16 Aug 2017 - We’ve invited Derek to join us at OKAY.com to spearhead company initiatives focusing on training, development, and recruitment. Derek brings an accumulated 10 years of experience in the Human Resource industry working for companies including Dolce & Gabbana, Adidas & Lane Crawford.
For Derek, nurturing talent and developing training initiatives is not only his area of expertise but also a personal passion of his. Serving as an organisational advisor to top retailers in the APAC region, he has developed strategic workforce plans to maximise the potential of all employees and ensure the right people are on board.
The reason this is a passion for Derek is for his love of people. He explains, “every industry, ranging from retail to finance or even real estate, has a common thread in that they are only as successful as the people working with them.” He adds, “to me, the greatest satisfaction is having an impact on the success of the business and on the lives of the people in it.”
“I’ve joined OKAY.com because I believe the company has a winning formula. The company is growing quickly as other property agents are truly understanding its benefits. In my recent recruiting efforts, I am noticing that agents are recognizing OKAY.com and believe in what we stand for,” explains Derek.
Getting to Know Derek Koo
Talk to us about your career path?
I started my HR career in Mergers and Acquisitions and was hired by a relatively new company in Hong Kong to set up basic HR administrative policies such as payroll, recruitment efforts, and visa applications. After that, I spent the next two years at Adidas recruiting for their retail stores, corporate offices, and warehouses. At Adidas, I developed and established internal engagement initiatives which are key focuses within the organization. After Adidas, I moved on to Lane Crawford specializing in the retail side of recruitment and was head-hunting for security staff, store associates, and managers. Although I had 3 memorable years with the company, I moved on to Dolce & Gabbana, handling recruitment for 18 stores across Southeast Asia.
Why did you decide to leave retail?
I didn’t leave retail intentionally or because I was unhappy. I was just ready for a change and a new challenge. After working in the retail industry for 8 years, it just left like it was my time to go and I started to feel like the learning curve was flattening and I knew I had so much more potential.
Why Real Estate, more specifically why OKAY.com?
It’s funny because I never meant to join the real estate industry until I met Joshua. After hearing about the OKAY.com formula, I was amazed at the innovative ideology and I wanted a part of it. I also have had a few family members in the real estate industry so I understood how traditional real estate industries operate and this by far surpasses how agencies currently work.
What do you like about OKAY.com?
Being relatively new to the company, I have so much more to learn about OKAY.com, but from my initial observation, I think the technology and the teamwork are by far the two things I love most. The technology allows agents to be efficient especially when interacting with clients, which is a huge differentiator. Also, agents here actually work together instead of competing, which is refreshing to see and in my opinion is a recipe for great internal culture.
What is your role at OKAY.com?
I am responsible for talent acquisition in the company. It includes both employer branding and recruitment. I will also foster a performance culture by formulating the right performance management tools and providing agents with training so they can better serve their clients and develop new skills.
What is the current training/development structure like here and how does it compare to your previous roles?
It’s hard to compare considering the industries are so different, but what I can tell you is that the training and development here is phenomenal. To begin, everyone that joins receives a 2-week onboarding, this is by far the longest training I have seen. Also, what is extremely unique here is the open and collaborative environment. The agents not only work together to close deals, but they also work closely with the IT department and the marketing team. This type of open environment is the recipe for success.
How do you envision OKAY.com looking 5-years from now?
I think OKAY.com will increasingly become the preferred agency property agents will want to work with. Through its technology, pay structure and training and development initiatives, more people will understand its benefits. Also, I think we’ll have multiple satellite offices in different districts making it easier for both clients and agents that want to specialize in one area.