May 20, 2020

Arkadin: We don’t need better workforces just smarter communication

Digital Transformation
Sean Kwek
Sean Kwek, Managing Director, ...
4 min
Arkadin: We don’t need better workforces just smarter communication

Today’s workplace is very different when compared to what it was just a decade ago. With advancing technologies, cultural shifts and increased competition all driving a multitude of industries to become more digital, the way in which people work and get things done has significantly changed as more millennials enter the workforce. And this change looks set to continue. What’s more, businesses are no longer only concerned with getting things done, often sticking to rigid, antiquated processes, but instead are placing more emphasis on how tasks are completed; working more efficiently, creatively, collaboratively and with agility.

As well as the global landscape thriving as a result of these new ways of working, business within the APAC region is also seeing significant growth with the Goldman Sachs real GDP Growth forecasting a 6% growth across the Asia region (excluding Japan). Business leaders within this region are also feeling confident in their ability for continued growth as PWC’s annual APEC survey found that 52% are planning to raise investment levels.


Re-shifting workplace values

As businesses within APAC continue to experience steady growth, their values and ways in which they work day-to-day has also seen a significant pivot.

In January 2019, LinkedIn released the 2019 Global Talent Trends report, an annual survey of hiring professionals aimed at enabling business leaders to shape their recruitment strategies. The report highlighted the importance of soft skills, including creativity, time management, collaboration and adaptability, to the modern workplace as 92% agreed these skills were more valuable or just as important as hard skills. In particular, those within the APAC region agreed on the importance of soft skills as those from India (95%), Southeast Asia (95%), China (93%) and Australia (91%) placed collaboration, creativity and adaptability as being more desirable traits to their workforces.

In addition to valuing skills that made employees more agile workers, the report also found there is still a noticeable focus on flexible working which comes as no surprise as many of today’s workers expect some form of flexibility in their working lives and 72% of talent professionals agree. Additionally, the report states that improving work-life balance (77%), staff retention (54%) and increased productivity (42%) were among the benefits of offering flexible working. Those within the APAC region also agreed on the importance of delivering flexible working as Australia (84%), Southeast Asia (71%) and India (67%) saying that work flexibility is very important to future workers.


Equipping workers with the tools for smarter communication

It’s apparent that modern business leaders understand the changing values of today's workforce and notice the impact flexible working, collaboration, creativity and adaptability has on overall profitability. However, the next step is to equip teams with the right tools to deliver on these values. 

Communication is an integral element of the modern workplace which contributes greatly to team productivity, business profitability and employee engagement. Research highlights that 97% of employees believe communication plays a key part in how tasks are performed every day.

What’s more, LinkedIn’s report found that while flexible working was desirable, it also highlighted that collaboration, team bonding and work oversight were key barriers created as a result of flexible working patterns. Nevertheless, smarter communication tools can be used as a way to break through these barriers with instant messaging, audio conferencing and video conferencing overcoming the challenges of employees working remotely due to their ability of creating the immediacy of communicating face-to-face.

As the workplace continues its transformational shift towards a more dynamic and digital future, the impetus is now on business decision makers to implement smarter communication methods to equip their workforce with the tools and flexibility needed to enable more productive working. One of the most powerful factors of greater communication is its ability to strengthen a business, which can result in objectives being reached and employees being better aligned.

There are myriad communication tools that can be implemented and combined to strengthen communications within a workplace. Solutions such as Unified Communication (UC) are now enabling businesses to combine video, web and voice conferencing. Additionally, these communication tools enable strong digital engagement strategies to be implemented which can be utilised across a range of different departments to ensure an engaged and motivated workforce.

Each business will have its own set of individual challenges depending on the region they operate or the sector they work within. Yet, for those organisations within the APAC region looking to expand globally and continue their steady growth, they need to consider what hurdles might be in their way and how they can overcome these using the right communication tools.

While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to implementing smarter communications, assessing a workforce’s specific needs and mastering the identification of communication tools and patterns that work best will help leaders to gain a better understanding of how to successfully mobilise their employees and drive their businesses forward.

Sean Kwek is the Managing Director of Asia Pacific at Arkadin, a leading global provider of collaborative technologies 

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Jun 13, 2021

Seo JungJin: Who is EY’s World Entrepreneur of 2021?

Kate Birch
3 min
From just US$45,000 capital in 2003 to a world-leading biopharma giant with revenues of US$1.69bn today, Seo JungJin is crowned EY World Entrepreneur 2021

Seo JungJin, founder of biopharma firm Celltrion, which most recently developed an antibody treatment for COVID-19, has been named the EY World Entrepreneur of the Year 2021, becoming the first South Korean in the award’s 21-year history.

Regarded as one of the world’s most prestigious business awards program for entrepreneurs, the EY Entrepreneur of the Year celebrates visionary and innovative leaders from across 60 countries who are transforming the world and fostering growth.

JungJin, who is now honoroary chairman of Celltrion Group, was up against a worthy cast of entrepreneurial competitors, taking the crown from among 45 award winners across 38 countries and territories.

Speaking during the virtual event, JungJin described his own interpretation of entrepreneurship as something that brings together “a group of people toward a common vision, embracing challenges as opportunities and committing oneself to contribute to the greater good”.

Why was JungJin crowned King Entrepreneur?

A South Korean native and now 63 years of age, JungJin founded biopharmaceutical firm Celltrion in 2003. In the nearly two decades since its founding, Celltrion has lived up to its goal of advancing health and welfare for all by developing ground-breaking drugs to treat autoimmune disease, various forms of cancer and, most recently, COVID-19.

The company, which JungJin started with just US$45,000 and five of his colleagues, has since growth to more than 2,1000 employees with sales permits in more than 90 countries and revenues exceeding US$1.69bn.

According to the panel, JungJin’s story is a shining example of the power of an unstoppable entrepreneur to change the world with the pandel moved by both his incredible story and his purpose-driven leadership, innovative mindset and entrepreneurial spirit.

Described by the chair of the EY judging panel Rosaleen Blair as “representing everything an unstoppable should be” from taking on the world’s biggest health care challenges to consistently creating long-term value for his company, JungJin’s story is one of incredible tenacity and perseverance that the judging panel felt most represented the entrepreneurial spirit.

“He’s taken breathtaking risks, both personal and professional, to found Celltrion and grow it into one of the world’s leading biopharmaceutical companies,” says Stasia Mitchell, EY Global Entrepreneurship Leader. “His passion for creating affordable, life-saving health care and flair for tackling global problems has led to many treatments that have helped millions of people worldwide and was especially evident this past year through the creation of a COVID-19 antibody treatment.”

How did JungJin get there?

JungJin's entrepreneurial journey started at an early age when he worked as a taxi driver to get himself through Konkuk University in Seoul, South Korea. After studying industrial engineering, he rose through the ranks of Daewoo Motor Co. before losing his job amid the carmaker’s financial troubles following the 1997 Asian economic crisis.

Following this, JungJin started collaborating with colleagues to explore business opportunities in different industries, though none delivered lasting success. The turning point came after he attended a talk hosted by renowned scholars, which inspired him to focus on the biopharmaceutical sector.

And so he founded Celltrion with just US$45,000 of his savings. The launch of Remsima, credited with being the world's first antibody biosimilar, quickly moved Celltrion up the ranks of the country's fairly underdeveloped pharmaceutical sector. Celltrion followed this success with the launch of drugs for breast cancer and lymphoma that today are being used worldwide.

With ambitions to be the world’s first in different areas, Celltrion has pioneered numerous uncharted areas to great success over the past two decades, most recently responding to the global pandemic by successfully developing an antibody treatment for COVID-19 and working to ensure a timely supply of the safe and effective treatment.

“When I first started, my vision was to help patients gain access to safe, effective and affordable medicines and thereby enhance the quality of people’s lives,” explains JungJin. “The success of Celltrion has enabled me to expand on this while finding new ways to fuel my entrepreneurial drive.”


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