Nov 25 / Charlotte Liew
What would a company be without its employees?
As the Founder and Managing Director of Senheng, Lim takes human capital seriously. You’d be hard pressed to find a leader who invests as much into his employees - from sponsoring Masters’ degrees to learning trips worldwide.
In Chapter 6 of New Retail + New Platform, we explore how Senheng’s franchise system expands not just the company alone, but the team as a whole.
Franchising for employee entrepreneurship.
Since 2015, the Senheng Franchise Academy has successfully created more than 23 millionaires with an accumulated profit of RM67 million.
But before the success of the Senheng Franchise Academy present today, the program had undergone much reviewing, refining and relaunching.
In its first stages in 1995, the program was called the “Staff Franchise Program”. Applicants were guaranteed RM36,000 profit - but response was low.
Just 6 years later, the program was relaunched with four franchise shops. This sparked more interest from employees, but concerns such as financial support continued to dissuade them.
In 2003, a new franchise model was launched – “Franchise – A Scheme”. This program gave store managers the opportunity to compete via sales targets for the chance to choose a Senheng outlet out of the 115 available at the time as their startup store. On top of that, the winner would also receive an interest-free RM20,000 loan and the right to select store employees as he or she wished.
So, what was the turning point which led to the Senheng Franchise Academy?
Lim came to the realisation that preparation and guidance was the missing key.
Thus, the Senheng Franchise Academy was launched in 2015 to guide Senheng staff to embark on their own entrepreneurial journey.
Through the program, candidates go through several stages before being qualified to call an outlet their own.
Candidates are guided on sales techniques and procedures
Undergo store manager training program
Assume the role of a store manager
Two years of experience and fulfillment of monthly KPI
Learning to manage expenses in a Senheng franchised outlet
Qualified to own a Senheng franchise outlet!
Be the supporting pillar for your staff.
Senheng offers the support that franchisees need in terms of:
Before sales (by HQ)
1. Product Merchandising
2. Advertising & Promotions
3. HR and Training
4. Finance and Accounts
5. IT & Business Solutions
6. CRM and Loyalty Program
During sales (by Franchisees)
1. Display and cleanliness
2. Auto replenishment system and management of inventory safety level
3. Staffs discipline monitoring
4. On-the-job staff coaching
5. Customer service handling
6. Price tag update and Point of Purchase (POP) update
After sales (by HQ)
3. Home delivery & installation
4. Repair & service
How about outside of the franchise program?
Senheng also organises business study visits for their team locally and abroad such as China, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan. The company provides training for over 3,600 employees per year. In 2018, Lim even took a team of 30 employees to the headquarters of Alibaba in
Hangzhou, China to learn from the best - an investment costing RM12,000 for each participating employee.
Senheng staff also have the opportunity to learn from various international courses such as the Executive Business Management (EMBA) program, Management Training Program (MTP) from Taiwan and the Advanced Retail Marketing Workshop (ARMC) from Japan.
At present, more than 80 employees in the company are Master’s Degree holders.
Clearly, the company holds the employee’s interests close to their heart - but it’s not all work and no play.
The company advocates self-development in both career and personal life, gladly sponsoring team building activities such as badminton sessions, indoor football sessions, Qigong classes, movies, bowling and even leisure Fridays.
On top of that, the company recognises that having a little bit more flexibility to meet family needs and personal obligations will in turn improve employee well-being and reduce employee
With three flexible working hours (8am-5pm, 9am-6pm, 10am-7pm) to choose from, employees are free to schedule their working hours according to their lifestyles.
Even today, Senheng continues to promote employee wellbeing from within the company - be it through providing franchising opportunities, professional development, team building or flexible working schemes.