Since their launch on 16 June 2021, Work Different Webinars thus far have covered a wide range of topics such as Design Thinking, Gamification, Conducting Virtual Classes. The latest session of the Work Different Webinar series, however, was set to cover something near and dear to us all- the spirit and the message behind Work Different.
After 4 months of WFH, the thought of coming back to office was almost surreal. But with most of the states shifting to phase 2 and phase 3 of the lock down, and the vaccination rate rising slowly but steadily, it was clear that it was time to return. Farewell pyjama-office chic, and Whatsapp/ Zoom/ Teams meetings- face to face interaction was waiting, and after months of WFH, we were more than ready! Before rushing back however, it was important to ensure that the vision in mind for BAC Education Group’s plans and effort was echoed and acknowledged- which was why on the 1st of October, we were given a talk by Mr. Raja Singham on the topic of ‘Work Different’.
Kicking off at 4.00p.m. (with some allowance for stragglers), Mr. Rajan began with a summing up of the impact of the past 18 months on the BAC Family as a whole. In doing so, he also expressed his gratitude to each and everyone who took the time and effort to play their part in the organisation, and then some. Among events and incidents highlighted was how , by rallying around to volunteer/ contributing as much as possible (be it time, funds, or energy) to social impact projects, we could make a difference to the community. Mr. Rajan also emphasised that while some could not do as much as they would have liked, either due to a lack of ability or mismatched skill sets, it was then important that effort was made to reach a point where one could and would be able to handle anything thrown at us, regardless of age.
Work Different, much like Learn Different for students, according to Mr. Rajan, was created with the objective of “…simplify(ing) things into Learn, Work, Play and Impact- with activities to give a more holistic approach to the things we do,” adding that it was not just for students, but the staff as well. This concept was also used by Mr. Rajan in breaking down the topics of his talk (albeit, by his own admission, not in order). This began with the topic of work-based entitlements, statutory and otherwise- including free access to professional upskilling portals. Mr. Rajan also highlighted the importance of utilising these benefits in improving one’s marketability, and how constant change in the job market made constant learning a must to navigate these changes effectively. Adding on to this, Mr. Rajan also introduced some of the new staff benefits now available- including plans for a new health and fitness app with MonsterFit Asia!
Having established this, Mr. Rajan then moved the focus to BAC Education’s aims moving forward, highlighting our purpose of “Transforming Lives Through Education”, be it students, staff, or community. Being part of of the BAC family, Mr. Rajan said, was far more than impacting the 6,000 students who were studying with us, “Far more than that”, remarking on our aim of influencing at least a million lives despite being a small institute, and quipping, “we’re out there punching way above our weight. And I weigh quite a lot, so if we’re punching above our weight, you can imagine what we’re doing.” At the same time, Mr. Rajan was quick to stress the importance of living our best lives possible in the time we had, “…we’re all born, we live, we dies, that’s it. Life is not so complicated- we born, then we live, then we die,” noting that our legacy would be what we do “for ourselves, for our families, and for others.”
From here, he moved to them importance of BAC culture and values, noting that while we often times operated in “chaos”, our key strength was that we worked from the heart. However, it was equally important to have certain values when doing so, emphasising the importance of values such as integrity, professionalism, accountability, empathy and tenacity, as well as working together. The importance of remaining relevant within one’s field, and to consistently take steps to learn, grow and progress with new competencies- WITHOUT needing to compete with one another was also emphasised with a quote from Darwin; “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one most adaptable to change.” This included honing and understanding existing strengths, weaknesses, interests and stumbling blocks, which, he noted, could best be analysed via a SWOT analysis. In spreading our wings and stretching to new heights as an organisation, all required one key thing- people, and it was easier, he noted, to begin searching for the right people within the internal talent market, and how each entity would have it’s own experts, or ‘champions’ and core teams. Working together was emphasised as the best way to move forward and grow. No man is an island, and by working in teams, it becomes easier to keep on top of work and to ensure that no one process is dependent on a single person. The importance of being impact driven vs. profit driven was highlighted as well- with emphasis placed on the impact we could make on someone’s life/ lives, versus how much profit an endeavour could generate while at work.
Also covered were the importance of leadership skills both in life and in the workplace, and how they could be honed, as well as methods of improving systems and functions (the better to reduce any unnecessary friction or bureaucracy within the workplace), and how to be goal and detail oriented. Mr. Rajan wrapped up the topic of Work Different with the importance of building (and protecting!) one’s brand, I.e. your perceived capability and reliability within the workspace, as well as the importance of learning to enjoy life- namely to gratitude, and appreciation for blessing, both big and small in life.
Following this, Mr. Rajan moved on to the topic of Impact, sharing some of the efforts of BAC’s CSR initiatives and partnerships- including the latest ventures created to help members of impacted communities during the recent waves of lockdown, coupled with the pandemic, such as CovidFund.my, FreeMakan, ReachOut.my and UPLIFT.my, and how they interacted with each other. In addition to these, more projects were in the pipeline, Mr. Rajan revealed, including (but not limited to)- training 1,000 kindergarten teachers for free on a one month course, setting up kindergartens in all PPRs to give children staying in the flats a chance to get free education, and (coming this week) 1 Million Devices- where efforts would be made to collect 1 million laptops and computers for B40 and Orang Asli children to provide easy access to education opportunities, with the aim of collecting 100,000 a year. Through utilising our existing networks by the simple act of sharing these initiatives, Mr. Rajan said, we may be able to help at least one person- it is the smallest acts that can sometimes make the biggest difference.
Mr. Rajan also shared some of the successes achieved by BAC Education, including the ASEAN Business Awards for Combating Covid-19 (our 4th for CSR initiatives), the Malaysian Technology Excellence Awards 2021 for Online Education, Brandlaurete Best Brand in Education, as well as the EDUCOOP National Outstanding Educationist Award 2021, for both efforts to assist and help students, as well as to provide access to education to those who previously had none. Once again, Mr. Rajan emphasised the importance of being impact driven rather than profit driven, citing how important it was to actually provide help and assistance to those in need rather than focusing on how much profit could be generated from a specific decision.
Mr. Rajan ended the talk by expressing his gratitude to members of the group who had been going into overdrive to ensure as many of the resources could be provided to those in need as possible, highlighting how we as a group have changed and adapted to the current needs in the wake of the pandemic, and how these developments and resources have been what gives us a leg up in the industry. Reminding us that we all have each others BACks (pun intended), Mr. Rajan concluded the talk with a gentle note to remember to take time to be grateful for the little things in life. Following a group photo session (consisting of screen shots of the participants of the talk), the Work Different webinar was concluded.