How Under Armour helps its employees grow

Categories: Workplace

When Hugo Ooi first started his job as a sales associate at Under Armour South East Asia, he did not expect too much from it. He expected regular sales work. He expected to learn more about sports equipment. He expected a relatively fun work team, looking at the sporty millennials who worked at the retail stores. 


However, he did not expect to be in the position to build others up. He did not expect to develop his leadership skills, and he certainly did not expect to be promoted to a Retail Supervisor.


After three years of working in Under Armour, it is safe to say that this career has far surpassed Hugo’s expectations. 


We had a short chat with him to find out more about what he gained from working for Under Armour, as well as why he loves his job.


First of all, Hugo has gained more insights than just selling on the retail floor. He has been equipped with the skills of sales analysis, effective communication and relationship management.


Now, he’s game to increase team morale and productivity, as well as identify strategies which help the company perform better. 


It is not all smooth sailing, of course. The path to success is often rocky and filled with obstacles. We asked Hugo what some of his bigger challenges were on this journey. He shared that one of the key hurdles he faced was managing people with negative mindsets.


“Mindset is everything,” Hugo elaborated. “If a trainee has a negative mindset towards learning, there is nothing I can do to teach them properly. I can try to help someone with a negative mindset, but it is just not going to be effective.”


At Under Armour, employees are given free rein to innovate and solve problems their way. It’s not always about following the playbook. Hence, Hugo experimented with different training styles until he found one that worked well for him and his teammates. 


This training style involves encouraging his teammates to make mistakes. Unexpectedly, it helps them be more effective at their jobs.

“Advice will be forgotten easily,” Hugo explained. “But mistakes help my teammates learn the lesson on a deeper level, and that’s better than me telling them how to do things the right way.”


He further explained that when his teammates learn on the job by making honest mistakes, they tend to pause and correct themselves when they are on the verge of making the mistake again. Sometimes, they even end up finding a clever solution to improve the situation.


Another aspect of the job Hugo enjoys is the facilitation of the training process. He does not like to follow the old school method of training, which is to give lectures. Instead, he prefers to test his trainees randomly on sales knowledge, to keep them sharp.


He also sets aside time to chat with his trainees and ask them what help they need, as well as what they hope to achieve. That’s because the company culture is about not just building yourself up, but elevating others to succeed as well.  


Teamwork is another huge core value in Under Armour, and Hugo works with his teammates to keep one another accountable and on the same page. “I have a work buddy,” said Hugo. “We share our daily targets and keep updating each other about our progress every hour so we can work together to do our best and hit our target.”


Sales can be tough, but Hugo finds the job fulfilling every single day, thanks to not just the opportunities to learn, but also the people he works with. In particular, Hugo looks up to the champion culture ambassadors who inspire him with their hard work and never-give-up attitude. 


Lastly, one thing that keeps him going is his team, especially his work buddy, who adds to the hyped and cheerful energy in the store daily. It’s one of those things that keeps Hugo pumped up and ready to take on a new day, every day.


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