Since 2012, the real estate and property development industry has been on a steady decline. And in spite of an uptick that experts foresee in the second half of 2020, industry analysts are not so hopeful as they predict that market conditions will remain sluggish.
Despite this outlook, Team EcoWorld takes it all in stride. After all, it was established during the country’s toughest economy in recent memory and having surged through, the six-year-old company appears to have grown comfortable and ready to continue pushing through challenging times.
Tracy Low, the Assistant General Manager reveals that the economic downtrend has in fact motivated Team EcoWorld to turn to the younger generation – not just to ensure its survival but to sustain company growth, first and foremost. “Everyone is good when the market is good. You can hire anybody who comes in. And even if they don’t have any experience, they would still do well because everything is good. They can’t do wrong. But a bad market will test a person’s skills and knowledge. And I think this has made EcoWorld very agile,” she highlights, taking pride that the entire company continues to grow at break-neck speed amidst a protracted economic slump.
Low, the 28th out of the first 100 employees that EcoWorld hired since it was founded in 2013, shares that they now have around 1,500 staff and employees – 30 percent of them younger than 35 years old – to oversee the success of their 20 development projects. These include townships, integrated commercial developments, luxury high-rise apartments, and green business parks that are spread across three key economic regions in the country. Currently, the group has approximately 8,126.4 acres of land that is valued at RM87.5 billion.
“Every year, our target is very high. The order is indeed tall and the market is challenging. Therefore, we need to change and adapt to the customer needs and market situation. We always need to be creative in putting out products and packages to attract the right market,” Low says. “Gone are the days when people queue up to buy whatever project design you launch in the market. Because they are spoiled with choices, our customers do not instantly buy nowadays. They will survey and look around first.”
This change in consumer behaviour has motivated the top brass of EcoWorld to create a high performance work culture that encourages and supports its rank and file to innovate customisable project designs and new loan packages like “Design2Own” and “Help2Own” campaigns.
The former allows EcoWorld buyers the freedom and flexibility to customise parts and aspects of their dream home based on what their family needs. The latter is a five-year financing plan that offers an interest-free loan that covers a maximum of 20 percent of the project price that clients want to avail.
These customer-centric products, Low notes, have proven effective in helping their clients break the current barriers that previously kept them from finally making any purchases, and in a way has been enabling the Group to shake up the property market altogether.
“At EcoWorld, we embrace young talent. It is a good platform with lots of opportunities for them to learn and grow with like-minded people who are passionate about building the brand and places for people. It’s always exciting when the job is challenging and not mundane,” Low explains.
A CAREER FOR THE INVENTIVE
Aside from the satisfaction new associates would get from seeing their ideas come to life, they can also benefit from employee programmes like EcoWorld Leadership Development Programme (EWLDP). It is a six-month course that trains selected mid-management executives to innovate and fine-tune their ideas, which EcoWorld leaders may turn into actual products and campaigns.
“This is how we make people more innovative. This is where we encourage them to generate ideas. Just a year after running EWLDP, we already managed to come out with some good products like Ergo Homes,” Low recounts. Ergo Homes are a brand new type of terrace housing with a unique design that turns all homes in Eco Forest near Broga Hills to become corner units. Each is complete with its own private garden and other perks that come with having a corner lot.
This, together with other programmes, make the corporate culture in EcoWorld inclusive, dynamic, strong and tight. And it would not be possible without the guidance of its experienced and passionate leaders. “EcoWorld has taught me that changing our mindsets can change current market conditions. In fact, we can innovate a lot of things to challenge this status quo. And I believe it can shift the property development industry for the better,” Low concludes.