Succession Planning Case Study

Markono Print Media is a family run business established in 1967 that specialises in printing, binding and exporting books. Their current Managing Director, Mr Edwin Ng did not immediately join his family business upon graduation, but instead chose to follow the unconventional path of working for multi-national corporations instead. His experience in these big companies prior to joining the family business gave him the opportunity to gain insights on industry best practices and accumulate valuable corporate experience. These came into good use when he took over the reins at Markono.

Every transition of leaders has its challenges, and Markono was no exception. One of the hurdles faced by Mr Ng was in galvanising the support and buy-in from Management for the new initiatives that he intended to roll out as the new Managing Director. Although there was initial resistance, Mr Ng managed to prove to Management that there were benefits to be reaped from some of the projects. An example was the implementation of an open Performance Management system. In the past, employees were not given any feedback or evaluation of their performance over the past year, and could only wait and see if Management decided to promote them or to increase their pay at the end of the year. The process was arbitrary, and did not give employees any clarity on performance assessment and grading, which is critical in highlighting areas for improvement.

The company has since transitioned to an open Performance Management framework, with an annual 360 degree appraisal system ensuring that employees are given regular feedback about their performance by their superiors and vice versa. Objectives set for the employee at the start of the year are reviewed bi-annually by employees and their superiors to factor in changes in expectations from superiors, and to update appraisees on their performance at a predetermined checkpoint.

While the change was initially met with resistance, concerns were quickly allayed as top performers could now be quickly identified and appropriately rewarded. Markono was able to identify correlation between performance and compensation and structure their reward system accordingly to motivate employees to perform better.

While change management is never easy, Mr Ng has played a critical role by taking the initiative to better understand his employees and incorporating best practices from other industries. Markono is now seen as a progressive company in the printing industry, and an employer of choice for young graduates seeking a fulfilling career in SMEs.