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Hong Kong: Hiring slightly up in Q4 2017

The 2017 Q4 results of the ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey indicated that for the next three months Hong Kong employers report upbeat hiring plans. With seasonal variations taken into account, Hong Kong’s Net Employment Outlook is up 17%. Hiring prospects are the strongest reported in six years, improving by 2 percentage points when compared with […]

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CEO pay not aligned with firm’s performance

A recent report suggested only few Singapore-listed organisations offer long-term incentive plans for their chief executives, while there is ‘significant misalignment’ between the firm’s profitability and the CEO pay. The annual report conducted by Korn Ferry Hay Group found that only 11% of 541 Singaporean firms provide long-term incentives for top executives, with median total pay […]

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Leading HR teams are redefining future HR with workplace technologies and employee-centric design

Bersin, Deloitte Consulting LLP has found in its latest High Impact HR research that new workplace technologies and changing workforce expectations are creating unprecedented future opportunities for HR to transform the way companies and their people interact. Josh Bersin, Principal and Founder, Bersin, Deloitte Consulting LLP commented, “As companies focus on digital business transformation, they […]

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Cathay cabin crew opt for extending retirement age

Cathay is poised to lengthen its retirement age from 55 to 60 in the coming years, as a proposal won majority support in an internal ballot, reported SCMP. 55% voted to raise the retirement age. This comes after different departments within the airline had varying retirement ages.  The company must now fashion a deal with […]

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EY employees encouraged to build future-focused skills

EY has announced that it will introduce a new programme that will enable its 250,000 people in over 150 countries invest in their own careers. This is achieved by earning digital credentials in skills that differentiate them in the market, such as data visualisation, AI, data transformation and information strategy. The new programme, EY Badges—which […]

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International commuters benefit from greater future prospects

New research from AXA reveals 98% of big businesses surveyed say a globally mobile workforce is important, with a third saying it is critical to their success  But staff working abroad want increasing flexibility with three-quarters of employers saying people want to commute internationally and continue living at home  Those working internationally reap the rewards […]

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Tackling modern slavery head-on

The hidden, hugely profitable crime of modern slavery will be tackled head-on with practical, regional solutions driven by business and government. On the eve of the inaugural Bali Process Government and Business Forum, business leaders gathered at The University of Western Australia (UWA) to discuss the complex challenges of modern slavery in the Indo Pacific region in […]

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Singapore calls for increased commitment of employers towards duty of care

The International SOS Foundation, supported by the Ministry of Manpower Singapore, has called for world leaders to add their e-signature to the Singapore declaration in support of the principles of prevention with regard to work-related travel safety, health and security. This follows the official signing ceremony, which took place on the opening day of the XXI World […]

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80% of companies not paying salespeople the right commission

WorldatWork has said that 80% of companies are paying salespeople inaccurate commission rates. The 2017 Sales Compensation Administration Best Practices survey by Xactly found that companies with complex compensation programmes had higher turnover rates among salespeople, lower rates for meeting sales quotas and more errors in commission payouts. The study also showed that 18% of employers do not […]

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Robert Mostert

Former Head Human Resources, Global SSSCs Standard Chartered Robert Mostert was until recently Head Human Resources of the Global ITO (Information Technology & Operations) function of Standard Chartered Bank, and of Standard Chartered Global Business Services (GBS). The latter operates from shared service centres in India (Chennai and Bangalore), Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur), and China (Tianjin). […]

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Jack Mak

Product and Customer Proposition Head, Pensions HSBC Jack Mak is the Product and Customer Proposition Head of HSBC’s pension business in Hong Kong, and is responsible for driving pension product design and holistic proposition that suit customer needs for both employees and employers. Prior to joining HSBC, he worked as an employee benefit consultant and […]

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Nightmare on L&D street—What the *beep* went wrong with L&D?

L&D, where did it all go wrong? HR tackles the tough questions at its Summer 2017 conference. Asking some of HR’s finest, we get down to the nitty-gritty of where L&D took a nasty turn, and how organisations are tackling those challenges. Calculated risk HR frequently needs to answer abstract and open-ended questions. As Jenny […]

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Effective reward & recognition strategies

Defining an organisation’s rewards and recognition policy can be complicated purely because there are so many factors to take into account. What will motivate your people to take one step further and turn good employees into exceptional ones? Enhanced benefits, bonuses, international postings. Sometimes all it can take it just a pat on the back […]

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Bernard Coulaty

Founder & CEO MOST Engaged Consulting Bernard is a senior global HR leader with over 20 years of professional practice as Vice President Human Resources in multinational FMCG organizations (Danone, Pernod Ricard) in Europe and Asia. He has developed an operational and strategic expertise in employee engagement, talent management, leadership development and leading HR communities […]

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Joanna Lee | Bauhinia Coatings | HR Community - HR Magazine | HR Online

Joanna Lee, Bauhinia Coatings

Bauhinia Coatings Group Group Head of Human Resources Joanna Lee is the Group HR Director for Bauhinia Coatings Group which enables organization in making better decisions about human resource management, strategic leadership, organization development, design and change. Overseeing human capital strategies across our group operations, She has grown and managed teams in different sizes of […]

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Kay Chen | Turner International | HR Community - HR Magazine | HR Online

Kay Chen, Turner International

Turner International Asia Pacific Limited Human Resources Manager, APAC Kay Chen is the Human Resources Manager partners closely with business to ensure their talent needs are met. Her diverse client groups cover from Content, Sales and Marketing, Finance and Accounting to remote teams in Seoul and Taipei. It’s unique combination of creative, client facing and […]

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Gwen Lockington | HR Community - HR Magazine | HR Online

Gwen Lockington, Turner International

Turner International Asia Pacific Limited Executive Director, HR, APAC Gwen Lockington is an HR professional who works with organisations to align their people strategy with the business. She is passionate about creating an environment where employees love what they do and believes that to deliver this, developing management capability is critical. For the past 16 […]

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Athena Ngai | HR Community - HR Magazine | HR Online

Athena Ngai, Sony Corporation

Sony Corporation of Hong Kong Limited Senior HR Manager Athena Ngai is the Head of Human Resources of Sony Corporation of Hong Kong Limited and managing all HR functions including talent acquisition, compensation and benefits, talent as well as organizational development. Athena is also playing key role as Talent Lead for the China region to […]

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Star Service HR

Hang Lung’s talent development successes as headcount doubles Janet Poon, General Manager – Human Resources, Hang Lung Properties has been with the Company since 2012 and helped transform their talent pool during a period of unprecedented expansion. She shares her innovative approach to talent attraction and retention to help fuel the Company’s phenomenal growth. Adaptive […]

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One in five APAC job applicants submitted false information | HR Features - HR Magazine | HR Online

One in five APAC job applicants submitted false information

More than one in five background checks conducted on job candidates in APAC in 2016 identified inaccuracies in the information supplied by candidates. While the discrepancy rate has decreased from the previous year, it still remains almost three times higher than the global discrepancy rate of 9.7%. This disparity between APAC and global discrepancy rates […]

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Staying ahead of the tech curve

Stefan Reis, CHRO, SAP explains why HR must grab technology by the horns to engage and retain the best talent HR has to work hard to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to rapidly evolving technology in today’s workplace. HR Magazine recently spoke with Stefan Ries, Chief Human Resources Officer, SAP to get […]

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How to make networking less miserable | HR Features - HR Magazine | HR Online

How to make networking less miserable

By Andrew Marder, Small Business Expert, Capterra The worst part of networking is every single part of networking. The free snacks are okay, unless you get stuck with crudité. Everything else feels challenging, painful, or unproductive. You step into a room of other small business owners and managers with a pocketful of business cards, and […]

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A family-friendly workplace | HR Features - HR Magazine | HR Online

A family-friendly workplace

Recently the Kering Group announced our new Global Parental Policy. The framework provides Group-wide standards in terms of maternity, paternity and adoption leave for more than 38,500 employees in nearly 60 countries around the world. The new policy holds a single and clear purpose: to build a supportive and inclusive working environment for all our […]

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As skills shift, talent attraction and retention continue to challenge APAC employers | HR Features - HR Magazine | HR Online

As skills shift, talent attraction and retention continue to challenge APAC employers

More than 60% of employers experience difficulty attracting and retaining top talent. As the world of work undergoes a digital transformation, employers in Asia Pacific are grappling with challenges in attracting and retaining top talent, according to two major surveys The 2016 Global Talent Management Survey and Rewards Survey by Willis Towers Watson. It revealed […]

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Community business: HR's D&I struggle | HR Features - HR Magazine | HR Online

HR’s D&I struggle

HR faces many challenges, some of which cause a great deal of frustration. However, the solving of these problems can lead to huge advantages for both the business and the individuals it employs. A growing concern of modern day HR is in effectively managing and leveraging Diversity & Inclusion. HR Magazine media partnered the Community […]

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Verizon: HR & IT: Partnering for Success | HR Features - HR Magazine | HR Online

HR & IT: Partnering for Success

Verizon may be a household name in the US as a wireless telecommunications operator, but here in Asia their presence is less obvious. Two of their senior HR managers spoke to HR Magazine enthusiastically from the local Hong Kong Verizon office in Tai Koo. The duo shared on their vision, credo and how IT is […]

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Here are top 5 tips to get your employment checks right | HR Features - HR Magazine | HR Online

Here are top 5 tips to get your employment checks right

  Deciding when and whom to check, and for what There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to background checks. They should be tailored based on: The nature of your industry The needs of your business The details of the position you’re hiring What local laws require or prohibit Knowing the components of background screening When you’re planning […]

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Legal Updates – August 2017

Government Bill gives employees right of reinstatement A new bill introduced into the Legislative Council this earlier year lays down new rights for employees who are illegally dismissed. The Employment (Amendment) Bill 2017 was introduced into the Legislative Council in May 2017. Notable among the Bill’s proposed changes is a new power for the Labour […]

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Hong Kong ponders discrimination law shakeup | HR Legal - HR Magazine | HR Online

Hong Kong ponders discrimination law shakeup

The Hong Kong Government is considering four key changes to the existing anti-discrimination ordinances. The proposed changes have been brought forward following a consultation carried out by the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) in 2014 and are presently being considered by the Legislative (LegCo) Council Panel on Constitutional Affairs.   The four major changes The proposed […]

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PRC Cybersecurity Law—What does it mean for HR managers? | HR Legal - HR Magazine | HR Online

PRC Cybersecurity Law—What does it mean for HR managers?

The Chinese Government passed the new PRC Cybersecurity Law on 7 November 2016 and it will take effect on 1 June 2017.  The Law is a clear indicator of an increased focus by the Chinese authorities on data protection and its broad scope and potentially wide-ranging effects may increase data protection and data security compliance […]

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DLA Piper: flexible workforces | HR Legal - HR Magazine | HR Online

DLA Piper: flexible workforces

By Julia Gorham, Partner, Head of Employment—Asia, DLA Piper Changes in the modern workforce are now happening more radically and rapidly than ever. According to a report published by the International Labour Organisation in 2015, informal employment, very short term contracts, contingent freelance workers, homeworking and irregular working hours are becoming more and more widespread. […]

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HK Competition Ordinance—Why HR needs to tread more carefully in 2016 | HR Legal - HR Magazine | HR Online

HK Competition Ordinance—Why HR needs to tread more carefully in 2016

The Hong Kong Competition Ordinance (Cap. 619) (Ordinance) came into effect on 14 December 2015. Anti-trust laws have been long-established in the US, Europe and Australia—they make for good business practice. In Hong Kong, the Competition Commission has stated that it is ready to be ‘an effective enforcer of the competition law which will support Hong Kong’s open economy by ensuring fair […]

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Claims of harassment: how far can they go? | HR Legal - HR Magazine | HR Online

Claims of harassment: how far can they go?

By Anita Lam, Of Counsel, DLA Piper Hong Kong Harassment is generally associated with appreciably more conflict in work teams as well as with less team cohesion and less success in meeting financial goals. Eliminating harassment in the workplace therefore makes good moral sense, legal sense as well as business sense. It may now also […]

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Hong Kong’s mandatory paternity leave “disappointing” | HR Features - HR Magazine | HR Online

Hong Kong’s mandatory paternity leave “disappointing”

After years of debate, a mandatory 3 day paternity leave on 80% pay was finally passed by Hong Kong’s Legislative Council last Friday. Although many welcome the long-awaited law, others, such as Community Business, have expressed disappointed by the focus on operational cost which has led to this “baby step” for Hong Kong, an international […]

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Frisky Business: the dangers of workplace romances | HR Legal - HR Magazine | HR Online

Frisky Business: the dangers of workplace romances

By Pattie Walsh (Partner) and Naveen Qureshi (Associate), DLA Piper Hong Kong Given the amount of time people in Hong Kong spend in the workplace, it is perhaps inevitable that personal relationships will flourish. Many people are more likely to meet a partner at work than anywhere else. This then raises the question as to […]

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Healing China’s expat headache | HR Legal - HR Magazine | HR Online

Healing China’s expat headache

The opening of new markets in China in the past few years has created an explosion of job opportunities and a flourishing demand for skilled expatriate workers, with latest census figures revealing a leap from 74,000 to 220,000 foreign employees between 2000 and 2011. Sending expatriates to China, however, has proven to be a headache […]

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Hong Kong’s first ever ‘Community Service Marathon' | HR Lifestyle - HR Magazine | HR Online

Hong Kong’s first ever ‘Community Service Marathon’

HandsOn Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Council of Social Service (HKCSS) will co-host Serve-a-thon—the city’s first ever ‘Community Service Marathon’ and largest collective volunteerism based event. In Hong Kong, 20,000 more people lived below the poverty line in 2015 than in the previous year—bringing the total number of impoverished people in Hong Kong to […]

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Mental Illness in the Workplace | HR Lifestyle - HR Magazine | HR Online

Mental Illness in the Workplace

By Henry G. Harder, Shannon Wagner, and Josh Rash Review by Amie Filcher Mental health in the workplace is becoming an increasing concern costing businesses billions of dollars every year in loss of productivity, poor treatments and employee retention. Mental Illness in the Workplace provides a comprehensive guide to identifying, understanding, treating and preventing individual […]

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Lead to Succeed | HR Lifestyle - HR Magazine | HR Online

Lead to Succeed

By Chris Roebuck “To deliver real success, people must be inspired to be their best.” Lead to Succeed promises to deliver success and provides fundamentals for leaders to transform their own and other people’s performances. Professor Chris Roebuck introduces the Mach 2 Performance Programme, which aims to increase people’s performance and engagement in the workplace. […]

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A Field Guide for Organisation Development | HR Lifestyle - HR Magazine | HR Online

A Field Guide for Organisation Development

Taking Theory into Practice~ Edited by Ed Griffin, Mike Alsop, Martin Saville and Grahame Smith A Field Guide for Organisation Development offers a variety of perspectives and experiences from researchers and practitioners on Organisation Development, a concept that many organisations find difficult to tackle. The editors have created a practical and accessible field guide that […]

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Success through a healthier workforce | HR News - HR Magazine | HR Online

Success through a healthier workforce

The connection between health and job performance is widely known, and many employers are now realising that success can only be achieved by a healthy workforce. Many HR departments are taking steps to integrate healthy living initiatives to help motivate their workforce to stay healthy and safe at home and on the job, with the […]

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Keeping staff healthy, staying competitive | HR Features - HR Magazine | HR Online

Keeping staff healthy, staying competitive

With hundreds of thousands of working days lost to sick leave in Hong Kong each year, companies are understandably keen to keep their workforces healthy. But encouraging workers to take better care of themselves is not always an easy task, particularly given Hong Kong’s culture of long working hours and the multiple demands upon people’s time. […]

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Creating Balance & Finding Happiness | HR Lifestyle - HR Magazine | HR Online

Creating Balance & Finding Happiness

By Diane Lang, MA  This publication serves as a happiness toolkit—a handy-sized reference book on how to find harmony when faced with the mounting and often conflicting pressures of work and home life. It offers simple, realistic and easy-to-use tips for happiness. According to Lang, many employees work anywhere between 60 and 80 hours a […]

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Four steps to a 'good' day at work | HR Lifestyle - HR Magazine | HR Online

Four steps to a ‘good’ day at work

It is often argued that a happy workforce is a productive one and the secret to contentment in the office may be only four simple steps away, according to new research conducted among more than 3,000 Australian and New Zealand employees. When RedBalloon for Corporate asked participants what they desire to see at work, ‘More […]

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Workplace confessional | HR Lifestyle - HR Magazine | HR Online

Workplace confessional

You may love your job–but probably not everything about it. Even working in a cubicle doesn’t mean you’re walled off from office irritations. A new survey commissioned by Citrix reveals the top reasons why office workers say they need to break away. Colleagues from hell Workplace bonding can be a good thing, but some rituals […]

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Automation a positive catalyst of change within the HK workplace

72% of Hong Kong CFOs agree workplace automation will not cause a loss of jobs, but a shift in required skill sets is needed. The top skills finance professionals need to focus on as a result of automation are: problem-solving skills, strategic vision, flexibility/ability to adapt and communication. According to Hong Kong CFOs, the top […]

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Staying ahead of the tech curve

Stefan Reis, CHRO, SAP explains why HR must grab technology by the horns to engage and retain the best talent HR has to work hard to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to rapidly evolving technology in today’s workplace. HR Magazine recently spoke with Stefan Ries, Chief Human Resources Officer, SAP to get […]

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Automation: C-3PO took my job! | HR News - HR Magazine | HR Online

Automation: C-3PO took my job!

Break neck speed advances in technology are having an impact on those in IT. 62% of technology professionals in APAC believe a significant part of their job will be subjected to automation within the next 10 years, rendering their current skills redundant, according to the findings of the Harvey Nash Technology Survey 2017. 62% is […]

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Getting HR into the fast lane | HR Features - HR Magazine | HR Online

Getting HR into the fast lane

Cutting down time-consuming processes to help HR deliver accurate results quickly HR knows all too well that managing headcount is time-consuming and, at worst, convoluted and complex—especially in larger organisations. Pressure is on HR to become more strategic but balancing this with cumbersome operational roadblocks is a major challenge. HR Magazine recently met with Ashley […]

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Innovation to navigate recruitment minefields | HR Technology - HR Magazine | HR Online

Innovation to navigate recruitment minefields

Recruitment has long involved picking up the telephone, networking outside for candidates and screening the hundreds of CVs that pass recruiters’ desks every month. In recent years, tools such as LinkedIn have enhanced the ability of recruiters to accomplish such tasks—but the ground under their feet is fast-moving. Filtering out noise Simon Bradberry, Managing Director—Asia Pacific, Resource Solutions remarked at a recruitment […]

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Employees—greatest cyber security risk | HR Technology - HR Magazine | HR Online

Employees—greatest cyber security risk

Employees are the lifeblood of an organisation, technology helps facilitate ways in which they can work at their optimum. But is this always the case? According to 56% of nearly 2,000 information security experts worldwide in EY’s latest Global Information Security Survey 2015, employees are considered to be the most likely source of cyber attacks within organisations. What’s more, in Hong Kong and China, […]

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IT hiring and pay to rise globally | HR Technology - HR Magazine | HR News

IT hiring and pay to rise globally

Despite a global economic slowdown, especially due to slower growth in emerging markets, the technology industry continues its rapid pace of innovation, disruption and creating new ventures, according to Aon Hewitt. In the next 12 months, technology companies globally are expected to increase the size of their workforce by 40%—internet, e-commerce and software sectors are […]

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AwardYourTeam web programme released | HR Technology - HR Magazine | HR Online

AwardYourTeam web programme released

Inadequate recognition for contributions is a leading cause of voluntary employee turnover, which means that effective employee recognition is key. Enter Terryberry’s new AwardYourTeam application—a new web-based programme designed to help busy managers recognise their employees’ contributions more consistently and effectively. The new module in Terryberry’s 360 Recognition Platform is specifically designed to increase managers’ […]

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Start-ups and ‘work 4.0’ storm HRM Expo | HR Technology - HR Magazine | HR Online

Start-ups and ‘work 4.0’ storm HRM Expo

Over 15,000 delegates and 650 exhibitors flocked to Europe’s annual HRM Expo in September, which came amongst the backdrop of new interactive features pioneered for this year’s show. The event, which took place in western German city of Cologne, focused on technology and the future encompassed within the theme of ‘work 4.0’. The expo touched […]

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HKMA Award for Excellence in Training and Development 2017 | HR Community - HR Magazine | HR Online

HKMA Award for Excellence in Training and Development 2017

With the 26th HKMA Awards in the pipeline, organisations are clamouring to show off their commitment to L&D and how they have built their bespoke training programmes. The awards are a commendation to those who have worked extensively to develop training that is not only effective, but conscious of the human impact. Trainers from a […]

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The harder you fall, the higher you bounce | HR Training - HR Magazine | HR Online

The harder you fall, the higher you bounce

We have all been there—trapped in a long, boring training session in a windowless office that is either far too hot or cold. It is quite often the norm for team building, and while it is sometimes necessary to be in the classroom, a more interactive approach demanding energy expulsion may be more beneficial. Sport […]

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NEBOSH revise H&S diplomas | HR News - HR Magazine | HR Online

NEBOSH revise H&S diplomas

The National Examining Board in Occupational Safety and Health (NEBOSH) offers a range of vocationally-related qualifications to meet workplace health, safety, environmental and risk management need in both public and private sectors. The body has just announced revised syllabuses for its National and International Diplomas in Occupational Health and Safety to better align the two […]

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Snow, ice and lost lifeboats—team building on the South Pole | HR Training - HR Magazine | HR Online

Snow, ice and lost lifeboats—team building on the South Pole

HR Magazine was invited to join the ‘Shackleton Challenge’—a highly unique training day to stimulate team-work and facilitate team-building in a challenging, rewarding and exhilarating fashion. The day was organised by AETG and conducted by Colin Tan, Managing Director & Chief Executive Coach, MetaNoia Intervention. After being fed and watered, the participants were tasked with […]

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Nurturing talent | HR Training - HR Magazine | HR Online

Nurturing talent

AIA setting the pace for developing leaders of tomorrow In March, HR Magazine attended the opening of the brand new AIA Leadership Centre in Bangkok. The insurance giant is once again leading the way through its commitment to enhancing the quality, effectiveness and professionalism of its people. We spoke with Shu Khoo, Group Chief Human […]

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A chance for 50 ambitious youngsters to become Adecco ‘CEOs for One Month’ | HR News - HR Magazine | HR Online

A chance for 50 ambitious youngsters to become Adecco ‘CEOs for One Month’

A springboard to brighter career prospects, with one candidate proceeding to become Adecco Group ‘CEO for One Month’ alongside Alain Dehaze Adecco Group, a HR solutions provider, is giving 50 entrepreneurial and ambitious youngsters the chance to become ‘CEO for One Month’ alongside the Adecco top management in their home countries. Online applications will be […]

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Organisational Coaching: What it is, how it has evolved and the future | HR Features - HR Magazine | HR Online

Organisational Coaching: What it is, how it has evolved and the future

By John Raymond, Head of Coaching, IECL What is Organisational Coaching? There is still much confusion between different fields of coaching including organisational, life and business coaching. If one looks at the definitions, we see, Coaching itself is a goal-oriented, solution-focused, question-based conversation to support the development of the trainee and achievement of their goals. […]

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Lifting the vision: why organisations need to develop new generation leaders now | HR Training - HR Magazine | HR Online

Lifting the vision: why organisations need to develop new generation leaders now

Knowing the best way to manage and develop Generation Y and Millennials into the next generation leaders is often the subject of intense debate within and amongst organisations. Though what most are in agreement about is that managing the newer generations—who will make up the majority of the workforce by 2020—will require new skills and […]

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Building high performance teams: a formula for organisational success | HR Training - HR Magazine | HR Online

Building high performance teams: a formula for organisational success

The quality of a team’s performance is one of the best predictors of organisational success. Businesses that understand this and commit to building high performance teams are those most likely to thrive in challenging times. It doesn’t matter how large or small your organisation is – if you want to improve performance, create and maintain […]

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Hong Kong: Hiring slightly up in Q4 2017

The 2017 Q4 results of the ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey indicated that for the next three months Hong Kong employers report upbeat hiring plans. With seasonal variations taken into account, Hong Kong’s Net Employment Outlook is up 17%.

Hiring prospects are the strongest reported in six years, improving by 2 percentage points when compared with the previous quarter and by 5 percentage points when compared with this time one year ago. 20% of the 790 employers surveyed forecast an increase in staffing levels in Q4 2017, while 3% predicted a decrease. 76% of overall employers surveyed anticipated no employment changes in Q4 2017.

The healthy hiring pace is expected to continue in 4Q 2017 in Services sector, with employers reporting a Net Employment Outlook up 21%. Hiring plans remain relatively stable when compared with the previous quarter, and improve by 3 percentage points when compared with this time one year ago.

Lancy Chui, Senior Vice President, Manpower Group commented, “The marketplace is showing signs of entering into a digitisation era across different industries, transforming itself to be higher tech and data driven, stepping up to the increased global competitiveness by the development of financial technology (Fintech). This has placed added pressure on an inadequate information technology (IT) talent pool within Services sector.”

To keep up, we are seeing employers bring in talents in the areas of data analysis, cloud computing, apps development positions within the Services sector. Chui noted, “As such, we expect job seekers will continue to benefit from the positive hiring sentiment. With the Asia- Pacific region representing the world’s most targeted area for cyber attacks, organisations are facing an even more complex challenge, not least IT security issue. Cyber attacks not only threaten financial institutions and banking systems but also different enterprises, so we’re seeing increased interest in reinforcing cyber security roles to minimise the chance of being attacked and the leakage of sensitive data.” As such, concerns over cyber security are clearly having an effect on cyber security roles hiring, thus bringing a knock-on effect on hiring activities in Services sector.

CEO pay not aligned with firm’s performance

A recent report suggested only few Singapore-listed organisations offer long-term incentive plans for their chief executives, while there is ‘significant misalignment’ between the firm’s profitability and the CEO pay.

The annual report conducted by Korn Ferry Hay Group found that only 11% of 541 Singaporean firms provide long-term incentives for top executives, with median total pay at SGD 625,000 for the 2016 financial year. This figure only changed a little from the previous 12 months.

The survey studied CEO remuneration data from local Singapore firms between 1 May 2016 and 30 April 2017 this year in nine sectors, which include commerce, construction, and manufacturing. It also compared the findings with the result of its study of CEO compensation at top 300 largest US-listed companies.

Executives in the United States receive total direct compensation of USD 12.5 million in the 2016 financial year, up 4.2% from the previous year. The rise in the total compensation, which includes salaries and bonuses, was greatly influenced by the rise in grant-date fair value of long-term incentives. The study noted that the long-term incentives at US firms ‘were by far the largest component of CEO’s pay, representing two-thirds of their total direct compensation’, Straits Times reported.

Meanwhile, 31% of Singaporean firms did not pay bonuses for their CEOs in the 2016 fiscal year, while 21% paid them despite suffering from losses. Almost 70 percent of companies that offered long-term incentives were large firms, the other 19% were medium-sized, and 5.2% were small ones, while Catalist companies made up 6.2%.

The report also noted that there was significant misalignment between company’s profitability and its CEO pay, owing to findings that about a third of the firms surveyed said they paid higher amount of bonuses in 2016 than in 2015, although the profits were actually lower.

A senior client at Korn Ferry Hay, Mr Kevin Goh stated that remuneration committees need to address the greater scrutiny from corporate governance activists, that indicated more emphasis on pay-for-performance and sustainable performance in the long term.

Goh added that having a long-term incentive plans will emphasise the point that top bosses must see the need to balance both short and long-term sustainability of their organisation.

Leading HR teams are redefining future HR with workplace technologies and employee-centric design

Bersin, Deloitte Consulting LLP has found in its latest High Impact HR research that new workplace technologies and changing workforce expectations are creating unprecedented future opportunities for HR to transform the way companies and their people interact.

Josh Bersin, Principal and Founder, Bersin, Deloitte Consulting LLP commented, "As companies focus on digital business transformation, they are discovering that the need to reskill, engage and improve the productivity of their people is paramount." These pressures, coupled with a shift toward team-centric management and a renewed focus on inclusion and culture, has totally changed the focus of HR.

Demands of digitally-enabled customers with high expectations are pushing HR leaders to focus on empowerment of the workforce and transformation of the workplace to create an irresistible employee experience.

Bersin's research finds the highest-performing HR teams surveyed tend to:

  • Focus on a flexible and empowering workplace experience. Leading HR teams are applying design thinking and partnering with their organisation's product, sales and marketing teams to overhaul HR offerings and to create engaging employee experiences. These organisations are more than 5-times more effective at improving employee engagement and retention than their peers.
  • Apply advanced HR technologies to help improve work, not HR processes. High-impact organisations are increasingly experimenting with and applying new digital platforms that can improve productivity, feedback and alignment among teams, rather than just automating existing processes or creating integrated systems of record with standard HR tools.
  • Shift to understanding and optimising networks of teams. High–impact HR organisations are redefining their talent practices around teams, instead of around hierarchies. Top organisations are 4.5-times more likely to practice effective teamwork and collaboration when they dedicate an increasing share of resources to building teams and supporting them to help drive business performance.
  • Lead the company's digital transformation efforts. While companies have struggled to make HR relevant for many years, Bersin's research shows that high-performing companies use HR to lead the digital transformation of the company. Organisations that use HR in this way are 2.5-times more likely to reach the ‘high-impact’ level in the research.
  • Operate cross-functionally and focused on customer-facing roles. High-impact HR teams now operate across all functions in an integrated way, creating common programmes and developing more levels of talent mobility. In Bersin's research, high-performing HR organisations are 51% more integrated across business functions and 43 percent more focused on customer-facing roles.
  • Shape and drive culture. HR leaders who promote and strengthen a culture of trust, inclusion and accountability to empower learning, innovation and performance are 5.1-times more likely to make employees feel connected and valued.
  • Revitalise and develop the HR function. These high-impact HR organisations are heavily focused on internal development and regularly outperform their peers in areas like analytics, artificial intelligence and data security.

Bersin concluded, "This research shows a whole different model for HR starting to be implemented around the world. These HR organisations are in a leadership and strategic role, they are actively redesigning the organisation, they are working directly with customer-facing groups, and they experiment and leverage technology to try to make work life better."

Robert Mostert

Former Head Human Resources, Global SSSCs
Standard Chartered

Robert Mostert was until recently Head Human Resources of the Global ITO (Information Technology & Operations) function of Standard Chartered Bank, and of Standard Chartered Global Business Services (GBS). The latter operates from shared service centres in India (Chennai and Bangalore), Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur), and China (Tianjin).

Robert joined SCB in 2008 as Head Human Resources of the Global Finance Area, followed by a period as Head Human Resources of the Global Risk Area. He spent his first 6 months at SCB in London, followed by a relocation to Singapore. During 2015-16 he was based in Chennai, followed by a relocation back to Singapore in January 2017.

Prior to his time at SCB, Robert worked as Global Director Human Resources of the Biochemical Division of CSM (based in the Netherlands), Director Organisational Development of Innodata Corporation (Manila, The Philippines), and as Senior Manager of KPMG Consulting (Hong Kong).

Robert holds a Master’s degree in Law from the University of Utrecht, The Netherlands, and is an MBA from the University of Bradford Management Centre in the UK. He recently completed the Senior Executive Leadership Program of Harvard Business School.

Jack Mak

Product and Customer Proposition Head, Pensions
HSBC

Jack Mak is the Product and Customer Proposition Head of HSBC’s pension business in Hong Kong, and is responsible for driving pension product design and holistic proposition that suit customer needs for both employees and employers.

Prior to joining HSBC, he worked as an employee benefit consultant and pension actuary for almost 20 years, advising a diversified portfolio of corporations on their employee benefit issues, including how to optimise their benefit strategies to achieve talent acquisition and retention.

He is a past president of the Actuarial Society of Hong Kong (“ASHK”) and a current committee member of the Pension, Benefits and Social Security Section of the International Actuarial Association.

Cathay cabin crew opt for extending retirement age

Cathay is poised to lengthen its retirement age from 55 to 60 in the coming years, as a proposal won majority support in an internal ballot, reported SCMP. 55% voted to raise the retirement age.

This comes after different departments within the airline had varying retirement ages.  The company must now fashion a deal with its labour unions so that its financial position is enhanced and staff get a positive outcome.

However, a spokesperson for the airline commented, “It is clear that different views exist among our people. We are sensitive to the fact that some of our people will view the outcome less positively.” Cabin crew found the result encouraging despite the narrow margin of support, according to Vera Wu Yee-mei, Chairwoman, Cathay Pacific Flight Attendants’ Union who also noted that 81% of those who voted supported the proposal.

A concern raised by some younger cabin crew was that their promotion opportunities may be worse with a higher retirement age. Wu rebutted, “The survey is bound to generate different opinions, but the bigger issue is we have to stop age discrimination against cabin crew at the company.”

The vote enables cabin crew to push for the extended retirement age, with the company looking to finalise details in 2018.

Several Hong Kong-based airlines offer earlier retirement than Cathay Pacific, with attendants of Hong Kong Airlines, Hong Kong Express Airways and Cathay Dragon being able to retire at 45. Cabin crew of many other major Asian airlines can still work to 60 and even beyond.

EY employees encouraged to build future-focused skills

EY has announced that it will introduce a new programme that will enable its 250,000 people in over 150 countries invest in their own careers. This is achieved by earning digital credentials in skills that differentiate them in the market, such as data visualisation, AI, data transformation and information strategy. The new programme, EY Badges—which will be launched in the coming months—builds on the organisation's continued commitment to deliver an exceptional experience for its people by equipping them with the necessary skills to solve complex problems, lead the highest performing teams and stay relevant in today's rapidly changing world.

Nancy Altobello, Vice Chair – Talent, EY Global commented, "At EY we provide our people with an exceptional career experience that's tailored to the individual. EY Badges is another way we're delivering on this commitment. By using badges to recognize our people's skills, we are increasing their career value and professional visibility, as well as equipping them with the right skills and experience to respond to the changing needs of our clients and to deliver our purpose of building a better working world."

Badges will be earned based on the same standards around the world, through world-class learning, fulfilling required experiences and making a contribution to the broader community, such as coaching colleagues, presenting to clients or publishing an article that educates others about the acquired skill.

Riaz Shah, Partner, Ernst & Young LLP and EY Badges Leader, said, "We're in an era of sustained global disruption and this means all professionals will have to gain new skills and experiences. EY Badges provides our people with opportunities to develop these future-focused skills and be matched with relevant projects, which helps our clients overcome challenges, adapt and thrive in a rapidly changing world."

The badges will be hosted by a third-party digital platform where credentials from EY and other leading organisations can be accessed. EY people will be able to display their badges on their social media channels. Information about badge verification and additional context about the earned skill can be accessed via these social media channels in one click, and this information will be accessible to everyone.

Nightmare on L&D street—What the *beep* went wrong with L&D?

L&D, where did it all go wrong? HR tackles the tough questions at its Summer 2017 conference. Asking some of HR’s finest, we get down to the nitty-gritty of where L&D took a nasty turn, and how organisations are tackling those challenges.

Calculated risk

Jenny Pong, Group Director of HR, JTH Group

HR frequently needs to answer abstract and open-ended questions. As Jenny Pong, Group Director of HR, JTH Group stated, “There were two questions posed to our team at JTH: how can we connect our people better? And how can we make people more innovative?” The HR department put their heads together and came up with a creative solution to increase both connectivity and innovation.

While most companies achieve connectivity through developing an intranet, doing so can be expensive and time-consuming. Besides, technological advancement has produced a newer and more interesting way of connecting people: social media. As for innovation, the team decided that the fastest route to innovation was to lead by example. HR could have brought in traditional trainers to conduct courses and L&D programmes focused on innovation, but, as Pong declared, “Actions speak louder than words. Rather than just using buzzwords, we needed to act as innovators ourselves.”

The HR team developed a company-wide social media app. Its most innovative component is the VR360 glasses which enable colleagues to visualise the organisation’s global community. The app also promotes connectivity through features like sharing happy moments and giving colleagues public recognition for a job well done. Employees are encouraged to share new ideas with each other, as well as like and comment on each other’s posts.

Rather than worrying about the challenges of taking such a game-changing step, Pong encouraged the trying of new things. For example, before releasing the platform, management worried about issues like how to inspire good etiquette and polite exchanges. But the team took a ‘wait and see’ approach and found that negativity on the app was really a non-issue. Pong emphasised, “Sometimes you just need to get something out quickly, learn from it, and then see how you can enhance it. If you want to inspire your employees to take more risks without fear of failure, HR must be leaders in that.”

Unlearn to learn

Tracey Roseborough Tam, Executive Director, Head of Learning & Development, APAC, Michigan Ross Business Schoo

There has never been a more difficult nor a more exciting time to be in learning and development. So says Tracey Roseborough Tam, Executive Director, Head of Learning & Development APAC, Michigan Ross Business School who explained, “We as a function have reached a tipping point where we must each decide if we will be brave enough to challenge the orthodoxy of what we as a profession have been doing for the last few decades. Are we ready to be open

to questioning what we know about leadership development, about learning and what it means to lead in today’s volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) world?”

Much of what is taught today in corporate programmes is often decades old and has too often been recycled from company to company to company... These traditional frameworks can be important, but they are not nearly enough to prepare leaders to survive and thrive in today’s drastically different and complex world of work.

Roseborough argues, “We need to explore future skills, systems, design and critical thinking as well as decision making for VUCA environments. Positive leadership, mindfulness and mindsets for employee sustainability will likely be the new normal going forward.”

L&D might also want to rethink the when and how of learning by exploring flipped classrooms, M learning, building learning back in work and exploring how to leverage peer learning within your organizations.

Key to L&D's future as HR leaders is their ability to learn a new language: the language of business. Roseborough mentioned, “I am increasingly seeing CHRO roles going to people without a HR background because there are not enough senior HR talent with the level of business understanding that is now increasingly being required by the business. Some companies are deciding that it is easier to teach a business leader HR than it is to teach business to a HR leader.

HR as a profession needs to adapt to the shifting requirements. In order for us to move into the next stage of evolution they need to think of themselves as business leaders first who happen to be responsible for the HR or L&D function and develop themselves accordingly. Roseborough concludes, “They say every great journey begins with a single step so carpe diem (seize the day) my friends!”

Embracing the 70-20-10 rule

Bessie Chong, Director, Group Training and Talent Management, Esquel Group

Bessie Chong, Director, Group Training and Talent Management, Esquel Group shared how Esquel use the ‘70-20-10 rule’ (70% on the job training, 20% mentoring and coaching and 10% formal learning) to drive people initiatives and develop talent progressively. Esquel aspires to make a difference by setting new benchmarks and improve efficiency by integrating talent with technology. Chong offered, “Our people strategy is to groom people from within so we must use different training and development approaches to help them fulfil their potential.”

Esquel University provides talent with structured training by offering tailored programmes in the form of a learning portal to facilitate personal growth. Progress is transparent so talent can take ownership of their learning and monitor their progress.

A blended learning model is then adopted according to employees learning interests and needs. To get employees on board, Esquel have rolled out the ‘a date with HR campaign’ where line managers have a ‘date’ with HR managers to aid the building of long lasting relationships with employees. Chong explained, “A series of dating dialogues provide HR managers with the opportunity to share their thoughts and help line managers and employees understand more about Esquel’s HR and people-related initiatives and the importance of personal growth.”

Chong believes that buy-in from line-managers helps to champion the initiative and foster a peer learning mind set which is integral to the initiative’s success. Therefore a ‘date’ with HR is more about fostering a change in mind set rather than initially focusing on a changing skill sets. Chong concluded, “Learning culture takes time to build—HR needs to build critical mass through communication. Talent must know why training is necessary and HR must help them identify areas for improvement in order to boost performance and enhance their careers.”

Training through WeChat

Joanna Lee, Group Head of Human Resources, Bauhinia Coatings Group

In mainland China, WeChat is an extremely popular social media app. As Joanna Lee, Group Head of Human Resources, Bauhinia Coatings Group, pointed out, “Everyone is attached to their mobile in China, and particularly WeChat. Therefore there is a huge mobile learning potential.” As her organisation is based across mainland China, using WeChat for both formal and informal training methods has been a highly effective way of increasing uptake.

Some of the official training offered through WeChat includes modules such as Emotional Intelligence (EI) training. Lee clarified, “EI is a highly important skill for managers. You must be able to effectively set the tone for your employees.” By rolling it out on the app, managers are exposed to the same training, regardless of location. The app is also used as an official channel of communication, with groups for different departments such as HR.

As for informal trainings, there are a range of materials available that employees can choose to view at any time. Lee explained, “Employees must be able to check out what they are interested in, when they are interested. This helps them ease their way into changes.” Employees can scroll down a list of trainings ranging from about a minute in length to 15 minutes or more, viewing whatever they would like. They can even earn red pockets for participating in enough of these unofficial trainings. In addition, there are informal groups to increase staff connectivity, such as a group to share interesting reading materials.

Despite the utility of WeChat, there are also some challenges to using it as an official channel. Lee voiced, “One concern right from the start is getting everyone to use their official names rather than fake usernames. From there, we need to make sure communication is kept formal and simple enough so that different groups can all understand each other.” Another challenge is keeping the chatter down, such as not having twenty employees respond with a thumbs-up sign to a manager’s announcement. Lee added, “Teaching people how to use WeChat appropriately in an official capacity is an important step in this process, and ensures staff are learning and communicating effectively.”

HR problem-solver

Gayle Antony, General Manager, Global Human Resources, INFINITI Motor Company Ltd.

HR is under increasing pressures internally and externally. The business is looking at HR to solve all its people problems, thinking they are the solution. Gayle Antony, General Manager, Global Human Resources, INFINITI Motor Company Ltd. said however, “HR is the not the solution itself, but rather the guide to finding one.” L&D alone is not the solution, but must work with the board to deliver strategic, not transactional change.

Antony emphasised, “At this point we have the power to decide what role we want play. We can sit back and wait for the business to come to us. Or we can go to the business.” HR should in turn approach the organisation with a broader perspective. Do not just go on what the business has told you needs addressing. Often there is a root cause that can be identified, and when addressed can have exponential positive outcomes. It is down to HR though to take the initiative and discover that. She cited a case regarding enhanced fuel economy for vehicles she experienced. Staff came to HR requesting training to better understand fuel economy and efficiency targets were not being met. After investigation, the cause of the problem was however not a lack of technical understanding, but rather independent teams not talking to each other, thus inadvertently undermining each other and affecting overall business goals.

Furthermore, Antony discussed how L&D should be broken down into 70% on the job training, 20% mentoring and coaching and 10% formal learning. She noted, “You need a variety of solutions that aren't just training based. L&D is focusing all its time on the 10% of formal learning.” This leaves the other 90% often ignored or left as an afterthought. The balance is clearly misaligned and the time balance must be reinvested accordingly.” HR cannot make the changes alone though. The business itself needs to own change.

Employee experiences count

Athena Ngai, Senior HR Manager, Sony Corporation of Hong Kong

Athena Ngai, Senior HR Manager, Sony Corporation of Hong Kong described how Sony Corporation continuously strives to add the ‘wow’ factor as the inspiration behind their training programmes. Ngai explained, “We want to cultivate diversified learning and career development opportunities and engagement through inspiration.”

Enriching on-board experiences for new hires is a key stage in developing talent at Sony and it is important that they are provided with the necessary support to do so. “We must instil our company values and spirit at the start of the development journey. We provide a series of orientation programmes including role clarification, corporate values and career management to help talent integrate quickly.” It is important to Sony Corporation that talent know how they can be supported in their role to enable them to become architects of their own careers. A career website is made available to provide talent with the practical tools to enhance certain competencies combined with career coaching and global opportunities to gain exposure in different cultures and working environments.

After the induction process is complete, young talent receive on-going development. Ngai offered, “The LEAP curriculum helps to strengthen leadership perspective and skills for young talent and enables them to apply learning in the workplace.” Managers play an important role in promoting personal growth and advocating training programmes. Participants are invited to share their experiences about the training they received which helps to further enhance their engagement with the training process.

Post training assignments also offer up interesting insights into what talent gained from training as they get the chance to undertake challenging assignments which can open up exciting new opportunities for them. Ngai concluded, “We aim to engage young talent by not just focusing on knowledge. We care about their well-being and it is important to equip them with the tools to help retain composure in stressful situations.”

Turning instructors into facilitators

Kay Chen, Human Resources Manager, APAC, Turner International Asia Pacific Limited
Gwen Lockington, Executive Director, HR, APAC, Turner International Asia Pacific Limited

 

The only thing that stays steady during the years is the need for L&D. L&D is in a constant state of flux, thinks Gwen Lockington, Executive Director, HR, APAC, Turner Broadcasting System Asia Pacific Limited who commented, “L&D is highly driven by changes in consumer desires and needs. As well as an explosion in different platforms for delivering it, the rate of change is accelerating.” Thorough assessment and analysis need to be conducted before committing to change. This implies HR must ask themselves some questions before taking next steps:

  • What is critical for the future?
  • Who can be retrained?
  • What roles need to be hired externally?

Fleshing out future goals is vital to keeping HR relevant. Predicting the future for L&D can be a daunting task, however, HR are a resilient bunch and will take any L&D challenges in their stride and come out the other side.

Discussing how L&D has morphed, Lockington described how things have changed, “Our organisation has moved from a structure of using instructors to one where learning is instead guided by facilitators.” This changes the learning dynamic entirely. As opposed to the previous cascade of knowledge, it has manifested into one that is more collaborative. Learning is guided by the facilitator who takes on the role of an advisor, allowing staff to direct their own learning more and come to their own conclusions.

As companies move towards utilising and making the bulk of training mobile and on-demand, Turner Broadcasting are somewhat shunning the trend. Learning is concentrated into two weeks annually which occurs company wide, throughout the globe. Kay Chen, Human Resources Manager, APAC, Turner Broadcasting System Asia Pacific Limited explained, “The training takes a holistic approach. Rather than single skills, it examines how we act and interact, and how we learn together.” Focusing on culture, rather than just skills, these core two weeks of training yield exceptional results for the company as a whole.

Measuring ROI and business impact at the end should not be forgotten. Programmes must have been relevant to the CEO’s vision, and that overall the mindset and culture has seen a boost. Measuring holistically is much more likely to give a rounder outlook of the company. As Chen iterated, “Our annual culture survey also measures the volume and quality of innovative ideas which can give further insight into the development of an organisation.”

Panel discussion
The first question asked of the panel was to talk about the biggest L&D ‘nightmare’ (or, to put it more positively, ‘challenge’) they had ever encountered. Tracey Roseborough Tam, Executive Director, Head of Learning & Development APAC, Michigan Ross Business School said, “I arrived in Malaysia for a week with the entire senior country leadership team only to find them basically in a cold war with each other. I knew it was pointless to continue with the scheduled leadership program and offered them the opportunity to spend our time working through their challenges in order to come together as one team. It was not an easy start. I just facilitated and they did the heavy lifting work. Thankfully, they all left hugging each other. What a journey!

Glenn Smith, Learning and Development Manager, Asia, The Adecco Group, also related an interesting story, “I was once asked if I could train an employee to stop burping! Of course, something like that comes down to an issue of manager to employee communication, which can in fact be addressed.”

Moderator:
Paul Arkwright, Editor-in-Chief, HR Magazine
The panel from left to right:
Tracey Roseborough Tam, Executive Director, Head of Learning & Development APAC, Michigan Ross Business School; Glenn Smith, Learning & Development Manager, APAC, Adecco Group; Femi Oei, HR Manager, JTH Group; Steven Ng, Head of Learning & Development, Baker McKenzie

 

Secondly, the panel talked about how to identify employees’ needs. Femi Oei, HR Manager, JTH Group commented, “Enabling your middle management is the most important. Specifically, middle management needs to be trained on handling challenging staff.” Oei explained that most middle managers are excellent at handling employees who are already good, but benefit from training for how to motivate weaker employees on the team. In addition, Roseborough Tam suggested, “Sitting in on business meetings for other departments can be a big help in determining business challenges and training needs in different areas.”

When asked about catering to Millennials, the panel reiterated themes such as gamification and utilising technology to increase engagement. However, Steven Ng, Head of Learning and Development, Baker McKenzie shared an alternative approach, “Law firms do not have the same scalability as an international business and therefore do not always focus on technological innovation. Instead, we focus heavily on a personal approach with lots of one-to-one mentoring. Millennial employees actually really enjoy this aspect.”

Finally, the panel was asked how to measure training effectiveness, particularly for short-term interventions like micro-learning. Smith established, “Of course it is important to measure KPIs and check your targets. More importantly, after the training ends the boss needs to know what behavioural changes they are looking for and keep an eye on whether employees actually adapt those changes.” Ng ended on a philosophical note, “Do you really need to measure everything? The value of certain interventions, such as mentoring, is difficult to measure quantitatively. It is really more about an employee’s long-term, overall well-being.”

International commuters benefit from greater future prospects

  • New research from AXA reveals 98% of big businesses surveyed say a globally mobile workforce is important, with a third saying it is critical to their success 
  • But staff working abroad want increasing flexibility with three-quarters of employers saying people want to commute internationally and continue living at home 
  • Those working internationally reap the rewards with many workers boosting earnings and career prospects 

Despite the unstable economic climate, unexpected political change and the impact of technology on societies the world's biggest companies still view a flexible and globally-mobile workforce as key when it comes to building a successful business, according to new research from AXA.

The study revealed that 98% of employers see a globally mobile workforce as important to achieving their objectives with a third believing it to be critical. More than half of the businesses questioned said sending staff on global assignments has improved the performance of their international operations and 44% said it improved employees' skill level.

However, the research revealed that while employers see international working as key, their staff do not necessarily want to move permanently to another country. Three-quarters of employers surveyed said there is a trend for staff to accept jobs based abroad while they continue to live at home: They become international commuters.

More than a third of firms said staff increasingly want to work abroad on short-term contracts and commute from their home country, with 27% saying that staff do not want to relocate permanently. The rewards for working internationally do, however, appear to make the commute or relocation worth the effort. The majority of staff working on international assignments said they took global placements to gain higher pay and benefits with 47% saying they took roles to gain accelerated career development and improve their skills.

Tom Wilkinson, CEO of AXA's global healthcare team stated, "Having an international workforce is critical for businesses that want to capitalise on the huge opportunities available in our global economy.” He continued, “While we read much about economic and political uncertainty in some countries, the reality is that businesses that take a global outlook are able to flex their operations to take advantage of growth markets wherever they may be.”

While the Internet and improved communications technology has made it easier for businesses to work globally, the key differentiator remains the talent of the people that organisations employ. Taking a flexible approach to pay and benefits that allows staff to remain connected to family and home while also accelerating their careers and creating commercial value for their employers is vital if international assignments are to succeed.

The need to get the right people for international assignments may partly explain why big businesses are willing to be more flexible with staff around how they structure international assignments and pay and benefits packages but the survey reveals that these postings come at a price for employers. On average, the firms surveyed said it cost them USD 50,267 over and above an employee's base salary for each staff member they have working abroad, with three-fifths of employers saying pressure to manage international assignment costs has increased in the past five years.

Star Service HR

Hang Lung’s talent development successes as headcount doubles

Janet Poon, General Manager – Human Resources, Hang Lung Properties has been with the Company since 2012 and helped transform their talent pool during a period of unprecedented expansion. She shares her innovative approach to talent attraction and retention to help fuel the Company’s phenomenal growth.

Janet Poon, General Manager – Human Resources, Hang Lung Properties

Adaptive HR

Hang Lung Properties has always taken a very people-centric approach to its growth, and more recently this has involved Poon revamping many aspects of HR processes in order to keep pace with the Company’s growth and attract new and even more diverse talent pools. She explained, “Over the past seven or eight years, we have achieved unprecedented growth—the gross floor area of Hang Lung Group has more than doubled during this period from 16 million to 34 million square feet. To keep pace with this, we have significantly increased headcount from 2,500 in 2010 to close to 5,000 now.”

In response to rapid business growth and the dynamic nature of today’s talent pool, Poon at the helm of HR in the Company has championed a number of unique measures including innovative recruitment methods, a fully customised training and development programme and caring initiatives to boost work-life balance, employee wellness and CSR efforts.

Innovative recruitment & selection

Poon explained the importance of recruiting people who have the same values as the corporation. She commented, “At Hang Lung ‘We Do It Right’ and so we are looking for talent with a high degree of integrity. We welcome people from all business areas—not just the property development sector. We believe that bringing on board a diverse range of talent and ideas they bring from different sectors can help positively shape our culture moving forwards.”  She added, “We have some of the best building designs in the world, the best locations for our properties and so we need the best team to ensure we run our business sustainably.”

To get the best talent on board and better reach the younger generation, the Company has developed designated corporate pages on various social media platforms including Facebook, LinkedIn and WeChat to help carry the employer brand and reinforce corporate values. The Company also has built up strategic partnerships with a selected group of recruitment agencies to help locate the best talent. Poon noted, “HR and Hang Lung places significant effort into strategic planning around manpower to best suit the Company's ongoing development. Poon noted, "In addition to our strategic manpower planning to ensure a continuous supply of high quality new talent, we also provide many opportunities for existing talent to move laterally throughout the Company.”

Hang Lung’s Staff Manoeuvre System facilitates excellent career development for its talent—in which they are proactively encouraged to move across the different functions and locations. Poon cited one example, “Some of our Management Trainees from Hong Kong choose to develop their careers in mainland China after their graduation. This breadth of movement throughout the Company helps give them a unique macro perspective of the property market through collaboration with contractors, consultants, investors, government departments in addition to project management interactions with their colleagues throughout the region and at different levels of the organisation.”

Poon added, “We do all we can to create a great candidate experience for new recruits and utilise AI, AR and Facebook throughout the recruitment process to enhance the process from the candidate perspective.”

Aside from this, the Company also organises TEAMS Days to recruit new management trainees which provide a light hearted environment in which to assess job applicants. Here around 200 candidates are selected from all the universities in Hong Kong and overseas, and are assigned strategic tasks to complete within the day. This involves candidates working in teams around several of the Company’s properties across Hong Kong and gives a very ‘real’ indication of how they perform different challenges and interact with others in the group. During the day, candidates are expected to come up with marketing strategies and plan projects based around limited budgets and resources. Poon explained, “Aside from our usual interviews—where candidates tend to be sometimes over prepared—the TEAMS Days allow us to assess their performance under much more realistic scenarios and in a more holistic manner. The days also provide an excellent opportunity for two-way communication between the General Managers (GMs) concerned and the candidates. The GMs get to know if the candidates are in tune with the culture of Hang Lung and at the same time the candidates get to learn a huge amount about the business—so both sides can assess if they think it’s a good fit.” The initiative received over 1,500 applicants in 2016 alone—15 of whom were selected to join the Hang Lung family.

Customised Star Service T&D

Star Service delivery is a key focus for the Company, and so significant resources have been channelled into staff development in this area. Poon explained, “We spent around three years thoroughly assessing and evaluating the service standards of our staff to identify key areas for further enhancement. From this the Company established four key stages of training programmes including its ‘four manners’ and ‘eight points’ as fundamental building blocks of the Hang Lung Star Service training programme. She added, “We take a developmental rather than a training approach to help staff self-develop and progress their careers through the Company.”

Stage 1

Four manners key to great service

The Hang Lung Star Service training programme was developed as a tool for frontline staff to help them better interact with customers including staff from the customer service, security, environmental protection and engineering teams. The Hang Lung Star Service training program is the tool for our frontline staff. Every colleague at every level may be interacting with our customers, so selected service delivery team supervisors in all of Hang Lung's mainland malls have already been trained as certified trainers to introduce the programme to all local staff.

Creating a great image is the first thing taught in the programme and advice to staff goes beyond basic grooming to include the wider concept of customer service—based on four manners:

greeting politely—welcoming customers with a warm and sincere smile

answering enquiries—showing kindness and effectiveness

value-added services—going the extra mile to proactively offer help to customers

ending with a warm farewell—leaving an impression of star service and a great image

Stage 2

Handling complaints

The advanced level of the training programme introduces talent to eight key points to help them better deal with complaints. The Company has always stressed the importance of listening and analysing complaints and feedback, with staff approaching and solving problems with a positive attitude. With the eight points, the Company has taken things a step further and created a 180-degree mind shift concerning complaints—so that instead of viewing complaints negatively, staff members actually see them as a gift. Customer feedback is a gift to the Company and our staff —allowing us to pinpoint our weaknesses and gives us valuable chances to further improve our service standards.

Engagement of talent and driving business are critical HR functions. You can’t just roll out items you have planned; first you have to also understand exactly how these actions will drive business results.

Stage 3

Reassuring and motivating

The Company launched its CS3 programme in 2015 which, initially pitched at supervisory grade staff, aimed to deepen understanding of the service standards in the areas of grooming, languages, knowledge and behaviours through a wide range of formats including: trainer sharing sessions, discussions, role-plays, mini-movie shoots and games. Lily Zhang, Senior Officer of HR & Administration, Parc 66 noted, “The interactive activities in the programme heighten the participation by staff members. The mini-movie shoots have been particularly effective in allowing colleagues to review what they have learned in class as well as better understand their own strengths and weaknesses by watching the play backs.”

The first pilot programme was held in Jinan in November 2015 and was later rolled out across all mainland projects in January 2016. Frontline supervisors from Concierge, Security, Hygiene, Cashier and Technical teams were selected to attend the first stage of the programme. The Company plans to implement the programme for all frontline staff in the near future as well as to make it as a compulsory course for new joiners.

Academy 66, the learning and development division of Hang Lung, formulates the ‘eight points’ for the training programme, specially designed them to equip frontline staff with eight key skills to handle complaints:

1. positive attitude

2. self-introduction

3. restate the problem

4. sincere apology

5. appreciate and comfort

6. clarify the situation

7. resolve the problem and follow up

8. service recovery

Stage 4

Belonging & engagement

The final phase of the training programme helps inculcate a sense of belonging, engagement and most importantly fostering two-way communication between talents across the organisation. This has been achieved through multiple efforts including coaching, demonstrating senior management commitment, the Hang Lung Challenge and recognising great performers within the organisation. On-going coaching helps ensure that core concepts learnt during the entire L&D programme are effectively transitioned into the workplace through on-going coaching of talent. Rolled out in every department of the Company, regular coaching sessions also ensure consistency across different business functions and help maximise the effectiveness of the entire T&D programme.

To help provide a positive influence on a more macro scale, the senior management team regularly travels to mainland China to conduct town hall meetings with talent across the country. This facilitates cross-departmental communication and further motivates staff who can see the tangible involvement and commitment of their executive leaders. Following the announcement of the 2017 interim results on 27 July, the Company held staff briefing sessions in Hong Kong, Shenyang, Tianjin, Wuxi and Shanghai. Chairman Ronnie C. Chan, CEO Philip Chen, CFO HC Ho, Executive Director Adriel Chan and other Management members explained the results and answered questions from the team. Colleagues from other mainland projects were also able to join via video conference to learn more about the Company's operations, management, financial performance and the business outlook in general.

Recognition—little actions matter

In terms of recognising employee efforts and great service, Hang Lung holds an annual ceremony where it presents its Emerald Award to frontline staff members who each demonstrated extraordinary excellence in customer service. Now in its third year, the Award helps recognise the efforts of frontline staff members who pursue service excellence with heartfelt conviction, one of the essential elements of Hang Lung’s corporate culture and in line with its ‘Go the Extra Mile’ spirit.

The Company views customer service as the very heart of its operations throughout the portfolio, from leasing to operational strategies, which enhances our corporate culture and provides momentum for our business to grow. The Emerald Award was launched to inspire frontline staff and reinforce Hang Lung’s longstanding focus on service excellence as well as to establish the award as an outstanding icon of the value the Company places on recognition of our team’s contributions on service provision.

In addition to receiving a certificate and a platinum emerald pin, each winner also takes part in a four-day exchange tour of service excellence, during which they will have the opportunity to find out more about how customer service works in other service industry sectors.

Caring initiatives

To help employees achieve a better work-life balance Hang Lung launched its employee wellness programme which includes a wide variety of activities ranging from stretching and sports classes, to a wellness day and health talks—all aimed at relieving stress and pressure on talent throughout the organisation.

The Hang Lung Social Club also organises activities including sports, cooking and family outings to help staff unwind in a relaxing environment outside the usual work context.

In terms of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Poon noted, “Team spirit and teamwork are very important, so we organise numerous CSR work for our teams. We actively encourage staff to bring along their family to participant in CSR projects to further boost engagement and maximise the effectiveness of the work we do as a team.”

Poon concluded, “At the end of the day engagement of talent and driving business are critical HR functions. You can’t just roll out items you have planned; first you have to also understand exactly how these actions will drive business results. The role of HR is developing rapidly and their role is no longer simply about pushing policies, HR is now the key stakeholder in leading and engaging staff at all levels in the organisation. Moving forwards it’s crucial that HR involves all business units in this process and constantly garners and acts upon feedback from talent at all levels.”

The Hang Lung Challenge

The Hang Lung Challenge was launched in Hong Kong in February 2017 and was rapidly extended to cover colleagues working across mainland China. The full-day course begins with the Legend 66 Game Board, which plays a key role along with other interactive games to introduce the Company background. One of the most interesting modules is the Hang Lung Adventure in the afternoon where colleagues are divided into groups to complete missions at various key properties. Poon commented, “The challenges have proven extremely popular and they not only help familiarise colleagues with the Company's portfolio, but also significantly train up and boost team spirit.”

It’s crucial that HR involves all business units in [driving engagement] and constantly garners and acts upon feedback from talent at all levels.

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