According to a study conducted by Decision Lab in late 2020, when it comes to an ideal workplace, the most important factor is — surprisingly — not the salary, but whether employees feel like they have enough room to grow and motivation to boost their work productivity. Companies nowadays are getting more conscious in nurturing and building company culture by organizing activities for networking and improving their employees’ specialty and skills.
The concept of employee training programs used to be pictured as classes for professional improvement in a specific field. However, many companies in the present day have started focusing more on fostering employees’ soft skills and on their mental health. Company owners understand that there is a strong link between the comprehensive development of individuals and the bigger growth of an organization.
TVL Group, founded by entrepreneur and ‘Shark’ Linh Thai, is one of the Vietnam-based organizations that provide employee training and development solutions. Vietcetera talks with Mai Nguyen, Business Development Analyst at TVL Group, for a clearer view on the new, interesting, but also challenging tasks of building an ideal workplace.
What is a typical day at TVL like?
We help companies design their training programs and sharing sessions to motivate their employees’ working spirit. Every newly assigned job is an opportunity to meet, interact and learn more about different working environments, and different people with different stories. These experiences are both interesting and challenging, which drives us to continuously come up with more flexible solutions to adapt to different company cultures.
I always kick off my day with a cup of coffee. In TVL Group’s office in Dreamplex, there is a coffee maker, so I could save up time from waiting to get a take-away or making coffee at home. Thanks to that, I don’t need to rush in the morning and have more energy to have a productive day.
We usually work from 8 a.m to 8 p.m. I often take note of every task in a day and consider each task’s urgency and importance to ensure finishing them as scheduled. At TVL Group, we also have many meetings to catch up on each team’s progress, get updated on any issues, and provide timely solutions.
Besides that, there is a very exciting activity at TVL Group, which is an in-house training program. Since our job is to provide employee training solutions for other companies, we also need to upgrade ourselves every day. Valuing the development of an organization and its individuals, Mrs. Linh Thai requires each of us to do a weekly presentation on a topic we find interested in and present it in front of the whole company.
This is a chance for us to dig deep into our thoughts, to learn, and to show our interest in a specific topic. My most recent presentation topic is “Happiness” – Happiness in work, in relationships and how to channel that happiness. This activity also helps our members understand each other, and thus, fosters bonding among the team members.
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What are the necessary traits for this job?
Being hard-working is the very first trait. Whenever we receive a new project, we usually have to work till midnight. For a startup company, there aren’t many employees and departments. You must be capable of multi-tasking, from fulfilling professional duties to conducting paperwork and other errands. Being hard-working and aggressive to learn multi-tasking is a must.
A positive mindset will help you not give up when you face obstacles but encourage you to seek solutions. There have been many times when I thought I couldn’t win a contract, but I didn’t abandon the challenge and tried every possible way to overcome and win it. Some clients may turn you down at first, but they will agree to work with you on later occasions. You just need to have a positive mindset — and you shouldn’t burn bridges.
How do you improve your skills?
Luckily, I am working with Mrs. Linh Thai who always passionately pushes everyone to learn continuously. She said, “People don’t know what they don’t know.” Therefore, we must learn lessons from our own stories, and be ready to ask people who know more about what we don’t know yet. That’s how we learn.
Reading books and registering for training and development programs are also essential. Although you may get tired and exhausted after a long, hectic day, it’s still worthwhile sparing some time to advance your skills and expand your knowledge.
In addition, we also have a stimulating 30-minute activity in Dreamplex, which is “Ask an expert”. This is a session where you can meet and talk with a diverse range of experts specializing in various fields such as Finance, HR, Media, Marketing, etc. The topics vary from leadership skills, emotion management at work, to the art of persuasion and work-life balance.
How do you make use of that 30 minutes?
I think this has a great benefit for employees in Dreamplex. Usually, there are very few opportunities to meet and directly ask for advice from experts in various fields. During that 30-minute session, I share my current situation with the expert, so they would have an idea about what I’m going through, and from there, they tell me what I have to improve, and how to achieve that improvement.
I have a constant concern about how to increase my work productivity and move high up my career ladder. Meeting experts in various fields is a precious opportunity for me to get a practical answer to my problems and broaden my perspective.
What motivates you to go to work every day?
I love seeing and working with my colleagues. More importantly, our office is fantastic and flexible, making me feel inspired to work. At Dreamplex, there are 12 different working spaces. When we feel a little down or uninspired, we just need to change the environment by moving to the cafe area or bringing our laptop to the garden. There are also special private rooms for meetings and for concentration to get crucial work done.
As a consultant for many companies, what do you think is an ideal office?
As nature and fresh air lover, I definitely adore offices with embracing windows that open to allow for natural ventilation. Trees and green spaces are crucial to help employees cope with stress and give a chill vibe to the workplace. I am quite impressed with the greenery, the open space with natural sunlight, and the spacious outdoor garden in Dreamplex.
Moreover, an ideal office must ensure the balance between collaborative, co-working spaces and private spaces so employees can focus on their work and not get distracted by movements from other groups. It has to offer various ways to work, plenty of seats, and an attractive design. With the need of gaining and advancing my knowledge, I would love to have a book corner to drown in reading. The coffee shop is the spotlight of the building where we can enjoy lunchtime together and relax comfortably.
There is one more thing that is less unlikely to appear first in your mind but quite important: the parking lot. A company paying attention to such a small detail could create the best working environment; therefore, it is obvious they could retain talents and win their employees’ loyalty.
How does the experience design in Dreamplex help you increase your work productivity?
After working with many companies, I realized the important role of experience design in the workplace. The bond between employees and their companies is forged by group activities, mental therapy to help employees work more effectively, or in understanding their demands.
Dreamplex has exceeded the traditional co-working model. Their workplace design is a perfect mixture of a traditional office’s professional and private environment and a co-working space’s collaborative nature. They direct attention on networking activities and how to increase work results in many ways such as recreational activities, training and development programs, workshops with high-profile experts in different fields, etc.
Recently, I have registered for a Meditation class. It only lasts 10 minutes, but that short amount of time was extremely precious. During the class, we can close our eyes, listen to the calming sounds from an app, reconnect with our mind and soul, and then gain more energy to get back to work. Networking activity is also a great chance to establish and maintain relationships effectively.