By Julie Goh (8 Dec 2022)

What would you answer if someone asks you “If you have one wish, what would you wish for?” I’m pretty sure most of you will say “Wealth”. Others will say “Happiness”, “Health”, “Family” - these are all common answers to that one question.

Let’s say your answer is “Wealth” – you want to be wealthy, to be rich. But what is your definition of being wealthy, being rich? To a person, who has only RM100 in the bank, a sum of RM10,000 would make them rich. But to the person who has RM100 million in the bank, RM10,000 is just small change.

What about “Happiness”? To a poor man, having a roof over his head and able to afford 3 meals a day is happiness. But to a rich man, even having few houses and eating in expensive restaurants every day, does not carry the same feeling to him.

Don’t Generalise – Be Creative

One of the most common mistakes of management skills, especially in HR is the general assumption of things. This can be a costly mistake.

Businesses that have multiple locations would understand that each location would have a different set of customers – with different likes and different preferences.

Similarly, within an organisation, you have employees of different age groups, culture, income level, background etc. They too, would differ in their ambitions, their aspirations, their skills, their talents etc.

When we tend to make general assumption of things, we can only appease one group of people.

So, does this mean we need to have multiple policies, multiple reward systems, multiple choices for our customers etc? Just to make sure everyone is taken care of?

No, what I mean is that we need to understand who we are dealing with and be ready with alternatives in our plans. For example, if you run a food business in an office building, your menu will have food that can be served fast and is easy to eat because you know your customers would mainly be office workers who only have 1 hour for lunch. But you would still have some other food in your menu for those who have more time to enjoy the food.

Similarly, you could offer rewards in multiple forms to your employees for a job well done. The younger employees could prefer cash rewards, managers might prefer additional leave to spend time with their family, some might want to attend a training course etc. Even a lunch date with the CEO could be a reward.

But, do note that the same reward will have different value to different people. Rewarding a manager who works closely with the CEO every day with a lunch with the same CEO practically has zero value. But the same reward given to the storekeeper will be, on the other end of the spectrum altogether. He will be telling all his friends and family, and most likely be posting about it on social media too, with a photo of himself with the CEO. Isn’t that a form of employer branding?

Sometimes doing things differently from the norm could actually help you to attract and retain talents better in your company. Or are you still adamant that one shoe fits all approach still work in this day and time?

The author is an award-winning HR Sifu with Kakitangan.com, who has made significant improvements in how HR operates in multiple retail and high-volume/fast-paced companies. Complimentary consultation sessions with HR Sifu are available for all paying Kakitangan.com customers.

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