Forget CGPA, Here's What Matters For Tony Fernandes When it Comes to Hiring

by Danial
Mar 21, 2019 at 2:25 AM

Tony Fernandes wants to take over Southeast Asia with his latest venture, BigPay.

The fintech firm, already the fifth top finance app in Malaysia today, aims to expand to Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines in the future. Big things are expected from BigPay, but there are more reasons why the company is a frontrunner in the FinTech business with dozens of other competitors. 

Here are the reasons why Tony Fernandes' BigPay (and AirAsia) have the best employees:


1. Independence and Freedom

BigPay's Group CEO and co-founder, Christopher Davison said that a large factor in BigPay's success so far is its corporate culture.

“We’ve been given a huge amount of freedom to hire good people from diverse backgrounds,” Davison said, adding that the team has been given “independence (and) freedom to build a company from scratch – that’s quite rare for a big company to do…and that’s why we’re growing so fast.”

This freedom is also one of the key reasons why AirAsia was named one of Malaysia's most attractive employers to work for in 2018.

2. Hire those who wish to prove themselves

When it comes to hiring, Tony Fernandes prefers those who are hungry and "really want something to prove". 

“If you look at everyone in my team, a lot of people (are those) who never made it and were never given the chance. We have a lot of people who left school at 13 who are very senior in our companies,” he said.

“I look for people with the drive (and) who want to prove something,” he added, saying that these people should also have great communication skills and be team players.


3. No company hierarchy

There is no hierarchy in AirAsia. All staff, regardless of rank, have access to the CEO. Started with 200 staff, AirAsia now employs over 20,000 staff. But it does not manage them like a regular airline.

“We’re probably one of the airlines of our size with no unions… and we’ve never had an industrial issue ever,” Fernandes said. He said that the key to talent retention is “transparency and the ability to communicate with anyone at any time”.

“All sorts of people in AirAsia have the ability to talk to me. There’s no hierarchy,” he added.


4. A room to grow within the company

Fernandes also highlighted the importance to move and grow professionally within the company. For instance, at AirAsia, senior management is very diverse, something he said is "not easy in our part of the world." 

“People see it and they believe they can achieve anything they want to in our companies.”


5. Appreciate your people

Finally, Fernandes emphasises the need to appreciate the staff.

“Many companies don’t realise that their biggest asset – and this is the fault of accountants – is their people. It’s not a number you can put in your balance sheet, but people all need attention and appreciation for what they do. And I think we’re generally good at that,” Fernandes said.

Fernandes, who has on many occasions credited the company's success to its people, also shared some advice for new entrepreneurs: 

“Surround yourself with great people. Most entrepreneurs think they know everything themselves, but really, it’s the team,” he said.


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Source: Business Insider


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