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Publisher’s Note

Autumn 2009 HKD$45

HR Magazine | Autumn 2009




I can scarcely believe it’s already time to go to print again. So much has happened in HR and the wider business community over the last few months, and as ever we’ve captured it here for you in HR Magazine so that you miss nothing. Check out our new HR Community Section (page 50) distilling all the important HR events that have happened recently in the region. We provide crib notes for those who couldn’t attend, or were too busy networking to jot down key advice on the day. At the time of going to press, Hong Kong reported that it has officially come out of recession so let’s hope this trend continues. Also in the news, the new Racial Discrimination Ordinance came into effect 10 July; Donald Tsang appointed 17 new members to the Commission on Strategic Development to help kick start the economy; and Hong Kong is set to go ahead with a minimum wage with the bill tabled in LEGCO in early July. Despite this and the rising unemployment rate, nearly 40% of employers are still struggling to find qualified job candidates even in the recession. Meanwhile, those in employment are working longer hours—almost 22% more than ILO recommendations. Charles Darwin wrote in The Origin of Species that evolution is driven by variation, selection, and retention. External environmental and internal factors impact and determine how certain species evolve. In a similar way the HR profession has been impacted by external and internal changes which have changed it in its less than 100-year existence. HR magazine takes a look at HR today and how it has evolved particularly those seminal changes which have required HR to step into a more strategic role within companies and changed the requirement of those working in the field and their standing within their organisations. This issue brings you the very first publication of an exclusive special report: the HewittHR Magazine Survey on the impact that the recession has had on companies in Hong Kong. The findings reveal some home truths and several surprises about how local HR policies have changed (page 8). An extended feature on managing generation gaps, shares advice from the latest AIESEC conference, Asianet Consultants and Avril Henry. Everything you were too afraid to ask, and a bit more—on what makes the different generations tick and how HR can successfully manage them all in the workplace. Plus HR and Technology, Building a Resilient Workforce, the results of the HKMA Awards for Excellence in Training in a special supplement (pages 27 – 48), 30-Minute HR, the Greater China Talent Management Summit, HR Events Calendar (page 58), HR Training—becoming a networking pro, and more. It’s a miracle we fitted it all in. Enjoy!

Builiding a Resilient Workforce Embracing Workplace Generation Gaps
HKMA Award for Excellence in Training Special Supplement

Our Team
Publisher & Editor-in-Chief

Paul Arkwright
Copy Editor

Ben Patterson
Layout Editor

Malou Ko
Staff Writers

Claire Blaney, Rebecca Elder, Byron Bain, Nathan Seymour-Hyde

Malou Ko Graham Uden

Subscription Enquiries

Caroline Wu Tel: (852) 2736 6375 Fax: (852) 2736 6369
Editorial Enquiries

Paul Arkwright Tel: (852) 2736 6318 Fax: (852) 2736 6369
Advertising Enquiries

Marcel Chambers Tel: (852) 2736 6339 Fax: (852) 2736 6369

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Paul Arkwright Publisher & Editor in Chief HR Magazine

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No part of this publication can be reproduced without consent from the publisher. Copyright of all material is reserved throughout the publication. Contributions are welcome but copies of work should be kept, because HR Magazine takes no responsibility for lost submissions. The views, conclusions, findings and opinions published in this magazine belong to those expressing such, and do not necessarily represent those of the publisher, editor or editorial staff.


HR Magazine


Inside this issue
HR News
40% of employers overlook key HR health policies. Talent shortage in Hong Kong, despite recession.


Cover Story


HR Community
Work-life balance. Round-up of conferences and past events.


HR Events
Get these dates in your HR diary. If you would like to list your HR events simply e-mail us:


HR Classifieds
HR Service providers throughout Hong Kong and Asia.

62 64 Evolution of HR
HR, impacted by external and internal changes, has radically changed over its less than 100-year existence. We look at HR today and how it has evolved into a much more strategic role.

HR Training
Section dedicated to training and educational resources from industry leaders and consultants in the field.

Profit Upgrade
The next installment from Richard Parkes Cordock’s book on getting all your staff to help maximise profits.


HR Special Report
HR News
Article name goes here


HR Magazine Conferences


HR Features


Cost Cuts & Hiring Freeze for 74% of Companies
Hewitt – HR Magazine Latest Survey Findings
than in October 2008. The increase in hiring indicating their current financial outlook % freezes may stem in part because it is rated is stable, 74% have had to implemented by organisations as one of the most effective hiring freezes. indicate cost cuttingismeasures andhigher than to manage costs. This figure nearly 40% HR Exclusive: Results survey conducted cost control methodsemployee lay-offs with freezes October last Hewitt-HR current financial those recorded inlatest ofyear. This However, hiringwith are increasingly supplemented extract from the of respondents reporting offs in by HR Magazine in partnership with Hewitt outlook stable, Magazine Surveyon the peoplethe financialofcrisis’s 45%2009 18% in October 28%layWorkforce July as compared to in February Associates assesses 2009 and 2008. impact practices Hong but 74% still reductions, however, have not been as Kong companies. organisational goals. & Strategy cutting costs Exclusive firstBusinessofOutlook financial crisis of findings from publication effective as hiring freezes in achieving The impact the global has stabilized since last year—51% of and not hiring organisations surveyed indicating that the Despite almost half of companies using hiring freezes—nearly 40% more

Rebuilding Broken Relationships
The financial crisis has left many in the public disillusioned with big business. Thomas Tang, Executive Director at the think tank Global Institute for Tomorrow, argues that in reality the a major way for us to extract ourselves from the crisis is not only to throw money into the financial system, but also to work to regain the trust of the people. He writes: The global economy is in disarray. Much of this has been precipitated by the same factors that caused previous depressions and recessions—greed, avarice, selfinterest and fear. Has society learnt from the past? Are there new ways of repairing the damage and rebuilding society? Governments worldwide have ploughed in trillions of dollars to help stricken banks and other ailing institutions and industries. Keynsian followers would argue that, although these measures have their benefits, they are akin to sticking plasters on gaping flesh wounds; we should instead apply radical surgery in the form of strong fiscal policies and a re-think of financial structures and institutions to save the patient. It is, however, also time to think not just of financial and institutional fixes but of social solutions to mend the rift between business and society. To gear up for the future, companies need to spend money on HR and people—quite the opposite to what many are doing now, downsizing. The similarities between present day events and the past are marked. The depression of 1929 was preceded by a period of intense industrial expansion as modern America embarked on an ambitious drive to push heavy industries and build new factories for barren

Salve Best the for Crisis


Joseph Poon, MD & Deputy Chief Executive, Hang Seng Bank Hang Seng Bank, Patersons, Nokia and Manulife share insights on key topics enabling you to develop and execute HR strategies needed to gain competitive advantage in the “New Economy”.

Best Salve for the Crisis Rebuilding broken relationships


Growth through Mergers/Acquisitions

Change of Business Model

Cost Control

No Change in Strategic Direction


the Hewitt-HR Magazine employer survey assessing the financial crisis’s impact on the people practices of Hong Kong companies.
financial outlook for their organisation has not changed since Q1 2009 and only 14% reporting that it had worsened since Q1 2009. Our findings reveal that while 45% of organisations indicate that their current financial outlook is stable, cost control measures continue to be a focus for 74% of the responding organisations. (See T1) To meet the heightened cost control objectives instituted since October 2008, organisations continue to implement a wide variety of workforce planning, development, compensation and benefits, and communication actions to help control costs. However, only a small number of these actions are proving effective in meeting organisational goals. Since October, 74% of organisations reported
T1: Types

of Strategic Change During Q2 2009 (n=87)
80% 74%







Why HR needs to put programmes in place that give the right signals to staff and others. How caring for your people promotes long-term rebuilding, and helps attract and retain talent of the future.

markets. Asia has not been immune either; the 1997 Asian economic crisis was the result of a highly-leveraged economic climate pushing up asset prices to an unsustainable level. Expensive short-term capital flow conditioned for quick profit being passed in an uncontrolled manner to certain people only—so called ‘crony capitalism’—spelled disaster for emerging economies with high exposure to foreign exchange risk. The triggers to these crises bear uncanny resemblance. Business has continually and, it seems, unfailingly abused the trust of society. Even the current crisis—commonly claimed to be caused by reckless sub-prime lending—reflects the more extensive problem of complex and opaque assets, and the failure of ratings agencies to properly assess the risk of such assets to members of society who acted on the advice of “reputable” banks and financial institutions. The signals, past and present, appear to be the same as history repeats itself, which it will no doubt do again, in the form of banking crises, speculative bubbles and crashes, currency crises, over-leveraged loans, herd behavior, failure of the regulatory system and, worst of all, public deceptions and fraud. The late Peter Drucker once argued that business has an obligation to protect society: “while corporations should be allowed to profit from their activities—as profit is essential to their survival—this does not mean that the corporation should be free from social obligations. On the contrary it should be so organized as to fulfill automatically its social obligations in the very act of seeking its own selfinterest.” But given the type of corporate

misbehaviour that got society into the current situation and the seeming lack of remorse on the part of corporations, what are people supposed to think? There is a general loss of trust in business and government, a resounding dearth of faith in our business leaders and an overall loathing of the worst excesses of corporate practices and rewards. Social justice has never looked so crestfallen. From a global HR perspective, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) estimates that there will be a loss of 51 million white collar jobs worldwide as a result of the global meltdown; in China unemployment has officially been recorded as 8.9 million, and this figure will be amplified if the numbers of immigrants is also taken into account. Concerns from the rising number of lay-offs from banks, restaurants and retail chains will be further exacerbated by the coming 6 million graduates who will be coming out from mainland universities this summer looking for jobs that no longer exist. People have suffered as a result of corporate excesses. Can Drucker’s words ring true and bring companies back on track? Is there an opportunity for, say, HR and corporate social responsibility to work together to repair the bridges between business and society? Getting back to basics is obviously important, companies must be in complete compliance with laws and regulations in all jurisdictions in which they operate. This means fixing the systems that failed in the first place. Secondly, there is a need for proper legal and governmental institutions reinforced by sound enforcement and adequate punishment measures for misbehaviour. Thirdly, companies need to start spending

% of or ganisations


HR Magazine


HR Magazine

Autumn 2009


HR News
Article name goes here

Commission Set to Boost Strategic Development in HK
In a move to help kick start the economy and provide enhanced strategic direction for the HKSAR, Chief Executive Donald Tsang recently appointed 17 new non-official members and reappointed 52 incumbent non-official members and four official members to the Commission on Strategic Development for three years from 1 July 2009. The Commission provides a platform for all sectors of the community to work with the Government on major issues pertaining to Hong Kong’s longterm development. The 69 non-official members appointed to the commission for its new term are drawn from a broad cross-section of the community comprising mainly professionals, academics, politicians and personalities from the business, labour and media sectors. The four official members are the Chief Secretary for Administration, the Financial Secretary, the Chief Executive’s Office Director and the Central Policy Unit Head. The Commission has been established with three key objectives: To advise the Chief Executive on Hong Kong’s long-term development needs and goals with particular reference to the direction and strategy of social, economic and political developments for Hong Kong. To conduct reviews and studies on issues relevant to Hong Kong’s long-term strategic development in a local, regional and global context, with a view to enhancing the international competitiveness and the socio-economic development of Hong Kong. To arrange focused discussions on specific strategic issues in aid of subsequent policy inception and formulation.

1 2 3

Paper Highlights Employee Communications Critical
CSR programmes, which many in HR might consider particularly vulnerable to budget cuts during an economic downturn, have been repeatedly cited as strategically important initiatives to preserve. According to recent findings from a white paper jointly released by Mina Hsu Consulting and Korn/Ferry International (Hong Kong), responsible companies that contribute to their communities—in tough times as well as good times—are able to reap a number of important long-term benefits, especially in the area of attracting and retaining topquality talent. The white paper reflects the views of senior management executives from various sectors on the factors that have most helped their companies navigate the current economic downturn. The results reveal that most companies expected to see lasting change in the practice of risk management, even companies with an extremely robust risk management function. In the aftermath of the global financial turmoil, companies today are increasingly finding themselves operating in an environment where the old-fashioned values of discipline, accountability and sustainability are back in favour. There has been a renewed focus on discipline and accountability in the strategic planning process within organisations. The theme of sustainability also emerged not only when discussing the financial health of individual companies but also in the context of those companies needing to play a larger role in contributing to the long-term welfare of society more broadly. A long-term view during a crisis was highlighted as the most significant factor accounting for company resilience. Some of the leaders interviewed attributed their relative success in challenging times to their adherence to a fundamentally conservative business philosophy and a disciplined, relentless focus on day-to-day execution. They acknowledged a renewed emphasis on discipline, accountability, and sustainability, and also stressed an increased willingness, in many cases, to invest in certain long-term priorities, especially when it came to hiring and developing talent. Increased appreciation for employees with crisis experience, a high level of toughness and the need to preserve and even expand training and development programmes despite short-term budget pressures were also cited as important factors. Employee communications was singled out as particularly critical in uncertain times; the need to step up employee engagement, and for leaders to address employees with both candor and confidence, was raised repeatedly.


HR Magazine

HR News

Employers Overlook Key HR Health Policies
Over 40% of employers do not have a HR policy in place for health-related emergencies, yet many acknowledge they have employees in areas where cases of H1N1 have been confirmed, according to a new Mercer snapshot survey. “With the continued increase of reported cases of H1N1, it is important for employers to develop a plan for dealing with the myriad of HR issues that can arise in the event of a pandemic or other health care emergency,” said Danielle Dorling, a HR consultant at Mercer. “In particular, organisations with a global workforce and decentralised HR units need to have a coherent procedure in place for employee care in the event of a health emergency.” The survey highlights how companies are reacting to the spread of the virus and what plans are being implemented. More than half the employers surveyed were considering whether to create back-up and contingency plans in response to the outbreak, while 43% said they planned to restrict or cancel business travel, and 41% said they would allow employees to work at home. Other steps include voluntary quarantine for employees exposed to risk, enforced quarantine on employees judged at risk, cancelling meetings, screening staff/visitors returning from travel, requiring medical check-ups and reviewing health or insurance plans. Just under a quarter of respondents indicated they were taking no special actions.

Hong Kong to Introduce Minimum Wage Bill
Hong Kong’s Minimum Wage Bill was tabled at LEGCO in early July and, according to Matthew Cheung, Secretary for Labour and Welfare, is likely to come into force at the earliest by the end of 2010 or early 2011. “Our aim is to establish an optimal statutory minimum wage regime which strikes an appropriate balance between forestalling excessively low wages and minimising the loss of low-paid jobs while sustaining Hong Kong’s economic growth and competitiveness,” Cheung said. The bill will exclude all live-in domestic workers and student internships arranged or endorsed by specified educational institutions. The bill covers people with disabilities and provides a special arrangement for those whose productivity is impaired by their disabilities. These people are vested under the bill with the right to invoke an assessment of their productivity to help determine whether they should be remunerated at no less than the statutory minimum wage rate. With wages of low-income groups in Hong Kong declining in the light of cheaper workforces across the border, the economic contraction has put even more downward pressure on low-income wages. The bill, which the Government hopes will help curb falling wages, represents a major shift for Hong Kong, which has never had a minimum wage and instead has favoured a laissez-faire economy and highly flexible labour market. The government may be happy with the bill, but many business leaders are vehemently opposed to it, arguing that it will not only reduce Hong Kong’s competitiveness, but also increase job losses to other Asian countries which have cheaper labour available.

Hong Kong Talent Shortage Despite Recession
Nearly 40% of employers in Hong Kong are still struggling to find qualified job candidates, while China is fairing much better—according to the findings of Manpower’s latest annual talent shortage survey. The survey revealed that 37% of employers in Hong Kong and 32% of employers in the Asia Pacific region are continuing to struggle to fill positions available despite the economic crisis. In the Asia Pacific region, talent shortage appears to be least problematic in China (15%) and India (20%). The findings reveal that Taiwan (62%), Japan (55%) and Australia (49%) are the top three countries where employers are having the most difficulty finding the right talent to fill jobs. Within the Asia Pacific region, Hong Kong (37%) is ranked fifth while New Zealand (39%) is ranked number four. “Despite the high levels of unemployment where more people may be looking for jobs, they don’t generally have the specific skills that employers are expecting. The key is that there are jobs requiring more refined skills that are hard to find the right talent who are well versed in those skill sets.” said Lancy Chui, GM, Manpower Hong Kong and Macau Operations. Chui advised, “…employers should shift their mindset to think more strategically and focus on training up staff with the required qualities to take up roles which are difficult to fill.” She added that it is also “crucial to change staff’s mindset so as to enhance their skill sets.”

Actions companies are taking in response to the outbreak of Influenza A (H1N1) or “swine flu” (multiple responses permitted)
Create contingency and back-up plans Restrict or cancel business travel Allow ‘work at home’ Voluntary quarantine for employees exposed to risk No special actions Enforce quarantine on employees judged at risk Cancel meetings/conferences Screening staff/visitors returning from travel Require medical check-ups Review health or insurance plans








Autumn 2009


HR News

Work-Life Balance Men Less Motivated Than Guide Launched Woman at Work
Work-Life Balance: The Guide, has recently been launched by Community Business and highlights the business case for work-life balance and provides companies with practical advice on how to develop a strategic approach to work-life balance in their organisations. In 2005, the Community Business Leadership Team (CBLT), a unique group of business leaders committed to raising awareness of issues relating to corporate social responsibility, identified that work-life balance was an issue that was important and at the same time presented a challenge to many of their businesses. The group resolved to understand the extent of the problem and to take steps to improve the state of work-life balance in Hong Kong – both for the benefit of their own organisations, but also for the benefit of Hong Kong as a whole. As part of this commitment, for four years running the CBLT has commissioned research into the state of work-life balance in Hong Kong. Conducted by the Public Opinion Programme at The University of Hong Kong, this annual study has become the leading reference point on this issue. As may come as no surprise to HR, the studies show that employees in Hong Kong work long hours, spend little time on their personal life and that poor work-life balance is impacting their health and productivity. According to the most recent survey: ▪ The average number of working hours in Hong Kong is almost 49 hours, 22% higher than recommended by International Labour Organisation (ILO). ▪ Over 72% of employees spend less than two hours per day on personal or private activities. ▪ Over 60% of employees state that they are suffering from prolonged fatigue and extreme tiredness due to poor work-life balance. ▪ Just under half of employees say they have no time for their partner and family. Download the Work-Life Balance Guide at: Men are much more likely to be demotivated by poor senior management and poor line management, and Gen Y are less concerned with CSR issues than originally thought. These are two of the key findings of recent research into employee engagement and motivation conducted by SHL. The study showed that women feel more perturbed by criticism and poor colleague relationships and are more likely to be encouraged by being offered a cup of tea, but men feel more inspired by the promise of after work drinks and socialising. The survey also indicated that men find income and high standards enhance their engagement and productivity at work, whereas women feel fairness and values are more important. Women also tend to prefer the quality of workplace social interactions, while men prefer a higher quantity of social contact. Gender disparities weren’t the only contrasts revealed in the study: differences across age groups also divulged interesting insights into what motivates and engages—as well as demotivates and disengages—employees. “…the importance of career progression is strikingly higher among younger employees—career progression doesn’t even appear in the top ten of preferred job features for those surveyed over 45,” David Leigh, CEO, SHL pointed out during his presentation in a recent seminar in Hong Kong. Another surprise was that ‘values’, as an engaging factor for younger employees, didn’t even rank in the top ten, but was placed fourth by those over 45 and seventh by those between 30 and 44. Similarly, contribution to society only appears in the top ten of those over 45, suggesting that CSR initiatives and related issues are not as prioritised by Gen Y as previously thought. The findings also suggest that age impacts motivation, with young employees more likely to be demotivated by uninteresting work than those over 35. Young workers are also more motivated by company culture and their work environment than their older colleagues. Neil Chowings, Managing Director, Work Group Ltd. Hong Kong warned that, “…companies who fail to engage and attract a strong stead of Gen Y will realise in three to five years that they are suffering from lack of young management.”

Financial Sector Hires Up 6%
The Asia Job Index report published by Robert Walters shows positive movement on the hiring front in the financial sector. The total number of job advertisement placed in Q2 increased by over 6% compared with Q1 and increased by just under 3% during the quarter. There was an overall decline in Q2 job advertisements in May compared with April, before moving up again in June—mainly attributed to the May holiday season in China. Increased IPO activity in Hong Kong in June also helped drive an upturn in financial services recruitment advertising.

Downturn Lengthens Working Days
The economic downturn is making people work harder, according to a survey conducted by Robert Walters. Of 2,600 respondents, more than half said they were working more hours per week: 45% of respondents said they were putting in at least three hours extra per week, and 21% working an extra eight to ten hours per week. Professionals in Hong Kong felt the greatest impact of the downturn and were working the hardest, with one third of respondents working an extra eight to ten hours per week.


HR Magazine

HR News

Workforce and Benefit Cuts Ease Off
There are signs that deep workforce, pay and benefit cuts are moderating as businesses budget for the remainder of 2009, according to Mercer’s latest Leading through Unprecedented Times global survey. The findings reveal continued actions taken by companies to relieve cost pressures—workforce reductions, salary freezes, reduced contributions to retirement plans and increased costs for than one-third of organisations globally say they will continue to hire key talent even as they reduce their workforce overall. Approximately another third of organisations plan to hire talent to replacement levels only, while 15% expect overall workforce reductions and 12% expect to expand their workforces in 2009. The study also shows that organisations are beginning to use or consider alternative work arrangements to control workforce costs. Globally 10% have already instituted voluntary reductions in hours with a corresponding reduction in pay, while 12% have instituted such a programme on a mandatory basis. Roughly an equal number of organisations are considering similar actions in the remainder of 2009. Although health benefit utilisation often increases during a recession, almost no companies have eliminated any current health and group benefit programmes to control expenses this year. Instead, most increased employee contributions for health coverage and raised employee cost-sharing of the programme.

Staff Medical Insurance Costs Rise
Companies in Hong Kong are already paying too much for business medical insurance and their costs are set to increase further over the coming year according to research carried out by Alliance Insurance Services. Over the last five years medical insurance premiums have increased by around 90% making Hong Kong one of the most expensive places in the world for full cover private medical insurance, and with the financial crisis strangling many companies, business leaders are starting to question how employee benefit savings can be made. Over 80% of HR professionals renew their company’s medical insurance annually without discussing premiums or cover with alternative providers which ultimately leads to inflated prices and in many cases, reduced levels of cover and service. By negotiating, companies can also take advantage of benefit and service enhancements offered by many insurers. Additional benefits including online claims, cashless direct settlement and cover for pre-existing medical conditions will often be included and should be automatically suggested by insurance brokers. The study, which evaluated the insurance programs in place at businesses located throughout Hong Kong, found that dramatic savings could be achieved whilst maintaining the highest levels of cover and service simply by discussing arrangements with alternative insurance brokers. Mike Ramsay, Client Relations Director at Alliance Insurance Services, said “companies that call around can reduce their costs dramatically whilst maintaining or even increasing their benefits. Brokers that specialise in corporate medical insurance are likely to have agreements in place with insurers which mean they can negotiate the best products and services at the best price. With Alliance, we have even been able to guarantee specific discounts with many of the insurance companies to ensure our clients can reduce their costs easily.”

health benefits—equally notable is the fact that organisations generally are not taking actions in response to the economic downturn such as cutting pay and eliminating benefit programmes altogether. Frank Lin, Managing Director, Mercer - Greater China commented, “Since the middle of last year, we have seen many companies reduce staff and freeze salaries, which has done little to help engage employees. People in China today are greatly concerned about the security of their jobs, as well as their annual salary increase. As such, HR managers must work to engage staff through extensive employee communication programmes while continuing to control expenditure and identifying key talent.” Over half of organisations worldwide plan cuts to their workforce in the remainder of 2009. Significantly, however, only 5% of these organisations plan deep cuts of more than 10% of staff in the remainder of the year. Despite the impact of the weak economy, many companies remain focused on their most valuable employees. More

Towers PerrinWatson Wyatt Merger
Towers, Perrin, Forster & Crosby, Inc. and Watson Wyatt Worldwide, Inc. announced in late June a merger of equals to form a new, publicly listed company called Towers Watson & Co. Watson Wyatt CEO, John Haley, will serve the combined company as Chief Executive Officer and Towers Perrin CEO, Mark Mactas, will serve as President. The new company, which is expected to have annual revenues in excess of $3 billion, will benefit from the scale of the combined companies and anticipates approximately $80 million in pretax annual synergies.

Autumn 2009


Cost Cuts & Hiring % Freeze for 74 of HK Companies
Hewitt – HR Magazine Latest Survey Findings

% indicate current financial outlook stable, but 74% still cutting costs and not hiring


Despite almost half of companies in Hong Kong indicating their current financial outlook is stable, 74% have implemented cost cutting measures and hiring freezes. This figure is nearly 20% higher than that recorded in October last year. This extract from the latest longitudinal study conducted by HR Magazine in partnership with Hewitt Associates assesses the financial crisis’s impact on the people practices of Hong Kong companies over the last ten months.

Business Outlook & Strategy
The impact of the global financial crisis has stabilised since last year—51% of organisations surveyed indicate that the financial outlook for their organisation has not changed since Q1 2009 and only 14% report that it had worsened since Q1 2009. Our findings reveal that while 45% of organisations indicate that their current financial outlook is stable; cost control measures continue to be a focus for 74% of the responding organisations. (See T1)

compared to 82% in February 2009 and 65% in October 2008. Comments from organisations suggest that such trends have developed because they are continuing to look for leaner and more efficient structures and are taking this opportunity to make these changes. To meet the heightened cost control objectives instituted since October 2008, organisations continue to implement a wide variety of workforce planning, development, compensation and benefits, and communication actions to help control costs. However, only a small number of these actions are proving effective in
T1: Types

of Strategic Change During Q2 2009 (n=87)
% of organisations




17% 2%


Workforce Planning
Although some signs of recovery are evident, organisations continue to have cautious workforce requirements. The wide extent of the financial crisis is evident in that 95% of the responding organisations indicated they have reduced workforce costs since the crisis began,

0% Divestitures Growth through Mergers/Acquisitions Change of Business Model Cost Control No Change in Strategic Direction Other


HR Magazine

Special Report
Hewitt—HR Magazine Survey

meeting organisational goals. Many are increasingly using hiring freezes and lay-offs as short term ‘costreduction’ strategies. Since October, 74% of organisations reported using hiring freezes—nearly 20% more than in October 2008. The increase may stem in part because it is rated by organisations as one of the most effective cost control methods to manage costs. However, hiring freezes are increasingly supplemented with employee lay-offs with 45% of respondents reporting layoffs in July 2009 as compared to 28% in February 2009 and 18% in October 2008. Workforce reductions, however, have not been as effective as hiring freezes in achieving organisational goals. Instituting hiring freezes was found to be the most effective workforce strategy to achieve cost control goals in the organisations surveyed. Laying off temporary staff and increasing the use of temporary staff were found to be equally effective, suggesting that trimming or expanding temporary roles was an effective way of managing the office workload whilst minimising disruption to permanent staff. (See T2) However, actions such as moving employees to other locations and sending employees on sabbaticals have not been found as effective, at least in the short term. Organisations indicate that the increase in workload due to greater focus on compliance and risk management may have impacted staff productivity and morale. They also suggest that the effectiveness of these actions is usually seen after a lag and therefore the effects may be more visible in a few months.


74% 67% 54%

T2: Workforce

Planning Related Actions Comparison Across Quarters

% of organisations


28% 18% 21% 10%

6% 0%

Hiring freez e
Jul-09 (n=76)

Lay offs
Feb-09 (n=81)

Flex ible/ Part -t ime work ing
Oct-08 (n=92)


% of organisations have reduced workforce costs since the crisis began

Training and Development
Learning and development practices continue to be impacted as 24% of responding organisations indicate that they reduced their training budgets during Q2 2009. To combat lower learning and development budgets, many organisations continue to adopt alternate forms of training such as the use of internal trainers, peer mentoring/coaching, and e-learning. (see T3)

Compensation and Benefits
Organisations have made changes to employee compensation and benefits with 43% of the respondents having reduced bonus payments, while 39%

OT & bonuses cut, but HiPos still get raises

have increased base salaries for high performing employees in an effort to retain them. 27% of responding organisations have eliminated overtime pay and this action was found to be fairly effective in reducing total compensation and benefit costs. Nearly a fifth of respondents reduced base salaries, which was reported to be ‘somewhat effective’ due in part to its impact on employee morale and retention. Provision of retention bonuses to high performing employees was found to be only ‘somewhat effective’ suggesting that these bonuses do not enable retention of HiPos. (see T4) Even with the majority of organisations reporting a stable financial outlook, the percentage of organisations planning salary freezes for 2009 has remained high at 60%. Also, the percentage of organisations planning salary increases has dropped from 58% in February 2009 to 35% in July 2009.

Autumn 2009


Special Report
Hewitt–HR Magazine Survey

T3: Percentage of Organisations Reducing

Training & Development Budgets
60 % 50 % 40 % 30 % 20 % 10 % 0% 29 % 24 % 50 %

T4: Compensation & Benefits Related Actions (n=74) Percentage of respondents that implemented action

Reducing base salaries Eliminating overtime pay Eliminating or reducing allowances/other benefits Reducing bonus payments Increasing base salaries for high performing employees
During Q2 2009 (n=72) During Q1 2009 (n=81) During Q4 2008 (n=92)

Effectiveness of Action Highly Not effective 80% effective

19% 27% 31% 43% 39% 22% 34% 27%

Increasing benefits/allowances to attract and retain talent Retention bonuses for high performing employees Awarding stock options to high performing employees

The Good News
Hewitt-HR Magazine Survey For more information please contact Sonali Kumar on (852) 2917 7938, or Jeremy Andrulis on (852) 2917 7911 Over a third of organisations are planning pay increments, and the average salary increase for Hong Kong is approximately 3.3%. In addition, while 63% of organisations are continuing to cut back on company events, increased communication with employees has been a sustained area of focus. And more positively, organisations are instituting more team building events, 38% in Q2 versus 23% in Q1, to improve employee morale. These haven’t helped achieve cost control measures, but have effectively built cohesion among employees by demonstrating that ‘we are all in this together’.

Detailed findings and a full copy of the report can also be downloaded from our website:

In tough times, there is a natural tendency to retrench and cut costs in order to ‘wait things out’. As our survey findings highlight, the majority of organisations continue to focus on cost cutting through implementing a wide variety of people related actions. However, the limited effectiveness of many actions is a reflection of both the

crisis’s magnitude as well as the current realisation among many HR practitioners that while cost control may be a shortterm remedy, they need to improve existing capabilities in strategic areas of HR such as talent management, workforce planning and leadership development to deal with such significant challenges in the future. It is clearly evident that HR has played a significant role in organisations’ overall strategies since October 2008. For HR to deliver value into the recovery it is essential that they continue to enable business leaders and managers by focusing on four critical areas of people management: 1. The RIGHT View: Building and articulating a collective view of the road ahead for the business; 2. The RIGHT Agenda: Crafting a specific set of short and long term actions to gain advantage from the crisis; 3. The RIGHT People: Ensuring the retention and engagement of key people who will lead in the future; and 4. The RIGHT Leadership Behaviours: Being aware of and modelling the behaviours that will create the conditions and climate for future success.


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September Issue 2009


Cover Story
The Evolution of HR

David Ulrich wrote in his influential 1997 book HR Champions that “an HR professional from the 1940s would find it difficult to recognise the HR function of the year 2000.” When we look at the HR function today there are various perceptions and misperceptions as to what actually is the field and profession of Human Resources. Many outside the HR profession view HR in a negative light. A well known 1995 article in Fortune Magazine began with the uncomplimentary view of HR as “the last bureaucracy”, the author goes on to say “I am describing of course, your human resources department, and have a modest proposal; why not blow the sucker up?” Ten years later Fast Company ran a cover story titled: Why We Hate HR. In the same year Business Week wrote an article: Why HR Gets No Respect. From the evil Personnel Director in the popular comic Dilbert to widely disseminated business magazines it seems that around the world Human Resources is often portrayed negatively. The US based Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) in 2005 found that worldwide over half (54.8%) of HR professionals



said the most frequently encountered obstacle to career advancement was “HR’s not being held in high esteem by the organisation.” However, since the Hawthorne Studies, conducted in the late 1920s at the Western Electric Plant in Hawthorne, Chicago, which showed a positive relationship between productivity and the working environment, HR has been evolving. The current role of HR is often stated with popular buzz words such as ‘Business Partner’ or ‘Strategic Partner’ and the common story is that HR has moved from a functional role to a strategic one. As Barry Leskin of the Business Journal writes “The head of a company’s HR department has moved from a transactional based role reporting to an administrative manager, to being a member of senior management.” However the field of HR is not a monolithic thing. It is not comparable to say accounting or finance which have more easily identifiable consistencies and have evolved in a more linear route. The role of HR as a function within organisations

might best be described as a scattergram. Professor Barbara Towley of the University of Alberta writes in a similar way “HRM is a series of seemingly disjointed activities.” However there is change and movement towards strategic human resources management around the world. A 2005 global study by Mercer found that half of all companies were in the middle of changing their HR departments to a more strategic role. And The Economist magazine last December wrote “In the past five years HR has been enjoying the greatest power it has ever had.” How do professions change? To explore and explain how HR has evolved it may be helpful to go back to Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. Many evolutionary theories applied to business draw on the seminal work: The Origin of Species by Darwin. Darwin developed and promoted the idea that as various species come into existence certain traits are inherited through intergenerational evolutionary processes. In much the same way, using Darwin’s ideas of variation, selection and retention the role of HR can be seen going through an evolution of its own. In any industry, variation means


HR Magazine

Cover Story
The Evolution of HR

that new kinds of skill sets, motivations and expectations will emerge among HR professionals. These variations are triggered by environmental changes both internal and external. These external and internal forces selectively eliminate certain variations and promote one particular variation to be favoured by the selection process. While the variation occurs at the level of the individual, the selection process has impacts on the structure of the workforce of an organisation. Professor Howard Aldrich of the University of North Carolina has developed an evolutionary theory for organisations, and he claims “selected variations are preserved, duplicated, or otherwise reproduced.” This can be seen in the spreading of strategic HR practices through geographic regions and industries. Professor Karen Lee of HKUST notes that in particular the banking and finance industries have adopted and retained strategic HR, being closely monitored and followed by other industries. So professions evolve when certain skill sets become more adaptable to external and internal changes. But what are these changes that have been pivotal in the evolution of HR?

Technology is becoming more and more sophisticated. Programmes such as 360-degree performance appraisals value key western management ideals. Much of this software is based on western management techniques, which put a great emphasis on strategic HRM. This type of software requires HR professionals to interpret and be involved with more sophisticated data. From a wider perspective, increasing expertise is required to work with and develop technology that has created the need for ‘knowledge workers’, and increasingly HR professionals are required to have more diverse skill sets. The virtual office has removed the ability to monitor employees in the physical context, instead driving the need to use engagement strategies to maximise productivity.

Psychological Contract
Professor Karen Lee, visiting scholar at HKUST, describes how the way employees are looking at the relationship between

them and their employer has changed – the psychological contract. “Loyalty to the organisation has been changing in the past 10 years. As companies have increasingly laid off and downsized staff, employees have felt more responsible for their own wellbeing.” HR has had to be more strategic in how it attracts and retains the top talent. This can be evidenced in the evolving roles that local companies such as Bernard Hodes are seeing. Chris Ploughman of Bernard Hodes says they have witnessed the evolution of HR in Hong Kong through candidate attraction strategies, more specifically HR’s approach to recruitment advertising. In this way, transforming from what could best be described as ‘recruitment announcements’ to a more holistic approach. HR professionals invest more time and expertise in selecting media channels and in some but not all cases, more thought consideration and creativity to support them. This has again pushed the profession into a more strategic role.

Technology and software have made many of the functional tasks of HR obsolete. This has given HR professionals more time to focus on strategic goals rather than day to day administrative tasks. For example, payroll software has automated many of the labour intensive tasks of previous generations of HR professionals. As Ulrich describes earlier generations of “HR personnel were so involved in the details of pay, pensions and disputes that they had no time for the higher strategic thinking required for the knowledge economy.”

Autumn 2009


Cover Story
The Evolution of HR

Several large scale impacts in the economy have affected HR’s role. In the early 90s huge structural change took place after the 1991 recession which required all departments to be accountable for the bottom line. Ulrich writes, “In the 1990’s most firms had undertaken productivity initiatives, such as reengineering, downsizing and consolidation. This demanded HR professionals focus on infrastructure and their roles as administrative experts.” Henry notes, “first the big crash in 1991, followed in 1997 with the Asian economic crisis, and in the early part of this decade, at the time of the tech crash, Baby Boomers lost their jobs. Baby Boomers lost their jobs not once, or twice, but three times. For the Boomer generation it was devastating when it happened in the early nineties because they had been loyal, they had worked hard, they made personal sacrifices.” Through the 1980s and 1990s the effects of downsizing, large-scale manufacturing shutdown, legal restrictions on their activities, changing attitudes and symbolic defeats led to a steady decline in trade union membership and collective bargaining arrangements. This reduced HR’s previous role as intermediary between management and unions.

Generational Differences
Avril Henry, Consultant on managing different generations describes how “the one size fits all, which is the approach taken for decades and managed to get away with will not work anymore.” Henry notes, “People talk about Generation X and Generation Y about being disloyal. And it is because veterans and boomers were loyal to their chosen organisation and their chosen profession. Veterans in effect have a cradle to grave career with forty years service in the same organisation. Gen X and Y would rather poke their eye out with a plastic fork than work at the same place for forty years.” This contributes to the need for HR to focus on retaining and attracting staff and also the changes in ‘Psychological Contracts’. When careers lasted for 30 years in the same organisation there was not much movement in and out of organisations of personnel. Now with the individuals changing jobs every few years the importance of selecting the right candidate increases. Henry points out Gen Y are the most tertiary educated generation in history. As increasing numbers of Gen Y and Gen X study business they are educated in the

strategic role of HR as this is taught in most western management schools. For those who argue that these are not universal changes, Professor Lee argues, “Generational values are more or less the same around the world as globalisation takes hold. Employees are increasingly tending to look after their own career development.”

Another dimension in the evolution of HR was the growth in legal regulation of employment relationships. As governments began to enact more legislation to protect workers, HR professionals were responsible in ensuring company compliance with these initiatives. An example of this would be the recent Race Discrimination Ordinance coming into effect in Hong Kong in July of this year. HR directors not only need to be informed of the intricacies of this policy, but have to liaise with legal departments and facilitate education of both their line managers and the organisation’s associates.

As the economy moves closer to the information revolution there is a growing appreciation of the value of a company’s human assets. Where the workforce was largely undifferentiated in early factory organisation, there was little knowledge of, or interest in, the individual. In a manufacturing economy an employee is rated on how many widgets they can make in a set time period. As work increasingly requires intellectual effort, greater differentiation has arisen generally based on observable factors such as skill, age, performance , behaviour, and so forth. Now it is the mind or psyche which is identified as the key to gaining knowledge of performance. This requires more innovative management techniques than in the past.

Self Awareness
Another factor driving the change in HR is the increasing self awareness and advocacy within the industry. Partly due


HR Magazine

Cover Story
The Evolution of HR

to the negative perception outlined above and a need to increasingly define the profession many HR professional bodies have been created and are growing in size and popularity. It is hard to find a country without an HR professional body. In a local context Professor Lee points out; “HRM is gaining currency in Hong Kong by organisations such as IHRM and A-Performers, who continue to release studies increasing awareness through various media channels.”

What now, what next?
David Ulrich’s book HR Champions lays out a series of suggestions for HR to be less reactive and have more say in

defining their profession. Using Ulrich, David Forman, SHRM advises three main functions of the future of HR: ▪ To create programmes for recruitment development as a reflection of world-class talent and leaders to support the growth of the organisation ▪ To champion the nurturing of a culture, aligned with organisational strategy, to bring about organisational commitment to ethical practices, lifelong learning and a sense of responsibility to all stakeholders ▪ To create programmes that will continuously raise the competencies and capabilities of the members of an organisation for the overall achievement of the organisation.

As all professions evolve it is up to those individuals in it to take an increasing role in defining how this change will impact their jobs. Many companies who keep HR in an administrative function are ignoring the changing nature of work and the current requirements for success. Numerous studies show that companies with a strategic HR function are far more productive and profitable than those who don’t. Now it is time to look forward and further advance HR in the coming decades. As John F. Kennedy once said, “Change is the law of life and those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”

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September Issue 2009


HR Features
Rebuilding Broken Relationships

Rebuilding Broken Relationships
The financial crisis has left many in the public disillusioned with big business. Thomas Tang, Executive Director at the think tank Global Institute for Tomorrow, argues that in reality a major way for us to extract ourselves from the crisis is not only to throw money into the financial system, but also to work to regain the trust of the people. He writes: The global economy is in disarray. Much of this has been precipitated by the same factors that caused previous depressions and recessions—greed, avarice, selfinterest and fear. Has society learnt from the past? Are there new ways of repairing the damage and rebuilding society? Governments worldwide have ploughed in trillions of dollars to help stricken banks and other ailing institutions and industries. Keynesian followers would argue that, although these measures have their benefits, they are akin to sticking plasters on gaping flesh wounds; we should instead apply radical surgery in the form of strong fiscal policies and a re-think of financial structures and institutions to save the patient. It is, however, also time to think not just of financial and institutional fixes but of social solutions to mend the rift between business and society. To gear up for the future, companies need to spend money on HR and people—quite the opposite to what many are doing now, downsizing. The similarities between present day events and the past are marked. The depression of 1929 was preceded by a period of intense industrial expansion as modern America embarked on an ambitious drive to push heavy industries and build new factories for barren

Salve Best the for s Crisi

markets. Asia has not been immune either; the 1997 Asian economic crisis was the result of a highly-leveraged economic climate pushing up asset prices to an unsustainable level. Expensive short-term capital flow conditioned for quick profit being passed in an uncontrolled manner to certain people only—so called ‘crony capitalism’—spelled disaster for emerging economies with high exposure to foreign exchange risk. The triggers to these crises bear uncanny resemblance. Business has continually and, it seems, unfailingly abused the trust of society. Even the current crisis—commonly claimed to be caused by reckless sub-prime lending—reflects the more extensive problem of complex and opaque assets, and the failure of ratings agencies to properly assess the risk of such assets to members of society who acted on the advice of ‘reputable’ banks and financial institutions. The signals, past and present, appear to be the same as history repeats itself, which it will no doubt do again, in the form of banking crises, speculative bubbles and crashes, currency crises, over-leveraged loans, herd behavior, failure of the regulatory system and, worst of all, public deceptions and fraud. The late Peter Drucker once argued that business has an obligation to protect society: “while corporations should be allowed to profit from their activities—as profit is essential to their survival—this does not mean that the corporation should be free from social obligations. On the contrary it should be so organised as to fulfill automatically its social obligations in the very act of seeking its own selfinterest.” But given the type of corporate

misbehaviour that got society into the current situation and the seeming lack of remorse on the part of corporations, what are people supposed to think? There is a general loss of trust in business and government, a resounding dearth of faith in our business leaders and an overall loathing of the worst excesses of corporate practices and rewards. Social justice has never looked so crestfallen. From a global HR perspective, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) estimates that there will be a loss of 51 million white collar jobs worldwide as a result of the global meltdown; in China unemployment has officially been recorded as 8.9 million, and this figure will be amplified if the number of immigrants is also taken into account. Concerns from the rising number of lay-offs from banks, restaurants and retail chains will be further exacerbated by the coming 6 million graduates who will be coming out from mainland universities this summer looking for jobs that no longer exist. People have suffered as a result of corporate excesses. Can Drucker’s words ring true and bring companies back on track? Is there an opportunity for, say, HR and corporate social responsibility to work together to repair the bridges between business and society? Getting back to basics is obviously important, companies must be in complete compliance with laws and regulations in all jurisdictions in which they operate. This means fixing the systems that failed in the first place. Secondly, there is a need for proper legal and governmental institutions reinforced by sound enforcement and adequate punishment measures for misbehaviour. Thirdly, companies need to start spending


HR Magazine

HR Features
Rebuilding Broken Relationships

money on their people. This is where HR comes in; money needs to be spent but not just on their own staff, but also wisely allocated to programmes that have wider social and community benefits such as new types of public private partnerships and enterprises that serve community needs. Independent, financially self-sustaining entities that apply business principles to create social value by meeting the needs of the disenfranchised or by addressing wider societal issues are known as social enterprises. These enterprises help bring business activity to areas that used to be run by NGOs as charities, and they can move those who need help away from dependence thereby creating a self-help approach through entrepreneurship. On the other hand a related group, called social intraprises, comprise of people who work within organisations to develop a business for the latter based on social goals. By identifying an opportunity

that has a social angle such as a service or a product that can be used for social or environmental good, a social intraprise can develop this opportunity through internal and external networks with the support of the parent organisation, for example, investing in the business, providing office support and allowing paid or unpaid time off. There are several good HR reasons to spend money on people in this manner, not least the obvious one of avoiding job cuts with expensive ramifications of firing and re-hiring, avoiding the loss of sunk costs in training and development through staff retrenchment and, last but not least, putting on a brave front for business continuity. In this current climate, the landscape is littered with companies that are retreating and cutting costs—which includes not spending money on people. This is old school thinking that got companies into

their present mess. It is vitally important now for HR to send a positive message that companies may be going through a hard time but the focus for the future should be on people. Social enterprises and intraprises can be levers to retrieve the credibility of management. Social healing is perhaps the best salve for the economic crisis after all. Companies, with the help of HR, need to put programmes in place that give the right signals to staff and others that caring for their people is not a sign of weakness but a strength that will augur well for long term rebuilding, and even for attracting and retaining talent of the future. This is the new paradigm. Failure to do so, on the other hand, will probably put organisations back into the rut and allow the misfortunes of history to be repeated yet again. By Thomas Tang, Executive Director at Global Institute for Tomorrow

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Autumn 2009

Special Feature
Embracing Workplace Generation Gaps

Generation Gap

Too often there are too many differences between the expectations of university students and the corporates.

This year’s AIESEC Asia Pacific Symposium in Hong Kong was attended by delegates who flew in from around the Asia region, along with a handful from even further afield. The symposium’s remit was to develop interaction between diverse organisations and the student talent; the intention being to boost business leader’s understanding of the perspectives and attitudes of the Asian young generation, while for students to learn more about business issues. Topics covered included CSR, Gen Y, employer branding, career development, youth leadership and diversity issues. AIESEC is the world’s largest student-run organisation. The president of AIESEC HK opened by saying “Too often there are too many differences between the expectations of university students and the corporates,” adding that he hoped the symposium would bring both closer together. On another key difference in attitude he highlighted, “If you talk about five- or tenyear career development to the current generation they will just ignore you… they regard three years as too long for

career development.” Finally, he jokingly reminded organisations, “The coming generation will be taking over society pretty soon, you cannot disagree.” The keynote speaker, Eddie Ng Hak-kim, Chairman of Human Capital Management, asked the question ‘can you really tell people what your career plan is?’ He believes the answer for most is no: they cannot say where they really expect to be in ten years time. But, when applying for jobs, saying you want any job being offered is not the right answer either. This raises the question of what young people should actually say. Ng believes that Gen Y has a keen supply of energy and the passion, but is sometimes overly focussed on one thing. Ng noted that some HR professionals had said of Gen Y “I love them but I don’t want to hire them.” For Gen Y, they need to look carefully at what company they are applying for, to check more closely what they will be a part of. For the companies, extensive testing can help young candidates understand what they are committing to, and can even weed out some candidates who are applying for the

job merely for the sake of apply for a job. If a young person does all the research before applying, joked Ng, “Then if you end up in the wrong job who is to blame.” A later speaker, Shalini Mahtani, founder and CEO of community business, talked more on Gen Y. She noted that previously groupings for diversity had taken in ethnicity, gender, sexuality, but highlighted that more recently age was being considered a factor: both for aging workers and Gen Y. Organisations are now thinking of interventions to attract and retain both groups, because it has been shown that specialised interventions are needed. She noted the difference between the AIESEC of now and the AIESEC of many years ago, with the marked difference being that the current AIESEC students are not just chasing high pay. New initiatives from AIESEC look at CSR, with Mahtani saying that this generation “is very much about defining what CSR means.” She went on to say that companies, whilst cutting back on areas like marketing, are questioning cutting back on CSR because it is so important to potential Gen Y employees.


HR Magazine

Special Feature
Embracing Workplace Generation Gaps

Mahtani warned that Gen Y is also known for asking for the impossible. She cited, for example, first-time jobbers often asking for international. She also underlined a worrying trend in India, and China, where Gen Y look for inappropriate business; for example they come into a job as a secretary but ask to be called a managing director. She noted also that companies are looking at new ways of engaging and recruiting Gen Y, including using Facebook to advertise jobs. She noted also that because of Gen Y’s attachment to the idea of family a number of firms, especially in India, are looking

at ways of engaging Gen Y’s parents, including open days for the parents of prospective employees. Finally she called on the younger generation to continue to push companies to look at CSR, and also to continue to be guided by values. To Gen Y itself she called on them to “act smart, not spoilt.” She said Gen Y might be the future, but its members must remember that the company they work for will be multigenerational and they must cohere with the other generations. Finally panellists, including HR Magazine’s own Paul Arkwright, discussed

a number of issues, including what the word talent really means. Ideas include talent just being another word for staff, but the new usage of the word reflecting a changing attitude in HR where staff are perceived more in terms of value. For headhunters, however, talent is whatever skills the business is looking for—a question of the match between a candidate’s ability and attitude with what the job needs. Further panellists recommended students think of themselves as being like an enterprise with services that they could offer to companies.

Autumn 2009


Special Feature
Embracing Workplace Generation Gaps

Understanding Generation
The traditional employment model is dead. Employment propositions and total rewards systems which were built on years of service to fund retirement are over. Organisations which were used to long standing tenure of 15, 20 or even 25 years need to rethink very quickly.

Generation X
For Generation X, born 1965-1980, it means moving in and out of the workforce to accommodate kids and outside interests. For Generation Y, born 19802000 the line between work and home doesn’t really exist. They just want to spend their time in meaningful and useful ways, no matter where they are. The challenge for the companies that want to hire the best young workers will be getting them in the door. Generation X are in high demand but are opting out of long hours and they have high expectations for personal growth, even in entry-level jobs. More than half of Generation Y’s new graduates move back to their parents’ homes after collecting their degrees and that cushion of support gives them the time to pick the job they really want. Taking time off to travel used to be a résumé red flag; today it’s a learning experience. Entrepreneurship now functions as a safety net for this generation. They grew up on the internet and they know how to launch a viable online business. These Generation Xers want benefits such as stock option plans, health care insurance, paid vacation, sick days and personal leave days. They tend to be less motivated by promises of overtime pay and more motivated by personal

satisfaction with their jobs. They want to grow in their jobs and learn new skills and are looking for development and training. They do not anticipate staying with one job or company throughout their entire career. They have seen their parents laid off. Many have grown up in divorced family situations. Generation X expect to change jobs as they seek employment that offers them both better benefits and more opportunity for professional growth and personal fulfillment.

Generation Y
Generation Y has grown up with more freedom and choice, economic prosperity —until recently!—and higher education with ever-changing technology. They have different priorities and expectations. More importantly, they are likely to be the most productive generation of all time because they work differently and harness technology and change as part of daily routine. The drive and energy of Generation Y is global, green and puts work in a social context, whereby they no longer live to work but work to live. They have only been in the workplace for a few years, yet they have gained a reputation for being over-confident, disloyal and fickle. Arguably, this may be because they have been misunderstood and mismanaged by employers who are still managing them within Baby Boomers or Generation X frameworks. Generation Y and Generation X view and use technology differently. Gen X use technology as much as Gen Y but they use it when it supports a “lifestyle need” whereas tech is embedded into everything Generation Y do.

Not only have Generation Y grown up with changing times, but the pace of change is seen as an opportunity to grasp. They have the ability to customise everything to their world. They do not need to buy albums or CDs because they can download the tracks they like to create their own playlists on their iPods; they can create their own personal web pages on Facebook; use the internet to create personal travel plans or roam in a virtual, fantasy world. They want to add their own personality and interests to the world of their work – they do not want a job for life and do not pretend to do so. Generation Y is the most travelled generation in history, through gap years and cheap flights. It is this desire for diversity and adventure which stimulates this generation rather than the wealth, size and glamour of the West. With this international focus and multi-cultural influences, their aspirations drive them to gain as many career-enhancing experiences as possible. They want to present prospective employers with a multitude of real-life experiences rather than a stack of qualifications. Generation Y has grown up with climate change, global warming and images of third-world poverty. They feel socially responsible to make the change for their global colleagues. They are connected via music, video and passion. They have experienced more family breakdowns than any generation before. Their global networking means that they relate to peers, not elders. They are searching for true integrity and are willing to challenge. Corporate values need to be more than words.


HR Magazine

Special Feature
Embracing Workplace Generation Gaps

The implications for employment
Personal and Lifestyle Characteristics by Generation
Baby Boomers (1946 – 1964) Core Values Optimism, Involvement Disintegrating A birthright Touch-tone phones, Call me anytime Buy now, pay later Generation X (1965 – 1980) Skepticism, Fun, Informality Latch-key kids A way to get there Cell phones, Call me only at work Cautious, Conservative, Save, save, save Generation Y (1981 – 2000) Realism, Confidence, Extreme fun, Social Merged families An incredible expense Internet, Picture phones, E-mail Earn to spend

Family Education Communication Media Dealing with Money

Workplace Characteristics
Baby Boomers (1946 – 1964) Work Ethic and Values Workaholics Work efficiently Crusading causes Personal fulfillment Desire quality Question authority An exciting adventure Generation X (1965 – 1980) Eliminate the task Self-reliance Want structure and direction Skeptical Generation Y (1981 – 2000) What’s next Multitasking Tenacity Entrepreneurial Tolerant Goal oriented A means to an end Fulfillment Confident Team focused Delegate Socially responsible Participative

Work is…

A difficult challenge A contract Everyone is the same Challenge others Ask why?

Leadership Style

Consensual Collegial

Interactive Style

Team player Loves to have meetings In person



Direct Immediate Sorry to interrupt, but how am I doing? Freedom is the best reward Do it your way Forget the rules

E-mail Voice mail Whenever I want it, at the push of a button Meaningful work

Feedback and Rewards

Don’t appreciate it Money Title recognition

Messages That Motivate

You are valued You are needed

You will work with other bright, creative people Balance

Work and Family Life

No balance Work to live


The tables above detail typical characteristics of different generations.

By Mr. Mark Geary Chief Executive Asianet Consultants

(Sources: Time; Greg Hammill/FDU; Mercer)

Generation X, are very self-centred while Generation Y are more team-focused and anti-hierarchical. Formal grading and status attributes will be resisted – they want to have a voice. Creative working parties and innovation groups are the way to get their juices flowing. Early delegation and involvement is paramount. Theirs is a thirst for knowledge. Generation X expect, their employers to hear what they have to say. They have an interest in understanding the ‘big picture’ for the company and how this influences their employment and growth. They are less likely to accept a ‘because I said so’ attitude. Generation Y enters the world of work with student debt. Long-term benefits or pensions do not even register. Choice is key, as is flexibility both in terms of working hours and location. Career enhancement, rather than development, is paramount – international assignments and experience is critical. But this promise needs to be real, not a frustrating, dangling carrot. Generation Y wants to be judged on outcomes and results, not the hours seen at the office. Generation X knew promotions were given out to those who got in first and left late, irrespective of their real contribution. Generation Y’s upbringing of constant coaching from their parents means that they expect constant feedback and stroking. Line managers need to give a lot of face time to this group – this is the biggest management challenge for the Baby Boomers who were taught to be micro-managers. They are naturally self-assured and goal-driven. They are supremely confident, expecting everything to fall into their laps and hence, massively over estimate their own abilities – they think they will make their mark immediately and will rapidly progress in organisations. Generation Y are probably prepared to give your organisation 3 to 5 years at most, before they will move on. Have you re-engineered your people strategy to cope with this change?

Autumn 2009


Special Feature
Embracing Workplace Generation Gaps

Different Generations
In the first of a two-part series on Avril Henry, author, professional speaker and founder of the Australian Avril Henry Pty Ltd we share her experiences dealing with different generations in the workplace and the challenges this throws up for HR managers. As a previous finance director, Henry confessed she used to think that, “HR was a place where they sent birthday cards. And when we were trying to cut costs the Finance Director said we can cut costs by cutting HR staff because we don’t need them. Because after all that is the soft touchy feely stuff.” As a ‘reformed accountant and economist’, Henry has now worked out that without people you don’t achieve anything, and without people you actually won’t achieve the productivity and the profitability that engages the stakeholders if you don’t understand what motivates people. Henry pointed out that 67% of all mergers and acquisitions fail. And the reason they fail is that their top three priorities are: ▪ Shareholders and clients ▪ Products and services ▪ Technology integration Nowhere are people mentioned in the top three. Yet without the people being on board you don’t deliver to shareholders and clients. Without people understanding the products and services you are not going to deliver the products and services and you are not going to develop the products and services. Turning to the issue of why HR should understand the different generations, Henry stated that, “people are using the global financial crisis as an excuse to say ‘we don’t have to worry about recruitment and we don’t have to worry about retention because we can just get rid of people’.” Henry also firmly believes that the skills shortage is here to stay as it has come about because of an aging population and a declining birthrate. According to the United Nations, Hong Kong has the lowest birthrate in the world with the exception of Macau at 1.02, so it is unable to replace its workforce. Generations X and Y are the most tertiary educated generations in history and are sending a strong message to companies that if they don’t have an inclusive and collaborative workplace culture, if they don’t have an adaptive leadership style, and if they don’t have a culture that values employees, then they won’t come and work for them. The question for HR managers is what do they have to do to motivate and to manage different generations. Henry cautions that, “the one size fits all—the approach taken for decades and people managed to get away with—will not work anymore.”

Why HR Needs to


Avril Henry, Founder, Avril Henry Pty. Ltd.

Henry gave an insight into the mindsets of the four generations currently in the workplace:
Veterans born prior to 1946: making up, on average, 6-10% of the workforce in most countries, who dominate the Fortune 500 and are usually board members responsible for strategy vision and change. The veterans will normally give you two responses if you want to change something. The first is “That’s the way we have always done it around here.” The second response you invariably get is “something is not broken so why change things.” For the veteran generation technology is a necessary or unnecessary evil which makes them really stressed. Baby boomers born 1946 to 1964: make up as much as 80% of senior executive roles in the private sector and major government departments. Intellectually baby boomers know change is good, but might prefer somebody else have a go at it first, so they tend to stand around while this change is being discussed. For the baby boomer generation they have all the technology but don’t know how to use it for functionality. Gen X born 1965 to 1979: interestingly

tend to be the skeptical generation, playing their cards very close to their chest. They tell you what they want you to know - when they want you to know it, to the degree that they think you should know it. In the background you have Gen X looking at change—it could be a restructure or a merger of two organisations. They will say “pick me pick me, I want to be on the change program.” Gen X love change, seeing it as an opportunity to learn new skills and stretch themselves. Gen X is comfortable with technology. Technology is an important means to an end, used as a business tool. For Gen Y born post 1980: change is all they know and they don’t understand why people get so traumatised by change. Change is what happens every day. For Gen Y they have always been social communicators and it is a way of life. They have never known life without technology; they have never used a typewriter. In the next issue we continue this feature and share more from Henry on what drives each generation in the workplace and exactly what HR managers need to learn in order to best engage and leverage the strengths of each generation set.


HR Magazine

Sponsored Feature

Strategic Innovation… What does this mean for my business?
Are creativity and innovation the same?
Companies today must repeatedly remind themselves that if they fail to re-invent themselves to meet current market challenges, they will find their market share shrinking or gone in time to come. It seems the latest buzzword in business is creativity. In fear of losing out many individuals and organisations jump onto the bandwagon of creative thinking with little knowledge of its purpose or direction and no understanding of its application for corporate success. Creativity without focus or framework can provide results that have no commercial value. Creativity that adds value to businesses is Innovation. However innovation is not an act of spontaneity. It is targeted effort to make something new happen through a structured and well organised approach and accordingly allow businesses to reap the rewards.

Blue Ocean Strategy
higher probability and greater impact. Its simple methodology comprises of a comprehensive set of tools and frameworks based on key principles to help companies boost performance through value innovation Think about the Apple iPod, why is it so popular in spite of being priced 300%400% higher than other MP3 players? Or Starbucks coffee, why do consumers spend up to 5 times more than a local coffee shop to stand in line to get a cup? They did it not by creating new products but by delivering key offerings that customers’ desire. Thinking innovatively is the key to helping them carve their niche and enjoying higher profit margins. Leading training consultancy macsimize focuses on helping companies innovate in order to reap maximum benefit by putting creativity through a simple framework. Carl Thong, Managing Director of macsimize says “Clients often tell us that they try to encourage their management teams to be creative, but they are still not able to extract commercial value from their efforts. This is where we can help them by using key concepts from the Blue Ocean Strategy. We train management teams to link leadership and innovation so that it can be imbibed in their corporate culture. Managers learn to avoid staying in a market place where features are piled onto a product that its customers do not particularly value. When you find your blue ocean you will not have competitors as you will be creating uncontested market space where you are the only player” says Mr. Thong.

Carl Thong, Managing Director of macsimize

What does Red look like?
Red oceans are characterised by well defined and accepted industry boundaries and established competitive rules of the game. Companies are embroiled in the art of war, constantly strategising to oust another from a densely congested market space. They are often incapable of understanding or recognising the path less trodden, which is often less confrontational yet creates greater business value. However being caught in the throes of competition results in companies remaining in red oceans where the focus is more defensive, concentrated on the elimination of rivals to emerge victorious.

customers and what am I going to offer my customers? 3. A structured brainstorming session: You need to generate many ideas to come out with a great one; however these ideas need to be viable and not just ‘out of the box’ 4. Adopt an outside-in view: Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and ask the question – What do my customers want? What do they value most and what are they willing to pay for? 5. Find your blue ocean: Eliminate, reduce, raise and create the features of your products and services and create a new offering for your customers based on value not features Using innovation to create a new offering will help you create an uncontested marketplace - at least until it is imitated, the key is to make sure this process then becomes a part of your corporate culture – thinking innovatively to constantly be in the blue. Log on to find your blue ocean today. To get more information email Ayesha Mathias: or call +852 93002390

Bring on the Blue

macsimize suggests the following in 5 easy steps: 1. Know where you are: you need to know where you are to find out where you want to be. A self analysis to know where you currently stand in the market place. 2. Adopt an inside-out view: Look at your company from within and ask yourself what am I currently offering my

Finding the Blue

Make competition irrelevant The latest corporate insight comes together in the form of an approach that is new and improved. It is the logical way to achieve outstanding performance – the Blue Ocean Strategy, is intended to generate sustained growth with

September Issue 2009


HR and Technology
Karen Paterson Interview
Recently HR Magazine had a chance to speak to Karen Paterson about her company Patersons Global HR & Payroll Solutions, and how technology is changing HR. The web-based software company focuses on the delivery of International Payroll/HR software and services in over 160 countries worldwide, has over 200 employees and 3,000 further partners working from five global offices. HR Magazine: How did you come about founding Patersons Global Payroll? Karen Paterson: After working in retail banking for a few years, and finishing my MBA from Southampton, I began working as a tax consultant. Very early on I was approached by a client who was trying to set up an integrated international payroll system. At the time there were no providers in the market who could do this. So in essence the company developed from this business problem. HR Magazine: What advantages does starting from this ‘bottom up’ approach have in creating HR software? Karen Paterson: Well the essential business problem hasn’t changed, but by building the technology from the bottom up, and by knowing the issues we were trying to solve upfront, we could develop the software in a practical way, as an integrated solution on a global scale. Where we gain our competitive advantage is that you cannot build this sort of big enterprise software quickly. We let the market drive how we developed the features and functionality and the architecture of the application. And we grew the company gradually in line. We had organic growth, where we worked with the clients coming to us to solve specific problems for them. HR Magazine: How many years did it take to develop the software? Karen Paterson: The application is nine years old. However because it is one code base it is constantly improving and it is now about 1.8 million lines of code. By 2004 and 2005 we were ready to start growing the business rapidly. In 2006 we did a big deal with IBM and also Siemens and at this stage we became known worldwide. HR Magazine: What are some of the challenges you have had in your company’s evolution? Karen Paterson: Over the thirteen years I have done this I have recognised that there are some people that would like to see you not succeed. There was a time when we did not have enough money to expand, though we are fine now. As an entrepreneur you actually can’t blink but must keep looking forward. HR Magazine: How would you describe your company’s organisational culture? Karen Paterson: I think that we are fun. We like disruptive technology and anything that drives change. I think our company is always trying to be the best. We are very state of the art. I make sure that all of our developers have the very best coaching and tools and toys to train with. We are very creative and innovative and again we have this desire to be the best in the world. HR Magazine: Since starting your company in 1996 have you noticed any changes in the role HR has played within organisations? Karen Paterson: I think there has been a huge change. I think that before HR was viewed as a necessary function with very little input at board level. HR was very transactional. Whereas now I think particularly since 2002 onward things started to change where people saw that a strategic role for HR was critical for business success. Organisations are starting to recognise that the workforce is the biggest cost to the business. HR Magazine: During this same period how has HR technology evolved? Karen Paterson: In the late nineties and early two thousands the ERP1 system was the only choice to have a truly international HR system. Software as a Service was available but it was a fairly unknown market. IT departments focused a lot on having control of systems inhouse. After Y2K and some major glitches with large ERP systems, multinationals started to question the value of spending millions on these ERP systems. Much of this inability to track the value on the money spent has fueled the Software as a Service market. The ability of a company to outsource not only the development

HR Features

The workforce: the biggest cost to business

International Payroll/HR Software & Services

and maintenance of the software but also the hardware and hosting is appealing to a greater number of organisations. If you are a manufacturer your specialty is in manufacturing not software. A company like ours is able to create software and


HR Magazine

I think the ability to give management control and visibility over their workforce and at the same time reduce cost is probably one of the most compelling arguments that will get heard.

HR Features

develop it properly. To get this expertise in house is costly and not always possible. HR Magazine: Why do you feel that there has been a number of new Software as a Service company’s emerging in the past few years? Karen Paterson: I think that the low cost of entry for software on demand is appealing during a credit crunch. This has been an important factor driving the growth of Software as a Service recently. The ‘pay as you go’ model is incredibly attractive to people on restricted budgets. This is also combined with the acceptance of the internet. Nine years ago when we first shipped our product broadband was just starting to be rolled out, whereas now it is everywhere. We are also aware that the needs of small to medium sized companies are very similar to those of the larger multinationals. So being one step ahead we have also recently launched Click4HR which is an on demand, click and buy online HR solution which is ready to use, is hassle free with no downloads. This costs as little as $US49, which as an offer I doubt it can be beaten elsewhere. HR Magazine: As internet data transfer speeds increase with faster fibre optic connections how will this change HR outsourcing processes? Karen Paterson: Delivery will increasingly become internet based. It is the only practical, sensible way to deliver, and to leverage the ability to deliver file

shared services. I really feel that people will start to build global templates. Everybody thinks that their individual company is different, whereas actually there is global template. I also think people will start to look at best of breed. Instead of buying ERP systems that cover everything from recruitment to e-learning and transactional HR they will look for best of breed and then integrate. So, that global templates will have integrated best of breed applications. HR Magazine: What different levels of acceptance of HR technology and HR outsourcing have you noticed in different markets around the world? Karen Paterson: There are some differences in some of the central European countries which are behind the west. Some of the former communist countries or existing communist countries like China, that are quite protectionist, are wary of not having control of their information. Even though Hong Kong belongs to China it will flourish without that protectionist behavior. As the level of inward investment to China slows down discouraging of the advance of technology may lead to a competitive disadvantage. A similar thing is occurring in Russia. Latin America is similar but is enveloping internet based software a lot more easily. What we are seeing with emerging markets is that they don’t have a lot of legacy software because it didn’t get built in the old days. So they are taking a quantum lead to the early adoption.

HR Magazine: Do you see emerging software companies in India as future competitors to Patersons in the Software as a Service market? Karen Paterson: No, not at this time as there are a million and one ways to get this type of complex architecture wrong. Technology companies have to be constantly looking to the future and see where technology is going. If you establish competitive advantage and do that then it is very hard for people to catch up. HR Magazine: How do you suggest that HR Managers can get input and influence their company to switch to more efficient HR technologies? Karen Paterson: I think at the moment cost is important. We are in a global credit crunch. I think the ability to give management control and visibility over their workforce and at the same time reduce costs is probably one of the most compelling arguments that will get heard. HR Magazine: Do you have any last words of advice for our readers with regard to HR technology? Karen Paterson: Make the right choice when you are procuring software. Think strategically, think internationally, and that Software as a Service is where the world is going.

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)

systems usually consists of hardware and software that integrate the data and processes of an organisation into one single system.

Autumn 2009


HR Features
Building a Resilient Workforce

Corporate Wellness and Building a Resilient Workforce
Audrey Tsui is a woman bent on spreading the notion of corporate wellness around Asia and into the wider international business community. She heads up the Corporate Wellness Management Unit in the business school at the Hong Kong Baptist University and uses seminars, publications and direct advisory contact with businesses to spread her point. Here she talks to HR Magazine about this topic, and in particular the idea of building resilience into your workforce to bounce back from the crisis. “During turbulent times is when we should pay much more attention to emotional wellness, spiritual wellness, intellectual wellness, as well as occupational wellness.” Commenting on the current trend for restructuring, firing and freezes in hiring, Tsui said, “A lot of staff on the one hand they have a higher workload, but on the other they have higher anxiety. What will happen to me in the future. What will happen to this company?” She added that this is well indicated by increased calls to support hotlines, increased suicide and crime, the conclusion being that we should be dealing with these emotions. People have a misunderstanding, said Tsui; wellness is equated to fitness or massage or meditation in the minds of many. “That is a very narrow perspective.” Wellness counts both for individual employees as well as for the overall company, she said. It also comprises aspects of physical, intellectual, emotional an even spiritual features. Tsui dubs this ‘total wellness’. Component features might

Audrey Tsui

Corporate Wellness
According to Tsui, the majority of the foreign companies in Hong Kong will follow the policies of their parent company for corporate wellness. The western idea of corporate wellness is based on tangible problems such as smoking cessation policies and employee assistance programmes for alcohol or emotional problems, but this is wrong says Tsui. “Why only pay attention to those employees with a problem now?”


HR Magazine

HR Features
Building a Resilient Workforce

be broken down further still, for example emotional aspects are confidence, positive feelings and emotional resilience, while intellectual aspects include thinking and love of learning. Tsui defines spiritual wellness not as a religious thing, but instead a kind of moral awareness, a basic principle to distinguish good and bad. “There is a strong sense of injustice in the world currently,” she remarked.

Tsui claims to have seen many people of a young age in businesses and among students, aged mid-20 to mid-40, dying without getting sick. She said that this has changed her whole opinion of stress. Part of the increased number is the higher levels of young people committing suicide, and part of it is sudden death syndrome, what the Japanese call karoshi, or death from exhaustion. Research shows that sudden death can be related to fatigue, such as due to an extended period of long working hours, and stress, for example because of a hostile living environment. She noted that both fatigue and stress are amplified in Hong Kong with the culture of long working hours, persistent building works, the noise and stressful conditions on the street. Tsui added that fatigue is not just physical but is mental too. Secondly she explains that under her definition of stress, stress is actually a feeling of fear, uncertainty and a lack of control. In the working world staff are not given the power to control what they are doing, she said. Staff develop cynicism because they see the top decision maker asking them to do things they do not believe in, or that are not ethical. Things are not transparent and there is a lot of inequity, she added.

Occupational Wellness and Fortitude
Occupational wellness is how well do people feel comfortable in contributing, how committed are they and do they want to dedicate themselves to do

more. Tsui offers an equation for the business perspective along the lines of ‘engagement + resilience = organisational fortitude.’ Here resilience is defined as the ability to bounce back from adversity. “In the last few years there’s been a lot of discussion about how companies can survive. A lot of talk is about fortitude, which refers to mental strength—to suffer pain and to face danger with courage.” The purpose of engagement is not only to get employees to do things, but also to have them involved in generating ideas, about plans and strategies, company direction, effective implementation, and how to do things in a moral way. Tsui said that research shows that people do not want to work for money, they want to have meaning in their work. Financial return is necessary, but it is not sufficient to get people totally committed, meaning companies need to look deeper at an employee’s needs, said Tsui. Tsui said, in many organisations “the boss’ attitude is ‘I think you do’, but this only engages the body of the employee, this doesn’t engage the employee’s brain or heart, so doesn’t make them feel they have worth.” She added that in many ways multinationals treat their entire staff in Hong Kong and other local subsidiaries as just ‘doers’ and don’t actually involve them in determining company direction. In Hong Kong and other Asian cities wellness is often part of HRM, so it is usually the same person in charge that’s also in charge of benefits. “They make you feel very frustrated,” Tsui said. “Why do you treat wellness as a cost, wellness is an investment, and it can generate strategic return.” But, she continues, “nobody talks about it, they talk about reducing medical costs, instead realising that reducing these things stops the company from advancing.” Tsui said that an engaged workforce has been shown in numerous surveys to generate substantially more returns, as employees are willing to take extra steps to achieve a business end.

Tsui said her point is particularly relevant in service sectors. If an employee believes in the firm they will interact with customer with customer intimacy. “How can banks regain the trust of customers who made losses? They have to continue to pay attention to them, reduce the pain they’re suffering and monitor, and show care and concern, which is itself a service.” Tsui underlined one example, referencing the recent Sanlu milk powder scare in mainland China. The former chairperson, Tian Wenhua, made a big mistake in that she never apologised, Tsui said, whereas the replacement did immediately when they took over. The next step for the replacement Chair was sending staff to different provinces to see what the company can do, which Tsui described as an ‘excellent gesture’. Tsui added, “Because they cannot produce, a less imaginative company would retrench their staff. Instead of doing that he mobilised his workforce—sending them out to the rural areas where the powder caused problems, saying: whatever we can do, we will do.” This is the kind of additional gesture Tsui feels companies need to work towards.

Creating a Resilient Workforce
To create a resilient workforce Tsui said a company needs three things: 1. A culture of paying attention to wellness in the organisation 2. Honouring business ethics and business integrity 3. A management support system that ensures things like that happen. Tsui said she believes in self-help. She says that in Hong Kong and Singapore when companies have a problem, they tend to seek outside help. For example, if people are depressed—hiring a clinical psychologist—but without really asking the question why or tracing the route of the problem. She believes managers avoid the issue with outside hires so that if anything goes wrong the accusation will not fall on them.

Autumn 2009


HR Features
Building a Resilient Workforce

Who Handles Wellness?
Tsui believes that the response of medical staff to the notion of corporate wellness is “who are you here from management to talk about wellness, you are not medically trained we make sure you are not sick, and because you’re not sick you won’t die. But this attitude is wrong.” “Wellness management should be a multi-discipline one. It should not belong to medicine, or public health, nor psychology, nor social work, nor HRM. It’s an issue that needs the input of all.” Though she acknowledges that managers would sit at the top of this as decision makers, but also underlined that it is a case where everybody should have a say. “It’s about involving and engaging the employees to team up with the leader, so that they come up with a solution as a team. In order to do that managers must be open, and generate a trusting relationship,” Tsui said. She added her research had revealed that the major problem with the management support system in greater China was the lack of communication. She said that management support does not simply mean ‘you tell, employees listen,’ but also involves employees coming up with ideas that might make a difference.

Asian Wellness in Decline
Overall, Asian wellness is decreasing at the cost of increasing wealth said Tsui. She believes one reason is increased disparity between rich and poor. “Wealth management is not only about the volume and pace of wealth accumulation, but it is also about the fairness and impact of wealth distribution,” adds Tsui, who also acknowledges socialist leanings. Tsui believes the most critical agenda of these times is going back to examine emotional wellness, physical wellness and spiritual wellness. “We must stand up and say no and do something right now… we just have to face it straight on.” Tsui says that a number of companies are doing good work, but these are the minority. She stressed again that employees with good wellness are willing to do more in the community, which is good branding for the company. Tsui said that though community work is good, it is not as simple as just introducing a few of these types of projects. “It must be part of a company’s culture,” she said.

Fair Exchange of Value
According to Tsui, the companies who are currently ‘doing it properly’ in terms of sales are going ‘back to basics’, that

is a fair exchange of value between the company and the customer. “That is, the customer pays them for what they believe should be of value, for example drugs from a drug company—it is the function and usefulness to the end user of the product or service so it is up to the individuals in any organisation to work out how to create this value and create this positive service.” She cited the pre-downturn practice of banks selling customers investment products in what she described as a ‘dishonest manner’, because customers were not being briefed properly about the risks. “When employees seek to maximise returns for the company, those returns are short term. The reason is that the bonuses were given to so-called talent, but in the end it exposed the company to so much loss.” To underscore the difference in approach she discussed the difference between improving returns to shareholders compared to improving return to stakeholders; the latter includes customers the former does not. Spiritual wellness falls into this discussion because it is fostered by going back to basics, honouring good value to customers, good business principles, as well as getting employees involved in the process.


HR Magazine



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With Sincere Thanks

Award For Excellence In Training 2009 SUPPLEMENT








HR Magazine

Message from Dr The Hon David K P Li GBM GBS JP Chairman The Hong Kong Management Association


Message from Dr Elizabeth S C Shing BBS JP Director General The Hong Kong Management Association Nowadays, changes come more rapidly and frequently and they bring about uncertainty. Only companies and leaders who manage change successfully can survive against the competition. Human capital has always been the most important building block for any change initiative. Hence, successful companies regard its human resources as the most valuable asset. They aim to train and develop sta so that they can contribute their utmost to support the mission of the organisation. Since its establishment in 1990, the Award for Excellence in Training has gained wide recognition among HR and training professionals in Hong Kong. I would like to congratulate all the winning companies and trainers for their commitment to training and for inspiring other companies and top management to invest in people. On behalf of the Hong Kong Management Association, I would like to express my sincere thanks to the Award Sponsors, Media Sponsors and Seminar Sponsors for their unfailing support of the Award. I would also like to o er my heartfelt appreciation to the Panel of Adjudicators, the Board of Examiners and Members of the Organising Committee for their invaluable time and expertise. Lastly, I would like to thank all the training professionals who are here today in support of training and human resource development.

Award For Excellence In Training 2009 SUPPLEMENT

In the current extremely challenging economic environment, companies are under extraordinary pressure to reduce costs. Any expense that does not make an immediate contribution to the bottom line is liable to be cut. Unfortunately, it is all too easy to make the wrong cuts, and undermine future success. Hong Kong is overwhelmingly a service-based economy. Human capital is our core resource. Most companies recognise that investment in their human capital is key to their future growth and prosperity. Any cut in this area will a ect a company’s future prospects. In reality, if it is important to invest in human capital in good times, it is even more important to maintain this investment in times of adversity. The most successful companies are those that make a long-term commitment to investment in training. The Award for Excellence in Training has grown from strength to strength over the past eighteen years. This Award has contributed e ectively to the sharing of best practice in the community, and has become a well-recognised symbol of training excellence. On behalf of our Association, I wish to thank most sincerely the Panel of Adjudicators and the Board of Examiners for their invaluable contribution to the success of this Award. I would also like to express my heartfelt thanks to all members of the Organising Committee under the chairmanship of Mr John Allison for making this Award one of the most prominent events in the human resource profession in Hong Kong. My special gratitude goes to all our sponsors for their generosity and unfailing support. Lastly, I would like to congratulate all our Award winners for their outstanding performance. May your Award serve as a model for others to follow, and inspire you to continued success.

Autumn 2009


chairman Allison John
Award For Excellence In Training 2009 SUPPLEMENT

, Vice President of Human Resources in the Asia Paci c division of FedEx Express, and Chairman of the organising committee, shares his views on the HKMA Award for Excellence in Training. Allison has been involved in the awards committee since 2007.

John Allison

Relevance of the HKMA award
The award does three things. First, it recognizes the relevance of Human Resources professionals within the Hong Kong community, secondly through that recognition and through the quality of the presentations made to the committee the award improves the quality of training and development in Hong Kong. Thirdly it further promotes the importance of quality training and development in Hong Kong.

people development with programmes put together to achieve a speci c end, for example teaching people ‘this is how you deal with a service issue for a customer’. Programmes are now ‘interventionalist’, that is, designed to change things within a company and to meet a changing market place, so the training environment is much broader. That’s where I see the creativity coming out year after year.

The e ects of the nancial downturn
With the nancial downturn companies aren’t hiring so much, so there is not as much new employee training. But in terms of employee training evolving into intervention we’re still seeing new ideas. The attitude of companies seems to be ‘we’re in a tough situation, but we still need to be able to take our product to the market’, meaning that the rm adapts its sta to the market. In days gone by training would have just stopped during a downturn, but with the interventionist trend this is not the case. Additionally, we’re still seeing both senior manager and junior level training, including high-potential training. Some companies are doing more in-house training to reduce costs, but some do the reverse, drawing external trainers in, for the same reason. HR is always cost conscious, and we’ve seen that every year, so I couldn’t say whether we’ve seem more of it this year.

Judging process
The judging process is the same as in 2008. Participants of the Campaign Awards go through two steps with interviews followed by written submissions, and then six nalists going before a nal panel of adjudicators. The nal six will compete for the gold, silver, bronze and three certi cates of excellence. The quality of nalists is improving year on year, and we continue to be impressed.

What’s the bene t for entrants?
The best comparison is it’s like preparing for a race. First you have to decide to race, then you have to train for it, and then you actually run it. You look at the criteria—entrants have to follow rigorous guidelines—and you have to prepare to meet them. The process allows companies to look at their trainers and their progress, as well as future improvability. It’s a great opportunity to test yourself and to present all that you’ve been able to develop. It’s also the only award of this nature in Hong Kong for HR.

How Hong Kong compares globally
Training and development in Hong Kong is world-class. You have world-class companies headquartered here, as well as multinationals with o ces, but also, companies just doing business in Hong Kong. For the award we try to draw all three types into the awards process. The focus is what is delivered in Hong Kong, it’s not a pan-Asia or a global award. Industries represented are diverse, the broad range of sectors represented: entertainment, hospitality, insurance and banking.

The presentation seminar
The seminar is bene cial to everyone, not just the participants. The presentations are always good for the audience, and it’s an opportunity to learn from the ‘best in class’. Frankly, it’s also great fun. The presenters are always good and presentations always well laid out. Some of the written submissions get put in the library at the HKMA, voluntarily at the discretion of the participants, so even people can still learn from the awards if they don’t attend the seminar.

Can we really measure the e ectiveness of training programmes?
Yes you can. Firstly, we judge the delivery of programmes, did the trainer successfully train the colleagues to meet the business needs. Secondly, we ask ‘have the objectives been met’, ‘have the skills been demonstrated’ and ‘has the training delivered the results it said it would’ once the training is complete. Thirdly there’s the connection to business results. Has this improved service, increased productivity and revenue at the company? The panel of judges includes CEOs, very senior people, and they are very much focused on the bottom line, so they are very speci cally looking for that.

Why is the quality of candidates improving?
It’s really that training is evolving in many ways. In the past, training was primarily skills-orientated. Now there is leadership as well as skills training, but it’s really evolved into a process of


HR Magazine

Board of Examiners
The Board of Examiners comprises members of the 2009 Training Awards Organising Committee and the 2008/09 Human Resources Development Management Committee of the Hong Kong Management Association.

Mr NiQ Lai CFO and Head of Sta Engagement City Telecom (HK) Limited Ms Tammy Li Regional HR Director Grosvenor Limited Mr Andy Tsui Director, Training and Development PCCW Ltd Dr Felix Yip General Manager – Human Resources Yantian International Container Terminals

Mrs Winnie Chiu Senior Consultant Right Management Hong Kong Ltd Mr Anthony Mak Principal Assistant Secretary Civil Service Training and Development Institute, Civil Service Bureau Mr Andy Tsui Director, Training and Development PCCW Ltd Mr Kenneth Wai Area Director of Human Resources Island Shangri-La Hotel

2009 Training Awards Organising Committee
Mr John Allison (Chairman) Vice President of Human Resources Asia Paci c FedEx Express Ms Iris Cheng Human Resources Manager Corporate People Development The Hong Kong Jockey Club Dr Flora Chiang Associate Professor Department of Management School of Business Hong Kong Baptist University Mr Steve Chow Human Resources Director Synergis Management Services Ltd Mr Paul Clark Group Director of Human Resources Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group Ms Sandy Fok General Manager, Sta Development John Swire & Sons (HK) Limited Mr Douglas Holyoak Director, Learning and Education PricewaterhouseCoopers Limited

Award For Excellence In Training 2009 SUPPLEMENT

2008/09 Human Resources Development Management Committee
Dr Ritchie Bent (Chairman) Group Head of Human Resources Jardine Matheson Limited Mr John Allison Vice President of Human Resources Asia Paci c FedEx Express Mr Graham Barkus Manager, Organisational Development & Learning Cathay Paci c Airways Limited Mrs Lena Chan Head of Learning and Development Asia Paci c HSBC Dr Flora Chiang Associate Professor Department of Management School of Business Hong Kong Baptist University

Panel of Adjudicators
Mr Ronald Chiu Executive Director i-CABLE News Limited Dr Allen Fung Managing Partner, Hong Kong McKinsey & Company, Inc Hong Kong Mr Eric Goh Managing Director Hewlett Packard HK SAR Ltd Mr C K Lau Chairman & CEO Recruit Holdings Limited Mr Eric Leung Chief Executive O cer Tao Heung Group Limited Mr Joseph Yu Managing Director Fuji Xerox (Hong Kong) Ltd

Special Supplement 5 . HKMA Award for Excellence in Training 2009

Award For Excellence In Training 2009 SUPPLEMENT

Hang Yick Properties Management Ltd
Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Henderson Land Group, founded 35 years ago, is now well-established in Hong Kong. The company currently manages over 160 properties with more than 45,000 units. Actively participating in community functions and providing quality property management services the company has witnessed changes in sta , customers, the industry as a whole and in the wider society over the past three decades.


Hang Yick Properties


Tool for Corporate Success
Hang Yick always believes that training is an essential tool leading to corporate success. With this in mind they participated in the HKMA Award for Excellence in Training in 2001. At that time they presented their “Green Practice Training for Quality and Interactive Property Management Service”. The main aim of the programme was to introduce the concept of environmental protection to their contractor partners, sta , customers and the community through a series of training courses and functions. After keen competition with other companies, in that year Hang Yick was awarded the Certi cate of Merit.

Training & Development
The company views life long learning as a trend throughout the world. Being indispensable in every well-established company, training not only fosters sta personal development but also keeps them well-aligned to the dynamic changes in the community. One of the core values of Hang Yick is ‘To Care for Customers and Employees’. The company views job-related knowledge as a prerequisite for providing professional services. The consistent service skills and professional knowledge of sta being vital elements that have allowed Hang Yick to become a market leader. The company encourages sta to persistently enhance their knowledge in di erent aspects. Training plans are developed annually based on feedback from senior management and di erent levels of sta . The Human Resources Department provides well balanced tailor-made training courses to satisfy the needs of di erent sta .

Mr Suen Kwok Lam Executive Director Henderson Land Development Company Limited

Corporate Competitiveness
During an economic downturn, raising corporate competitiveness and upgrading sta quality are very important factors to help companies maintain their market share. Training is always a long-term investment with unexpected returns such as sta retention and skills enrichment. For employees, training provides opportunities for unlimited career growth. For employers, well-trained employees bene t the company through better performance.

Reinforcing a Culture of Safety
In order to raise their concerns towards public a airs and demonstrate commitment to corporate social responsibilities, Hang Yick was the rst company in the industry to introduce the concept of “Theme of the Year”, which has been running since 1998. In 2006 senior management, concerned about the increasing trend in the number of work related injuries in society and in light of the a series of fatal accidents in the property management industry, targeted reinforcement of safety culture in Hang Yick. The ‘Year of Safety’ was launched as the theme of 2007/2008 and a wide range of safety training courses were organised for sta . The concept behind ‘Theme of the Year’ is one of successful strategies that allow Hang Yick to raise awareness of key safety issues and share corporate goals and direction on safety with all levels of sta .

When recruiting sta , Hang Yick considers professional ethics a key principle for all property management employees. ‘To uphold integrity’ is one of the most important core values in the company and the belief that violations of integrity not only affect an individual and the corporation, but also destroy the justice and image of the industry and society as a whole. For this reason, uprightness is the top priority the company considers when selecting prospective employees.

Multi-stream Dissemination of Ideas
With a nger on the pulse of current a airs and the full support of the senior management team, Hang Yick is able to roll out innovative, tailored-training programmes. An innovative feature of such training and what made it such a pioneer programme in the property management industry was the multi-stream dissemination of information and ideas. Utilising both top-down and bottom-up approaches has allowed the company to promote safety among all sta ng levels.

The HKMA Awards
Participating in the awards is a great opportunity for companies to share their experiences of outstanding training programmes. Companies can promote quality training and management ideas in the wider business community. The selected nalists also de nitely gain public recognition and enhance their brand image. Moreover, learning from others’ successful experiences helps keep pushing standards up. As a result, HR professionals can move forward by comparing and competing with other practitioners.


HR Magazine

Award For Excellence In Training 2009 SUPPLEMENT

Award For Excellence In Training 2009 SUPPLEMENT

Hong Yip Service Company Limited
a wholly owned subsidiary of Sun Hung Kai Properties Limited, is one of the leading property & facilities management companies in Hong Kong. With over 40 years of experience in the areas of property and facility management, the company currently employs over 6,000 people and manages a portfolio of over 1,500 individual building blocks. This figure represents 150,000 units covering a total of more than 120 million square feet ranging from private estates, luxurious houses, commercial and industrial buildings, car parks, shopping arcades and other facilities.

(以心建家), Hong Yip has introduced eco-friendly concepts into all aspects of its operations. The success depends very much on a change in mindset of all our people to create a green environment for our customers. The going green idea started from a small ambition to contribute to a green Hong Kong and has developed into a sophisticated training programme - ‘Seed for a Green Revolution Programme’ with the objective to greening the small communities that are under Hong Yip’s management. This comprehensive programme has adopted best practices in learning and development and has been specifically linked to business and performance needs. Combining green projects with business goals, Hong Yip has also developed strategies to turn traditional horticultural management practices into competitive business strategies. Traditionally, gardeners in the organisation undertook the entire horticulture works on projects. This new directive empowered the entire operations staff, apart from gardeners, including security officers, technicians and managers to be ‘green ambassadors’ to their customers. Once the training needs were established, the Management Team rendered its full support by setting up a horticulture school to address these specific business needs. The school established the following programme objectives in 2006 that were to be achieved by the end of 2008: 1. Inspire the passion of all operations staff to build a green and pleasant community for residents 2. Build a ‘green team’ consisting of all gardeners, security officers, technicians and managers to provide / support horticultural care in pruning, fertilising, pest control and propagation 3. Enable all frontline staff to be field horticulture coaches to gardeners 4. Equip all operations managers with knowledge and skills in horticulture design and management

Hong Yip Service Company Ltd.,

Expanding the Role of Training

Hong Yip’s human resource activities do not restrict to planning, selection, recruitment, training, motivating, rewarding and retaining staff. They are always keeping close eye on current trends such as performance and reward management; as well as strategies for staff empowerment, leadership development and succession planning. More importantly, the company places significant emphasis on staff training and development, which they consider essential in enhancing their competitiveness.

Learning From Each Other

The company has also run a successful Mentorship Programme, where it appoints experienced and outstanding staff as mentors. They observe their colleagues performance, outline areas for improvement and tailor instructions and tuition according to individual needs. This is all completed with the aim of helping new team members achieve exceptional customer service standards for which Hong Yip is renowned.

A Culture of Learning

Training in a Downturn

In 2007, the company established the Hong Yip People Development Academy to encourage proactive and continuous learning. As the property management industry is service-oriented, Hong Yip strives for customer service excellence and prepares and empowers its employees to meet their business goals. To build and sustain their ‘learning for growth’ culture, they have a strong team of dedicated learning and development professionals. With the launch of a wide-range of training initiatives, both team and individual performance have been significantly improved through training, drilling, exercise and review.

During the economic contraction, it was felt vital to continue with staff training and development, and in no way to lessen what had been done during the booming economy. The organisation has continued to run talent development programmes to encourage both personal and professional development of all employees and maintain their talent pool to fulfill business growth in the long run.

HKMA Awards

Going Green

In supporting the Government’s ‘Green Hong Kong’ campaign and embodying SHKP’s value of ‘Building Homes with Hearts’

Hong Yip has been greatly motivated by the remarkable achievement under the keen competition amongst quality entrants of diversified nature and services—this can only further raise the standard of training programmes and the importance of training in Hong Kong.


HR Magazine

Development with People at Heart

Employing over 6,000 people, Hong Yip Service Co. Ltd. believes that its employees are the key to its success. Recognising their importance and the vital role they play allows the company to continually exceed client expectations.

Creating a working environment where employees can…
· · · · · · Fully exercise their talents and develop Express and share their thoughts, concerns and opinions Be treated fairly with dignity and respect Accountability Continuous improvement Collaboration · · Integrity Teamwork

Upholding core values…

香港灣仔港灣道30號新鴻基中心26樓2605-2623室 Room 2605-23, 26/F Sun Hung Kai Centre, 30 Harbour Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong

Tel: (852) 2828 0888 Website:

Fax: (852) 2827 6300 Email:

Award For Excellence In Training 2009 SUPPLEMENT

finalist InterContinental Grand
Stanford Hong Kong
down much more regularly to listen to sta concerns. Through opening this dialogue, and identifying common problems, the way is paved for next step, which involves hiring quality people to help resolve such issues and further build up the team. Pollmeier, points out that he is ‘totally open’ when it comes to two-way idea exchange with sta . Quality Hires In terms of the hotel’s ethos towards hiring and subsequent training and development a lot of emphasis is placed on hiring people with the right attitude—and favouring people who are service minded. Key attributes that are screened for when recruiting new sta include: passion for the industry, positive attitudes, caring service mindsets and team player mentality. The original induction programme has also been signi cantly bolstered with a new on boarding programme for all newcomers. This year-long programme combines service culture training, regular dialogue with departmental and senior managers, coaching and a buddy system to assist the new colleagues. Talent Development Sta are trained up with a range of skills so that they have the con dence to deal with the wide variety of guests. With over 75% of guests coming from English speaking countries, communication in English is paramount. Cross-cultural and language programmes have been rolled out to enhance sta skill sets and boost professionalism. A key component has also been the inclusion of cross-departmental training to help broaden sta views of additional operations not usually under their remit. Trainers’ Club The hotel has championed the set up of a Trainers’ Club, which meets monthly to share best practices among department heads. Moreover, the hotel has also launched the Training Department of the Year Competition. This programme serves to recognise excellence in training throughout the hotel, gets everyone involved and encourages a healthy internal competition to be the best. Recognition Training itself serves as a means of improving sta recognition and enhancing retention. This is especially true when dealing with Gen-Y sta , who tend to favour employers who value selfdevelopment and career progression opportunities, rather than just monetary rewards. Sta are also given appropriate recognition for their achievements through job promotion, employee awards and praise for those who receive guest compliments. In celebrating successes and continually developing sta members’ career prospects they become much more engaged and feel proud of working with the hotel. This team e ort, support from management and transparent communication within the organisation combine to ensure every employee takes ownership of the business, running it as they would their own business. In this regard, everyone in the hotel has become a winner. Key Advice to HR It is important for all T&D project rollouts to get buy-in and support from every level in the organisation, not just the senior management. This is best achieved through transparent communications processes and making sure everyone understands the rationale behind any new directives.

Peter Pollmeier General Manager Intercontinental Grand Stanford Hong Kong

The InterContinental Grand

Stanford Hong Kong, established in 1981, comprises 578 guest rooms, six food and beverage outlets, and a variety of conference, meeting and recreational facilities. From inception, the hotel has developed a number of notable sta training programmes including housekeeping training and service training for engineers. Environmental awareness training has been rolled out to every sta member in the hotel as part of an ISO14001 certi ed in-house environmental management system. An environmental quality auditor team has been established to safeguard the standards in place. The hotel’s e orts in this regard were recently recognised with a certi cate of merit in the hotel sector being awarded at the Hong Kong Awards for Environmental Excellence. Dealing with New Challenges Challenges arose in the past due to high sta turnover, heavy workloads and a lack of suitable training and guidance. Consequently, sta often felt disengaged and ultimately left the company. When Peter Pollmeier came on board as General Manager of the hotel in 2005 several key steps were taken to help change the previous mindset and turn this trend around. Linking Quality, Training & HR One of the key T&D strategies employed by the hotel has been to link quality, training and Human Resources together to facilitate their ‘Driving Towards Excellence’ philosophy. This strategy has proven extremely e ective as it has allowed the improvement process to be driven through di erent channels at all levels in the organisation, and involved all sta levels from General Manager right through to Frontline sta . Open Dialogue In order to help stabilise the workforce, management have sat


HR Magazine

Award For Excellence In Training 2009 SUPPLEMENT

MTR Corporation
Award For Excellence In Training 2009 SUPPLEMENT
“You Have a Say” in MTR (掌握臻善在手中)
Employing around 13,000 sta , the MTR Corporation develops and manages a world class railway together with property and community developments in Hong Kong. To pursue excellence in quality and training, Management Training & Development Department (MT&DD) was certi cated to the ISO 9001:2000 in training management and won a number of local and overseas recognitions.

4. Keep You Saying Despite the structured approach of the training intervention, several challenges were encountered. Therefore, a fourth strategic focus was implemented, ‘Keep you Saying’ aimed at sustaining the WIT momentum by engaging staff in on-going initiatives with a 3-stage (see-understand-use) marketing.
· See WIT—exposed WIT everywhere to be seen by sta , e.g. WIT Road Show & Booth in depots & sta canteens, revamp of the WIT website & newsletter · Understand WIT—equipped sta with knowledge on WIT Tools and Techniques, e.g. delivery of short-learning sessions “Learning WIT at Lunch” for sta · Use WIT—facilitated sta to apply WIT tools to their workplaces, e.g. organising the WIT Annual Presentation Ceremony to present awards to outstanding WIT projects

You Have a Say – Cultural Transformation

To align the work processes and continuous work improvement culture after the Rail Merger of MTR & KCR in 2007, MTR revamped the existing Work Improvement Team (WIT) Training Scheme and developed the ‘You Have a Say’ Training Scheme. The scheme was designed to let sta have their say in taking ownership in improving their daily work processes, captured in the slogan, ‘You Have a Say in What You Do Everyday!’ The spirit aligned with the new MTR Value “Enterprising Spirit”.

Implementation & Strategic Framework

The vision of WIT is to empower sta to improve the work processes and create value to the corporation, nurturing a continuous learning and innovation culture. WIT operates in MTR in three stages. Firstly, team formation—sta form teams with 8-10 members voluntarily with team leaders. Secondly, project initiation—teams initiate and implement work improvement projects. Thirdly, annual presentation and awards—selected projects are presented. Awards will be given to outstanding projects and teams as incentive and reward. To align work improvement culture and practices, the MT&DD acted as an overall architect to develop, in close collaboration with line departments, the ‘You Have a Say’ Strategic Framework following the merger. Four strategic focus areas were set up namely, Empowering, Partnering, Coaching and Sustaining.
(Left) Mr Chester Tsang heads MTR’s Management Training & Development Department which drives di erent cultural change programmes. (Right) Mr King Lee, Training O cer, assists in formulating T&D strategy in fostering a continuous improvement & learning culture.

WIT Balanced Scorecard

1. Empower You to Say

To demonstrate top management alignment, the CEO and Directors demonstrated top management support by leading the ‘Thundering Applause Kick-o ’. Human Resources Director and Operations Director steered the WIT Scheme by acting as the WIT Council Chairman and Vice Chairman respectively.

2. Partner with You to Say
Quentin Leung, Group Depot Manager & Engineering WIT Steering Committee Chairman, explains how the “You Have a Say” Scheme has brought numerous cost saving bene ts throughout the organisation.

To ensure close collaboration with line departments and engage sta in carrying out WIT projects, several initiatives were launched. A ‘Signing Pledge Ceremony’ was held in the Divisional Management Forum. An innovative ‘Road Show Campaign’ was launched to recruit new WIT members. Finally, divisional steering committees were reformed with wider representation of pre-merger MTR and KCR members.

WIT Balanced Scorecard was adopted to ensure balanced assessment across customers, nancial, internal competency and learning perspectives. ‘You Have a Say’ programmes were delivered to over 900 participants with strong impact on individuals, teams and the organisation as a whole. On an individual level, 95% of participants were satis ed with the programme. On a team level, departmental collaboration increased as shown by the almost 30% increase in cross-functional projects. On an Organisational level, WIT projects contributed to cost saving, cost avoidance and revenue generation. In 2008, the total project realised savings was HK$6.8 Million, through enhancing equipment reliability, improving customer service, streamlining work processes and raising safety standards.

Sunflower VMV icon

3. Coach You to Say

The Three-Belt Training Approach was a major initiative launched to align the mindset, skills and knowledge of sta in work improvement and enhance the training capability of line departments and the corporation as a whole. The approach provided training input in three main streams. · Yellow-Belt Practitioners (WIT Induction)—aimed at raising awareness and interest together with equipping sta with aligned basic WIT tools. · Green-Belt Practitioners (Advanced WIT Tools)—aimed at equipping sta with advanced WIT Tools and applying MTR customised problem-solving models. · Black-Belt Practitioners (Train-the-Trainer)—aimed at providing guidance and support to selected WIT line trainers, and developing their mindset and skills

Sta had a say and lived out the MTR Values of Enterprising Spirit. Appreciation Card was introduced to facilitate managers and supervisors to recognize the commendable behaviour of sta in living out the MTR Values. The Sun ower on the Appreciation Card was the icon voted by the sta to represent the MTR Values. MTR sta really have a say.


HR Magazine

Award For Excellence In Training 2009 SUPPLEMENT

line costs/pro ts and sta satisfaction. Good performers are recognised with bonuses and fast-track career paths—high performing sta can achieve as many as three promotions within two years. Research Thorough research into the needs of the training is essential, and Synergis recently spent months in conducting surveys, interviewing customers and sta , and analysing customer feedback from the previous year to determine major causes of customer dissatisfaction in Macau. Through such research they have been able to identify two priority improvement areas for this training programme: the physical set up of their service environment and the servicing and interaction skills of frontline sta . Other improvements are dealt with separately in di erent training programmes and organisation development initiatives. Engaging Training Methods To be e ective training must be relevant and directly applicable to the job; hence the company develops tailored and engaging sta training programmes. In the Macau case study, to improve the physical service environment, instead of simply lecturing the sta , they were sent on benchmarking visits to hotels, casinos and other property management projects. Afterwards, they were encouraged to make changes to improve their physical working environment based on better ideas they had seen adopted elsewhere. This process not only led to improvements to the service environment but also fostered a more trusting relationship between sta and management. To improve customer service/interaction skills the company has used some novel approaches. While most of the sta are old immigrants from China many years ago, a popular Mainland movie (耳朵大有福) was used for discussion about the impact of poor services and reasons for change. Role plays enabled sta to hone behavioural skills and create a more positive visual impact for customers. Finally, to help transition these skills into the workplace, a two-months on-the-job coaching programme was also developed with supervisors encouraging sta to put learning at work and giving immediate feedback to sta on site. Senior Management Support Senior management avoided just showing their face at the start of workshops, but instead also presented their vision of the company in the workshop, participated in role plays, engaged in onsite coaching and conducted regular site visits. Demonstrating ROI The results of training must be measurable and have a positive impact to business performance and accordingly, customer satisfaction surveys were conducted before and after training. Customer satisfaction improved by 30% and customer complaints dropped by 53% following training. After setting the service benchmarks for the property management services in Macau, enquiries and commitments were received for joint partnership opportunities from developers. Advice to HR Chow advises HR practitioners to, ‘Share with the best and learn from the best’. The HKMA Awards is one of the best forums to collect intelligence on what others have done in the past year. This intelligence tells HR how to motivate sta to learn and perform, and with modi cations, most practices are applicable to all industries.

Steve Chow Group HR Director of Hsin Chong Construction Group and Synergis Management Services

, a subsidiary of the Hsin Chong Group, employs nearly 6,000 sta to manage properties and facilities throughout Hong Kong and mainland China. In 2002, the organisation won the Silver Award in the HKMA training award competition with a project that helped sta leaving the Hong Kong Housing Authority. Training Strategy Steve Chow, the Group HR Director of Hsin Chong Construction Group and Synergis Management Services points out, ”People are the most important capital asset for the company”. He adds, “Everyone of our sta is an ambassador for the company—in this capacity, sta commitment to work represents the culture of the company and has a direct impact on the image of the company and its business success”. With this in mind, ‘We encourage our sta to work with knowledge, passion, teamwork and company pride. We adopt several strategies to help safeguard our human capital.” Open Communication The senior management are committed to interacting with all newcomers at every induction session—the vision is explained and success stories shared. In addition to annual dinners, a ‘Vision Day’ is also held every year where all 400 management sta meet with senior managers to explore key missions and initiatives for the coming year, as well as to share the achievements of the previous year. Competence-based Learning & Development Programme An intensive survey/interview process with sta and their direct supervisors helps identify key sta competencies—based on this both technical and management skills training are rolled out. Programmes include coaching and delegation, setting performance targets, customer interaction skills and many others. The competencies identi ed are also used to develop structured interview templates in the recruitment process; for assessment in performance reviews and criteria for succession planning for high yers. Scholarships are made available for sta who would like to pursue professional quali cations. Succession Planning Business performance is measured via a balance scorecard system and pre-de ned performance indicators in the areas of: customer satisfaction, work process e ectiveness, bottom

Synergis Management Services Ltd


HR Magazine

Award For Excellence In Training 2009 SUPPLEMENT

finalist Zurich Insurance Group (Hong Kong)
Award For Excellence In Training 2009 SUPPLEMENT
The programme is interactive with group discussion and skill practising exercises Steve Pang, Senior Manager Distribution Development of Zurich Academy

Insurance Group (Hong Kong) (“Zurich”) is part of the Zurich Financial Services Group, the world’s largest Swiss insurance-based nancial services provider with a history of over 135 years and around 60,000 sta worldwide. Formed in 1961, Zurich provides individual and corporate customers with comprehensive insurance solutions in Hong Kong. Zurich Academy Insurance is a “people-oriented” industry and talent management is one of Zurich’s key initiatives. The Zurich Academy was established in 2006 to build synergy and to further enhance the professionalism of the company’s agency force. It acts as a centralised platform for recruiting and training of nancial advisors, thus ensuring the talents’ quality. Zurich Academy aims at assisting new candidates in getting used to the operational process involved in being a nancial advisor, as well as helping them understand Zurich’s “customer centricity” corporate value. A team capable of presenting the professional corporate image as well as enhancing the standards of professionalism in the local insurance industry is developed through systematic recruitment and training programmes. Training Philosophy Zurich’s philosophy is to get‘the right person doing the right thing’ and to ‘retain true talents’, thus quality is emphasized rather than quantity, and no speci c targets or limits are set on recruitment numbers. The company is looking for nancial advisors who are determined to develop their career in the eld and build longterm relationships with customers. Newly recruited advisors are provided with a two-month comprehensive training including product knowledge and selling and communications techniques. On-going training is also provided to them to ensure the whole agency workforce reaches professional standards. Interactive Coaching Programme The coaching programme, ‘Zurich Academy - Catch the Coaching Habit’, is an important component facilitated at the Zurich Academy. It is tailored towards Zurich’s mentors who are indeed experienced advisors, and aims to teach and enhance their mentoring skills so as to facilitate their coaching work towards newly joined advisors.


Steve Pang, Senior Manager, Distribution Development of Zurich Academy, Zurich Insurance Group (Hong Kong), says, “Supports from mentors is essential in retaining and developing the new recruits. One-to-one coaching can e ectively help identify the challenges facing individual new advisors and help them tackle the problems while improving their relevant skills. The e ect is almost immediate.” Launched in 2008, over 140 mentors have now completed the programme which has proven to be a great success. The retention rate of the new advisors increased 19% as a result. The programme also helps enhance team spirit among the Zurich agency force and reinforces its coaching culture. The close relationship between mentors and new advisors is also very important in team development and thus the business growth as a whole. The programme is interactive and practical which is the key to its success. In a two-day workshop, the participating mentors are divided into small groups and spend over half of the time on skill practicing exercises, rather than sitting in some teaching lectures. Real cases are discussed among mentors for their better understanding about the problems new advisors are now encountering. There is a Skill Con rmation Session followed the workshop, in which mentors conduct a coaching session in front of the programme trainer. It is to ensure they well apply the mentoring skills they have learnt to their new advisors. HKMA Awards Steve extols the virtues of the award as ‘an arena for professionals to exchange ideas and share experience’. “It is a valuable learning experience for us to review Zurich’s present training received by the advisors. We also learn about the benchmarks of what quality training should be. It de nitely helps improve Zurich’s forthcoming training programmes. Steve goes on to say, ‘The annual award by HKMA is well received by companies from variety industries, arousing them the importance of training for business growth. I am glad to see the professional development and the continuing raising standard of training in Hong Kong.’


HR Magazine

Strengths – Our source of confidence

Zurich recorded profits for 25 consecutive quarters1
Only solid financial strength and outstanding professionalism takes you to higher level of confidence.
With our strong financial strength, Zurich consecutively recorded profits for 25 quarters1. We achieved business operating profit of over HK$40 billion in 20082 and was rated AA- by Standard and Poor’s3. The extraordinary business performance sustained relies on our highly professional team of insurance advisors. Zurich is devoted to enhancing and perfecting the training platform through the well established Zurich Academy. We not only provide 2-month training programme tailored for new advisors, but also support experienced business managers with mentor training programme “Zurich Academy – Catch the Coaching Habit”. Through these comprehensive supports, we continue to pave the way for our advisors in obtaining professional qualifications and reaching their career success.

Zurich Insurance Group (Hong Kong) is part of the world's largest Swiss insurance-based financial services provider 4 Zurich Financial Services Group, a group backed by over 135 years of experience. We have a global network of subsidiaries and offices in North America, Europe and Middle East as well as in Asia Pacific, Latin America and other markets.
Zurich's results for the three months to March 31, 2009 Zurich Annual Report 2008 As of 31st March, 2009 4 Measured by a composite ranking for sales, profits, assets and market value, source: The Forbes Global 2000, April 2009
1 2 3

feature OKIA
Award For Excellence In Training 2009 SUPPLEMENT
HR Magazine recently had the opportunity to speak with Arthur Cheung Chief Operation O cer of OKIA to get his views on the HKMA awards and his company’s approach to training and development.
HR: Could you tell us a little bit about your companies history?
AC: OKIA is an integrated eyewear service provider established in 1999. We mainly focus on the design and engineering of eyewear products such as eyeglasses, sunglasses and optical frames. The Company currently employs around 300 sta in Hong Kong and the PRC.

HR: What is OKIA’s approach to training and development?
AC: We treasure training. We are perceived as manufacturing products but in reality we see ourselves as a talent manufacturing factory. We train our sta to be high calibre talents because we don’t have any factories. Talent is the most important part of OKIA.

HR: How would you describe your corporate philosophy?
AC: The word “OKIAN” means family in Cantonese and reects the approach to our sta as we treat every “OKIAN” as a family member. Talent Factory is the philosophy which drives the business as well as our commitment to our employees. We wish to treat all of our sta as a family members. In addition we provide programs for our sta ’s family. For example provide sponsorship for OKIAN children to participate the interest class and buying textbook.

Arthur Cheung Chief Operation O cer OKIA Optical Company Limited

HR: What speci c training programs have you implemented?
AC: Management realised training is a long term investment, so “OKIAN Talent Factory” was created in 2007. We have recently worked with the Hong Kong Productivity Council in running the SmarTalent Development Program for our sta . In order to develop the holistic development of OKIAN, we also launch OKIA Eyewear Institute, which includes the e-learning orientation, technical training, experimental training, one to one wellness coaching and mind coaching to all sta . As our business has expanded so rapidly we also run ongoing Change Management Workshops for employees.

HR: Have you noticed a quanti able change since you launched your new training approach in 2007?
AC: Yes, since 2007 our sta retention rates have improved and more OKIAN said they were more satis ed with their job. In each year since we have implemented the increased training we have also achieved or surpassed our companies sales targets even in the economic downturn.

HR: What are some of the major challenges your company has faced with regard to talent management?
AC: In the eyewear industry, the trend will be from mass production to high end products. There is an increasing emphasis on fashion in the design. This requires a very specialized set of skills which take a long time to develop thus sta retention is vital. The expectation of the sta has already changed such as generation Y expects more involvement from the company in their continuous development and social responsibility. Thus we have provided extensive networking programs for our sta such as mentoring, volunteering, even cooking classes.

HR: What Advice would you give other SMEs in implementing their training and development programmes?
AC: Communication is vital. We try and get each di erent department on board to make our sta more con dent towards this project; we regularly publicize the project plan. We reassured them that we will do it step by step so that the e ects would be as small as possible at each time. Recently we held a communication training event with both our PRC and Hong Kong Sta in order that they could build on e ective communication and understanding of towards one another.


HR Magazine

winners Individual
Distinguished Trainer Award Winners Mr Joseph Chan Assistant Manager Operation and Process Management Training HSBC “I am very honoured to be nominated and to receive the Distinguished Trainer Award. This prestigious award is very meaningful, because it is an endorsement and professional recognition of my career in people development. The judges and the sta organising this event have been very professional. The judging process not only provided me an opportunity to re ect on my knowledge and experience over the past years, but also an opportunity to enhance my con dence in meeting future challenges. I would like to pay tribute to my colleagues. They have played a large part in helping me achieve this award. I could not have achieved this award without the dedication and support of my team – HSBC.” Ms Elsa Lam Senior Manager Fortis Insurance Company (Asia) Limited “Participating in the competition has been a valuable and rewarding experience, which gave me the opportunity to re ect my past performance and enhance my con dence in meeting future challenges. Thanks to HKMA and all judges for their contributions to the competition. Winning the Distinguished Trainer Award is a milestone achievement in my training career. Meanwhile, I would like to express heartfelt gratitude to my employer for the nomination, and to my colleagues for their continuing support. I would like to share with them the joy of winning.” Mr Thomas Robillard Advisor, APAC Sales Learning & Development FedEx Express “Winning the Distinguished Trainer Award is a recognition of all the e ort I have put throughout 2008 in designing and delivering training activities and managing projects beyond the classroom to ensure an outstanding learning experience. This process helped me re ect on my activities and challenged me to use the skills learned on the job.” Mr Wilkins Wong Senior Training O cer (Acting) Civil Service Training and Development Institute Civil Service Bureau “It is my privilege and pleasure to receive the Distinguished Trainer Award. The experience has been very positive, challenging and rewarding. It provided a golden opportunity to broaden my horizons and to build learning resources. The vigorous judging process has not only enhanced my skills and knowledge, but also facilitated my personal development. I enjoyed the interaction with the panel of adjudicators as well. I would like to thank my supervisors and colleagues for their support and encouragement.” Outstanding New Trainer Award Winners Ms Fanny Chan Manager Wealth Management Training HSBC “It is my honour to receive the Outstanding New Trainer Award. This competition has really given me a valuable and rewarding experience. I would like to take this opportunity to thank my company, managers and peers for their inspirations and on-going support. I will continue to strive for the best in every aspect in Learning and Development.” Ms E e Cheng Training Consultant Training, Learning & Development McDonald’s Restaurant (Hong Kong) Limited “Being awarded the Outstanding New Trainer Award is an important episode in my career. The judging process has given me a lot of unforgettable and valuable experiences. I would like to express my gratitude to Mr Victor Kwan, Dean of Hamburger University and Mr Simon So, Training Manager for their coaching and rapport.” Mr Andy Lau Manager Sales & Relationship Management Training HSBC “Faith is taking the rst step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” “This award is a milestone in my training career. Participating in this highly competitive event has helped me enhance my own skills and professionalism. I am truly honoured to have received the “Outstanding New Trainer Award” – a most memorable experience for me and a step on the pathway of my future synergy.” Mr Nelson Wong People Development Specialist The Hong Kong Jockey Club “It is a great honour to be recognized as an Outstanding New Trainer. The participation in the Award has provided a priceless opportunity to learn from other top players in the industry. I see the competition as a means to broaden my understanding and to re ne my training skills. I would like to take this opportunity to extend my gratitude to my managers and team members at HKJC for all their support and encouragement.” Mr Will Wong Manager Wealth Management Training HSBC “It is my honour to join such a meaningful event. The award is no doubt a great recognition of my enthusiasm towards training industry. Moreover, it is an excellent platform to review and improve myself as I strongly believe ‘There is always something to CHANGE’.”

Award For Excellence In Training 2009 SUPPLEMENT
Autumn 2009


Award For Excellence In Training 2009 SUPPLEMENT

winners Past
Campaign Awards:
Gold Prize: CLP Power Hong Kong Limited Silver Prize: Maxim’s Caterers Ltd and Hospital Authority Bronze Prize: The Hong Kong Jockey Club Certi cates of Excellence: Canossa Hospital (Caritas) Hong Kong CSL Limited InterContinental Hong Kong

Gold Prize: Hong Kong Housing Authority Silver Prize: Hsin Chong Real Estate Management Ltd Bronze Prize: Allen & Overy (HK) Limited Certi cates of Merit: American International Assurance Company (Bermuda) Ltd Hong Yip Service Company Ltd Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts

Overall Winner: Giordano Ltd Strategic HRD Category: Giordano Ltd Skills Training and Development Category: Mass Transit Railway Corporation

Overall Winner: Hospital Authority Strategic HRD Category: Hospital Authority Skills Training and Development Category: Mass Transit Railway Corporation

Gold Prize: Tao Heung Group Limited Silver Prize: Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation Bronze Prize: The Hong Kong Jockey Club Certi cates of Excellence: Kowloon Shangri-La Hotel Li & Fung (Trading) Limited PCCW Limited

Gold Prize: Hang Seng Bank Ltd Silver Prize: Hongkong Post Bronze Prize: Watson's The Chemist Certi cates of Merit: Giordano International Limited Hang Yick Properties Management Limited Hong Yip Service Company Ltd

Overall Winner: Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation Strategic Management/Strategic HRD/TQM Training Category: Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation Management/Supervisory Training Category: Cathay Paci c Catering Services (HK) Limited Professional/Technical Training Category: Securair Limited

Gold Prize: Langham Place Hotel Silver Prize: Gammon Construction Limited Bronze Prize: Hang Seng Bank Certi cates of Excellence: Hang Seng Bank Jones Lang LaSalle - Management Solutions Shun Hing Electric Service Centre Ltd

Gold Prize: Standard Chartered Bank Silver Prize: Hong Kong Housing Authority Bronze Prize: The Hong Kong Jockey Club Certi cates of Merit: Heraeus Ltd Hospital Authority MTR Corporation

Overall Winner: The Asian Sources Media Group Strategic Management/Strategic HRD/ Customer Service/TQM Training Category: The Sino Group Management/Supervisory Training Category: The Asian Sources Media Group Professional/Technical Training/Others Category: Hong Kong Aircraft Engineering Company Limited

Gold Prize: Langham Place Hotel Silver Prize: CLP Power Hong Kong Ltd Bronze Prize: The Hong Kong and China Gas Company Ltd Certi cates of Merit: The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Ltd PCCW Limited Standard Chartered Bank (Hong Kong) Ltd Special Award for SMEs: KC Maritime Ltd

Gold Prize: Hang Seng Bank Ltd Silver Prize: CLP Power Hong Kong Ltd Bronze Prize: Hang Seng Bank Ltd Certi cates of Merit: Goodwell Property Management Ltd The Jockey Club Kau Sai Chau Public Golf Course Ltd Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation

Service Category: Mass Transit Railway Corporation Commercial and Industrial Category: Shell Hong Kong Limited

Gold Prize: Sheraton Hong Kong Hotel & Towers Silver Prize: Tse Sui Luen Jewellery Co Ltd Bronze Prize: DHL International (HK) Ltd Certi cates of Merit: The Hong Kong Jockey Club Hong Kong Police Shell Hong Kong Ltd

Service Category: Arthur Andersen & Company Manufacturing Category: Computer Products Asia-Paci c Limited Construction Category: Franki Kier Limited Wholesale/Retail/Import/Export Category: Jardine Paci c Ltd – Pizza Hut Division Utilities and Public Sector Category: Mass Transit Railway Corporation

Gold Prize: The Hong Kong Jockey Club Silver Prize: The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Ltd Bronze Prize: AXA China Insurance Co Ltd Certi cates of Merit: ACNielson (China) Ltd Hong Kong Housing Authority MTR Corporation Ltd

Strategic HRD Category Silver Prize: Regal Hotels International Bronze Prize: DHL International (HK) Ltd Skills Training and Development Category Gold Prize: Hang Seng Bank Ltd Silver Prize: Marks and Spencer (HK) Ltd Bronze Prize: Regal Hotels International

Multi-National Corporations Category: China Light & Power Company Limited

Gold Prize: Cathay Paci c Airways Ltd Silver Prize: Circle K Convenience Stores (HK) Ltd Bronze Prize: The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Ltd Certi cates of Merit: Canossa Hospital (Caritas) Kai Shing Management Services Ltd Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd

* The above list shows the names of the awardreceiving companies during the year of the Award indicated.


HR Magazine

winners Past
Individual Awards:
Trainer of the Year: Mr Kelvin Ju, AIG Companies Distinguished Trainer Awardees: Mr Kelvin Ju, AIG Companies Ms Amy Kwong, CLP Power Hong Kong Limited Ms May Li, Civil Service Training & Development, Institute, Civil Service Bureau Mr Frankie Lo, Fortis Insurance Company (Asia) Limited Mr Vincent Tang, HSBC Ms Catherine Tong, The Hong Kong Jockey Club Mr Christopher Yang, HSBC Outstanding New Trainer Awardees: Mr Jonathan Bok, HSBC Ms Viola Chan, AIG Companies Mr Andy Clark, ClarkMorgan Corporate Training Ms Ivy Poon, The Great Eagle Properties Management Company Limited Mr Vincent Woo, PCCW Limited Ms Susane Yan, HSBC Mr Lester Yeung, PCCW Limited

Award For Excellence In Training 2009 SUPPLEMENT

Trainer of the Year: Ms Carroll Chu Island Shangri-La, Hong Kong Distinguished Trainer Awardees: Ms Carroll Chu, Island Shangri-La, Hong Kong Ms Selina Kam, HSBC Mr Kenny Mak, HSBC Ms Shirley Ng, Hong Kong Disneyland Resort Outstanding New Trainer Awardees: Mr Mark Chan, HSBC Mr Peter Cheung, Hong Kong Disneyland Resort Mr Desmond Ho, HSBC Mr Badhri Nath Rama Iyer, HSBC

2006 cont.
Outstanding New Trainer Awardees Ms Iris Chow, HSBC Ms Angela Tsui, CLP Power Hong Kong Ltd Ms Joyce Wai, HSBC

Trainer of the Year Mr Shekhar Visvanath, HSBC Distinguished Trainer Awardees Mr Gary Liu, The Dairy Farm Company Ltd Ms Theresa Sham, The Excelsior, Hong Kong Ms Marianne Chung, HSBC Mr Allen Kuo, HSBC Mr Shekhar Visvanath, HSBC Dr Chester Tsang, Hospital Authority / Institute of Health Care Outstanding New Trainer Awardees Ms Elsie Gung, HSBC Mr King Lee, Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation

Trainer of the Year Ms Michelle Yam Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts Distinguished Trainer Awardees Ms Sara Ho, The Hong Kong Jockey Club Ms Doris Ip, The Aberdeen Marina Club Ms Jessie Lau, HSBC Ms Carrie Wong, HSBC Ms Michelle Yam, Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts

* The above list shows the Award recipients and their companies during the year of the Award indicated.

Special Supplement 21 . HKMA Award for Excellence in Training 2009

Award For Excellence In Training 2009 SUPPLEMENT

The results of Award for Excellence in Training 2009 were as follows: Individual Awards:
Trainer of the Year: Ms Elsa Lam Senior Manager Fortis Insurance Company (Asia) Limited Distinguished Trainer Awardees:
(Listed according to the alphabetical order of surname)

Results 2009
Campaign Awards:
Gold Prize: “’You Have a Say’ Work Improvement Team Training Scheme – Cultivating a Sta Engagement Culture” MTR Corporation Limited Silver Prize: “Service Pioneer in Macau Property Management Industry” Synergis Management Services Limited Bronze Prize: “Zurich Academy – Catch the Coaching Habit” Zurich Life Insurance Co Ltd Certi cates of Excellence:
(Listed according to the alphabetical order of company name)

Mr Joseph Chan Assistant Manager, Operation and Process Management Training HSBC Ms Elsa Lam Senior Manager Fortis Insurance Company (Asia) Limited Mr Thomas Robillard Advisor, APAC Sales Learning & Development FedEx Express Mr Wilkins Wong Senior Training O cer (Acting) Civil Service Training and Development Institute, Civil Service Bureau Outstanding New Trainer Awardees:
(Listed according to the alphabetical order of company name)

Trainer of the Year: Ms Elsa Lam

Senior Manager Fortis Insurance Company (Asia) Limited

“Wild about Safety” Hang Yick Properties Management Ltd (A Member of Henderson Land Group) “Seeding for a Green Revolution” Hong Yip Service Company Ltd (A Member of Sun Hung Kai Properties) “Driving Towards Excellence” InterContinental Grand Stanford Hong Kong Recruit Most Innovative Award: “Seeding for a Green Revolution” Hong Yip Service Company Ltd (A Member of Sun Hung Kai Properties) Citation for Career Development: “Regional Graduate Development Programme” HSBC Citation for Continuous Professional Development: “Executive Financial Planning Training Programme (EFP)” Sun Life Hong Kong Ltd Citation for Sta Engagement: “’From Ears to Heart’ Empathetic Coaching Programme for Supervisors” MTR Corporation Ltd SKECHERS Best Presentation Award:
Bronze Prize: Zurich Life Insurance Co Ltd

Gold Prize: MTR Corporation Limited

Ms Fanny Chan Manager, Wealth Management Training HSBC Ms E e Cheng Training Consultant Training, Learning & Development McDonald’s Restaurants (Hong Kong) Limited Mr Andy Lau Manager, Sales & Relationship Management Training HSBC Mr Nelson Wong People Development Specialist The Hong Kong Jockey Club Mr Will Wong Manager, Wealth Management Training HSBC
Silver Prize: Synergis Management Services Ltd

Mr Jacob Kam MTR Corporation Limited

Certi cates of Excellence:
Hang Yick Properties Management Ltd
(A Member of Henderson Land Group)

Certi cates of Excellence:
Hong Yip Service Company Ltd
(A Member of Sun Hung Kai Properties)

Certi cates of Excellence:
InterContinental Grand Stanford Hong Kong


HR Magazine

HR Community
30 Minute HR Conference

New Economy
HR Magazine’s most recent 30-Minute HR event was held in July, with 150 senior HR delegates in attendance from some of the region’s biggest players. The event, held at Cliftons in Quarry Bay, provided practical advice on best practice, demonstrating talent management strategies and the benefits of payroll outsourcing.
HR Strategies of Hang Seng Bank
After a brief introduction on the impacts of the financial crisis Joseph Poon, Managing Director and Deputy Chief Executive, Hang Seng Bank, introduced the importance of HR as a strategy. Starting with the problem of having business plans that don’t include people, he emphasised that CEOs should focus on talent retention as a key issue and that, “HR is not just primarily responsible for HR, but rather the business strategies that the CEO leads.” Poon spoke of an exercise begun in 2006 by Hang Seng Bank to rejuvenate their brand but found it difficult to try and articulate its culture. They decided that middle managers would form a core group on deciding the service excellence framework, which became seven beliefs, all with one aim, to deliver service excellence. Poon stated that engaged and inspired employees “form the bedrock of an organisation” and this needed to be integrated into the brand, which would be rolled out and led by the CEO, “Live the brand, start with me.” He highlighted that this concept needs constant reinforcement.

HR Opportunities for the


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30 Minute HR Conference

Poon went on to discuss the bank’s Talent Management System, which when he first questioned its existence he received the reply “Yes… but we haven’t launched it.” They then worked to deliver the model, along the way making reward and leadership plans for mid-level and the young as well as provisions for succession planning and the development of a career website.

...young recruits could disappear within 21 days...
He revealed, “...young recruits could disappear within 21 days...”, and so required constant follow up. He added that it was inviting trouble to have talent remain in the same job for more than three years, stressing the importance of having the talent pool being proactive in managing their own career development. He listed the important factors for success, such as having the system as simple as possible and noted that it was “great to have strategic plans but that 80% of the success came from the leadership in implementation.” Poon discussed the importance of being passionate about what you do as well as understanding how to balance learning with development in business. “In Hong Kong, especially, we lack exposure to strategic thinking… and project management.” He stressed that, “The talents involved in career and succession planning grow, develop and are inspired with the strategic planning.” He added that the broader the exposure that talent can get, the better it is for both the person and the business. After working on this for four to five years, and being only halfway through, Poon reflected: is it worth it? His response was that “Within the talent pool the turnover rate is zero”, even with staff disengagement due to the financial crisis. He closed by stating that senior staff cannot delegate their responsibility to talent management, as it is just too important.

Developing HR & Payroll Strategies
The second speaker, Christopher von Mitschke-Collande, Regional Director, Patersons Asia Pte Ltd, introduced the concept of why payroll process outsourcing is of benefit to businesses. He started by stating that it is estimated that payroll-processing covers “20% of HR time, but it is not core business.” He added that the payroll market gives impressions that local payroll processing is too complex for a single solution that could fit with all countries. He cited reasons such as local tax and social insurance idiosyncrasies, software providers being unable to cover each country and outsourcers that choose who they want to work with. Von Mitschke-Collande then suggested that international payroll is a feasible option. He offered, as an example, that Patersons have a network with over 200 partners and provide payroll services in over 160 diverse countries. Their customer is typically a US Fortune 500 company with a multicountry base, in multi-locations with a disparate employee population. As they build their own technology, they don’t pay any license costs so they are in control of their pricing, which is on a pay as you use basis. He went on to discuss the many challenges facing an organisation through payroll, including:

▪ Being time consuming ▪ Complex legal rules ▪ A need to focus more on core business in the current economic crisis ▪ Sarbanes-Oxley and equivalent regulations Von Mitschke-Collande went on to say that Patersons have determined that organisations would like a single global payroll system that improves the efficiency of payroll processes, is consistent across regions and integrates with other technologies whilst being transparent in costs. He added that the reality is much different, generally on a country-by-country basis, which lacks cohesion and is not integrated across borders. This results in differing levels of satisfaction from country to country, and also because of a lack of standardisation, ”They have no idea how much they are spending on payroll.” He then went on to detail the multinational payroll solution that Paterson offer and provided examples of how it can be integrated into the core business values and KPIs, such as: ▪ Reducing costs ▪ Reducing risks ▪ Standardising processes to increase efficiency ▪ Integrating processes for global payment uniformity ▪ Collaborating with suppliers

Autumn 2009


HR Community
30 Minute HR Conference

Building an Engaged Workforce
The next speaker to take the stage was Irene Yau, Senior Human Resources Manager, Nokia, who shared her experiences in actively engaging a young, vibrant workforce. She started by showing a photo of smiling faces, which she then shared had actually been taken at 1.00 am after a recent product launch. She added that departments other than Sales and Marketing, including HR, were voluntarily involved in the event’ She shared that in the fast-changing high-tech industry, “Our edge doesn’t guarantee our success, so we need people with commitment to seal the difference.” Yau added that Nokia aims to provide the environment so people feel that they are engaged and that the ways in which they do this are by offering something that employee’s value, policies and procedures and by having managers with great leadership qualities. She stressed that, “great people management includes knowing your team, where they are going, being able to inspire and, most importantly, be human.”

Yau shared that a desirable culture doesn’t come naturally. This culture had to be promoted, and developed, whilst it was “equally important [in] developing the managers.” She continued that for people to be engaged they need to know the company’s vision. “We are serious about the high quality of our people. They want the job to be challenging, so the managers need to set targets and inspire the employee so that they have a lot to contribute.” On the topic of hiring, she added a lot of insight. “We need to find the right people for the right job. HR is playing a very important role in matching people to the right assignment. Brilliant people like to work with brilliant people. It is a sense of pride.” She added that is was particularly important that “Managers need to have a sense of fun.” She also shared her personal strategy to hire people with a sense of humour, have sparkle, are fun and provide chemistry for the team. She added that Nokia have different programmes for performance based rewards and engaged leaders in the design and then communication of these

programmes to employees so that they take ownership. Yau said that by doing this, managers ensure the programmes are understood by employees. She then offered a holistic approach to the importance of employee well-being saying that, “we have a challenging goal ahead, not a sprint, but a marathon” and that because Gen Y talents value work-life balance, we have a lot of programs and policies in place. She added that it was important for leaders to directly support such programmes, as role models and coaches. She said that, “90% of the progress is owned by HR, but HR is still doing a lot behind the scenes.” Which she highlighted by saying that, “The more you engage managers, the more the managers are willing to be engaged by you.” She concluded by saying that HR influences the selection of managers and that it takes courage, especially when it comes to senior management. She stressed that people do have blind spots in that some have good leadership qualities, but tend to ignore people issues and that HR is here to help in the demonstration of good leadership.


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30 Minute HR Conference

The HR Agenda Regardless of the Economy
The final keynote speaker of the day was Cliff Davis, Senior Vice President of HR, Manulife Financial, who shared stories from his early days, coming from a Sales and Marketing background, where he did not have a high regard for HR as “...the HR people just didn’t get it.” He said that when trying to run a business the functions needed were to support and add value. He quipped that, “HR has come along way since then.” He discussed talent shortage as a problem, and that it is only going to get worse by adding that, “We need to find ways to keep the talent pool running.” He offered that good talent always has choice and then shared his ‘top five’ strategies for talent retention. 1. Attract through an employer brand. He said that Manulife have taken the approach to try and control what the brand is, by refocusing on the brand. He said it is “important to be clear about who we are and who we aren’t” and then that has to be communicated. 2. Use a valid and reliable selection process to get the right people. He suggested to keep an open mind as competencies may change, but maybe they won’t and that putting together a system for interviews and training on how to hire for success was important. “We are not looking to just to fill empty jobs… we need to make sure that employees have the opportunities and chance to grow.” 3. Develop people from day one. He suggested using the information from psychometric testing and interviews to structure progress from day one so that the talent can be successful. He added that talent management is a long, hard road and “we have to relate to business leaders what is important to them”, by lining everything up with business strategies.

...the HR people just didn’t get it.

4. Continuously measure and follow up employee engagement and retention. Davis highlighted that “we all want happy employees without losing connection, ability and delivery”, and that we get a lot of information, so to focus on what is critical. He suggested a systematic way to look at standards, such as quarterly talent reviews. 5. Never burn your bridges. He recognises that people do leave the company, but he wants dinner table conversations to be positive and for Manulife to be recommended as an employer. “In the talent shortage to come we may want them to come back”, he added. Davis stressed that this is a great opportunity to shine and show management what HR can do, by being a true business partner and show that you can facilitate, support and take initiative to be relevant. He suggested going beyond keeping things running smoothly, by knowing the business strategies and what you can do to help.

He then went on to offer an answer to the question “Do we let people know that they are talent?” by saying “Yes, otherwise we will lose them.” He added that it could be a big mistake if the talents themselves didn’t know, but that to the rest of the organisation there are big risks as people change. He added that Manulife identify people who can go two levels higher over the next five years, as it is hard to replace key contributors and that the people they can visualise running the business are the ones they want to keep. He concluded by suggesting that not all HR leaders are right to push the agenda and get on board at Executive Committee meetings as, “If you haven’t run a business it is hard to understand.” He offered that by learning to think like a businessman and be forward thinking it was a real possibility. To be a part of our next 30-minute HR conference, and get the chance to pick the brains of senior HR practitioners for tips and advice simply call 27366339 or visit our website:

Autumn 2009


HR Community
Greater China Talent Management 2009

Greater China Talent Management Summit
“Human Resources are the most valuable resource for any economy especially a knowledge based economy such as Hong Kong.”
Professor K. C. Chan,
Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury After a welcome from Fanny Chan, CEO of and emcee Paul Arkwright, Publisher of, HR Magazine; proceedings for the Greater China Talent Management Summit 2009 kicked off with Professor K. C. Chan, Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury as the first speaker. He began with one underlying truth in all companies, “Good people attract good people.” Chan went on to speak about managing talent in the government, which is unique due to the many opportunities for career growth and comprehensive benefits. He added that, “Human Resources are the most valuable resource for any economy especially a knowledge based economy such as Hong Kong.” Chan explained that for Hong Kong to continue its strong economic growth it is important to invest in education to help contribute to this pool of talent. He added that investing in universities also provides a steady stream of new talent and that the Hong Kong Government is helping to develop talent by facilitating the transition between academia and industry, in addition to rolling out an internship programme in August. Chan emphasised that Hong Kong is also able to draw on top talent from overseas and that the Government is, “...opening the door to wider international talents—these people contribute to our multicultural society.” However, Chan advised that these advantages alone do not guarantee Hong Kong will keep retaining and attracting top talent and warned of the need to recognise the global competition for talent. On a positive and inspiring note Chan concluded, “We have to build up Hong Kong’s reputation.”

with a few home truths and stated, “First, you have to know what you need. It is important to identify your current staff’s strengths as well as potential shortfalls— know who you have and what you need.” Law then advised HR managers to improve retention levels, and shared several different methods to help achieve this including: ▪ allocating greater compensation towards top performers; ▪ providing career opportunities for top performers; ▪ aligning individual objectives with corporate objectives; ▪ ensuring employees are working hard on the right tasks; ▪ tracking progress against goals on an ongoing basis; and ▪ motivate employees through incentives. Law pointed out that everyone needs training and in difficult times HR must be mindful of the benefits vs the costs, avoiding the “peanut butter approach” where everyone in the organisation gets exactly the same training. Instead, Law

Yvonne Law,

National Chief Knowledge Officer & Tax Partner, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu The second keynote of the day was given by Yvonne Law, National Chief Knowledge Officer & Tax Partner of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu. Law began


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Greater China Talent Management 2009

advised HR to understand which of their high-potential employees are underpaid relative to the market and might be at risk of leaving; know which positions are crucial to the success of your business— and to target compensation budget towards these roles. In answer to the question of how HR can attract, develop and retain quality talent, Law pointed out that companies have to make themselves more desirable than their competitors. She

added that, although there is a place for training within organisations, HR stands a much greater chance in developing productive employees with learning. He added that at the end of the day the responsibility of development is on the individual. Companies shouldn’t just measure the success of T&D programmes on the basis of end-ofprogramme “happy sheets”, but rather that there should be some demonstrable change. O’Neill linked this philosophy

support the business model and to design HR practices that enable these desired organisational capabilities. Xin pointed out that talent development is the number one concern for CEOs, and that effort must be paid to leverage unique organisational capabilities to help retain and train such talent. Relationships with employees should be anchored explicitly on the corporate mission and culture – so that staff can identify with corporate values. She added that training

advised giving staff instant recognition, encouraged open communication and with regard to work life balance— encouraging staff to lead their own lives outside work. Law concluded that if HR builds a plan to manage talent in an economic downturn they can: retain talent, achieve required cost reductions and put their organisations in a strong position when the economy revives.

Alan Burnell O’Neill

Head of Executive Development, Jardine Mattheson Limited Alan Burnell O’Neill, Head of Executive Development, Jardine Mattheson Limited talked about two staff development programmes: the Jardine Executive Trainee Scheme (JETS) and the ‘K-Files’. The JETS programme selects a mere six recruits from nearly 1,300 applicants. These executives are selected early in their career and are groomed to take over leading roles within the group. O’Neill cautioned that HR managers need to realise the important difference between training and learning. He

back to the idea of ‘training vs learning’ where, learning is “the acquisition to reflect.” To conclude, he shared some humble take-home advice that HR managers should bear in mind: 1. every business context is different; 2. experiment and be creative; 3. leverage the use of your own business people; 4. create experiences that are memorable so that staff take something away; and 5. integrate everything—the more you integrate, the more accountability you create.

should be formalised and structured, with every new employee assigned a coach. Xin also stressed the importance of linking staff development with business results, and that there is no competitive advantage in being an average company. HR must employ drivers of differentiation in relation to talent attraction and performance management. However, pursuing a strategy implies making a choice and HR cannot make a difference without taking a risk.

Ka Shi Lau,

Managing Director and CEO, Bank Consortium Trust Company Limited Ka Shi Lau, Managing Director and CEO of the Bank Consortium Trust Company Limited gave an informative talk on the ins and outs of selecting MPF providers in an increasingly challenging work environment. Lau stressed the importance of providing quality pension benefits had on helping to keep high potential staff within the organisation. She advised HR managers to look at who was managing their pension funds and to look for

Professor Katherine R. Xin,

Academic Director, HKUST EMBA for Chinese Executives Programme The fourth keynote of the day was presented by Professor Katherine R. Xin, Academic Director, HKUST EMBA for Chinese Executives Programme who explained the importance of clarifying the business model in order to win in today’s market. She advised HR to specify organisational capabilities required to

Autumn 2009


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Greater China Talent Management 2009

providers who have experienced and well trained staff who are well versed in regulatory/legislative requirements. She added that HR managers should look for systems that are robust and scalable enough to drive administrative costs down and help reduce error in human processing. Lau also shed light on the industry’s recent development in terms of the impending ‘employee choice’ and how it would no longer be at the sole discretion of employers to decide which fund providers to use for investing staff MPF payments.

Bryan Lockyer

Regional Manager for Asia, MindKey Global During the VIP lunch session, Bryan Lockyer, Regional Manager for Asia, MindKey Global spoke about the use of

them to achieve, although they often fail to visualize how employees contribute toward those goals. Thirdly, aligning employee goals with business strategy to help ensure that staff efforts are focused on making business strategy successful. Fourthly, being proactive in workforce planning to anticipate and prepare for change and able to analyze, predict, and communicate future talent needs to the right people. Fifthly, measuring and improving employee productivity using customisable reporting tools to easily monitor and analyze important key performance indicators in realtime, intuitive graphics. Sixthly, utilising structured performance review workflows helps keep team members engaged, alert, and aware of performance levels. Finally, facilitating effective discussions to

management-training scheme. Fok explained Swire’s hybrid model being not completely, but almost, opaque. She explained that, due to the extensive training that HiPos get, even if they are not directly told they are HiPos—they do have an inkling that they are on that career path. Mok stated that HR must look at both the processes via which talents are nominated, selected and identified, and the extent to which the organisation openly communicates its talent management strategies. He said, “From zero transparency to complete transparency, organisations need to choose something in between.” He added that companies that have a culture of full transparency bring high levels of motivation for the talents selected.

HR technology to help leverage people development and performance. He explained how MindKey Global’s own HR technology, MindKey HCM has helped companies enhance and extend their people potential. Such technology has supported people development and performance management processes for PricewaterhouseCoopers’ 1,800 employees. Lockyer highlighted several key elements that companies should consider when managing talent. Firstly, matching talent to tasks, putting the right people with the right skills into the right job inspires confidence and improves employee productivity. Secondly, defining strategic objectives and aligning them with business strategy and making them transparent. Most organisations can define objectives that are important for

heighten understanding and commitment, and thereby improve end results. A clear concept is important in order to implement a performance management system successfully.

Panel Discussion
After lunch there was a panel discussion with Mr Francis Mok, Group Human Resources Director, Jebsen and Co., Ms Sandy Fok, General Manager, Staff Development, John Swire & Sons (HK) Limited and Ms Nita Law, Regional Head of HR, North East Asia, Standard Chartered Bank (HK) Limited. The panelists discussed the merits of integrating transparency in Human Capital Management and a key point raised included the dilemma of whether or not to tell people that they are HiPos within a

However, this may bring disengagement, disillusionment and demotivation for those who are not selected. Law favoured a more transparent approach, and said that this had been a very successful strategy, saying that the positives outweigh the risks of being transparent. Law went on to say, “I do believe that the trend is leading to be even more transparent.” The biggest pitfall is in the execution and the question comes back to everybody: the level of readiness and the ability and willingness of the organisation to properly execute is key.

Marieke van Raaij,

Group Leader of Towers Perrin – ISR, Greater China, Towers Perrin Marieke van Raaij, Group Leader of


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Greater China Talent Management 2009

Towers Perrin – ISR, Greater China, Towers Perrin spoke about the importance of maintaining employee engagement during uncertain economic times, and building leadership effectiveness by managing talent aggressively. She shared several methods that HR managers could use to reduce costs including instigating salary freezes and hiring freezes; reducing or eliminating bonuses, headcount and training budgets. According to the January 2009 Pulse Survey, companies responded to the financial crisis by making significant and non-strategic headcount reductions, Implementing pay and benefit reductions, cancelling training and repeatedly restructuring. This meant not only long term damage to companies’ image and brand, but also loss of critical

leadership criteria should be embedded in all HR systems.

Jean-Michel Wu,

Talent Director, Greater China, WPP Asia Pacific Wu spoke on graduate recruitment and employment, and that great graduate recruitment programme rely on great training programmes as well. Wu advised HR to think about how to brand their organisation, to be different and unique in what they do, and tell the truth to new recruits. He emphasised that this was particularly important for Gen Y, who have high expectations of themselves and their employer, enjoy ongoing learning with immediate feedback and are goal-oriented. Wu extolled the

findings of the Headline Jobs Quality Workplace Index Survey of 2009. The survey targeted three key areas amid the economic recession: job seeking rate, job satisfaction and work stress and highlighted that far fewer employees are actively seeking work, with the overall job seeking rate dropping over the last year from 25% to just 17%. Despite this decrease, during the same period the number of VPs and Directors currently looking for new jobs has dramatically increased from 19% to 27%, which may be a function of the higher stress levels and the current economic situation. Other key findings were that while salary still remains an important factor in terms of job satisfaction compared to last year, it dropped

talent. Van Raaij stressed the key qualities that potential leaders within the organisation should posses include the ability to: 1. Keep vision and strategies simple and compelling; 2. Confront and overcome resistance; 3. Provide data on workforce and employee engagement; 4. Create well defined career plans and development opportunities; 5. Build leadership capability. She then advised HR to go back to basics and leverage performance management, clarify performance expectations and train managers to coach and give feedback. She added, HR should measure and reward leaders on their ability to develop talent—as leaders play a key role in paving the way—

benefits of adopting mentor and dementor programmes to pair up senior management with Gen Y new recruits to talk about everyday issues – so they can each learn from each other. Wu highlighted one of the benefits of WPP’s programme stemming from rapid job rotation when new recruits are taken on. This ‘sampler’ method not only helps keep staff engaged, but also helps give them some idea about future career paths they might like to take within the organisation.

Dr. Chung Ting-yiu, Robert

Director of the Public Opinion Programme (POP), The University of Hong Kong The final speaker was Dr. Chung Tingyiu, Robert, Director of the POP at the University of Hong Kong, presenting

to third place, and the issue of job security became a more important factor, jumping to second place behind a safe working environment. In fact, the job satisfaction rate has gone up and stabilised, despite the economy. In the face of the poor economy 55% of managers and department heads said their jobs were very stressful, and 73% of directors and vice presidents said their jobs were more stressful. For employees, worrying about a safe working environment and job security is what makes them most unhappy with their jobs. So, HR must realise that establishing a safe and sustainable working environment and demonstrating this to their staff is key in helping to reduce staff stress levels.

Autumn 2009


HR Events
What’s coming up in the world of HR

1 September (Tue) 14:30-17:30


Tax Equalisation Policy

HKIHRM ,Suite 1503, 15/F, 68 Yee Wo Street, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong HKIHRM, Suite 1503, 15/F, 68 Yee Wo Street, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong Chamber Theatre, 22/F United Centre

Fee (Mem.) HK$630 Fee (Non-mem) HK$840 Cantonese (With English terminology and handouts) Cantonese (With English terminology and handouts) Fee (Mem.) HK$1,600 Fee (Non-mem) HK$2,100

2 September (Wed) 09:30-17:00


How to Achieve Equal Pay Under the Sex Discrimination Ordinance

2 September (Wed) 16:00-17:30


EcoSmart Series I: Sustainability Forum on Building Design to Foster a Quality and Sustainable Built Environment Warren Buffett: Investing in Times of Uncertainty and Why He Prefers Declining Markets EcoSmart Series II: Roundtable Luncheon on A Road Map to Sustainable Business Internal Coaching for HR Professionals HKIHRM 2009 Consultant Master Class (A workshop jointly presented by HKIHRM & DistincTions Asia Pte Ltd Competency-based Interviewing Workshop

Fee - Free of Charge Members Only, Language: English Inquiries: Looby Ho Tel. (852) 28231228

7 September (Mon) 12:00-14:00


JW Marriott Ballroom (L3) Pacific Place, 88 Queensway Admiralty, Hong Kong Chamber Theatre, 22/F United Centre

Fee (Mem.) HK$410 Fee (Non-mem.) HK$530 Corporate Table Fee (10-12pax): HK$5,000 Fax: (852) 2810 1289 Fee (Mem.)HK$100 Fee (Non-mem.) HK$200 Inquiries: Looby Ho Tel. 28231228

8 September (Tue) 12:00-14:00


8-9 September (Tue-Wed) 09:30-17:30


HKIHRM Suite 1503, 15/F, 68 Yee Wo Street, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong

Fee (Mem.) HK$5,500 Fee (Non-mem) HK$6,100

9 September (Wed) 09:15–17:30

Tamty McGill Consultants International Ltd

Wheelock House, 20 Pedder Street, Central, Hong Kong

HK$2,300 / participant Trainer: Ms Virginia Choi Tel: (852) 2293-2308 Fax: (852) 2293-2367 Email: Website: Fee (Mem.) HK$600 Fee (Non-mem.) HK$750 Anky Chau Tel: (852) 2152 1889 Fee (Mem.) HK$300 Fee (Non-mem.) HK$350 Fax: (852) 2810 1289

11 September (Fri) 14:30-17:30

Community Business

Workshop: Adopting a Strategic Approach to Work-Life Balance (Cantonese)

Standard Chartered Bank

16 September (Wed) 12:00-14:00


“First Sale” U.S. Duty Savings Program: Implementation Workshop with U.S. Attorneys Europe Committee Roundtable Luncheon: “How will the EU Fare in 2009, and How will this Impact Businesses in the Far East? Chinese Personality at Work (CPW) Complimentary Seminar

Cliftons Training Facility-Central 33/F, 9 Queen’s Road Central, Hong Kong

18 September (Fri) 12:30-14:00


Chamber Theatre, 22/F United Centre

Fee (Mem.) HK$100 Fee (Non-mem.) HK$200 English Inquiries: Rachel Lau Tel: (852) 28231277

21 September (Mon) 19:00 - 20:30

Tamty McGill Consultants International Ltd

1805 Wheelock House, 20 Pedder Street, Central, Hong Kong

Participants will be given a trial of CPW Questionnaire Facilitator: Ms Virginia Choi & Florence Tsang Tel: (852) 2293-2308 Email: Website: Fee (Mem.) HK$250 Fee (Non-mem.) HK$350 Christy Li Fax: (852) 2810 1289

22 September (Tue) 12:00-14:00


Lunch and Learn: Master the Art of Public Speaking

Amcham Office Conference Room 1904 Bank of America Tower, 12 Harcourt Road, Central


HR Magazine

HR Events
What’s coming up in the world of HR

23 September (Wed)

Community Business

Getting Started in CSR Workshop (English)

British Council, Admiralty

Fee (Non-mem.) HK$750 Fee (Mem.) HK$600 Anky Chau Tel: (852) 2152 1889 FREE for HR Professionals Registration is required RSVP: James Daly Tel: (852) 2803 5700 E-mail: Contact Perry Email:

23 September (Wed) 19.00-21.00

DevonHouse Corporate Training, Asia Corporate Training & Vins de France EuroEvents

RENDEZVOUS HR Wine-Tasting, Art Appreciation & Social Networking

Damina Gallery – Vietnamese Fine Art, 2/F, 65 Peel Street, SoHo, Central, Hong Kong

30 September (Wed) 09:00–17:00

HR Talent Management Forum (full day)

Westin Hotel, Taipei

5 October (Mon) 19:00-20:30

Tamty McGill Consultants International Ltd

Striving In Adversity Complimentary Seminar

1805 Wheelock House, 20 Pedder Street, Central, Hong Kong

Facilitator: Ms Virginia Choi Tel: (852) 2293-2308 Email: Website: Free for HR Magazine Subscribers To book your place call: Paul (English) Tel: (852) 2736 6318 Email: Wandy (Chinese) Tel: (852) 2736 6339 Email:

15 October (Thur) 08:30-12:30

HR Magazine

30-Minute HR Conference 4 high-level HR Directors share strategies on recruitment, retention, and how to better manage and develop your staff Competency-based Interviewing Workshop

6th Floor, Cliftons Quarry Bay

16 October (Fri) 09:15–17:30

Tamty McGill Consultants International Ltd

Wheelock House, 20 Pedder Street, Central, Hong Kong

HK$2,300 / participant Trainer: Ms Virginia Choi Tel: (852) 2293-2308 Fax: (852) 2293-2367 Email: Website: Fee (Non-Mem.) HK$500 Fee (Mem.) HK$350 Breakfast included Anky Chau (852) 2152 1889 Fee: Free Demonstrate your company’s commitment to work-life balance by taking part in Hong Kong’s second Work-Life Balance Day. For more information visit: Participants will be given a trial of CPW Questionnaire Facilitator: Ms Virginia Choi & Florence Tsang Tel: (852) 2293-2308 Email: Website: FREE for HR Professionals Registration is required RSVP: James Daly Tel: (852) 2803 5700 E-mail: The seminar is complimentary & lucky draw is offered Facilitator: Ms Virginia Choi Tel: (852) 2293-2308 Email: Website:

19 October (Mon) 08:30-11:00am

Community Business

Launch of The State of Work-Life Balance in Hong Kong Survey 2009 Report

Foreign Correspondents Club, Central

23 October (Fri)

Community Business

Work-Life Balance Day

Hong Kong

9 November (Mon) 19:00 - 20:30

Tamty McGill Consultants International Ltd

Chinese Personality at Work (CPW) Complimentary Seminar

1805 Wheelock House, 20 Pedder Street, Central, Hong Kong

18 November (Wed) 19.00 - 21.00

DevonHouse Corporate Training, Asia Corporate Training & Vins de France Tamty McGill Consultants International Ltd

RENDEZVOUS HR Wine-Tasting, Art Appreciation & Social Networking

Damina Gallery – Vietnamese Fine Art, 2/F, 65 Peel Street, SoHo, Central, Hong Kong

25 November (Mon) 17:00 – 18:00

From Trainer to Internal Consultant Seminar

Level 4 of Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre

To list your HR events here contact Marcel Chambers. Tel: (852) 2736 6339 or e-mail:

Autumn 2009


HR Classifieds
Conference & Exhibition Venues
AsiaWorld-Expo is Hong Kong’s leading exhibitions, conventions, concerts and events venue, yet it is also an ideal venue for annual dinners, world-class conferences, cocktail receptions, media luncheons and sumptuous banquets. With Hong Kong’s largest indoor convention and hospitality hall, AsiaWorld-Summit which seats up to 5,000 persons, together with a full range of meeting and conference facilities, awardwinning chefs and attentive hospitality staff, AsiaWorld-Expo is definitely your choice for an unforgettable event. AsiaWorld-Expo Management Limited, AsiaWorld-Expo, Hong Kong International Airport, Lantau, Hong Kong, China Tel: (852) 3606 8888 Fax: (852) 3606 8889

Relocation and Logistics
Crown Relocations, a worldwide leader of global mobility, domestic and international transportation of household goods, and departure and destination services, has over 150 offices in more than 50 countries. Crown Relocations’ experienced training team is able to deliver individual and group cross cultural training programs. Our proprietary “Global Passport” program is designed to assist transferees, and their family, cope with key cultural transition challenges and to introduce critical intercultural competencies. Crown Relocations Suite 1002 Mass Mutual Tower 38 Gloucester Road Wanchai Tel: (852) 2865 7972 Fax: (852) 2816 7150

Education and Corporate Training
macsimize is a leading training consultancy with a significant presence in the Asia Pacific region. Our solutions include: leadership and sales training; organisational development and teambuilding.macsimize capitalises on its diverse and visionary approach to developing human potential, potential that is measurable and results oriented. We aim to become your preferred global partner in developing your people and your business. macsimize Pte. Ltd. Contact person: Ayesha Mathias Tel: (852) 9300 2390

Tailor-made business training, testing and benchmarking solutions throughout Hong Kong, Macau and China. Corporate and individual programmes. Excel’s renowned courses are tailored to the job nature, level and needs of the students. Our targeted, interactive approach in facilitation has allowed us to build an unrivalled reputation in the corporate training field. Clients include: the Airport Authority, American Express, Bausch and Lomb, Credit Agricole, KCRC, the Hong Kong Government, Swire Travel and United Airlines. The Hong Kong Management Association was established in 1960. As a non profit making professional organisation, its mission is to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of management in Hong Kong. Offering annually over 2,000 training programmes to more than 45,000 participants, ranging from work-oriented short courses, workshops, Certificates, Diplomas to Bachelor, Master and Doctoral Degrees, the HKMA is one of the largest providers of management training and education in the Territory.

Excel Education Limited Unit 101, Fourseas Building 208-212 Nathan Road Jordan, Kowloon, Hong Kong Tel: (852) 2736 6339 Fax: (852) 2736 6369

Hong Kong Management Association 14th Floor, Fairmont House 8 Cotton Tree Drive Central, Hong Kong Tel: (852) 2526 6516 / 2774 8500 Fax: (852) 2365 1000 Grey Cells Management Ltd. Room 1103 86 Gloucester Road Wan Chai, Hong Kong Tel: (852) 2877 9009 Fax: (852) 2877 9222

Grey Cells Management Ltd is truly a global company committed to providing sincere and comprehensive HR consultancy services the world over across all industry sectors including IT, Communication, Finance, Shipping, Logistics, and Hospitality. Research by Grey Cells’ experienced team provides in-depth analysis facilitating the most logical decisions to benefit organisations and individuals seeking change. Scientific studies of our clients’ requirements provides the most suitably tailored organisational solutions.

Leadership Development
Build individual, team and organisational capability. Your High Potential and Mid to Senior Executives need highly customised, dynamic and flexible development solutions related to core strategic outcomes. The Aonia Team integrates with your business challenges and provides strategic leadership development in corporate training, leadership coaching and instructional design in both English and Chinese. Contact Kent Youil to discuss your development challenges and share in some dynamic training ideas. Aonia Leadership and Management HK Limited 21/F Sunshine Plaza353 Lockhart Road, Wanchai Hong Kong Contact Kent Youil at Tel: (852) 2975 4449


HR Magazine

HR Classifieds
Business Process Outsourcing
Tricor is a member of The Bank of East Asia Group. Tricor Business Services offers efficient, effective and professional advisory and outsourced support services to our clients. We deliver seamless solutions to address issues in finance, accounting & financial reporting, treasury and cashflow administration, human resources and payroll administration, business advisory, trade services and systems solutions to ensure the adoption of best practices in your business. Tricor Services Limited Level 28, Three Pacific Place, 1 Queen’s Road East, Hong Kong Tel: (852) 2980 1888 Fax: (852) 2861 0285 MindKey Global Ltd Bryan Lockyer – Regional Manager Jiwon Yoon – Sales Manager 10/F Silver Fortune Plaza No.1 Wellington Street, Central Tel: (852) 3972 5790 Fax: (852) 3972 5798

MindKey Global delivers proven HCM Solutions to companies around the world to help attract, retain, motivate talent and develop strategic competencies that enhance productivity and workforce efficiencies. We have decades of success as the company that designed, built and tested the HRM and Questionnaire solutions for Microsoft Dynamics AX. We are Microsoft Gold Certified partners; and are the global go-to experts for standard and custom Human Resources for Microsoft Dynamics installations

Innovative HR has developed a comprehensive outsourcing service and has provided all the power, features and flexibility without the drain on internal resources. Our services include: Payroll Outsourcing, Hong Kong Work Visa Application, Talent Recruitment, Employee Handbook Development and Business Licence Application for establishing representative offices in the PRC. For more information, please contact Ada Lai on 2555 8062, or visit our website. Special promotion on HR Library!

Innovative Human Resources Outsourcing Partners Limited 9/F, CLI Building, 313 Hennessy Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong Tel: (852) 2555 8062 Fax: (852) 3003 0198

Tricor Executive Resources, the former search and selection practice of PricewaterhouseCoopers in Hong Kong, has over the last 25 years built an unrivalled reputation for integrity and professionalism. Through focused research and intense sourcing, we recruit management and top-level executives for positions in Hong Kong, Mainland China and the region. We also offer related HR services such as recruitment outsourcing, outplacement and career counselling, compensation and benefit advice, and psychometric testing. Tricor Executive Resources Limited Level 28, Three Pacific Place, 1 Queen’s Road East, Hong Kong Tel: (852) 2980 1166 Fax: (852) 2869 4410

AsiaNet Consultants, founded in 1988, has offices in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou & London providing International Executive Search and Business Start Up Services in China. AsiaNet is a member of the International Executive Search Federation the largest executive search group both in Asia Pacific and worldwide.

AsiaNet Consultants 15/F Onfem Tower 29 Wyndham St, Central Hong Kong Tel: (852) 2530 0130

Pest Control & Environmental Services
BioCycle is the first pest management company in Hong Kong to have acquired both the ISO 14001 and the ISO 9001 System Certifications. BioCycle was set up in 1991 to provide safe and environmentally friendly Pest Control, Termite Consulting, Sentricon Colony Elimination System for termite colony and Sanitation Services, and operates under European management. We are the exclusive user of our group’s insecticide, BioKill, which has been approved by the AFCD of HK Government not to carry the poison label. BioCycle (Hong Kong) Limited G/F., Block A, Kiu Sun Factory Bldg, 41 King Yip Street, Kwun Tong, Kowloon, Hong Kong Tel: (852) 3575-2575 Fax: (852) 3575-2570

Only the professional carpet cleaning and pest-control services of Truly Care, Hong Kong’s specialists in occupational, industrial, environmental and domestic hygiene can give you a clean, safe and bug-free office and home. Don’t put your staff’s health at risk! For a free, no obligation, inspection and quotation, please call us now on 2458 8378

Truly Care (HK) Ltd. Room 1522, Nan Fung Centre, 264-298 Castle Peak Road, Tsuen Wan, N.T., Hong Kong Tel: (852) 2458 8378 Fax: (852) 2458 8487

Autumn 2009


HR Training
Networking Skills

Be a Networking Pro
Networking—it’s a word so many people dislike. It has connotations of talking to people you don’t really like, and attending events, you don’t really want to be at. By changing your mindset; networking can also mean discovering business leads at events where you can promote yourself, and the brand you represent. It can be a chance to meet interesting people that you can potentially hire, or pass along to a recruitment agency. No matter what industry you are in, being effective at networking can reap some kind of benefit. Very often managers will decline networking invitations, but the key is to establish which ones are worth attending, and to be efficient while present at those events. Great managers, who do network, expand their network and find it a subsequent part to their job. Networking is a proactive element of being a great professional. Being flawless at networking means you don’t waste time at events, and pick the ones worth attending, and stretch the potential of each person you meet. By having a positive mindset about networking, it can also be a chance for you to create an impression on someone else, and practice the art of conversation, introductions, and cross selling. In an economy that is somewhat unstable, networking doesn’t only have to be about selling services of the company you work for, but it can be a chance for you to sell your skill set. With a goal in mind, and a positive outlook, networking can be a tremendous tool for expanding your business and personal horizon. In a perfect world, networking events would be places that you could meet high quality caliber of clients and forge business deals, perhaps get a few personal leads for yourself, have some delicious food, and some expensive wine and be on your way. Following that, your business leads would turn into profitable gains for the company. Sounds rather perfect and not so realistic. If you can learn to be efficient, and create an impact on people at events, you can find a way to gain big rewards from just a little extra effort. So let’s break it down. Today, many events are tedious and mind numbing to attend. Guest speakers are your run of the mill middle managers with little inspiration. The spread of food and drinks don’t excite you and the people you meet, have a slim chance of eventually leading to your next promotion. How can you turn this around, how can you take this dull grey monotonous event and make it worthwhile? The elements to changing a drab event into one that has a benefit for you, is based on your abilities to effectively network. Even in the perfect world example, if you don’t create a great first impression, if you don’t lend your time and effort to meeting people and of course following up, you might not end up with the gains in front of you. It takes effort and coordination. To be successful at networking, the first thing to work on is your first impression. It takes two seconds for someone to judge you. In those two seconds, people instinctively form judgments about you and a willingness to either engage in conversation with you or not. A mediocre first impression makes people believe that your skills and the organisation you represent will be mediocre. An outstanding, and powerful first impression, will lead people to think that your skills and the organisation you represent will be outstanding as well. Imagine for a second you enter a


HR Magazine

HR Training
Networking Skills

networking event, and you see a gentleman in a crisp, well ironed, well fitted suit with an immaculately groomed hairstyle and inviting body language. He is smiling and his facial expressions are pleasant and sincere. His clothes match and the coordination leads you to think he takes time to perfect his appearance. On the other side of the room there is a young lady slouching in a corner, with obvious distaste that she is present at this event. She is hunched over her blackberry furiously typing away with an occasional glance up to see if anyone is approaching her. Her ruffled shirt in pastel colors clashes with her brown skirt, and her hair is messy. Which person will you be automatically drawn towards? Now take a step back and evaluate your own image. What message are you sending? Are you inviting? Do you speak in a manner that is sincere and genuine or is your lack of enthusiasm evident when people speak to you? What signals do your clothes send? An impressive appearance starts with choosing colors that flatter your natural skin color, hair color and eye color. Find clothes that fit you and remember that even with a few accessories such as a deep blue silk tie, or a striking necklace, they can play up a boring work suit. Half the problem with most work outfits is that the pieces don’t fit the body shape well. Styles should be contemporary and in vogue but does not have to be expensive or ostentatious. Look for ways you can stand out and differentiate yourself, and be remembered. Other ways to perfect your appearance is by paying attention to small grooming details. Fingernails should be clean, hairstyles should be appropriate and professional. Super gelled hairstyles that attract attention might be trendy, but they could be sending mixed messages about how professional you are. We cannot forget that these suggestions are very superficial, they are simply recommendations to change our appearance. On the other hand, we all know that every single day we judge

people unconsciously on how they look, what shoes they wear, how messy their hair is, or if their nail polish is chipped. These small observations sends message to our brain and before even speaking to the person we might have already written them off. Make sure your clothes are a reflection of your level of professionalism, the organisation you represent and of course who you are. Your appearance is just one part of your first impression, but body language and communication are also significant factors. Sincerity, confidence, passion, and polite behavior contribute to an impressive first impression. At networking events, it is common not to have the energy and desire to project an overly enthusiastic personality. Yet by showing sincerity when speaking and interacting with another person can help form relationships and build rapport. Speaking for thirty minutes to someone to gain information, or build a certain level of trust can be timeconsuming, but getting straight to the point about business in the first one minute is pushy and aggressive. Use your tone of voice, and project sincerity by engaging 100% with the person you are speaking with and don’t scan the room for other prospects to approach. Focus, be confident and polite and hopefully you can get to the business crux of the conversation in ten minutes without seeming belligerent and exit the conversation. Your tone of voice should not show urgency to leave the conversation, or be unenthusiastic, but rather reflect a high level of professionalism and courtesy. The person you are speaking with needs to feel that you are actually interested in getting to know him or her. By maintaining eye contact and positioning your body in an open non-threatening way, it will help ease the conversation along, and create rapport. People who have a lax attitude who keep their hands crossed over their chest the entire conversation are sending a message they are not really interested and are perhaps bored. Smiling also helps forge a bond and pleasant facial expressions also

make the other person feel comfortable. When a relationship and level of comfort can be established, diving straight into the business aspect of your conversation is absolutely appropriate. Be efficient, ask the right questions, and when you are done speaking, exit in the conversation in a polite manner. At networking events, it is common to meet many people and accumulate a stack of business cards, but it is also hard to remember who was worth meeting and how the person might have a potential business lead for you. After a night of networking, when you get home, or back to the office, take a few minutes to write something about the significant people you met on the reverse side of their business card. This way when you flip through your stack in a few months looking for that person, you will be able to spot him or her right away. Also, if there are people who you potentially want to meet in a few months, or would like to be in contact with, send them a quick brief email. Nothing elaborate, just telling them it was great to meet them, and that you look forward to being in touch. This way you have re-enforced your name in the mind of the other person. It is better to create a relationship early on, instead of emailing them a few months later specifically for some business related advice. So remember, when you get invite after invite of networking events, pick the events you think will be most beneficial to you. Dress appropriately and remember your clothes should be speaking the same language you want to project. Know what you want to get out of the event, and tell yourself that you will be efficient and stay for a certain amount of time, and generate some business leads. Show passion and sincerity in what you are doing and how you say things, follow up with leads you meet and hopefully translate your contacts into results for your business! Shireena Shroff Certified Image Consultant & Founder of Sheens Image Consulting

Autumn 2009


Profit Upgrade
Boosting the Bottom Line

Everybody in Your Company is Responsible For Selling, Not Just Your Direct Sales Team
Richard Parkes Cordock from the UK is the founder of Enterprise Leaders Worldwide and the creator of the Enterprise Leader Development Programme. Using NLP principles, Cordock created the highly acclaimed mentoring programme—Millionaire MBA™ used by thousands of entrepreneurs around the world. In the upcoming issues of HR magazine we will share Cordock’s advice in serialised extracts from his latest book: Profit Upgrade. A while ago I gave a speech at a hotel in Leicester to 30 members of a trade association. The room was full of managing directors, sales directors and business owners. These executives represented a range of companies, from those with just 20 employees, all the way through to multinationals with tens of thousands of people. Before I started my speech, I asked each executive what their number one business challenge was, and without exception, all said ‘growth’. Specifically, their challenge was the ongoing growth in revenue and profits of the company. Also speaking that day was a friend of mine, Steve. Steve is a professional sales trainer and an expert in training direct salesforces. Steve spoke about understanding customer buying patterns, closing techniques and traditional sales strategies. His speech was excellent and I couldn’t disagree with a word he said. He is clearly a master at teaching direct salesforces how to sell. The sales executives and managing directors in the room loved Steve’s speech; it was like putting a square peg in a square hole for them. That day, both Steve and I talked about how to increase the revenues of a company. However, where Steve believes that selling is done by the direct sales team, my belief is that selling is done by every member of staff in the company, and not just the direct sales team. You can never escape the fact that every member of your workforce is responsible – both directly and indirectly – for the ongoing growth of your company. I said in Chapter 1 that the greatest salespeople in the world are your existing customers and their ability to recommend you. Customers will only recommend you if they believe in you, and if they have had an exceptional and extraordinary experience when dealing with your company. They need to feel valued as a customer, and their expectations must be matched or exceeded. Customers only recommend you if they are happy with the service or products you provide, not because of what a direct salesperson said to them. This means every member of staff in your organisation, from the lowest level administrator or maintenance employee, to the highest-level senior director, plays their part in creating the experience which shapes your customers’ perception of you. That is what determines whether they want to recommend you, or repeat buy from you. If your company is filled with people like the Barman, who clearly fail to meet the needs and wants of their customers, and send customers away disappointed, frustrated, or worse still hungry or unfulfilled, then as an organisation you have very little chance of breaking through to new levels of sales revenue. Not, even with all the advance sales techniques that Steve, as a master sales trainer would be able to teach you. If, as a company, you are failing to deliver for your customers at the wider level, then all the sales training in the world for your direct sales team will never out perform the negative reviews that will be spread far and wide about you in the marketplace. If however, your company is filled with people like Paolo the Barber, who clearly love their work, put the needs of your customers first, understand that their actions and decisions have future revenue consequences, then your reputation as an organisation will literally precede you. The need to have sophisticated, highlypaid persuasive sales staff will be greatly diminished as the recommendations your prospective customers will receive from your existing customers will already have done the majority of hard selling for you, in the softest possible way. For the hard-nosed executives of the trade association who listened to my and Steve’s speeches, my message seemed a little more difficult to swallow. Like many business leaders, I’m sure they strongly believed the growth of their company was in the hands of their salespeople, and of course, to some degree it is. But I’m sure if they asked themselves, truthfully, when they book a holiday or restaurant, or go to buy a car, who is really doing the selling for them? Is it the persuasive salesperson, or is it their own opinions which have been formed by recommendations from their friends, family or business colleagues? I’m sure the same is true for you. You would not go to a restaurant if you had heard bad things about it, and similarly, you would not book into a hotel or holiday resort if you had heard that the staff do not care, are not engaged or connected, and do not put the needs of their paying customers first. You would clearly give that hotel or restaurant a miss, regardless of what the most persuasive salesperson said to you, simply because the negative recommendations received by your friends and family come without prejudice, and are impartial and independent. For you to turn your workforce into your salesforce, you must fill your company with people like Paolo the Barber – with employees who understand that their actions have consequences, that a customer’s decision to buy, repeat buy or recommend you comes solely as a result of dealing with your company and dealing with your front-line staff. Richard Parkes Cordock, Author of Profit Upgrade: How To Turn Your Workforce Into Your Salesforce. Managing Director of Enterprise Leaders Worldwide Limited.


HR Magazine

Special Supplement 23 . HKMA Award for Excellence in Training 2009

Award For Excellence In Training 2009 SUPPLEMENT