YOUNG CHANG more technology, better cabled since 1986


YOUNG CHANG more technology, better cabled since 1986

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Culture is the power of corporate change

19 Apr 2024

Visit Youngchang Silicone, the site of workplace innovation “Employees determine the pace of change” In a rare case, we visited a company that even has a manufacturing plant in Seoul. Youngchang Silicone, a company that manufactures special wires, is located a short walk away from Gasan Digital Complex Station. Established in 1986, this company was in the midst of a second-generation management with a new CEO and was settling down, and it was also a time of change as new products were being produced. For companies, uncertainty is risk. So the task is to transform uncertainty into predictability. Change is inevitably accompanied by uncertainty. Youngchang Silicone transformed the uncertainty that comes from change into a driving force of opportunity through workplace innovation. I met with CEO Park Eun-hong on May 23rd, interviewed him, and summarized the process through reporting.

When you enter the lobby of Youngchang Silicone, the company logo and products are on display. ⓒ Participation and Innovation Reporter Cheon Jae-yul 

Youngchang Silicone has grown by developing and introducing heat-resistant silicone wires and special heat-resistant industrial wires to the market. Currently, in line with the transition to the mobility industry, cables for secondary batteries are being mass produced. The existing sales volume was around 16 to 17 billion won. By switching to secondary battery cables, sales increased significantly to KRW 23.2 billion in 2021 and KRW 28.8 billion in 2022. Looking more closely at the transition to the cable business for secondary batteries, related discussions and development have been underway with customers since 2017. Mass production began in 2019 and increased to 15% of total sales in 2020, 39% of total sales in 2021, and 51% of total sales in 2022. The employment scale was also increased from an average of about 70 people to about 80 in line with the transition to the secondary battery cable business and increased sales. The business transition is progressing successfully.

Business transition to secondary battery cable Working hours and work fatigue also increase
It is not that there were no problems during the conversion process. As the production changed to cables for secondary batteries, the work method did not change, but the workload and intensity of work increased. This is because the specifications of existing products were small, but the specifications of cables for secondary batteries became much larger, leading to an increase in the amount of raw materials and products. In addition, as production increased, overtime for field workers occurred and work fatigue increased. To solve these problems, we received labor transition and workplace innovation consulting from the Labor-Management Development Foundation. Through consulting, we secured new field workers and increased efficiency through facility investment, reducing overtime and improving work fatigue. At the same time, the problem of long working hours also occurred in the office workers, and by adjusting the wage system along with flexible working hours through staggered commuting, the long working hours problem that existed throughout the company was solved.
Solving problems through workplace innovation So that the field can accept change 

Workplace innovation through the Labor-Management Development Foundation was an innovation in the company's personnel-related system. CEO Eunhong Park also made efforts to change the organizational culture before innovating human resources, which is one of the pillars of the company's operating system. This is because when he took office as CEO in 2019, he was worried about the company and its food as a second-generation manager. The transition to corporate food, or a new business, was something I had been thinking about even before I took office as CEO. With the emergence of a new manager and the need for new food, it became the fate of Youngchang Silicone to change. However, the reason why CEO Eun-Hong Park brought change to the organizational culture was because he had an intuition that changes should not occur only in patterns. Regarding this, CEO Park Eun-hong said, “Management can suggest the direction of change, but it is the field that accepts the change and accelerates it.”
Let's develop cultural skills Conducted ‘Korean language training for foreign employees’

Among the various innovative activities carried out to change the organizational culture, the operation of ‘Korean language classes for foreign employees’ is an example of Youngchang Silicone putting a lot of effort into strengthening the organizational culture. Like many small and medium-sized manufacturing companies, Youngchang Silicone was also experiencing problems recruiting field workers. A widely used method is to hire foreign workers. At Youngchang Silicone, 16 out of 50 field workers are foreign employees. A significant portion of the work is done by foreign employees. Here, CEO Park Eun-hong said that if the manpower shortage is getting worse and there is no choice but to use foreign workers, it is important to adapt them to work in the same environment and culture as domestic workers.

We opened a Korean language class because we believed that foreign employees would adapt quickly if we solved the biggest problem they face while working in Korea: communication. Only those who wanted to take the Korean language class took about 40 minutes before work time. If they say it will be reflected in the evaluation, the original purpose will disappear and it will not be reflected in the evaluation, so I told them to take the course on their own so as not to get tired. The reaction was explosive. All 16 people took the class. The classes are conducted directly by CEO Eunhong Park. Since there will certainly be cases where foreign employees will need to build their careers and act as task leaders, as well as command domestic workers and communicate with management, Korean language classes are an investment for the future.

Additionally, when communication becomes smoother, work efficiency increases and it becomes easier for foreign employees to gain skills. It comes down to the company’s performance. The interesting point is that when I go to my hometown to get my visa reissued and then come back to Korea, I go to Youngchang Silicone. They come back because they left with good memories, and from Youngchang Silicone's perspective, it is better than having new employees come in and teach them the job again.

We conducted an interview with Park Eun-hong, CEO of Youngchang Silicone, last May. ⓒ Participation and Innovation Reporter Cheon Jae-yul

CEO Park Eun-hong called it ‘cultural power.’ It is a cultural force that allows employees to adapt to the company and convey the feeling that they are working for a company with a unique identity. This is why companies need to think about not only the framework but also the content. Through the Korean language class for foreign employees, Youngchang Silicone delivered the message not only to foreign employees but also to all employees that it is making direct efforts to help employees adapt and support them. Such messages strengthen trust within the company. If it is based on trust, all employees can participate in the change. In addition, music broadcasts directly operated by employees are held as in-house programs, and a bookstore and bar where people can easily enjoy after work are also operated.

Separation from what is familiar Internal resistance is bound to be encountered
As previously confirmed, the results of Youngchang Silicone's workplace innovation were reflected in an increase in sales and employment. According to CEO Eunhong Park, productivity per employee has also increased. The company culture and employees' attitudes also appear to have changed. According to Youngchang Silicone's in-house survey, employees' job satisfaction and loyalty to the company have also improved. In addition, the consciousness of executives is changing. CEO Park Eun-hong said, “Rather than simply recognizing employees as consumables for management activities, the company is forming a relationship as a helper that gives each employee the opportunity to take charge of their work in a meaningful way with independence.”

On the other hand, the process of business transformation through workplace innovation was not without difficulties. CEO Park Eun-hong explained, “There is internal resistance because we have to separate from what we are familiar with.” This is because work behavior that is inefficient but habitual and wasteful from an overall perspective but convenient for the individual had to be eliminated. In particular, since these things are difficult to understand objectively, external perspectives such as workplace innovation consulting are used, but internal resistance may arise here. In the end, it is a matter of recognition and acceptance, and CEO Eun-Hong Park remembered at the time that “voluntary participation must be prerequisite for acceptance, and although it was slow, we put in sincerity from the initial stage of recognizing the need.” Through this, the work processes of field workers were improved. The movement route was also changed, and the facility layout was changed from the route taken due to mechanical equipment, eliminating wasted time along the movement route. These are things that have stuck with me since long ago and cannot be changed, even if they are inefficient.

Trust built through workplace innovation Helps companies grow and mature

In order to implement and complete technological innovation, companies must simultaneously consider workplace innovation measures. This is because, as technology changes, organizational innovation, which is a change in the subjects (workplace members) who accept and lead the change, is also important. In order for technological innovation to be truly effective, it must be combined with workplace innovation. According to an analysis by the Business Innovation Center at Erasmus University in the Netherlands, technological innovation through R&D and ICT investment contributes 25% to a company's innovation performance, while workplace innovation related to management, organization, and work contributes 75%. This suggests that workplace innovation serves as leverage for technological innovation. Youngchang Silicone also considered cultural power during the technological innovation process of business transition, probably for the successful establishment of technological innovation. CEO Park Eun-hong said that the keywords that labor and management shared during the workplace innovation process of the Labor-Management Development Foundation's labor transition workplace innovation and the organizational culture innovation carried out by the company themselves were growth and maturity based on trust. This means growing and maturing to a new level through trust built through workplace innovation.

Source: Participation and Innovation (

Head office  205-16, Gasan Digital 1-ro, 
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Tel.  +82-02-808-2777 / E-mail. 
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Head office    205-16, Gasan Digital 1-ro, Geumcheon-gu, Seoul 

Tel     82-02-808-2777        E-mail        Fax     82-02-803-8380

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