NATIONAL Instruments (NI) was named in the inaugural list of 25 companies on the World’s Best Multinational Workplaces by the Great Place to Work Institute last year as well as Fortune’s 100 Best Companies for the 14th year this year.

Mr Goh Yih-Hsiung, 35, an area sales manager (Singapore and Indonesia) at NI, appreciates the company culture, one he describes as being “based on a foundation of trust and employee empowerment and framed by broad guidelines rather than hard-and-fast rules”.

“We are empowered to make decisions and we are given the freedom to operate and achieve our goals as long as they are within the framework,” says Mr Goh.

“I thrive in a challenging and open work environment where I am continuously stimulated to innovate and where my manager trusts and empowers me to operate and make the right decisions. The right remuneration package definitely helps, but most importantly, I must believe in the core values of the company.”

Dream job

Mr Goh joined NI in 2002 after he graduated from Nanyang Technological University with a bachelor’s degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering. It was the only job he applied for after being exposed to NI’s LabVIEW software when he was still a student.

“At that time, I was impressed with this software as there was no other software like it. The ease of programming through a graphical interface, its incomparable performance and features helped me get through my internship and final-year project,” he says.

Mr Goh started as an applications engineer for two-and-a-half years before moving into sales.

In his new role as sales manager, he was given the challenge and responsibility to grow the business in Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines and southern Malaysia. During the initial stages, he spent 80 per cent of his time in these regions, to develop and expand the markets there.

Mr Goh now manages the sales team and is responsible for sales operations in Singapore and Indonesia. He usually spends his mornings in the office meeting his sales and marketing teams, going through sales forecasts, discussing sales opportunities and preparing presentations for their marketing events and client visits.

Overseas exposure

Part of his time is spent guiding the engineering teams to develop prototypes or solutions for clients. He also travels extensively in Singapore and Indonesia to meet clients from diverse industries.

“It was an amazing period for me as I received a tremendous amount of regional exposure and learning opportunities that helped mould my career to what it is today. I am very grateful for the opportunity and faith that NI had placed in me,” says Mr Goh, who regularly attends sales training and technology conferences to enhance his job knowledge and sharpen his skill sets.

“NI is an energetic organisation that thrives with employees from diverse backgrounds and cultures. We have offices in more than 40 countries with about 6,850 employees worldwide," he says.

Established since 1976, NI equips engineers and scientists with tools that accelerate productivity, innovation and discovery with an integrated software and hardware platform that simplifies development of any system that needs measurement and control.

Engineers and scientists use its platforms, from design to production, in multiple industries, advanced research and academia.

One of Mr Goh’s personal challenges is transiting from engineering sales into a managerial role. He explains: “I took on the challenge to cultivate and catalyse the career development paths for my team and nurture a successful sales force. Managing staff expectations, providing the right incentives and identifying the right fit for the job is a continuous process and one of my biggest personal challenges to date.”

Despite the challenges in managing a team with diverse cultures and striking the right balance, what keeps him going is his passion for his job, the tight comradeship with fellow workers and their common goals and vision for the company. The company’s teams also bond together during regular health and wellness activities that foster camaraderie and team spirit.

To people who are interested in following in his footsteps, his advice is: Don’t be afraid to dream big. “Sustainable energy, infrastructure and transport engineering and signal intelligence are sectors that are gaining traction tremendously in recent years and I see a lot of potential opportunities for career advancements in these areas,” he says.

To excel in his line of work, it helps to be dynamic and vivacious, have a  passion for engineering and the thirst for seeking challenges, the desire to generate innovative ideas and solutions, as well as liking to work with and meet new people.