George Wang, President of Aramark‘s China division, considers his career to be 20 years of self-development. Since 1998, he has incorporated continuous learning and development in the service industry.
Though he’s well-educated, having studied at the Peter F Drucker Academy, Harvard Business School, and The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, George believes that practice is the best way to learn in the industry. “I constantly learn from the clients, employees and market.”
George offers Aramark’s China division a global perspective in the Chinese brand of a Western operating system. “I have an understanding of Western culture and principles, which benefits the company,” he says. “Aramark wanted to set up a reputable business model in China and, as President, I can bridge the gap between cultures.”
Twenty years ago, he was building the business from the ground up. He started with no clients. Today, there are more than 400 clients, including top hospitals, universities and multinational companies in the country and 34,100 full-time employees.
“We started with seven employees in the company,” he reflects.
“Since then, I see growth every day, week, quarter and year. I see business growth, people growth and, at the same time, I have grown myself. It’s a continuous learning journey.”
George believes developing a clear culture strategy is imperative to growth and he describes Aramark’s in one word: recognition.
“I choose this word because as a service business we serve patients, doctors, students and electricians,” he explains.
“Recognition is the only way to let our team deliver quality service to our clients and the customer. I ensure that each new manager and employee understands this.
“Everyone wants to be recognised for the work they do; it is the motivation of many. People want their supervisor, or even clients, to recognise what they do. Almost every month in our headquarters, I organise a recognition day to showcase a manager of the month and we describe their achievements. We also have an online recognition platform. Every week, managers send emails to recognise those outstanding employees.”
He maintains that unlocking each employee’s potential helps teams thrive. To do this, he says every leader should cultivate their strengths. “Every employee has potential, and all have their goodwill. As a leader, you should find any way to release and inspire their strengths.”
Above all, George attributes the company’s success to delivering the best possible service, more than marketing or branding. “Deliver on your commitments to the client or customer. This solves the challenge between short-term profit and long-term client value. Our success is not financial or a specific tool, it’s the service itself.
“We are the market leader, and Aramark is proud of its mission to ‘deliver experiences that enrich and nourish people’s lives’. That’s the thing that will make us continue for the next three, five, 10 years.”
George considers his best productivity tool to be his mobile phone. With smartphone apps in China covering everything from booking hotels to paying bills, George says you don’t need cash or a credit card. “My phone is probably the best tool for me because in today’s world, it makes everything happen. I can arrange flights or video conferences on a single device.”
He adds that the company lives by a ‘we dream, we do’ philosophy. Twenty years ago, George had a dream to bring the Western service system to China. Today, even though he concedes there is more to work towards, he says the country is on the right track and he’s proud of the accomplishments.
“We dream, we do.”
“China is a country with substantial economic achievements. The service industry still has a way to go but things will continue to improve in the future.
“I’m proud of the years I’ve spent working to help people, schools, universities and manufacturers,” he continues. “Many local businesses have learned from Aramark China. We are the benchmark. We continue to improve the service quality and experience in China.”
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