Page Seoul’s Hotel Cappuccino gift shop 112 Reward and retain your staff Page 124 Collective Genius Page 126 The dismissal QBusiness. Page 118 Andrea Buso Seoul revival Doing business in South Korea? Enjoy the perks of this economic success story. March 2016 | QANTAS 111 QBusiness. Rules of Engagement How to keep great staf members happy, engaged and away from recruitment agencies? Leading Australian companies reveal their employeeretention strategies to Catherine Fox. ICONOGR APHY BY B A I A N AT 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 The gung-ho team-bonding exercises of the 1990s – where the desk-bound went to Outward Bound courses – have been replaced by a boom in mindfulness programs.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 112 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. Opportunity Recognition 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 113 QBusiness. Flexibility 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.” Feedback 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 115 QBusiness. BASIC DRIVERS 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. 116 QANTAS | March 2016 Autonomy 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). Mastery 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. Purpose The No. 1 motivator at work is when employees feel they are really making a difference and their work is meaningful. Haski-Leventhal 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. Relatedness 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 friendships. QBusiness. STAY G R A N D H YAT T S E O U L 322 Sowol-ro, Yongsan-gu, Seoul seoul.grand.hyatt.com 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. 118 QANTAS | March 2016 Business Travellers’ Guide Privacy, luxury and high security make Grand Hyatt Seoul the hotel of choice for world leaders Seoul S TO R Y B Y L E TA K E E N S THE SHILLA SEOUL 249 Dongho-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul shilla.net 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, HOTEL CAPPUCCINO 155 Bongeunsa-ro, Gangnam-gu, Seoul hotelcappuccino.co.kr 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 F L I G H T PAT H Andrea Buso ICN Qantas and partner airlines offer flights to Seoul from Australia. qantas.com 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 119 QBusiness. 6 Namdaemun-ro, 9-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul smallhousebigdoor.com 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 WORD OF MOUTH 120 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 (center1wellness.com) 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. BREAKFAST MEETING BUSINESS DINNER DINING ALONE DRINKS WITH CLIENTS COFFEE PIT STOP Bills 1F Lotte World Mall, 300 Olympic-ro, Songpa-gu, Seoul billskorea.com Jungsik 11 Seolleung-ro, 158-gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul jungsik.kr Parc 2F, 743-1 Hannamdong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul parcseoul.com Terarosa 50 Jong-ro, 1-gil Jongno-gu, Seoul terarosa.com 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, Seoul +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 SMALL HOUSE BIG DOOR AN ACER PROMOTION FOUR SEASONS 97 Saemunan-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul fourseasons.com/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: Seoul ▲ Venue: THE PLAZA Seoul, Autograph Collection 119 Sogong-Ro, Jung-Gu, Seoul, Rep. of Korea. hoteltheplaza.com ▼ Technology: Acer Aspire R 14 laptop (below) O 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 acer.com.au QBusiness. WHEN IN SEOUL... BETWEEN MEETINGS? 1. 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 2. 122 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 3. 4. 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 (koridoor.co.kr); book at least four days ahead to clear security requirements. 5. ◖ 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 templestay.com. 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. QBusiness. 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.” M AT T H E W S AY S Simon McKeon & Matthew Miles 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. A S TO L D TO DI WEBSTER P H O TO G R A P H Y B Y 124 P E T E R TA R A S I U K QANTAS | March 2016 S I M O N S AY S “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.” QBusiness. 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. 126 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. S TO R Y B Y LY N D A L L C R I S P 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.