Sheng Siong CEO & wife help pack meat for Tanglin Halt outlet after 4 employees down with Covid-19

Customers did not recognise Lim who was dressed in the same uniform as his employees.

Karen Lui | March 13, 2022, 10:45 PM

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What happens when four of your employees were tested positive for Covid-19 at the same time?

For Sheng Siong CEO Lim Hock Chee and his wife, they have chosen to personally work the shift to cover their employees' duties.

Covering for unwell employees

When Shin Min Daily News (SMDN) arrived at the supermarket located at 88 Tanglin Halt Road at around 6am, they witnessed the couple working in the kitchen and storeroom.

They watched Lim pack the sliced pork before putting it into a basket and carrying it into the supermarket to stock the shelves.

The 61-year-old CEO confirmed that this specific outlet had a total of five employees who are in charge of processing pork.

Alas, four of them tested positive for Covid-19 the day before and have to rest at home for seven days.

Waking up at 5am to work shift

When Lim heard the news, he told his wife that they ought to help out at the store.

The couple adhered to the store’s operating hours, which involved waking up at 5am in the past week to work the shift at the supermarket, SMDN reported.

The CEO revealed that he used to rear pigs so he was very familiar with the slaughter and packaging of pork as well as other related tasks.

He decided to cover the employees' duties himself as it is also difficult to find someone experienced to take over the shift at the last minute, Lim told SMDN.

His colleagues and customers have shaped him into the leader that he is today, hence everything he does should benefit and help everyone, he said.

According to SMDN, Lim worked at the supermarket until noon.

After he had attended to the matters of the supermarket, he returned to his office to continue his own work.

Blending in with the staff

If you were wondering if any shoppers noticed that the CEO was working the shift, Lim managed to fly under the radar.

Lim wore a mask and was dressed inconspicuously in a Sheng Siong uniform and apron like the rest of his employees.

Sheng Siong shoppers who were approached by SMDN said they would not have realised that the CEO was working the shift if no one had informed them and expressed surprise at his decision to work the shift himself.

As a leader, it is important to set an example comprising  75 per cent of walking the talk, 20 per cent of verbal communication while the remaining five per cent is influenced by the environment, Lim remarked.

Photo by Zenn Tan

Employees: Lim does not put on airs

65-year-old Liao Ya Fa (translated from Chinese) who has been working at the outlet for 15 years disclosed that besides working in the kitchen, Lim would walk around the store and chat with employees and customers.

Liao said that even though he has hit the retirement age, he is happy to continue working as a full-time employee.

Another employee, Lin Yin Yin (translated from Chinese), 48, who has worked for 13 years shared that when Lim arrives at the store early in the morning, he’d bring takeaway food from the market such as fried carrot cake, lor mee and laksa as breakfast for the colleagues.

She said she had also seen him personally assembling an electric fan and letting customers who were interested to purchase it to test it out.

The employees revealed that Lim does not put on airs - he often chats and jokes with employees when working together with them.

Check out SMDN's full interview with him here:

You can also check out our previous interview with Lim and his employees:

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Top images by Soo Hin Yeoh via Google maps and SMDN.