Putting Employees First: the Rise of Steve Day
Taiwan's Most Admired Entrepreneurs
Restaurateur Steve Day moves into the top ten for the first time. The list of most admired entrepreneurs is dominated by CEOs of Taiwanese brands, clearly demonstrating the ascent of Taiwan's branded businesses.
Taiwan's Most Admired EntrepreneursBy David Huang
From CommonWealth Magazine (vol. 482 )
Wowprime Group chairman Steve Day departs Taichung before 10 a.m., heading north for an appointment with representatives of CommonWealth Magazine's Survey Center at the Westin Taipei to discuss the pursuit of corporate social responsibility (CSR). Traveling with him is Sufood vice president for administration Tom Huang. Both are casually clad in shirts and blue jeans.
Day was unaware that this year he had for the first time broken into the top ten list of Taiwan's Most Admired Entrepreneurs, as part of CommonWealth Magazine's annual Most Admired Company Survey.
Day scored a stellar 96.77 percent in the "Cares for and understands employees, looks after employee's welfare" index of the top ten survey, the highest score in that particular category. The score also nicely demonstrated the main focus of this year's benchmark company survey – the importance of cultivating human resources.
Lifetime Care for Employees
Wowprime Group's internal business start-up model and profit-sharing plan have definitely been a winning formula and a major part of the group's rapid growth. But it is the company's handling of employee welfare that has been the key to employee willingness to grow together with Wang Steak.
Any employee who works for Wowprime for three months is presented with a "peace of mind certificate," which clearly states that once that employee has been with the company for a full year they are entitled to lifetime care courtesy of the company in the event of accident or illness, regardless of whether or not the injury or illness is work-related.
Two or three years ago, a 29-year-old group leader at one of the group's Tokiya Japanese-style steakhouses was diligently working his way up the ladder and on the cusp of getting a crack at becoming a general manager.
Then the young man unexpectedly fell victim to an onset of acute thrombosis. After being rushed to the hospital, emergency surgery ultimately saved his life but left him partially paralyzed. His single-parent mother was inconsolable.
Making use of a relief fund, Day was able to assist the employee, who was left unable to work. In this case, for the first six months immediately following surgery, the employee was provided a monthly stipend of NT$60,000; thereafter, he will receive a monthly NT$30,000 in "lifetime salary."
The seed money for the relief fund came from stocks Day donated, which produce an average annual return of NT$33 million, so that employees can continue to work for Wowprime with peace of mind.
The Ascent of Domestic Demand Industries
As National Chengchi University business administration professor Joseph Yu notes, Day's entry into the top ten most admired entrepreneurs list is symbolic of the rise of domestic demand industries in Taiwan as well as a tip of the hat to Day's individual commitment to his employees.
But he was also quick to remind that after Wang Steak's stock market listing next year, how to maintain its current internal entrepreneurship mechanism and division of profits among its various brands will be the challenge, once more stringent rules and regulations apply after its entry into the capital markets.
Also, in this year's rankings of Taiwan's Most Admired Entrepreneurs, HTC chairwoman Cher Wang's eclipsed that of industry titan Stan Shih, the founder of Acer Inc. And IC design king Tsai Ming-kai, tourism giant Stanley Yen and Uni-President boss Kao Chin-yen all dropped out of the top ten.
Despite markets continually screaming that the world has already entered the "post-PC era," global computer OEM big shots Barry Lam and Jonney Shih returned to the rankings with a vengeance. What's more, Asus Computer boss Jonney Shih's ranking for the first time vaulted past that of his mentor Stan Shih, to number six.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp. chairman Morris Chang retained his long-held status as Taiwan's most respected entrepreneur.
Translated from the Chinese by Brian Kennedy