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Last month, Thalias had the honour of being invited by MinebeaMitsumi Inc to visit their state-of-the-art facilities in the Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone and learn more about their company. It was an eye-opening experience during which we learned much about an important company that may soon become one of the largest employers in Cambodia. One of the most interesting things we learned is that whether you are large, medium or small, whether you deal in ball bearings or balls of ice cream, and whether your market is here or all over the world, it is still possible to share important common cultural values, not least in how we engage our staff and make them feel part of a family.

If you haven’t heard about them, MinebeaMitsumi is a manufacturing company with operations in 17 different countries across Asia, Europe and the Americas. They have literally been making the world go round for almost 70 years thanks to the miniature ball bearings they have manufactured since their creation in Japan in 1951. Since then, their product portfolio has expanded and if you own a phone, a camera or a car, it is very likely that somewhere inside it you will find a MinibeaMitsumi component keeping it going.

Their pristine operation just outside of Phnom Penh currently employs around 9,000 people from across Cambodia and plans are afoot to grow that number to 20,000 over the next few years. Training, retaining and motivating that many people is a main priority for the company’s management, and they have undertaken a wide-range of progressive approaches towards this end.

For example, the company invests strongly in educating its staff, providing free Khmer reading and writing classes in the evenings. This means they are able to employ those that many other companies choose not to, giving opportunities to families that would otherwise miss out. They also offer dormitory accommodation for many staff members who may be far from home, a free transportation service from the city centre, and free rice at a sparkling canteen that serves a wide range of different types of food, fruits, sweets, breads and plenty more for up to 1,200 people at a a time. The canteen also features a mini-mart with Wing facilities so that staff members can more easily send money home to their families.

This is just one small part of how the company fosters pride, belonging and a sense of family among their employees. And it follows a principle that we belong strongly in at Thalias too. We are proud of our record of hiring and retaining staff (in a traditionally highly volatile industry), thanks to our commitment to education and training, to giving them a clear path forward so they can fulfil their ambitions and ensuring they have the means to do so, to securing their health through full protection under the National Social Security Fund for which all of our staff were registered last month, and awareness campaigns on issues such as rabies.

Thalias is committed to ensuring that its staff take pride in their work, that they see themselves as ambassadors for Cambodia, for Thalias and for themselves, and we do this through fostering inclusiveness, self-fulfilment and sharing. Many of our team members have been with us for years, and they will tell you so with an enormous smile on their faces. This is one of our proudest achievements as a company.