Best Practices to Achieve Cultural Diversity in the Workplace

Workplace diversity goes beyond race. It includes gender, religion, age groups, citizenship, even mental and physical conditions. Is your organisation embracing diversity to bring out the best in the team?

Here are 3 best practices to get you started.

1. Practise and Promote Inclusion

Communicate to your staff that there is an emphasis on working towards embracing diversity. Create a platform, where new ideas are welcomed, that everyone can participate in. This will create an accepting environment where your team will feel safe to voice out their genuine opinions.

This can be as simple as getting teams to organise the next office get-together activity or your company dinner and dance. When team members get to know each other better, their prejudices will likely recede and they will start seeing colleagues as unique individuals.

2. Treat Each Employee as an Individual

It’s common to see cliques form in the workplace. Usually, those in the same age-group will have lunch together or those with the same cultural background tend to naturally help each other.  To effectively manage your staff, you must see them as individuals and not treat them as a one-size-fits-all group.

Although they are similar, each individual has his own sets of strengths and weaknesses. Making assumptions that they should be treated the same way is the opposite of empowering and embracing diversity.

3. Take the Professional Approach

When it comes to tackling sensitive issues, management and employees may fear to speak up as they are not experts on the subject. Consider bringing in professionals to give talks and training in areas such as the following:

Soft Skills Training – Soft skills offers a range of skills including emotional intelligence and communication. Learning to coexist with a diverse range of people is key to a harmonious environment. Soft Skills can help employees become more self-aware and make them understand their own cultural biases and prejudices.

Conflict Management – People with different backgrounds may have different views and conflict is unavoidable. Effective conflict management skills will help your team achieve positive results in unpleasant situations. Ensure that the team is equipped with resolution techniques. Use it to promote camaraderie regardless of what group they belong to.

Diversity is a double-edged sword. It may lead to conflict and mistrust among team members. However, when managed well, diversity can bring the team to the next level of excellence because …

  • it brings out different views.
  • it promotes new ideas.
  • one’s strengths can be used to complement the weaknesses of others.
  • Embracing diversity leads to synergy!

Start your journey towards embracing diversity today. Visit to find out more about our many training programmes and other services

Beacon Exciting Training Programmes for 2018

WSQ Programmes

Month Days WSQ Programmes
July 19 Impress like a Pro
Aug 15 & 16 Optimising Performance through Coaching
Sep 6 and 7 Engage to Delight
Oct 11 Impress like a Pro
Nov 7 and 8 Optimising Performance Through Coaching
Dec 13 and 14 Rising to the Service Challenge

Non- WSQ Programmes

Month Days Non – WSQ Programmes
July 12 and 13 Managing for Peak Performance
Aug 23 and 24 OutThink OutPerform
Sep 20 and 21 Strategic Selling
Oct 18 and 19 Design Thinking
Nov 14 Feeling the Pulse of Customers
Nov 23 In the Business of Excellence
Dec 7 Winning the Millennials

To register or for more information please email or call 6873 9768.

How to build a customer-focused organisation


In an attempt to woo prospective customers, many organisations resort to fancy big-ticket marketing campaigns that seem to offer value one simply can’t refuse. It is not uncommon for prospects to receive the royal “red-carpet”, usually complemented with an elaborate sales pitch of benefits the customer will receive on signing the dotted line.

Once the paperwork is administered, that’s when all “good things come to an end”, as the saying goes. The prospective customer is now known as customer 1234567Z, becoming a mere statistic in the organisation’s vast customer database. Customer 1234567Z threads along his busy daily routine until one fine day when he experiences some dissatisfaction with the product or service that he has paid for. Immediately he rings the organisation for help and clarification only to receive the standard “I’m sorry sir, our company policy does not allow …” or “your payment does not include …” response.

Imagine how one feels as he walks aimlessly in a pitch-dark room and keeps knocking his head against the wall. Due to poor visibility, he does not know if he will ever find his way out of the room. Anxiety, frustration, and disappointment are just some of the emotions a customer goes through when they are uninformed of an organisation’s policy, procedures, rules and regulations. Worse still, if these emotions have resulted from systems or people that are not customer oriented.

Weaving service successfully into daily operations does not occur overnight. For an organisation to reach the “million dollar roundtable” in service, it needs to establish a customer-focused culture that permeates the entire organisation where every employee lives and breathes service in everything they do. A useful acronym that paves the way for an organisation that endeavors in building a service culture is M-I-N-D-S-E-T.


Identify the value proposition that you wish to offer to your customers, then, weave it as part of the organisation’s service strategy. For example, the value proposition that puts forward to her customers is the hassle-free ordering process (you order the book and we’ll do the rest). The key is to be unique and exclusive enough to make the customer notice.


Everyone knows that providing good service to the customer is important. But, how many of your staff truly believe that they have to do what it takes to provide excellent, unbelievable, legendary, fabled service to each valuable customer that walks through the door?

Internalizing the service message means that each and every key staff embraces service as a way of life. One strategy would be to align key employee processes to service quality. For example, the moment an employee joins the organisation, a customer-focused mindset should be instilled by emphasising service concepts during the induction, orientation, on-the-job coaching as well as through built-in rewards and recognition systems.


Look at your processes from the customers’ perspective i.e walk the path of your customer. Identify any “irritating” processes that disgruntled car owners are required to park their vehicle and wait patiently while the attendant attempts hurriedly to pump fuel. The owner then must proceed to the cashier to make payment. Mobil’s card minimises hassle. Make it a point, to understand why they are unhappy and modify these processes to meet and exceed their expectations.

The new Mobil Fuel Card is an excellent example. Traditionally, by simply installing a device to the rear of the vehicle, the driver parks the vehicle, fills up petrol and drives off. He is billed at a later stage for the fill-up: No queues, no hassle, no unnecessary waits at the counter, not to mention improved efficiency at the petrol kiosk.


Although it isn’t guaranteed that a delighted customer will continue to patronise the organisation indefinitely, the likelihood that a delighted customer continues to support the organisation is indeed high. Seize every opportunity as a golden opportunity to display how much you care for your customer, and they will reciprocate by more ways than the organisation will ever know.


Organisations that continue to remain at the forefront of service excellence look at change as an opportunity to “wow” customers. Identify redundancies and challenge the current way of performing present tasks. Winners in the service quality arena constantly strive to overcome new frontiers by constantly reviewing and revamping their service delivery function.


Ensure that your staff is empowered to make decisions. There is nothing more frustrating to a customer than when he is told that he cannot have assisted him because the boss is unavailable, and the employee does not have the authority to make such decisions. Rising customer expectations coupled with the need to get things done by “yesterday” makes it important for management to consider greater empowerment for their staff.


Customer service training should begin with the top rung of the organisation, then cascaded down to the rest of the employees. Senior management must not only develop an appreciation for service at strategic and operational levels, but also fully support all efforts made in developing a service culture. There is no greater encouragement for an employee than to see the big bosses practicing what they preach.

Just as Rome wasn’t built in a day, developing a service culture requires commitment, patience and a most importantly a service M-I-N-D-S-E-T.


5 Quick Ways to Build a Coaching Culture

Do you have a team of individuals where the stellar performance of a few is carrying the weight of the under-par performers? You had tried everything from incentivising them to giving them ultimatums but nothing seemed to work. Unfortunately, the option of letting them go often prove to be not viable since it will inevitably impose a heavier load on the rest of the team.

To effectively tap on the power of coaching and to optimise the performance of every employee, every team needs to establish a structured approach towards coaching.

Here are 5 quick steps that you can take.

1.  Establish a coaching plan that spells out who will be a coached, when they will be coached and the outcomes/goals of each coaching session.

2. Monitor the performance of a coachee in the days/weeks that follow to ensure that the coachee is demonstrating the requisite competencies. Be quick to give constructive feedback and avoid words like “for the zillionth time, I have highlighted …”

3. Schedule regular meet-ups where coaches can share with each other their experiences. What worked for them? What were some challenges for them? How did they overcome these difficulties?

4. Consolidate the benefits/outcomes that were derived as a result of coaching. This could include increased sales performance, higher employee morale, and achievement of other organisational goals.

5. Equip yourself and your team with the skills and know-how of being a coach. Join our Public Seminar on “Optimising Performance through Coaching” happening on 10 and 11 May 2018, 9 am to 6 pm. Register now.

3 Key Strategies to Engage Millennials

“Job Hoppers”, “Individualists” and “Entitled” are just some of the terms used when describing Millennials. While there isn’t a universally accepted definition, “Millennials” are defined as those who were born between early 1980s and early 2000s.  These are also known as the Generation Y.

Millennials’ expectations are very much different from that of the previous generations (e.g. Gen X and Baby Boomers).  This generation is born into small families with dual-income parents.  With more disposable income and lack of time for them, their parents tend to shower them with love and attention.  The Millennials tend to be given whatever they ask for.  This explains the need for instant gratification.  They are born in the era of “internet and mobile phone”.  Thus, they are “connected” to the internet world, and their fingers are constantly “glued” to their mobile phones.

Workwise, they do not perceive work as a 9-to-5 job but one that is fun, flexible and provides fulfillment in their lives. However, that does not mean that they do not take pride in their work or are not committed to their work.  Millennials are also viewed as a power-hungry.  They expect to climb the corporate ladder quickly with multiple salary increments along the way. To many, this is an unrealistic goal; to the Millennials, that’s how things are supposed to be.

Our empirical research shows that staff attrition rates in an organisation are highly correlated with key engagement indicators such as the “competency of supervisors”, “work processes” and “staff welfare”, regardless of age. Compared with the Baby Boomers and Gen X, the Millennials value “welfare” more and are not afraid to speak up for their “rights”.

Though the Millennials are different from the earlier generations, they have the strengths and for the future leadership team of every organisation.  It is thus important for employers to challenge existing paradigms to retain these employees and harness their strengths.  Here are some useful tips:

1. Aim for Work-life Harmony

The key word is “harmony” rather than “balance”.  “Balance” gives the impression that we need to have a 50-50 split between work and life.  The question is whether it is possible to create such a balance.  Instead, aim for work-life harmony.  This means that when the Millennials are at work, they should be happy and contented, without having to worry about home or kids.  They shouldn’t have to ask themselves the question “What’s the meaning of life?” while they are at work.

As their leaders, try to know the Millennials better on a personal note. Find out what they value in life, whom they treasure most, what they want out of life and the “non-negotiables” in life.  Then, avoid situations when they are “forced” to make a compromise on these things that they value for work.  For example, if the millennial values “family”, ensure that she takes her leave to attend the parent-teacher meeting at her child’s school.  Do not ask her to cancel the leave application to attend to “urgent” matters at work.

2. Leverage on Their Tech-savviness

Millennials will likely be familiar with more than 10 social apps, could have a blog or website, use smartphones.  “Technology” is their middle name.  Without a laptop in front of them, they have issues “thinking” and “writing”.  At least 90% of the communication is via emails or text messages instead of speaking over the phone.  For them, the key factor in selecting a hotel is “internet access”.

Harness on this strength by giving them tasks that require them to tap into it.  Then, they would likely gain a greater sense of satisfaction in everything they do.  To help improve work efficiency, enlist their help to search for apps that could improve productivity.  Use the mobile phone to complement face-to-face communication (e.g. create chat groups, send videos or photos using mobile phones to enhance understanding).  For coaching purposes, search for information on the internet and send useful ones to team members.

3. Create a Fun Working Environment

Baby Boomers and Gen X tend to take their work very seriously and expect the Millennials to do so too.  When we create a workplace where there is loads of positive energy, smiles, and enjoyment, Millennials feel compelled to share with their friends and family how wonderful their work environment is. This becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy since the act of sharing this information attests to the fact that it is a great work environment

How could one create FUN at work?

  • Think of ways to create friendship rather than to maintain a professional working relationship. (Examples – Go for drinks together, organise team bonding activities, etc.
  • Create an environment that’s fun! (Examples – Provide a “chill-out” place where the team can gather or encourage people decorate their workstations in a way that will cheer them up.)

While the demographics of your workforce will continue to change, what separates good organisations from great ones is the ability to adapt to the changing needs of employees. Beacon can help your company understand and manage Millennials better through our proprietary solution – TrueInsights ©. Find out more at or call us at 6873 9768.

5 Simple Ways to Project a Professional Image


Image source: Istock


Looking and acting professionally in the workplace is more important than you think. Studies have shown that how you look and act can greatly influence your career. Others will judge you in only a matter of seconds. Like it or not, first impressions count. You don’t have a second chance to create another first impression.  Once negative impressions are formed, it takes lots of effort to change people’s perception.  If you’re planning to join the workforce or have been in it for quite a while, you might want to check the image that you are projecting.


1. Dress Like A Pro 

If you’re trying to leave a good impression, it’s important to dress professionally. You don’t need to have the trendiest outfit or be overly corporate.  You simply need to dress according to your company’s standards and the industry norms. Keep everything (eg. hair, nails, shoes, etc) clean, neat and tidy.  Wear appropriate make-up throughout the day to look good.  You don’t have to pick the trendiest colour scheme.  Opt for natural colours that could enhance your features.  If you have subconsciously relaxed the grooming standards over the years, it will be a good idea to get back on track.

2. Act Like A Pro

Make it a habit to have good posture while sitting and standing. Good posture tells a lot about a person’s attitude towards work and life.  For example, standing up straight exudes confidence.  When speaking with someone, it’s also ideal to avoid unnecessary actions such as nail-biting, hair-twirling or even looking at your mobile phone while speaking with someone. You want to give the impression that you are confident, alert and engaged.  Action speaks louder than words.  Ensure that your body language sends the right message.

3. Speak Like A Pro

What you say and how you say it affects the way people perceive you and determine if they want to work with you.  A simple statement such as “this is not my job” may potentially spark a heated conversation between people.  Instead, it is important to watch the language.  You could inject warmth with statements like “I would love to do that for you.”  Instead of giving instructions like an order, it would be good to turn the order into an appeal by saying “Could you help me complete the form by Monday?” 

4. Listen Like A Pro 

When speaking with someone, it’s very easy to just nod and agree with him so that you can end the conversation and carry on with your tasks. You might find yourself in such situations when your brain only picks out what you think is important, and the rest fades into the background. This is what we call “selective listening” and is usually the reason for miscommunication. Instead of “listening selectively”, it is important to listen actively.  Active listening requires you to listen to every single word and feeling and understand them.  Most important of all, you need to show that you understand both the message and the emotional state.  To do so, you could say, “I can imagine how anxious you must be right now as you need the funds to be transferred into your account.  Let me see what I can do for you.”

5. Know Like A Pro 

In the course of your work, there will always be customers (internal and external) coming to you for assistance.  Today’s world is very fast paced, and people get impatient when they don’t get what they need fast and correctly done.  So, know your stuff well.  Be on top of things all the time. Keep yourself updated on new practices in the workplace or changes in company policies.  Most important of all, constantly upgrade yourself through reading, attending courses or exchanging ideas with more experienced colleagues.

Maintaining a professional image is essential. Don’t take it for granted as these are elements that you can control and will help you in your workplace.

If you enjoy the tips on how to “Impress Like A Pro”, you will be able to get more!  Registration is now open for the Impress Like a Pro Public seminar happening on 11 April 2018.

For more details, visit, call us at 6873 9768  or email us at 


Build an Engaged Workforce

An Engaged Workforce
An Engaged Workforce

Every morning, as I walk towards the office, I am greeted by a warm, energetic, enthusiastic security officer – “Good Morning! Had your breakfast?”  He then follows up with two thumbs-up and a compliment about my dressing, my briefcase, etc.  This gets better – He engages in a similar conversation with each of my 40 colleagues every single morning.  Each person who interacts with him walks away with a smile.

Why would an individual engage with every customer in this manner?  What makes a person driven towards excellence in whatever he/she does?  How does an organisation transform its workforce to become more connected towards achieving organisational goals?

The answer lies in the words “Engaged Employee”.

3 Types of Employees at the Workplace

To this very day, many people tend to use the term “employee engagement” and “employee satisfaction” interchangeably.  However, in reality, employee engagement bears a deeper significance to an organisation’s productivity levels and meeting organisational objectives.

Our research shows that there are typically three “types” of employees at the workplace – Disengaged, In-transit, and Actively Engaged.

The Disengaged:

Simply put, disengaged employees are individuals who have “resigned”  years ago but did not formally inform HR about their intentions.  These are employees who are seemingly busy doing many things but no one in the organisation has any clue what this person is busy with!  Worst still, disengaged employees typically undermine the efforts of engaged employees.

The “In-transit”

These are individuals who typically form the clear majority of employees in an organisation, are able to perform their tasks relatively well, but only contribute to the extent required to keep their jobs.  “In-transit” employees are at “high-risk” since they can be easily influenced by recruitment campaigns undertaken by the “Disengaged” camp.

The “Actively Engaged”

Individuals who are aligned to the objectives of the organisation, contribute positively to the work environment, treat colleagues as family, and feel that their contributions shape the future of the organization.   Engaged employees are more productive, contented and likely to demonstrate loyalty.

How do we grow the Actively Engaged cohort?

1.   Surround the In-transit with Actively Engaged

Behavioural Research undertaken on Social Influence shows that individuals tend to conform to the others who form the majority.  In other words, by placing an “in-transit” employee in the presence of several “Actively Engaged” employees, there is high likelihood that the “in-transit” employee will start thinking, behaving and speaking just as the “actively engaged”.

2.  Convert the Disengaged

There is a tendency for many organisations to write-off disengaged employees.  However, disengaged employees offer the largest untapped potential for organisations to improve its performance and profitability.  Probably the easiest and quickest way to get them onboard is to identify a project / task that they have expressed an interest.  It could even be a hobby that can be translated to something of value to the organization.  The key is to be able to weave this interest into the workplace and make them responsible for it.  In other words, there is a need to identify what makes these individuals tick and light that fire.

3. Recruit Right!

Sometimes, the best way of building an engaged culture is by ensuring that the right individuals are hired.  During the interview process, look out for signs of engagement!  Ask questions such as “how do you keep yourself motivated?”, “outside your immediate job scope, how else have you contributed to your organisation”, “do you have a friend at work that you call family?”

For most of our clients, building a culture of Engaged Employees takes years.  Through perseverance, organisations that have built a strong contingent of engaged employees have consistently outperformed best-in-class time and again.

Need some advice? Give us a holler!  The team at Beacon Consulting would love to hear from you.

From Suspects to Prospects (Part 1)

When we hear about prospecting over the phone, or more commonly referred to as “cold calling”, we often imagine having to pick up the phone, calling someone whom we don’t know, and pushing a product or service to that person. But is “cold calling” really just that?  The answer is a definite No.

Most sales people fail miserably when prospecting over the phone due to a host of reasons including:

1.  Not knowing your personal prospecting style
2.  Insufficient pre-call planning
3.  A very poor opening
4.  Failure to share the “compelling reason” quickly
5.  Inability to make it into a 2-way communication
6.  Poor positioning of the call for action
7.  Inability to deal with objections

Let’s start with “Prospecting Styles”

Everyone is unique in terms of how they approach customers, build rapport, communicate and handle objections.  This is great!  One should be encouraged to develop their unique skills, strengths and talents.However, while the unique approach to prospecting is encouraged, there are some pitfalls to be aware of and a few exceptions to this rule.

Review the following styles and ask yourself if the characteristics describes your typical style of calling.

Type #1: Mr “Pressure Cooker”

This prospector operates with the “old school” mindset of using high-pressure selling tactics to generate results.  He believes that the only way to sell a product is to “push” the product down the customer’s throat.


– Puts his personal needs and objectives above his customers.
– Relies on tactics and other manipulative tools to achieve his objective.
– Believes in “one shot one kill”.

Type #2: Mr “Freestyle”

Is a person who is absorbed in his reality and just does not know when to stop talking.  In fact, he doesn’t even remember how the conversation starts.

– Does not follow standards as he believes that each prospect is unique.
– Thinks off-the-cuff and makes things up as he goes along.
– Exploits his charm and personality to compensate for the lack of system.

Type #3: Mr “Hi and Bye”

His aim will likely be to go from ‘hi’ to ‘bye’ within 30 seconds.  To him, speed is the objective in cold calling is a race. His goal is to beat the time invested in his last call.

– Believes that the faster he goes through his pitch, the more inclined his prospect will be to buy from him.
– He repeats himself often as his customer is not able to catch his words in the first place.
– Believes that if you give the prospect an opportunity to say “no”, they will.

Type #4: Mr “Copycat”

In his quest for perfection, this prospector is eager to learn and adopt new tips and techniques into his cold calling approach.  He keeps changing his style.

– Avid reader and often self-taught when it comes to developing his selling competencies.
– Always wanting to try any new cold calling approach that he can get his hands on.
– Feels that his own communication style, strengths and talents are not up to mark. Thus, he often emulates others.
– Tends not to prospect as much as he should in the quest of the perfection.

Type #5: Mr “Yes, Sir”

He wants the prospect to be happy.  While this is an admirable trait, it acts as a barrier to his cold calling efforts because he will say “yes” to everything that he is told to do.

– Generally more timid in his approach – will do anything to avoid confrontation.
– When the prospect raises a concern, he sees it as an objection instead of interest.
– Quick to send brochures or marketing collateral in the hope that the materials do the selling for him.

Type #6: Mr “Know-It-All”

He is a guru in this trade, product or profession.  If you need to know anything (eg. technical data, statistics, etc), he’s the person to speak with.  He can tell you the who, what, when, where, and why of everything.

– In his quest to educate his prospects, he actually over-educates them by providing too much information.
– At times, he turns an easy purchasing decision into a complex one.
– Makes the prospect feel as though they need more time to make an informed decision.

So what should every prospector works toward? The ideal is Mr. Role Model!

Type #7: Mr “Role Model”

This is the icon of professional prospecting and what everyone should be.  Mr “Role Model” has all the good qualities that the other types of prospectors possess, yet without their pitfalls.

– Persistence and confidence of Mr “Pressure Cooker”
– Enthusiasm and Charm of Mr “Freestyle”
– Efficiency and organisation skills of Mr “Hi and Bye”
– Drive for continuous improvement and learning of Mr “Copycat”
– Desire to serve of Mr “Yes, Sir”
– Product and industry knowledge of Mr “Know-It-All”

Stay tuned for more installments of “From Suspects to Prospects”.  Meanwhile, feel free to contact us should you require sales training.  We currently have more than 70 exciting programmes!

Big Data: Friend or Foe?

Big Data





Our world is becoming an increasingly digital space, with an almost inconceivable amount of data being created and stored every minute. Big Data is the buzzword used to describe this immense volume of data which has intrinsic value and can yield invaluable insights to organizations, regardless of their industry, to optimize performance.

For instance, because of Big Data, managers can potentially measure and drastically know more about their organisation and translate that knowledge into enhanced decision-making and performance. There is already evidence of the use of Big Data in our everyday lives, from Google’s spell change suggestions and calls from credit card companies about suspected fraudulent activity.  All this is the result of the analysis of billions of patterns from past trends.

While appreciably awe-inspiring in its scale and scope, this unprecedented reservoir of data, that is constantly increasing, is futile unless it can be unraveled to find the knowledge within. A key feature of Big Data is, as the name implies, its size, which cannot be efficiently processed by traditional tools and techniques. Big Data analytics has thus become the hot trend, with an increasing need for advanced analytics techniques which incorporate components such as predictive models and statistical algorithms powered by high-performance analytics systems.

Understandably, the need for quicker and smarter decisions and the governing of big data is driving the trend of the growing need for Artificial Intelligence (AI). The confluence of Big Data with AI is inescapable as the automation of smarter decision-making is the next phase in the advancement of Big Data. Owing to this emerging drift, the need for human intervention is predicted to reduce drastically. Thus, while Big Data offers tremendous potential to gain knowledge that can be turned into actionable solutions, the fear of automation is inevitable.

On the other hand, the manipulation of data, be it in market research projects or the results of medical examinations, is moot if it cannot be crafted into a uniquely molded strategy that is applicable to the client. It goes without saying that data manipulation in the absence of business acumen is voided in our competitive corporate world.

A two-pronged approach involving both complex data analytics and business intelligence will be imperative for the foreseeable future. So rather than being threatened by automation, we must find a way to have a symbiotic relationship with it. And this is precisely the mindset that we, at Beacon Consulting, have adopted. By constantly staying on par with technological developments, we strive to harness the vast ocean of analytical tools available to optimise research processes and focus on delivering solutions that are both cutting edge and infused with the necessary human intervention to tailor them to best suit the needs of individual clients.

Find out more about our services at