The legacy behind why Fashion Bug is a millennial’s dream workplace

Creating an environment that suits the dynamic world of a Gen Y individual has been an important aspect at this fashion store.

For two consecutive years, Great Place To Work Sri Lanka recognized Fashion Bug as one of the most sought-after employers. Listed this year as one of the Best Workplaces for Millennials, Aqeill Subian, Director of Fashion Bug, dives into the company’s employee-friendly approach.

We are a second-generation company, so my cousin and I have taken the reins from our parents and are running the show. As such, Fashion Bug is managed by millennials who understand what the current generation expects from their place of work. To create a sense of purpose for our workforce, we made certain structural changes, not in terms of hierarchy, but in the approaches which we take.

It’s difficult to satisfy everybody because there’s a fine line between freedom and getting the job done. Traditionally, most companies operate on a clock-in basis rather than a task-oriented one. We try to be as flexible as possible. For example, we stress on the punctuality of opening and closing times of the showrooms, but there are also tasks which don’t require someone in office, like those which involve technology alone. Besides the basic benefits like maternity leave, empowering our employees is also a core area of what we do.

As long as it does not obstruct normal working practices, we are very flexible in allowing staff to pursue their own way of doing things. Career prospects within the company are endless as we are an ever-growing organization. We have employees who started in the showroom and have now risen to senior positions such as team leaders and branch managers. Additionally, we recently ventured into the digital sphere and international and corporate markets. This has opened up new avenues for advancement within the organization.

With career growth comes continuous training. Our training programs encompass fashion development, visual merchandising, and general skills like training in English and social skills. We have our internal training department, and when required, we get in qualified mentors to ensure the workshops are up to industry standards.

Another area that we are proud of is our open-door policy. Employees are free to communicate directly with anyone, irrespective of hierarchy. We also design our office spaces without cubicles, so there’s a free flow of communication across different departments. Most importantly, we are a family business, so we make sure all personnel feel like a member of our family.

Corporate social responsibilities are also a significant area of what we do. Over the past 10 years, we have initiated island-wide projects to benefit over 500,000 students through our sustainability arm ‘Sisu Dirimaga’. We provide scholarships to students from rural communities as well as conduct many community renovation projects.

Under them, we have renovated a number of hospitals in the country and beautified railway stations to benefit the general public. A millennial’s world is dynamic. Every five minutes, their mind snaps and they move on to the next thing which can be a challenge for a business. Therefore, it is crucial to align them towards the common goal of the organization.

We achieve this by linking their achievements to the amount of work they put in — the more they perform, the higher their rewards are. The sky’s the limit! Our evaluation of teams goes beyond financial parameters. There are three key areas which we look at: how they bring our core values to life, employee engagement, and driving sales through as a whole.

Being employee-centric is an added boost for us and our accreditation as an organization that welcomes and nurtures employees makes both the staff and management proud.

Globally, the future is uncertain, but we will continue to stand strong together as we have over the past 25 years. We must have done something right to be here, so we will keep listening to our staff, family and customers for the better, and I’m sure the best is yet to come.