A Strong FoundationWhen the husband-and-wife team of Mr. Lucio and Mrs. Susan Co started Puregold as an everyday low-price hypermarket along Shaw Boulevard in 1998, their primary goal was to shield their employees in Puregold Duty Free, Inc. from the harsh impact of the Asian Financial Crisis. With that immeasurable concern for its 106 pioneering employees, that first big step taken back in 1998 has now grown to more than 7,000 employees, while those values of concern and caring for their employees have become the cornerstone from which more than 400 Puregold stores are built around the country today.
With a sense of family and belongingness, the pursuit of success through hard work and collaboration founded on trust, Mr. and Mrs. Co created this organization to become a second home, not a workplace, for its first wave of managers. These pioneers shared these values and learnings to their next-in-line managers and employees, in every team and department as each new store is built. Little did they know then how critical their leadership would be in inspiring the engaged and happy workforce we see in Puregold today.
This is the driving force behind Puregold – our employees. Our employees’ happiness with their jobs depends more on the intangibles: feeling that sense of belongingness and having essential roles to play in the organization. It is this character trait that has risen to the forefront in the past year, as we see countless examples in our stores and workplaces of our people coming together to protect each other, to care for one another, in numerous ways.
Strength in AdversityLiving for more than a year now with the extraordinary circumstances brought about by the pandemic, we have seen how Covid-19 has greatly affected everyone around the world. Given the ‘new normal’, Puregold’s challenge was clear – how to adapt quickly and safely to the changing situation, how to support our employees, and provide them with the right tools and resources to continue their personal and professional roles effectively, while educating on the best ways to navigate this pandemic safely for themselves and their families.
The formula to do all these things is simple: we hinged on the values that over the years have been nurtured in our employees. We work together as one family in a workplace we all consider as our second home. The key success measure is to continue to make our employees happy in a changing world.
More than anything else, our employees remain on top of our priority list.
Just as Puregold in its retail business looked towards out-of-store activities and e-commerce to ultimately be more responsive to consumer needs and maintaining strong relationships with its suppliers and trade partners, so too did it mirror these strategies internally to foster strong employee engagement, support and productivity.
To live up to Puregold’s commitment to its people, the company did not lay-off or retrench any of its employees. Rationalization and business process automation were mandated, but tempered with the intention that no one is left behind. This clearly presented opportunities for employees to explore expanded functions via upskilling,
cross training and allocations in other departments where they learn and are immersed with new skills, making career growth much more viable for them. The end result of this is a leaner plantilla and smarter, more productive workforce, providing greater value contribution to the entire organization.
All vital and priority employee programs were immediately shifted virtually – there have been no disruptions on the technical and behavioral training programs, employee interaction programs and recognition programs.
We also see how our mentorship program works across all levels in the organization. New hires are welcomed and nurtured from the very start, while those seeking challenges and change are given opportunities to learn and to excel. It is important that we communicate to them how vital their roles would be in the organization.
Like a true family, the company has continuously supported the basic needs of its employees. All claims related to health, accident, life and retirement have been provided with the full understanding that this is the time employees need it the most. For the education of the children of deserving employees, scholarship grants in partnership with the Luis Co Chi Kiat Foundation remain in order to better uplift the well-being of the entire family of its employees.
For its various work locations, maintaining a workplace free from Covid-19 is of utmost importance, so the proper health protocols are strictly observed, and equipment and supplies provided to ensure a safe and disinfected work space.
Ultimately, Puregold has facilitated the inoculation of Covid-19 vaccines for its employees, for the safety, protection and peace of mind of our employees and their respective families.
With these initiatives, we are happy to see the results in our financial performance. Despite the ill-effects of Covid-19 on business in general, Puregold continued to grow the business with a 4.9% increase in revenue and net income in 2020, and currently has opened 425 stores all over the country.
These various initiatives of the Management have made the Puregold family stronger. Our retention and promotion rate are healthier than ever. The number of promoted employees is at a triple digit of 395 which is 5% of the total number of employees, while our top talent retention showed 100% retention at the Executive level, 100% in senior management and 93% in management, with average tenure of 21, 14 and 8 years respectively.
Hope for the FutureWe are confident that our happy workforce has the capability and the capacity to stand the test of these trying times.
As we continue to navigate these uncertainties, we never doubt that we can win over this pandemic. Having this shared human experience that cuts across all borders, belief, religion and social status has made us more empathetic to each other, and come together stronger as a community.