Learn about Building Relationships in Business
The following is an excerpt from The 50: HR Leaders Reimagining the Filipino Organization. Authored by Patricia Yap, this chapter is titled, “LGU Talent Acquisition and Sourcing” In it, Muriel Salvacion, the Human Resource Head of FamilyMart, is interviewed about how the organization executes its strategy in maintaining positive relationships.
Keeping Your Employees Close, and Your Connections Closer
Like its name suggests, Family Mart’s mission is to establish a more personal and favorable environment for its customers, employees, and stakeholders alike. It is a Japanese-owned convenience store that has, since its establishment in 1973, become the first of its kind to go global. They operate over 18,000 stores in Asia, which include but are not limited to Thailand, China, Vietnam, and the Philippines.
They put up their first-ever store in the Philippines in 2013. They have since expanded rapidly across the country and opened its 100th branch last 2015 in Bonifacio Global City. Their branches have been strategically placed in urban centers and key locations in central business districts in hopes of quickly becoming the favorite stop for Filipinos.
The plan to become a Filipino favorite is to be achieved by offering quality service that comes with mutual support, feedback, communication, and growth. These are things we can see to be clearly embodied in their relationship with local government units, otherwise known as LGUs to source candidates and train employees as they have maintained a very personal relationship with one another and have therefore made remarkable progress since its pioneering in 2012.
Muriel Salvacion, one of the pioneers of Family Mart and its HR head, attributed this success to their employer branding.
“I think the number one way of establishing employer branding is simply by being good to your current employees,” Muriel said. “It’s also important to make sure that you pull through with the kind of image and reputation you have set for yourself because there are expectations that you have to live up to and needs you have to meet the second you take in new employees.”
The recruitment process in Family Mart first started out on JobStreet. Not too long after certain positions were made known for availability, they were met with a large pool of respondents. This pool, however, dwindled over time and pushed them to turn to alternative ways of recruiting employees. They found that turning to local government units (LGUs) to gather applicants was far more effective and had worked better in their favor as they were able to produce a consistent quality of employees. With this strategy, they were quick to find a solution for one of the challenges in their recruitment process: the lack of semi-permanent employees who were willing to stay with the company for the long-term.
In comparison to recruits from JobStreet, applicants recruited through the help of LGUs tended to stay longer with the company and were less prone to filing for transfers, resignations, or applications that offered placements abroad. They were also willing to work longer hours and pull through the graveyard shifts whereas the former was more susceptible to accepting requests and offers from retail stores that worked shorter hours than that of 24-hour convenience stores.
The way that partnership works with LGUs is that organizations - or in this case, Family Mart - helps both the LGUs and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) fulfill their departmental mandates of ensuring their constituents have job opportunities. They do this by first dropping by City Hall to receive introductions to different barangays to easily establish contacts and get people to send potential recruits over to them. They hold job fairs, build personal relationships with both the barangay leadership and their inhabitants. Feedback is given and received and thereby utilized in a way that addresses possible issues and concerns.
In addition to transparency, there is the building of an actual connection or relationship with the barangay through acts of acknowledgment and recognition that basically say that you remember them and that they have both a lasting impression and presence in your day-to-day life.
It is because of who they are and how they treat the people they work with that the relationship has now reached a point where referrals are immediately made and the number of potential employees needed by said company is easily met.
Prior to the acquisition of Family Mart Philippines by the Phoenix Group, they had certain expectations to meet and standards to live up to that originally came with the combination of Ayala, Rustan’s, and Japan Family Mart’s involvement in the Philippine franchise. Because of their name and supposed reputation, people expected a lot from Family Mart’s customer service and product quality, especially in terms of food servicing so they worked hard to both offer and maintain fresh, quality food.
With regards to recruiting and attracting both corporate and store talent, Family Mart’s employer brand had people wondering whether they were guaranteed the things that were being promised to them once they joined.
There was a lot of pressure to make sure that they had the time and resources to push through with the kind of goals they set for themselves in terms of store performance and standards. This was remedied by the fact that they had encouraged and invited their employees to be involved in the different processes of creating policies, systems, and then guarantee that they would be able to deliver their various campaigns for customer service.
Today, 60% of Family Mart’s talent pipeline are applicants or individuals who were sourced through various LGUs. As a company, Family Mart takes good care of its employees in both emergency and non-emergency situations. The well-being of their employees take precedence over everything else, which is evident in some of the solutions that Family Mart implements for its employees. For example, Family Mart employees continue to receive pay even if they are not able to report for work during the COVID-19 pandemic. They are also provided with a means of transport and increased safety measures to protect both themselves and those around them and still fulfill the duty of frontline store staff.
Muriel said that if there’s anything she’s most proud of after having spent almost eight years with Family Mart, it’s the amount of support and work that goes into training and empowering their employees with the necessary skills to do their job and provide them with life-changing opportunities. It’s the fact that you have an impact on the lives of others and that you care for more than just yourself and your values.
“Providing them with the opportunity to learn more skills,” Muriel said. “That’s one thing I can be proud of.”
To get more insights from other HR leaders like Muriel Salvacion, please check out the full book, available for purchase here.
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