“Store manager Ellen is like my teacher. Not only she has patiently taught me every detail at work, also she has always been there for me – when I encountered difficulties in private life, she was by my side helping me to overcome them. Assistant manager Chong is like my mother, she is always so caring.” Every time when Yuen Yi talked about her work in the Nam Cheong Family Store of The Salvation Army, she shared with excitement the bonding between her and her colleagues.

In the Nam Cheong Family Store, we can easily find Yuen Yi working zealously, saying hi and making conversation enthusiastically with customers from the neighbourhood. It is different to imagine only 1.5 years ago when Yuen Yi started the job as a shop assistant, she was very timid and afraid to interact with strangers.

Attention and company help building up confidence

Due to the impairment of hearing, Yuen Yi grew up shy and introverted. During her job training when she needed to learn about the job duties in the store and how to handle customers’ enquiries, she was nervous and lack of confidence. With the guidance and encouragement from Ellen and other colleagues, she gradually opened up her heart and has built confidence at work.

“First I tried to understand the difficulties Yuen Yi faced, be empathetic towards her feelings and tackle those difficulties with her. Then I helped her to gain knowledge of the job and encouraged her not to be afraid of facing strangers.” To allow Yuen Yi to get familiar with the store operation, Ellen recalled that she first arranged some simpler tasks for Yuen Yi such as looking after the store and stock taking. Later when Yuen Yi started tasks involving interaction with customers such as taking customer payments, Ellen was by her side and together they handled the task, through which Ellen demonstrated her the techniques of serving customers. Ellen would make sure that Yuen Yi has fully mastered a task before letting Yuen Yi to try on her own. “When she does well I give her recognition and encourage her to try more things. Now she is not as nervous as before, and she can handle customer payments and enquiries independently.”

Positive mindset and eagerness to learn

Ellen is happy and gratified to see the growth of Yuen Yi and she is impressed by Yuen Yi’s positive working attitude. “She really put her heart into this job. She will jot down what I teach her and revise it later when she has time, so that she can put what she has learnt into practice next time when she comes across with similar situations.”

Besides taking customer payments, now Yuen Yi also performs other duties under the guidance of Ellen, including price tagging, putting goods on shelves, depositing money at bank, and clerical duties like filling in stock records. She feels that she has learnt a lot in this job, and she is grateful of the help and support from her manager and colleagues. “When I first learnt taking customer payments I was rather stressful. Manager allowed me to take up the task on alternate days, so I could take my time to learn instead of rushing to remember everything in one day,“ Yuen Yi recalled. “It has been some time since I started my work here. I have a great time working with Ellen and other colleagues. We get along so well and everyone is like family.”