Journeying Back to Cambodia

Sharon is from the U.K. with more than 20 years of professional HR experience, and is on Chab Dai’s U.K. board. She is currently working internationally through her own company, called Motiveer, to work with organisations to facilitate change, achieve their vision and optimise talent performance and productivity. Her previous experience includes Google and Amnesty International. She came to Cambodia in July of 2015 for three months to help establish Chab Dai's original HR department. 

I was so excited to be given the opportunity to go back to Cambodia and work with Chab Dai again in September. My first visit was back in 2015 when I volunteered to set up the HR team for 3 months and I had a truly wonderful time. Not only did I learn about the country and the wonderful people but I got to visit Siem Reap and Ho Chi Min in Vietnam, which were out of this world. I was lucky enough to have some language lessons via my programme (run by Outreach International) although I must confess, I wasn't the best student: 'chaulchett phi hsaa’ [I like the market] can only get you so far!

LEFT: Shermaine Singh RIGHT: Sharon

LEFT: Shermaine Singh
RIGHT: Sharon

Coming back through the Cambodian airport I was filled with excitement; Would people remember me? What would the new office look like? Was the rainy season, well, as rainy I remembered (which must have had some impact on me as someone from the UK is used to a lot of rain!). Our National Director Yeng kindly collected me from the airport and stepping outside into the warm air I was amazed as it seemed things had changed so much.

Fast food shops were everywhere. There were so many cars when previously cars had been a rarity in the city. It would seem moto's and tuk tuk's had changed too - PassApp and Grab were a reality. Yeng dropped me at the Frangipani Arts Hotel which, to my delight, was in my old district, by the Russian Market. I was so pleased that a lot looked familiar so I took myself out for a quick welcome back beer! It was truly great to be back.

The next two weeks passed so quickly and I feel together we covered a great deal. One of my main focus areas was to deliver the staff Engagement Survey results. We carried out the Engagement Surveys because we wanted to hear from our staff and give them all the opportunity to give us constructive feedback to learn from, and act on. It is important we capture the culture of the organisation as it moves into its new 5 year strategic plan and ensure we were all ready to take Chab Dai into 2020 and beyond.

View from Sharon’s hotel room.

View from Sharon’s hotel room.

I also got to participate in so much more - I reviewed job descriptions with our managers, I conducted interviews and captured some really actionable feedback, I attended the bi-monthly staff-wide meeting and got to hear an update on the Cambodian Government meeting protocols and I participated in role-play regarding the new check-in meetings, which are a key step for us as an organisation. I met our Chab Dai team Deloitte Champions and heard their valuable feedback and I even managed to meet with two overseas visitors (from the USA and New Zealand) who were on a visit to the offices.

I did have some 'down time' so over the weekend - I satisfied my curiosity and went to check out the second Aeon Mall which had opened since 2015. It seemed far out of the center and I could see why - it was was huge! I also re-visited the Central Market which hadn't changed. I also got to see many Monks in their beautiful orange robes. It is a sight I will never forget.

So, it turns out I did recognize some faces and met some great new team members, in short, everyone made me feel so included, it was really hard to say goodbye. I hope I get to visit again and certainly much sooner than in another 4 years.

Best wishes,
Sharon

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