Ngern Tid Lor (NTL) is the Bangkok-based, leading provider of microcredit, cash loans, and car insurance in Thailand. With over 5,500 employees in many branch offices all around the country, this financial company was facing the need to convert the company to a digital platform to make use of digital technology advancements in financial services.
They also saw an opportunity to streamline and amplify their corporate culture through digital platforms. Having so many far-flung offices all across the country, the management struggled to make all employees feel like they were part of a large team, instead of just individual, independent offices. They realized that making a digital transformation within the company could not only streamline their business processes but also make their corporate culture more integrated into their day to day work lives.
They studied methods to build corporate traditions and settled on following the 5-step method used by Zappos, a successful online shoe retailer in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. They saw that Zappos had a strong, ingrained culture in their company, but they also offered five steps that led to this strong and uniting culture within their company.
Start by Reducing Internal Friction
Once they identified digital technology as the most logical way to highlight and reinforce their corporate culture, they began to implement the five steps that worked so well for Zappos. Creating the feeling of a single company within the thousands of employees scattered all over the country was necessary for them to reduce internal friction.
People naturally favor people they know and avoid those people they don’t know. They began to create a community instead of many different offices by encouraging their employees to participate in the decoration of their offices and engage with people in other offices via a company Facebook page.
Validate Learning and Take Calculated Risks
Management introduced the concept of learning in the workplace as an ongoing part of the culture. They encouraged employees to think of and try out new ideas to streamline and improve the work processes they were involved with, even if their ideas didn’t work. The idea was to eliminate the stigma of failure and losing face from Ngern Tid Lor’s culture.
Failure is simply a part of life. But failure can also teach us how to succeed. Making use of the failure to educate ourselves is what’s important.
Augment Decisions with Data
Ngern Tid Lor created a digital platform their managers could access at any time of the night or day from wherever they were. Using machine learning and GIS in gathering data about a specific area surrounding an office, they encouraged their managers to explore their ideas using a data-focused approach. By supplying interesting data about the local population, local industries, and competition, they inspired their managers to come up with different ideas and processes to improve their operations.
Reduce Friction for Customers
The ability to take more control of their finances by introducing a digital customer platform was a major attraction to customers. By introducing both a BX (Branch Experience) and CX (Customer Experience) platform, Ngern Tid Lor improved how their employees interacted with their customers by standardizing practices across the company.
Bridge the Last Mile
The need to educate their employees who had regional training only and had different levels of understanding of the company’s processes and policies were crucial to standardizing the company’s practices on a national level. By creating a financial education team that traveled around the country, bringing all employees up the same level of understanding, Ngern Tid Lor was able to create an all-encompassing culture that helped bind the company together.