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CO-WRITTEN / PARTNER | Staff Reporter, Singapore
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Vanessa Jerah of Genesis Retail Pte. Ltd. bags Executive of the Year - Retail at the SBR Management Excellence Awards 2018

The Genesis Retail COO sought to strive for excellence through employee development.

Before she became the chief operating officer of Genesis Retail Pte. Ltd., Vanessa Jerah led the company's human resources department. It was there where she developed her employee development-centric approach to leading the business. Jerah’s efforts included hiring in-house trainers to ensure all employees are kept up to date with the relevant product information and sales techniques. Such efforts led to better employee retention and lower turnovers which is crucial within the retail industry. Because of her successful implementation of employee training resulting in Genesis Retail's growth, as well as higher profits for the company, Jerah clinched Executive of the Year for Retail at the SBR Management Excellence Awards 2018.

Genesis Retail's sales approach is rather unique. Under Jerah's leadership, employees undergo both internal and external courses to improve their skill sets and upselling strategies. She has also put in place a mentor-mentee program to foster teamwork amongst staff. The mentor-mentee program has helped sales professionals learn from one another and improve themselves in various ways. Having such a program has allowed junior sale professionals to be constantly monitored and receive guidance.

Jerah's emphasis on employee development began when she was still leading the human resources department. Her people skills and aptitude for talent spotting allowed her to place new employees in more suitable roles. By doing so, Genesis Retail benefited in being able to groom these new talents into excellent and loyal employees. They have gone on to become the best sales professionals in the company and the industry.

In addition, she also strongly believes in fostering a “family” within the workplace environment through company bonding experiences. Jerah operates with the belief that if employees are happy at work, it will translate to the quality of work. In order to achieve this, Jerah has focused on the importance of team building and bonding activities to allow employees to socialize outside of work. A lot of effort and importance has also been placed on work-life balance with the same ideals of keeping the employees happy. Moreover, Jerah has focused on restructuring the company to ensure that job satisfaction is achieved and placements and KPIs are as accurate to the role as possible. Her efforts have led to individual employee sales increasing anywhere from 5%-20%.

In her role as COO, Jerah has had to expand beyond her HR background to work with the marketing department to discuss marketing strategies in line with retail outlets. She also plays a major role in budgeting and strategic reorganization in order to optimize the company’s overall performance and profits. Her biggest accomplishments thus far are an increase of 50% in revenue for the company and a six times increase in net profit due to restructuring of the entire organization, recruitment of several key roles and numerous other efforts.

But Jerah's vision did not come without its challenges. She needed to be assertive with her decisions and ideas to be able to achieve her targets. Throughout any process, she tries to be as transparent a possible in her actions to allow employees and managers alike to share her vision and work towards a common goal. As a result, employees became more aware that the success of any change is dependent on their support.

The Singapore Business Review Management Excellence Awards was held on November 22, 2018 at the Conrad Centennial Singapore. The award honours the country's most outstanding business leaders, including trailblazing individuals and teams whose initiatives have brought tangible business gains for their company's operations.

The 2018 nominees were judged by a panel consisting of Henry Tan, Managing Director at NEXIA TS; David Chew, Executive Director, Risk Advisory Deloitte Southeast Asia, Lim Wei Wei, Partner, Practice Leader, Governance, and Risk at Baker Tilly TFW; Pardeep Singh Khosa, Director of Dispute Resolution at Drew & Napier; and Yang Eu Jin, Partner and Co Head of Capital Markets Practice at RHTLaw Taylor Wessing LLP.

If you would like to join the 2019 awards and be awarded as one of the most outstanding management executives of Singapore, please email julie@charltonmediamail.com.

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