Qantas Spirit of Australia - February 2016

Seoul’s Hotel
gift shop
112 Reward and retain your staff
124 Collective Genius
126 The dismissal
Andrea Buso
Seoul revival
Doing business in South Korea? Enjoy the
perks of this economic success story.
March 2016 | QANTAS
Rules of
How to keep great staf members happy, engaged
and away from recruitment agencies? Leading
Australian companies reveal their employeeretention strategies to Catherine Fox.
FORGET the gold watch, gift certifcate or even a small
bonus. What really keeps employees happy and fring
on all cylinders these days is a blend of the tangible
and intangible. Free food and think pods in the ofce,
online recognition programs, staf discounts and
meditation classes tick a lot of boxes but must sit
alongside the higher-order needs that give meaning
to jobs – developing skills and expertise, meaningful
work, opportunities and time for volunteering.
The gung-ho team-bonding exercises of the 1990s –
where the desk-bound went to Outward Bound courses
– have been replaced by a boom in mindfulness programs.
The yearly engagement survey, which measures morale
and commitment, is now about regular feedback and
real-time data capture.
It’s all a lot quicker and gives a more detailed reading
on what keeps us motivated. And there’s one big winner
in just about every workplace: fexibility. We’re not talking
part-time work for mothers; rather the chance to buy
QANTAS | March 2016
extra leave, work from home, take time of to study or
shift the working day earlier or later.
The basic motivators, however, haven’t really changed
much over the decades. A fair salary is a given today but
the key to extra discretionary efort is about so much
more. Savvy bosses know to blend intrinsic motivation –
something that gives a burst of psychological satisfaction
within – and extrinsic motivation, which comes from
tangible rewards and incentives.
The research tells us intrinsic motivation works
a lot better, says Dr Debbie Haski-Leventhal, associate
professor in management at the Macquarie Graduate
School of Management (MGSM). And, increasingly,
employers understand that their most valuable asset
craves control over their eforts. “When you force people
to have a ‘fun’ day with their peers it doesn’t really work,”
she says. “People need a sense of autonomy in the
workplace. Free food is more an extrinsic way to motivate
people; they love it because the company is investing in
them and they feel valued. But that works only for a short
time. People start taking it for granted after a few months.”
Employees are looking for engaging and interesting
work, frst, and then professional development and
recognition. The way the latter is delivered has evolved
over time, says Chris Lamb, human resources director
at Lendlease Australia. “People’s expectations are
high. Employees are savvy and there are things like
[organisation comparison website] Glassdoor, where
they can see what other companies are doing.”
And there’s no one-size-fts-all solution. At QBE,
chief HR ofcer Sally Kincaid says three pillars are very
carefully looked at: reward, culture and opportunity.
“But in the same way that companies think about a
customer experience, we are very conscious that people
have diferent needs at diferent parts of the life cycle.”
It’s important to ofer a range of diferent incentives.
Having cofee with the boss – or being given a plum
assignment – is just as valuable as doing a course, says
Jon Williams, global leader of PwC’s People business.
So who’s doing it best and what’s on ofer? Some
of Australia’s leading organisations focus on a few key
areas to boost motivation.
THERE’S nothing new about the importance of recognising and
rewarding efort but how and when you do it can be make-or-break
as employee expectations rise. Hospitality group Merivale has many
regular recognition programs but the best night of the year is when
CEO Justin Hemmes shuts down all Merivale venues to host an
extravagant awards night for all staf called The Merivales, says chief
operating ofcer Brett Sergeant. “It’s like the Oscars,” he enthuses.
“There are 30 categories, it’s black tie and we have prizes like trips
to LA. The teams absolutely love it.”
But while senior managers know they get the best out of their
team if they are recognised, says Sergeant, you have to be honest
with people and it has to be meaningful and consistent.
Research into the benefts of recognition shows it has a more
lasting efect than most extrinsic motivators and directly afects
morale and engagement. According to American employee
engagement expert David Sturt, recent studies reveal a striking
connection between recognition and job satisfaction.
In fact, recognition doesn’t just make the individual recipient
feel motivated; it has a positive efect on their peers, too. Lendlease
has a company-wide online recognition and reward program called
SteLLar and employees can nominate anyone in the company, says
Lamb. “It could be for excellent customer service and you can choose
to allocate points or give them the recognition. They can use the points
to redeem movie vouchers or other rewards. What we fnd is that it’s
nice to have the points but it’s the recognition that counts.”
Insurance company QBE also uses a points system to reward its
employees. “Our thankQ program, run by Accumulate [which runs
Qantas’s thankQ program, too], allows our people to recognise their
colleagues through online nominations,” says Kincaid. “Employees are
awarded points they use to redeem gifts or vouchers. And managers
acknowledge these points by giving a certifcate at team meetings.”
QBE also has a global recognition program called 10/10 that
celebrates employees who go “above and beyond”. The divisional
winners are invited to meet the CEO. It has huge prestige, she says.
MERIVALE may run some of the hippest venues
in Sydney but it also ofers world-class training
for a workforce that will reach 3000 this year, says
Sergeant. And the chance to climb the ladder is
a strong incentive.
“I think the general public underestimates the senior
opportunities that exist in hospitality and how far these
kids can go from front of house. I read recently about how
we feel about manufacturing being in a downward trend
in Australia. There are high-level roles in hospitality;
employees are responsible for leading very large
businesses and it takes a lot of skill.”
Providing training and development is de rigueur for
employers dealing with senior staf who are more likely
to switch jobs and careers if the options for experience
and progression are not up to scratch. A half-day seminar
by middle managers is simply not going to wash.
As well as skills training, Merivale has spent fve years
developing a range of leadership programs delivered by
external facilitators and internal experts, with more than
250 people completing the
courses in that time.
Upskilling is also a core
focus for Lendlease. Lamb
says it falls into two areas –
skills training and leadership
development – and is very
much seen as an attraction
and a reason to stay with
the company. “We have four
diferent levels of leadership programs; some of them
are self-nominated, others are nominated based on our
assessment of their potential. We have invested a lot of
money in them in the past fve years.”
A number of leadership programs are ofered at QBE,
too. Formal training is moving into the e-learning space,
says Kincaid. Many workspaces have “huddle boards”
or large foor-to-ceiling screens where information and
metrics are displayed on a daily basis and to plan work.
The chance to work overseas is a big plus for QBE
employees and a lot of time is spent articulating what the
opportunities are globally. “There are options around
the world,” says Kincaid. One of her team members joined
three years ago and has already worked in New York
and Hong Kong, while the employee mix in Australia
includes many international workers.
March 2016 | QANTAS
ONCE seen as a special dispensation for mothers of small children,
fexibility options for all employees are becoming a critical part of
employment in workplaces. The choices include paid parental leave,
job-sharing, working remotely, rostered days of and compressed
working weeks.
In 2014, Telstra was one of the frst companies to launch the All
Roles Flex program where the onus is on managers to fnd a reason
why any job can’t be done fexibly. The aim is to normalise fexibility
and other companies are heading in the same direction as the payof in productivity and job satisfaction
becomes better known.
Lendlease is also trying hard to
inject fexibility into how employees
work, says Lamb. At the moment,
41 per cent of employees globally say
they work fexibly and, not surprisingly,
their engagement is signifcantly higher
than that of those who don’t, he adds.
The company also ofers all
employees in Australia and New Zealand access to three days’ paid
leave to do whatever they think will beneft their own wellbeing,
whether it’s for yoga or meditation or spending time with family.
Says QBE’s Kincaid: “We ofer our people the option to purchase
additional leave of up to four weeks and we’ve seen the take-up for
this particular beneft increase by 37 per cent in the past 12 months.”
IT’S known as “mushroom management” – fguratively keeping
employees in the dark and feeding them manure. No-one wants to
be a mushroom and great employers know that feedback with a clear
sense of direction is a no-brainer for keeping everyone engaged.
“What hasn’t changed is that people want genuine feedback
from someone they respect in a timely fashion and would rather
get any feedback than none,” says PwC’s Williams.
Gathering broader feedback from employees about organisational
culture has been transformed in recent years. Instead of an annual
engagement survey, Williams says clients are now using tablet
technology in tearooms to encourage staf to regularly comment
on their workplaces. The traditional performance feedback
regimen is changing, too. Some
organisations are axing the annual
review with a manager for more
regular feedback.
QBE has a formal performance
management system, says Kincaid,
“but we are going to launch ad-hoc
feedback. You can give that at
any time and it’s put into formal
performance documents.”
Wellbeing and volunteering
CORPORATE philanthropy has entered a new era as
employers have recognised the sense of purpose and
motivation that well-thought-out programs can bring.
Sending a group of bankers to work in a soup kitchen
once a year is being replaced with more tailored options.
Volunteering has to be consistent with the skills
you apply at work, points out Williams. And corporate
philanthropy eforts are increasingly aligned with
business activities and values or people snif out a
disconnect. “It’s part of a complex system and you have
to be serious about corporate social responsibility,”
he says. “It’s also about tapping into your workforce
to fnd what they value.”
The Lendlease Foundation was established in 1983
and combines philanthropic and employee programs,
says Lamb. “We do skilled volunteering and match the
skills of employees with an organisation that needs
that support.” The company also ofers its workers
free health checks and mental health support.
A focus on the wellbeing of employees as a key to
motivation has been on the increase in the past fve
years and goes well beyond a lunchtime touch footy
match. Vitamin company Swisse ofers its employees
meditation training and twice-daily sessions.
QBE gives “advice on how to increase health and
wellbeing”, says Kincaid. “We also ofer resilience
workshops and mindfulness [see next page] and
meditation, which are all voluntary.”
Hot-desking and activity-based working, where
there are no assigned desks, are transforming
workplaces, as the health risks and costs of oldfashioned ofce design are well documented.
Healthy eating is on the agenda, too, whether the
food is free (at companies like Google) or not. All of
Lendlease’s ofces – including many of its construction
sites – are supplied with healthy food; Lamb says the
signifcant cost of providing it is a great investment.
March 2016 | QANTAS
In his book Drive, American author Daniel
H. Pink nominates three main motivators:
autonomy, mastery and purpose. Dr Debbie
Haski-Leventhal (below), associate professor
in management at Macquarie Graduate
School of Management, believes there’s
another to add to the list: relatedness.
Mind over matter
MINDFULNESS has moved from the fringes of the corporate world
by ofering harried employees a way to get their mojo back. It’s all
about using attention-training practices to help hone concentration
and make more efective decisions. A number of studies have linked
the practice to improved wellbeing, productivity and performance.
Mindfulness is really a way to manage a symptom of the change in
the nature of work in the past 20 years, says MGSM’s Haski-Leventhal.
Demand is being driven by the 24/7 work ethos and the “always on”
nature of technology. “We haven’t become good at multi-tasking,” she
says. “We’ve become good at being distracted.”
Despite some initial scepticism, demand for mindfulness training
has taken of at law frm Herbert Smith Freehills in Melbourne, says
head of Capability Development Murray Paterson. “Lawyers and
people in professional services feel they have an unending list of
tasks, they’re working longer hours than in the past and they’re
trying very hard but not getting there. Even high-achieving people
who like to work hard feel they can’t keep up any more. It’s a bit
of a taboo to say, ‘I’m not coping.’”
Google runs programs in mindfulness, along with Macquarie
Bank, Commonwealth Bank, Telstra and PwC. Having facilitated
workplace mindfulness programs for Australian businesses for
the past three years, consulting and training frm Potential Project
has seen demand escalate, says partner Gillian Coutts. The frm has
developed about 15 programs in the past year compared with fve
the year before. Typically, programs run for 60 to 90 minutes a week
for six to eight weeks.
Mindfulness is a skill you can develop and involves learning how to
focus on the task at hand and take a few seconds to consider responses
and decisions, explains Coutts. Individuals have a range of reasons
for taking up mindfulness but for organisations it’s all about greater
productivity from their teams.
While afcionados believe mindfulness is no fad, the demand
for a novelty factor in corporate courses has a long pedigree. In fact,
some companies are beginning to look at using horse-handling to
help with team dynamics. Equine-assisted learning is huge in Canada,
says Williams, and it’s just starting to attract corporate interest here.
It’s about getting large, intelligent but stubborn creatures to do what
you want – just like dealing with humans.
QANTAS | March 2016
Australian IT
company Atlassian
lets staff work
on a project they
choose for one day
in each quarter –
an approach that
was pioneered
by Google. Other
companies give
you the flexibility
to work wherever
you want. More and
more workplaces
understand that
giving people
autonomy really
works, says HaskiLeventhal (above).
People love being
good at what they
do and companies
can help this by
providing courses
and training and
letting people
explore what
they like doing.
The No. 1 motivator
at work is when
employees feel they
are really making a
difference and their
work is meaningful.
asks students when
their internal flame
burns the brightest.
“It’s when they have
helped and made
a difference.”
Some of the
world’s best-known
companies are now
trying to change
their culture to
become purposedriven organisations
because they have
the highest level of
engagement, she
says. “Being the best
in the world is not the
most motivating but
being the best for the
world is.” Unilever, for
example, announced
its Sustainable Living
Plan in 2010 with
the aim of doubling
the size of its
market but halving
its environmental
impact by 2020.
People are
motivated to come
to the office on
Monday if the
people they work
alongside are great
to work with and
they have strong
322 Sowol-ro, Yongsan-gu, Seoul
Seemingly away from everything
on the edge of a mountain but, in
reality, a 10-minute drive from
the city centre and a short walk
into buzzy Itaewon, the Grand
Hyatt, opened in 1978, is the
choice of world leaders. The
past few American presidents,
including Barack Obama,
have stayed here. The 20-foor
hotel doesn’t have the largest
bedrooms but the foor-length
windows with views of Mount
Namsan or the city more than
make up for that. The hotel’s
new app acts like a personal
concierge, ofering restaurant
tips and tourist information.
Business facilities Four PC rooms,
notebook rental and secretarial
and other business services are
available, along with 10 meeting
rooms and a conference room.
Wi-fi Free in guestrooms and
public areas. Small charges
apply within meeting rooms.
Food and wine There are 10
restaurants and bars, including
J. J. Mahoney’s, a favourite
with locals looking for a place
to take clients; two Japanese
restaurants; and a French
brasserie with a good wine
list. The adventurous will feel
at home in the Helicon bar,
a Korean-style singing room.
Fitness and wellbeing Swim in
the indoor or outdoor pools (the
outdoor pool and sundeck convert
to an ice-skating rink in winter).
Or hit the tennis and squash
courts, saunas, gym and spa.
Run route The concierge can
supply a map showing a 1.4kilometre track from the hotel
into the woods to the north or, for
advanced runners, a 5.4-kilometre
round trip through public streets
on the edge of Mount Namsan
to the Namsan Library.
QANTAS | March 2016
Privacy, luxury and
high security make
Grand Hyatt Seoul
the hotel of choice
for world leaders
249 Dongho-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul
It opened in the ’70s, becoming
one of Seoul’s smartest hotels,
then closed in 2013 for seven
months to undergo a total revamp
by American interior designer
Peter Remedios. The Shilla may
have fewer rooms now but they
are more generous in size and
clever in design, inspired by
the craft of boatbuilding. The
23rd-foor executive lounge
is an exceptional addition with
an excellent library. There’s an
overall calm and elegance to the
hotel – even approaching it, up
a long fight of temple-like stairs,
induces a feeling of serenity. The
artwork in the lobby is dramatic
and includes a huge installation
by award-winning Korean artist
Seon-ghi Bahk, which he changes
annually. Art is a focus all round;
the nine-hectare Jangchungdan
Park adjacent to the hotel has a
sculpture garden featuring works
by local and international artists.
Business facilities There’s
an executive conference
centre, eight meeting rooms,
hot-desk-enabled computers,
printing facilities and
interpretation, translating
and secretarial services.
Wi-fi Complimentary
Food and wine The hotel has
a bakery, lounge bar and five
restaurants – including the
fine-dining Korean La Yeon,
155 Bongeunsa-ro, Gangnam-gu,
which first made it onto Asia’s
50 Best Restaurants list in 2014,
six months after opening.
Fitness and wellbeing The gym
offers personal training, yoga
and Pilates classes. Or you can
unwind in the indoor and outdoor
pools (with cabana shelters) or
on the small golf driving range.
A superb spa under the banner
of French luxury brand Guerlain
takes care of the pampering.
Run route Ask the concierge
for a map with a route past
the National Theater of Korea
and the Mokmyeoksanbang
restaurant on Mount Namsan.
(Clockwise from above)
Pick up a souvenir at the gift
shop in Hotel Cappuccino’s
foyer; the hotel’s Rooftop
Bar is the first “gintoneria”
in Seoul; Guerlain Spa at
The Shilla
Andrea Buso
Qantas and partner
airlines offer flights to
Seoul from Australia.
In the heart of one of the liveliest
parts of Seoul, the brand-new
141-room Hotel Cappuccino is
an establishment with a cause.
You can turn almost everything
that you do at the hotel into
a good deed: touch your room
key against an elevator sensor to
generate a charitable donation;
give part of the proceeds of your
meal to a safe-water organisation;
put unwanted clothes in a box in
the lobby... you get the picture.
There’s nothing abstemious
about the place, though – beds
are custom-made, with some
virtually squash-court-sized,
while two particularly large
rooms have their own terrace.
There’s a women-only foor,
a nifty shop in the foyer and
access to a car-sharing service.
Business facilities Computers
in the lobby are at your disposal
24 hours a day, along with three
function rooms for meetings.
Wi-fi Complimentary
Food and wine One restaurant
serves Korean and other Asian
food, while Caffe Cappuccino has
its own blend of coffee as well as
ale from a local microbrewery and
pastries from one of Seoul’s best
patisseries. There’s also a rooftop
bar that specialises in gin.
Fitness and wellbeing A small
gym has a range of equipment,
including weights and bikes.
Run route A four-kilometre run
north-east takes in Samneung
Park – a lovely, densely wooded
space. Parts of the park are fine
for jogging but the UNESCO
World Heritage-listed royal tombs
are better for contemplation.
March 2016 | QANTAS
6 Namdaemun-ro, 9-gil,
Jung-gu, Seoul
This 25-room boutique hotel, in a
four-storey 1960s ofce building,
suits the independent business
traveller and is a favourite among
the design set. On the border of
busy Myeong-dong, it’s also
within walking distance of the
much quieter Bukchon area,
with a subway stop a few steps
away. The conversion, including
custom-designed furniture and
3D-printed signage, is all by local
studio Design Methods and the
overall feel is minimalist and
inventive. A sunken gallery
with tiered seating (pictured
above), located on the ground
foor, exhibits contemporary
artworks. There are four room
types; numbers 206 and 306,
at the front and on the corner,
are particularly good and
feature a separate area with
table and chairs.
Business facilities The hotel
provides printing, copy and
fax services.
Wi-fi Complimentary
Food and wine A small bistro
restaurant in the foyer serves
simple food. It’s open from
10.30am to 10.30pm during
the week and 11am to 9pm on
Saturday but closed on Sunday.
Beverages, including coffee,
are available from 6am to
midnight, seven days a week.
Fitness and wellbeing The
nearby Center1Wellness
( offers
membership on a daily basis.
Run route The Cheonggyecheon
public recreation space is a
couple of blocks north of the
hotel. A five-kilometre roundtrip run takes you east along its
path, set well below street level
by a stream, to the Dongdaemun
Market district. It’s possible to
run different distances, as there
are steps back up to the street
along the way. Take care – the
ground is uneven in places.
1F Lotte World
Mall, 300 Olympic-ro,
Songpa-gu, Seoul
11 Seolleung-ro,
158-gil, Gangnam-gu,
2F, 743-1 Hannamdong, Yongsan-gu,
50 Jong-ro, 1-gil
Jongno-gu, Seoul
One of the newer
outposts in Bill
Granger’s global
empire, this is
set in a huge mall
complex. But don’t
let that put you off
– it’s on an easily
accessible outside
part, overlooking a
garden. Its leather
banquettes, big
tables, large space
and 8am opening
time all make it the
perfect choice for
a business meeting
over scrambled
organic eggs or
ricotta hotcakes.
Chef Jung Sik Yim
trained at The
Culinary Institute of
America and worked
at top New York
restaurants but set
up in a smart part of
Seoul to showcase
his version of modern
Korean cuisine. Very
creative and tasty
it is, too. His kimchi
is especially good
and may include
several types of
mushroom. Dinner
options range from
four to eight courses.
Book well ahead, as
it’s a small space.
Written on its front
window is “Korean
mother’s recipes
and more”. You’d
be thrilled if this
was your mother’s
cooking. A simple
seasonal menu
consists of three or
four main courses,
each including soup,
rice and three side
dishes. Painted brick
walls, pale timber
and exposed lighting
give Parc a relaxed
feel, which is further
enhanced when you
sit at the bench by
the herb boxes.
Glam Lounge
2F, 116-1 Hamilton
Hotel Annex, Itaewondong, Yongsan-gu,
+82 2 796 6853
QANTAS | March 2016
Glam it certainly is,
with its diamantéstudded drinks
menu but this
rambling gothic
spot takes its
drinks seriously.
There are a couple
of dozen whiskies
and clever cocktails
(with wildflower, for
instance) – even the
gin and tonic comes
with a cinnamonbark swizzle stick.
Open from 7pm until
at least 3am nightly,
it’s nice and quiet in
the early evening.
Coffee is invariably
expensive in Seoul
(about $6 a cup)
and most of it isn’t
great. If you’re
spending that
much, it should
be worth it. Like
Terarosa’s own line
of coffee – mediumbodied, smooth and
available as espresso
or drip. The kitchen
also pumps out
delicious pastries
and savoury options.
Locals love the
place, including –
word has it – monks
from the nearby
Buddhist temple.
Petrina Tinslay
97 Saemunan-ro,
Jongno-gu, Seoul
This new 317-room hotel
showcases art from renowned
local artists throughout and its
timber-screened ground-foor
lounge with central freplace
is reminiscent of a traditional
Korean house. But while the
national favour is evident, the
hotel also has an international
feel. One of its coolest spaces
is a hidden subterranean
bar – already a hit with the
locals – that has the look and
ambience of an old New York
City speakeasy. Interiors
are designed by global frm
LTW Designworks, with
spacious and well-appointed
guestrooms each containing
an iPad, umbrellas, a selection
of books, thick bathrobes and
customisable bedding with
a choice of three diferent
mattress toppers. Situated in
the heart of Seoul, the Four
Seasons is close to many
international and Korean
headquarters, and is within
walking distance of the
beautiful 14th-century
Gyeongbokgung Palace.
Business facilities
A 24-hour business
centre is equipped with
computers, printers, scanners
and meeting rooms.
Wi-fi Complimentary
Food and wine There’s
a small but well-stocked
gourmet shop, a patisserie,
plus seven restaurants and
bars – including Chinese
restaurant Yu Yuan, which
does a mean Peking duck.
Fitness and wellbeing Work
out in a three-storey complex
containing three pools, a gym
with personal trainers, spa
treatment rooms, dry and
wet saunas, a napping room
and nail bar.
Run route The concierge
recommends a four-kilometre
run around the palace walls of
nearby Gyeongbokgung to
the hotel’s north. On the way
you’ll pass up-market
residential areas and one of
the city’s main art quarters.
Tech Talk:
▲ Venue: THE PLAZA Seoul,
Autograph Collection
119 Sogong-Ro, Jung-Gu,
Seoul, Rep. of Korea.
▼ Technology: Acer Aspire
R 14 laptop (below)
ne big challenge of group travel for business is fnding a
hotel that will satisfy everyone while offering unfailing
business class facilities. Too many hotel chains play it too
safe, with predictably-adequate “business” spaces that fail to
inspire. Not so THE PLAZA Seoul, Autograph Collection,
centrally located in Myeong-dong and close to the CBD’s banks,
offces and Seoul’s major transport hubs. A luxury revamp by
celebrated Italian designer Guido Ciompi transformed the hotel
with ultra-modern colourways (hot pink and ebony; brown,
charcoal and purple) and curves for miles.
Plus, every room has been rewired to deliver high speed
internet and Wi-Fi, which, let’s face it, is make or break. Whether
you book everyone a Business Room or put some of your team up
in the Suites is a matter of personal taste (and budget) but the real
work will happen in the well-provisioned meeting rooms, catering
for teams from four people up to 20. Each comes with dedicated
internet and phone lines and (if you really must burn the midnight
oil) can be accessed around the clock.
So what tech to bring? The versatile Acer Aspire R 14 quickly
adapts to four modes of working thanks to its clever 360° hinge
design. Sit it in laptop mode and use the keyboard to work on
documents; lay it fat to collaborate with colleagues; stand it in tent
mode for presentations, video calls or movies in a confned space;
or fip it into a handy tablet form made gap-free by well-designed
magnets. Behind the screen, there’s a powerful combination of 6th
Gen Intel Core processors, 8GB system memory, ultrafast wireless
connectivity and solid state storage to deliver optimised Windows
10 multitasking. Plus, built-in digital mics and Skype for Business
certifcation make calls crystal clear in every mode. With its
ultra-thin and fexible form, this elegant laptop will be right at
home in Ciompi’s Seoul masterpiece.
Discover the latest technology
from Acer at
Two award-winning urban
renewal schemes have quickly
become must-sees in Seoul.
Cheonggyecheon, a former
highway in the city centre,
has been transformed into an
11-kilometre-long public space
featuring pathways planted
with wildflowers, grasses and
trees beside a fish-filled stream.
Or, if you have as many as three
hours to spare, visit (via a bridge)
Seonyudo Park on the Han River
and see what can be done with
an old water-treatment plant.
Get lost in Bukchon, an old
neighbourhood where the
laneways are lined with hanoks
(traditional Korean houses),
small shops, galleries, cafés,
restaurants and independent
museums. It’s best to go
early in the morning before it
gets busy, particularly on the
weekend. A more contemporary
QANTAS | March 2016
attraction in the area is the
Arario Museum; the adjoining
five-storey complex containing
a café, restaurants and a bakery
is a wonder in itself.
With historic sites all over
Seoul, it’s difficult to choose
just one if you’re limited for time.
The UNESCO World Heritagelisted Changdeokgung Palace
would have to be the pick of the
bunch, mainly because of its
Secret Garden. The 600-year-old
palace, made up of a number of
pavilions painted in subtly faded
shades, is beautiful enough
but don’t leave without buying
a separate ticket for the 90minute tour of the 32-hectare
forest-like garden.
Visit Dongdaemun Shopping
Complex and surrounding
markets to experience commerce
on a massive and specialised
scale, if nothing else. Something
The futuristic-looking
Dongdaemun Design
Plaza, the brainchild of
Iraqi-British architect
Zaha Hadid
like 80 per cent of the textiles
traded in South Korea go
through the complex. As with
many of the markets, the street
food around here is excellent.
While you’re in the area, check
out the striking aluminium-clad
Dongdaemun Design Plaza,
a building that works better
from the outside than in.
One of the oddest parts of
the world would have to be
the Demilitarized Zone between
North and South Korea. The
four-kilometre-wide strip of land
runs across the peninsula and
parts of it are accessible by public
transport. However, to see the
most interesting section –
the Joint Security Area – you’ll
need to do a guided tour. They’re
run regularly by the United Service
Organizations (;
book at least four days ahead to
clear security requirements.
◖ Be sure to take plenty of
business cards with you,
giving and receiving them
with both hands. When
you’re given one, take the
time to read it then put
it away discreetly – it can
be seen as an extension
of the person so you
don’t want to be rude.
◖ The subway is good value,
fast and ridiculously easy
to navigate, with all
announcements and
signs in English as well as
Korean. Buy a T-money
card from the ticket
machine at the station
and top it up there as
well (again, there are
directions in English).
◖ As an antidote to working
life, arrange a visit to a
Buddhist temple through There
are sites around the
country and in the centre
of Seoul. Book in for a
couple of hours or, if you
have time, days. Many
offer programs in English.
◖ Addresses are confusing
in Seoul and doubly so
because of a new system
of street naming and
numbering. Online maps
will sort you out.
◖ The best places for
presents are the National
Museum of Korea gift
shop in the Yongsan
District and the National
Hangeul Museum next
door. You’ll find dishcloths
and ties, notebooks and
jewellery – some featuring
Hangul, the Korean
alphabet. The museums
are fab, too.
Collective Genius
terms of my knowledge and bringing me up
to speed. Those briefngs are very important.
Whenever I get a call from Matthew asking
me to do something, I unhesitatingly say
yes because I know I’m in safe hands.
Leadership in the non-proft world is
probably more important than leadership in
business or government because you don’t
have the same resources and that breeds
a culture of doing rather than entitlement.
The MSRA is only small but an advantage
of that is that everyone in the organisation is
directly inspired by Matthew. He’s qualifed
to do a lot of better-paid jobs but he’s not
doing it for the money; he’s doing it for the
opportunity to make a mark.
It’s a very exciting time for someone
like Matthew to be in the role. Researchers
are getting 10 times the money they used
to get and we’re much closer to fnding
a cure for MS. He’s taken what was a good
organisation to greater heights. MSRA being
named Charity of the Year at the 2015
Australian Charity Awards is testament to
the fact that we’re very lucky to have him.”
Simon McKeon
& Matthew
What’s the connection?
Simon McKeon (left), chairman of AMP,
chancellor of Monash University and 2011
Australian of the Year, is the patron (and
founding chairman) of MS Research Australia
– the country’s largest not-for-profit funding
facilitator of multiple sclerosis research.
Matthew Miles is the organisation’s CEO.
What makes it work?
Relaxed personalities and a shared passion.
QANTAS | March 2016
“I was asked to join the MS Society in the mid’90s. I loved the cause but I was committed at
the time so I had to say no. About fve years
later, I was diagnosed with MS myself. It was
pretty spooky. I was paralysed from the hip
down and lost my sight for the best part of a
couple of weeks. But I’ve ended up at the easy
end of the spectrum; it hardly afects me now.
I eventually joined the boards of MS
Victoria and its umbrella group, MS Australia.
The organisation did a great job of looking
after people with MS but back in the early
2000s, it had dropped the ball on research.
A few of us set up a sister group to go hell
for leather trying to raise money. That was
the start of MS Research Australia [MSRA].
In 2013, we had to fnd a new CEO.
Matthew was impressive on paper but when
I met him, his passion is what really struck
me. I just knew our relationship would be
a good one. As patron, I’m rolled out every
now and then to talk and Matthew has a
knack for knowing exactly where I am in
“Simon was a big part of me taking the
CEO role. I’d never met him but I knew he
was the founding chairman and patron of
MSRA and, in my former role as director
of development at the University of NSW’s
school of medicine, I knew a lot about the
McKeon Review he did for health and
medical research. I felt he could be a great
mentor to me and that’s proven to be true.
He’s really relaxed and a great person
to speak with and listen to. I remember
a meeting with a big donor when Simon
was chair of the CSIRO and in the middle
of something critical; it’s one of the best
meetings I’ve been to. I was mesmerised
by the conversation, just hearing his views,
seeing his passion and how excited he was
about what this donor wanted to do.
Simon is a ‘roll up the sleeves’ kind of
patron. He can get down to the nitty-gritty
of a situation quickly, which is a skill a lot of
great mentors have. He has the ability to size
up an audience and speak to them beautifully
in a way they can hear. He is very positive
and he’s always thinking about other people.
Like Simon, I think I’m pretty relaxed.
I practised as a vet for more than 10 years.
Things can go wrong very quickly and
you have to be calm. Veterinary science
is a wonderful testing ground for anyone,
even in the business world. If you can deal
with the stresses of being a vet, you can
pretty much do anything.”
The Office
In the
firing line
Letting people go, making roles
redundant, streamlining the business:
however you dress it up, sacking
staf is always a delicate operation.
A SUCCESSFUL banker who conquered
Sydney then London and later New York
told me he doesn’t socialise with his senior
executives. He never invites them home
and he discourages his partner from getting
close to their other halves.
Knowing how hospitable and generous
this couple is, I found his attitude surprising.
But his reasons make perfect sense. He
doesn’t want any extracurricular baggage
to sort out if he has to fre the manager.
No cancelling regular opera nights or golf
days, suddenly withdrawing invitations to
join the family dinner table or closing the
door on children’s sleepovers.
Firing anyone at any level is never fun,
no matter the cause. Years ago, I had to do
it several times and felt ill as the moment
approached. At the time, there was no
template or human resources department
to talk through the process. Only once did it
occur to me to have someone else in the room
and that was because I thought a particular
stafer might clock me. (He didn’t.)
A headhunter once gave me two key
words of advice: brevity and clarity. Get
straight to the point; explain your decision.
Don’t start the meeting with babble about
how much you’ve always admired them.
They’ll think they’re about to be promoted.
Don’t ramble on about how upset you are
at having to let them go; it’s not about you,
it’s about them. They’re far more distraught
at the thought of no job. They shouldn’t
have to counsel you.
Have a bin handy in case they part
company with their last meal (not,
apparently, uncommon), inch the box of
tissues in their direction, give them time
to process what’s happening, talk through
their payout and then guide them gently
to the door. It sounds cold, says a corporate
psychologist, but prolonged chatter won’t
change the end result.
QANTAS | March 2016
Be prepared to be hated, she adds. A young
woman who was marched out the door went
straight to a bar, ordered Champagne and
texted every client to tell them just what
she thought of her ex-bosses.
And be aware of any possible legal
repercussions. The incompetent or badly
behaved employee must be given a chance to
improve their performance. Yet one employee,
the psychologist said, couldn’t believe he’d
been sacked. “I didn’t think your warnings
were serious,” he told his exasperated boss.
Recently, an industry leader had to break
the news to a dozen staf that they were
casualties of the company’s need to drastically
cut overheads. Rather than ask each one into
his glass ofce where they could be seen by
colleagues, he called them to a room upstairs.
They had the option of leaving that day or
working out their notice – either way, they
would be paid for a month plus all their
entitlements and a generous redundancy.
Despite his best intentions, remaining
staf were not impressed by his approach.
Perhaps they would have preferred the
method used by Hutchison Ports Australia.
Last August the company sacked nearly
100 workers in Sydney and Brisbane by text
and an email at midnight. (Months later,
a new deal saw about 60 workers take an
enhanced redundancy package and transfer
to casual roles.)
Then there was the rambling corporatestrategy memo sent to Microsoft staf in July
2014 by one of the company’s head honchos,
Stephen Elop. The missive didn’t get to the
point – that 12,500 employees were being laid
of – until the 11th paragraph. (A year later
Elop cleared his desk when new CEO Satya
Nadella reshufed the executive suites.)
Last October, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s
email announcing up to 336 staf had to
go was full of corporate jargon; cut to 140
characters it would still have got the message
across. As anyone who has seen Casablanca
knows, long, drawn-out goodbyes are never
a good idea.