Saturday, December 2, 2023

P is for People
“From the very beginning, caring for our people has been our utmost priority.”
This was the guiding principle of Founder and Chairman Lucio L. Co when he opened the doors to the first Puregold Price Club supermarket in Mandaluyong City in December 1998.

Back then, the impetus to open Puregold was not to make a quick profit; the 1997 Asian financial crisis triggered an economic slowdown that greatly affected many companies, particularly in the Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga. With the looming threat of having to close shop and lay off its loyal employees, the husband and wife team of Mr. Lucio and Mrs. Susan Co made the decision to parlay their business know-how gained from Puregold Duty Free and venture into local retailing to save and retain their employees.

With the support of the employees they saved, the company grew from one store to 365 stores and counting. Puregold also earned the distinction of being the first pure retail company to be listed on the Philippine Stock Exchange, contributing to the growth of the local retail industry and championing micro-entrepreneurship across the country.

P is for Pioneer
Mr. and Mrs. Co inculcated a culture and sense of family amongst its workforce, right from the start. As leaders and role models, they exemplified the spirit of entrepreneurship—humble and hard-working, prudent yet inquisitive, while thinking and planning for the long-term. Little did they realize that their strategies would become the building blocks for the organization that is Puregold today.

As Puregold gained customers and sales increased, we saw early on that our key success factor lie in listening to the customer. It was through this practice that we discovered what was to become our main customer base—the sarisari store owners and business owners, drawn to Puregold because of our everyday low price and pioneering customer service.

Our employees knew that in order to succeed, we must do our best to win over each customer who walks in, whether it be a big wholesaler, or someone who just needs to buy a few groceries to bring home. These pioneering employees, through initiative and enthusiasm gave their best to this fledging company. In return, the management supported wholeheartedly the personal and professional development of the team, so that we can grow our skills just as Puregold grows its network of stores.

Today, 170 of these pioneers still work together with Puregold, a testament to their dedication and trust.

P is for Programs
With more than 6,800 employees nationwide, Human Resource’s challenge is to perpetuate the example set by Mr. and Mrs. Co across the entire organization to foster a culture of engagement, bringing that sense of family and close-knit collaboration to all Puregold locations throughout the Philippines, as well as advancement and development opportunities for all employees.

Engagement starts from a new hire’s first day. A subject matter expert leads new recruits under our mentorship program, ensuring that they are nurtured from the start. Throughout each employee’s career life in Puregold, everyone has an opportunity to take part in technical, behavioral and leadership skills trainings to maximize their potentials. Continuous learning is manifested in every level of the organization, from entry positions employees all the
way to top management. These are complimented by annual team building activities, daily pep talks as well as HR bulletins both in each workplace and online, to inform, interest and inspire our Puregold family. Aside from these,
to sustain motivation, wellness seminars on health and personal finance are also conducted, and service awards to recognize tenured employees’ loyalty through the years.

For potential leaders, our Puregold Academe equips candidates with the necessary skills to ready them for greater responsibilities. Future leaders are taught critical thinking and decision making, management principles and strategies in a format that marries both theoretical process and practical instore applications. Performance and work plans are reviewed on a semi-annual basis to gain feedback, and to set personal and work-related goals, action plans and targets.

As the company expands, more employees enjoy the opportunity to relocate and work in their home provinces with their families. Deserving individuals are also offered the opportunity to cross-train or be promoted, in line with the
company’s mandate of encouraging promotions from within.

These engagement programs resulted in an overall increase in promoted employees from 6% for the past 5 years to 7% in 2018. Similarly, our top talents retention in 2018 also showed healthy figures with 100% retention at the executive level, 83% in senior management and 91% in management, with average tenures of 18, 12 and 9 years, respectively.

P is for Perks
Employees and their families also enjoy special privileges such as discounts on school supplies, fuel prices, hotel accommodations and dining, travel and free membership to S&R Membership Shopping. Puregold also provides its employees with benefits related to health, accident, retirement, life and education. In partnership with the Luis Co Chi Kiat Foundation, children of qualified Puregold employees enjoy full scholarship starting from high school at one of the country’s premiere educational institutions, De La Salle University. Scholarships are also open for college education within the De La Salle network or any local and state universities in the country.

P is for Promise… for a better tomorrow
One of the sources of pride of Puregold employees is the Luis Co Chi Kiat Foundation, named in honor of the father of Chairman Lucio Co. Through it, deserving but underprivileged students are given the chance to earn a college degree. To date, the Foundation has 405 scholars, produced 389 graduates, 163 of them graduated with honors and 67 board passers.

Through the new iHelp program launched in May 2018, Puregold employees visited the abandoned elderly of Golden Reception and Action Center for the Elderly and other Special Cases (GRACES) in Quezon City. LCCKFI gave kitchen
equipment and provides quarterly supplies of food and medicine in response to the health needs of the 270 residents of GRACES.

In committing to these activities, for the young and the old, LCCKFI looks both to the past, with respect and gratitude, and to the future, with promise and hope.

Our Passion drives us.
Our Purpose guides us.
Our People define us.
P is for Puregold… Always Panalo!