Overcoming challenges by employee empowerment

September 09, 2021 | 09:00
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Employees drive corporations to success and maintaining morale is crucial for a company to overcome challenges, especially during times of uncertainty. Becky Vo, regional business director at Bosch, shares how she keeps her team motivated and successful amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged all corporation across the globe. What were the major obstacles to your organisation and how did your team respond to them?

To be frank, the sudden outbreak caught us by surprise, especially by how quickly it got worse. The global lockdown situation has made transport extremely difficult and it remains so even now. Materials have become scarce and production even halted at times, which ultimately affects our products’ market price. Our distributors had to deal with inventory issues due to the delays. Maintaining a constant and sufficient workforce was also a difficult task.

Overcoming challenges by employee empowerment
Becky Vo, regional business director at Bosch

Nevertheless, we have immediately made “adaptation” and “flexibility” our top priorities to cope with the constantly changing environment, both economically and socially. We shifted our focus to the most essential market segments and we actively digitalised our operations to maintain efficiency while ensuring safety for the team.

With travel restrictions and social distancing in place, our team stayed alert and remained available on every digital means of communication to ensure timely assistance not only for our customers but also for other colleagues in other countries. Additionally, we have extended our support to our distributors, to help them get through this hardship as well. No one was left behind!

Despite the difficulties, Bosch Building Technologies had met its 2020 target. How did you make this happen?

Not only did we meet our targets for 2020 in the region, we even exceeded them. It was not just me who made this happen, it is the success of the entire team. The pandemic changes things so fast, so we have to be even quicker to deal with it. That is why I was striving to empower my team even more, placing more decision-making power in their hands to adjust their work when they see fit.

While we cannot change COVID-19, we can definitely adjust our mindset to adapt and thrive even in the darkest hours. We prioritised being flexible to adapt to the “new normal” and we continue to utilise that strategy until now.

Because of that, we recorded higher sales than we had set out for 2020, conducted multiple webinars that attracted thousands of participants, extended partnership with new distributors, and optimised our administrative process to boost productivity, despite working from home. One of our key highlights from last year was that we accomplished an important national project in Laos during lockdown entirely through remote operations. This was thanks to the efforts of our employees in Germany, Netherlands, Vietnam, Singapore, and Thailand.

While we cannot change COVID-19, we can definitely adjust our mindset to adapt and thrive even in the darkest hours. We prioritised being flexible to adapt to the “new normal” and we continue to utilise that strategy until now.

You mentioned empowering your employees to deal with the pandemic. How exactly did you do this?

Empowerment is key to success in uncertain times. When given more freedom to act, my team is able to make faster and more creative decisions. It also brings out the best in every employee. In fact, my associates are now able to look beyond their “boundaries”, to propose unconventional ideas not only for their smaller teams but also for others, even in different countries. They are not afraid to take challenges head on, “fight” with such tenacity, and most importantly, they stay united.

Overcoming challenges by employee empowerment

What’s even more exciting about empowerment is that it is contagious and fosters trust. Every individual is trusted with his or her own tasks, even interns, hence creating room for them to grow and expand their own comfort zone. Ultimately, you acquire a team of “super-stars” who are ready for any turbulences.

Becky Vo joined Bosch in 2018, managing the Building Technologies division. She is currently Regional Business Director, overseeing Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Cambodia and Myanmar. Prior to Bosch, Becky Vo has more than 20 - year experience working at multinational companies (MNCs) in the fields of telecommunications, IT and electronics.

By Ha Thuy

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