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TRAINING THE TRAINER

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Carmen Lo — Organisational Development Executive, Jebsen Group

Richard Branson once said: “instead of covering up your weakness, acknowledge them and use them as advantage.” These words pretty much sum up my journey with Jebsen. It is a story of surprising lessons and beginnings that I always look back to with awe and gratitude.

Bridging the gap between people and their dreams through learning & development, to me, is a lifelong mission. Over the last three years, I have had the gratifying opportunity to be part of the people development at Jebsen. As part of the company’s Human Resources team, I have seen how careers have progressed, and I have seen how high potential individuals have turned into leaders.

One talent that I never thought I could witness to grow by leaps and bounds was my very own. I joined Jebsen as a Training Assistant in 2014 and I was still very new to the company when I was entrusted with an e-learning project, which soon after served as a springboard for my learning and development.

It was not long before I realised that one door leads to more doors of learning with each completed project. From extending administrative and logistics support to taking on bigger on-the-job assignments, I was promoted to an Organisational Development Executive role, which connected me to more employee-oriented programmes while helping me enhance my conceptualising skills.

The transition, however, was not easy, and I initially battled with self-doubt and frustration. I was assigned to revamp onboarding process and enhance the onboarding experience for new joiners. This was my very first project as Organisational Development Executive, and an initiation into my new role. At first I was not sure how I would tackle such a complex project, but my team had a lot of confidence in me. Their trust motivated me to just keep learning, and I did. I did a lot of research on how to create a positive onboarding experience for new  joiners, exploring how other companies designed their onboarding programmes, reading research reports about employee onboarding, and interviewing new joiners. In doing so, I systematically identified ways to improve our own onboarding process, and made recommendations that would later be rolled out as the “90-Day Jebsen Onboarding Journey.”

In 2017, the HR management team encouraged me to enter the “Outstanding New Trainer Award” organised by the HK Management Association (HKMA). All contenders must present one of their projects to a panel of judges, in addition to preparing a 30-minute impromptu based on a topic assigned on the day.

When I realised that I was competing alongside other experienced HR professionals, I felt doubtful of my own ability and even considered withdrawing from the competition. It was one of those times when a great team’s support truly made a difference, and my Jebsen family did make all the difference. Our management team set up biweekly, one-on-one coaching with me, asking me insightful questions that constructively challenged every aspect of my project design. Their questions gave me the guidance I needed to shape my ideas into a more competitive deliverable. Having said that, I think that the most valuable outcome of the coaching sessions was not an improved project design – it was the boost to my confidence. Our management team’s support and mentorship helped me replace my critical inner voice with that of an internal cheerleader who believes in my abilities, even in the face of challenges.

After three rigorous assessments, I received the Outstanding New Trainer Award. This achievement not only validated my commitment to personal development, it also showed how empowering it is to be surrounded by people who believe in you.

These days, I volunteer regularly, helping young people prepare for pre-employment assessments and other career evaluations. In each interaction, I extend the same cheer and trust that I receive at work, hoping that my attitude can motivate them the way my wonderful Jebsen family has done for me.  

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