding that he had worked with Feruni between 2009 and 2014.

He rejoined in July this year.

Ung says when he came back, it was like coming home.

“It felt so comfortable and good, especially to be reunited with the Ferunians. I never lost contact with my friends here even when I left as I came back to visit often to catch up,” he reveals.

Edwin thinks one of the greatest things about Feruni is that they keep updating themselves in terms of culture formation, systems implementation and the working environment, all of which leads to positive outcomes such as the open office concept which encourages mingling.

Dashini and Lee agree that their happiest time in the company is spent with their colleagues, with Dashini liking her typical daily interactions best, and Lee enjoying office culture activities.

Feruni’s main office boasts many facilities such as a gym and game room while the office floor sports an open-floor concept.

Lee believes the game room helps with relaxation, while the gym helps him to avoid traffic jams as it allows him to spend time meaningfully during peak rush hours.

Dashini says the facilities help reduce stress levels while also allowing colleagues to bond.

One would ask if career progression in a tiling company would take its employees far? The answer that comes back is a resounding yes.

“There is ample room for learning here, and I believe I can equip myself with more knowledge and skills. Take for instance the Career Trans-formation Plan which gives me the opportunity to voice out my career plan. This will definitely aid me along my career path,” Dashini says.

“As an industrial designer, I see many opportunities where I can contribute to the growth of Feruni in terms of design and culture,” chips in Lee. “There are areas I want to improve in and the company has given me various tasks and projects which provide the experience I seek which will help me grow.”

The two of them would definitely recommend Feruni as an employer to friends and they see themselves staying on.

Look out for the next column on Oct 17 which details the Feruni Tour process, the first step each Ferunian has to take before joining the company ranks.

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