“In large organizations, clear communication is crucial”
Syntronic is publishing a series of interviews with a selection of our innovative and strong female leaders this month, to promote gender equality in the workplace. Today, Lily Chen, our HR manager in China, shares her career story as well as her best strategies for promoting inclusiveness and clear communication in large organizations.
When Lily Chen first walked into our office in Beijing in 2007, she did not anticipate that it was her first step on a career journey that has lasted for more than 14 years. Nor could she imagine that the number of co-workers at Syntronic China would increase from under 100 to more than 600, or that we would establish ourselves in another four strategically important business hubs in the country. “When I first joined Syntronic, our team in Beijing was much smaller than today and we were not present in any other locations in China,” she remembers. “But I knew from the start the company was a good career match for me. Here, I discovered a flexible working environment, a flat organization where everyone’s voice is heard, and a team-oriented approach to work. It was, and still is, the ideal working environment for me”.
Lily, whose educational background is in computer science, is passionate about technology, sales, and people management. Her career at Syntronic has been versatile, dynamic, and flexible. Since she first joined our team in Beijing as an international buyer, Lily has had the opportunity to grow and develop in various positions related to sales, people management, and recruitment.
Since 2014, Lily is Syntronic’s HR manager in China. “Since I have had the opportunity to experience different roles, I have developed a lot as a person during my time with Syntronic,” she says. “My goal now is to continue to grow. In China, we have a saying: ‘People who are better than you work harder than you’. To me, that thought is a source of inspiration since it means that people can always keep growing. It just takes more effort,” she says.
Syntronic’s substantial expansion in China has resulted in new challenges from a people management perspective. Lily, who has had an insider’s view of our development in China, has learnt that growth requires constant adaptation. “In a team of less than 100 people in a single location, as was the case in our Beijing office when I joined, we do not encounter the same challenges as when we need to ensure that all co-workers, in team of more than 600 people who work at different locations, are happy and fulfilled,” she says. “So, when our team grew, we had to develop new procedures and strategies – especially since it is important for Syntronic that all team members get their voices heard.”
Successful people management in large organizations with multiple branches require well-functioning procedures, in Lily’s experience. “In large organizations, clear communication is crucial. Communication can be a straightforward process in smaller teams, but to communicate smoothly and efficiently within a larger group of people, it becomes necessary to implement proper procedures,” she says. “It is important that the same procedures and routines are put in place and followed at all the branches where the company is present. It is a strategy that works well for us. We emphasize that we are One Syntronic,” Lily continues. She adds that, in addition to ensuring that the communication runs smoothly, an additional advantage of that strategy is that it provides co-workers at the different branches with the opportunity to share ideas with each other. “Having a common framework and common procedures makes it easier to compare experiences and suggest improvements,” she explains.
Co-worker inclusiveness and a preference for a flat organizational structure are not the only of Syntronic’s fundamental values that Lily shares. She also shares the company’s conviction that increased gender equality is a necessary condition for societal progress.
While she recognizes that there is a long way to go before gender equality is achieved, Lily believes that society is moving in the right direction. “Today, it is obvious that women and men have the same abilities. We have all seen that women are perfectly capable of taking the lead of both companies and entire countries. I have a positive mindset, so I believe that we will see better and faster progress ahead,” she says.
When asked if she has any professional dreams that she would like to achieve, Lily says that she hopes that the future will bring plenty of new challenges and opportunities to grow. “Right now, I look forward to starting to work with the team at our new branch in Shanghai and make sure that they have all that they need,” she says. “From a more general perspective, in my free time, whenever I’m not busy spending time with my eight-year-old son, I always read a lot to stay up-to-date with the latest trends in HR. For me, reading is a great way to develop and learn new things – and to learn new things is the best way to prepare for the future,” she concludes.