The hiring process for most companies is normally a two-way street with organizations looking for potential candidates to assist and augment their current teams, while potential employees seek to work with best companies that can help to expand their strengths and offer them great opportunities. Yet after the recruitment and hiring process is complete, another challenging task begins. Companies want to retain their capable employees to work with them for as long as possible, but how?
Especially in recent years in the logistics and container shipping industry, more and more of the focus has been placed on processes and costs savings and less on the people behind the scenes. There are a few companies that buck this trend though, such as MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company. This leading global container line is one of the few companies which has steadily stuck to the importance of having and keeping high quality staff in their organization.
MSC is also partial to this people first approach because they are still a family run business, and yet with over 490 vessels operating in 200 trade lanes worldwide, MSC is the world’s second largest container line in terms of capacity. The company is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, with regional and local office in over 155 countries. With the huge size of the company and more than 70,000 people around the world working for MSC, the company needs to have distinctive and effective ways to manage their human resources successfully.
As for services, the group handles general cargo, reefer cargo, project cargo, and intermodal transportation covering more than 500 ports worldwide. For the Thai market, MSC has strong ties to the country and offers shippers links to the world via local river ports and Laem Chabang port. Moreover, MSC Thailand was first established in 1997 and has since built their own office building in Bangkok to establish their footprint in the area and highlights their commitment to the Thai market.
We spoke further with Mr. Gregory Salaun, General Manager, of MSC Thailand about their human resource management and his vision on how they as a group are coming together to contribute to the company’s global joint success.
The Ideal Workplace
Nowadays, people are not only increasingly realizing the importance of having a good work-life balance but are also closely monitoring the quality of the time they spend at work. Potential employees often tend to look for companies which can offer comfortable workplaces as well as a friendly working atmosphere. For them, the workplace is not only literally just the building itself, but includes the environment that people need to spend almost the whole day in as well.
MSC Thailand took this to heart and can proudly boast that they are one of the few shipping lines that have built their own office building in Thailand. Mr. Salaun said, “We are very lucky to have our own building. It makes us feel more comfortable and flexible when working with customers. With such a nice workplace and family type atmosphere, it helps us to work together easily. It’s important that everyone can talk and exchange ideas at any time, even if employees don’t work in the same department. If employees have any idea or need help on anything, they can seek help from everyone in the group, even people at the management level.”
Even after 21 years since the establishment of MSC Thailand, the company has continuously helped their employees to develop their intrapersonal and work-related skills. They accomplish this by setting up training programs and methods to educate their staff. This includes using the company’s own training teams, hiring permanent English teachers and inviting professionals from outside to train their staff for advanced and specific courses. MSC Thailand encourages their employees to also develop themselves personally, not meaning only to develop their ‘hard skills’ which is essential for work, for example software training, but also ‘soft skills’ like effective communications and being positive in social engagements. These skills truly help personnel to work successfully and happily at the same time. Moreover, MSC has always supported employees with potential to grow their career within the company.
Mr. Salaun said “For us, people are very important. Especially people who have rich knowledge, strong experiences, and are self-driven can truly bring values to the organization and help us move forward. That’s why we try to keep everyone and make our working environment warm like a family. When our people feel comfortable and happy in their jobs, they are more willing to work with us. We also try to sharpen our people skills and promote high potential staff internally before looking for people from the outside. Lately, MSC Thailand promoted two employees to work as a Senior Trade Manager and Assistant Sales Manager.”
However, this does not mean that the company completely closes its door to welcome new people from the outside. MSC says they like to have a mix of both experienced and young staff who are willing to learn and grow together with MSC. “We look for young people who like to think outside the box, know how to work effectively and are ready to take action and bring value to our company. We believe in their passion, creativity and eagerness to communicate directly with different managers. That means our company works with a combination of experienced staff who have a lot of knowledge and experience, and new staff who have the vision and stamina to make our goals a reality.
“I’ve been working at MSC for four years now and have just been promoted to be Senior Trade Manager. With this position, I’m taking care of space and pricing management as well as monitoring customer needs in every trade lane from Thailand. Because customer needs in the market can change at any time, we have to keep our headquarters in Geneva up-to-date.
Working at MSC, I am very impressed with the company’s growth. MSC has always demonstrated strong growth trends including fleet size, vessel size and capacities, and expanding trade lanes worldwide..”
Mr. Rekacharoenphan continued, “To be successful at work, I always keep the ‘2Cs’ motto in mind. My ‘2Cs’ consist of Communication and Crosscheck. At work, we need to communicate with people, so we have to make everything clear and concise. After that, we need to crosscheck to assure that we fully understand each other. It may take just a little bit more time, but at the end the result is that we truly understand each other’s needs.”
“I’ve been working with MSC Thailand for 2 years. The position that I was just promoted to is Assistant Sales Manager – Export. Before joining MSC Thailand, I used to work for two other international shipping lines, so I’ve had some experience in the industry before. Working here, I’m impressed with the sustainability of the company and the extent of our footprint worldwide – MSC is one of the leading truly global transportation and logistics businesses..
At MSC Thailand, our colleagues work and help to support each other like we are one family. It makes us feel like we are growing together. The way we make customers trust us is with our high-quality products that come through in our seamless service and communications. It’s necessary for us to have a service-oriented mindset and good communication so that everyone can work accurately, quickly and able to nail the bullseye on our targets and goals.”