More than just an employee survey
TINYpulse discovers how your employees are feeling, and performing
Jeff Hu is one of the most unassuming and laidback entrepreneurs I've interviewed thus far. He told me that, as a kid, he learned two key lessons. First, his parents raised Jeff to respect, care for and listen to others. Today, he embodies this lesson when he "leads by sharing." Second, his first job was working at The Gap in high school. He found that work was never going to be easy, and realized at an early age the importance of career planning before entering the workforce after college. True to form, Jeff Hu's first job after graduation was as a management consultant. He then worked in startup environments before eventually starting his own venture. At the same time, his wife, Lina Li, started Atomic Recruitment "Atomic" in Shanghai in 2005 with a business partner. After selling his venture and graduating with his MBA, Jeff joined Atomic in 2008. Jeff now heads up business development, marketing and HR operations. Atomic has grown into a recruitment agency that places mid-to-senior level roles for multinationals in China, and 99% of their placements are local Chinese talent. Atomic employs 45 people. Jeff shares that three of Atomic's main competitive advantages are: (1) Professionalism - Because Atomic's clients are foreign multinational corporations, they expect and demand a very high level of service. Since Jeff Hu and many on the team have worked at larger foreign companies, he knows how to meet and exceed the expectations that many domestic operations just can't match. Atomic's professionalism and high level of service is one of the main ways for it to differentiate itself to both clients and candidates.
When I met Steve Baker in Shanghai, he struck me as a gregarious, jocular, somewhat imposing figure (imagine Gordon Ramsey meets Brian Urlacher). So it was amusing to hear Steve recount that as a child, he was mesmerized by cooking shows and proclaimed to his mother that he wanted to be a chef when he grew up. Steve didn't disappoint and pursued his dream with vigor by winning cooking competitions and by working as a celebrated chef around the world before opening his first restaurant, Mesa Manifesto, in Shanghai.
David Hajdu's first job was at 14, mowing lawns. His second job was at McDonald's. What he learned from these two experiences is that working for someone else "sucked." So at an early age, David knew that he'd likely be working for himself down the road.
John Park's first job was working at Mead Data Central in Dayton, Ohio, which is about as Midwest as it gets in the US. Having lived in Korea in his formative years, followed by Japan (junior high) and Australia (high school), John quickly noticed some of the differences between Korea and the US. He observed that the American work environment is much more open, flexible, and dynamic than the Korean work environment. This first impression would stay with him as he worked at other American blue chip companies like McKinsey and Goldman Sachs.