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ISSN 2221-8394

Parent-preneurs share WLB secrets Getting HR high, literally Dormant expats

HR Community—we attend HR events globally, so you don’t have to... distilled advice from thought leaders presenting at international HR events (pages 40–50)


Publisher’s note

Our Team

Publisher & Editor-in-Chief

Paul Arkwright Copy Editors

Sarah Purcell Layout Editor

Zoe Wong

Staff Writers

Philippa Edwards, Lily Heyland, Drew McNeill Designer

Malou Ko Advertising & Sales

Kollin Baskoro Tracy Poon

Photographers

Malou Ko Graham Uden

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As HR Magazine returns from Mumbai, spring is well and truly upon us, and as we warm up, so does the HR office as we look for innovative things we can accomplish in 2012 that will add to the bottom line and help further develop, engage and retain key talent. Our cover story on page 10 analyses the MBA debate and asks candidly if higher education programmes are really all they’re cracked up to be. We interview higher education providers around the region to ascertain how valuable MBA and executive education programmes are to your staff and whether they are really worth the capital invested. Getting HR high—we take off with Cathay Pacific in our special feature to find out what the integration of China and Hong Kong means for Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong and HR on page 20. We find out from John Slosar, Chief Executive at Cathay why, no matter what the economic situation, the P&L sheet should not be governing longterm HR strategies. While remaining relaxed we also delve into HR’s karma, on page 32, and the recruitment strategy overhauls currently being pushed by China. Accidents will happen, and when they happen away from the workplace, just who is liable? In this issue’s HR Legal section on page 62, we make sure you’re up-todate with what you need to know on liability when accidents occur ‘out of and in the course of employment’. Check out our extended HR Community section on page 40, which we’ve now broadened to cover regional events. In addition to sharing from other key HR events across the region, we give you the lowdown on what our keynote speakers shared at our HR February C&B Conference. Read on…and enjoy!

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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.

Spring 2012

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Contents

Inside this issue 04

HR news

Cover story

10

Paternity leave up, 2012 super-selective hiring, salaries constant in uncertain market, female managers raise value.

HR features

20

Getting HR high, How HR can tackle market challenges, How sticky are staff in Asia, China growth drives recruitment overhaul, Coaching and kings, Dormant expats, HR karma.

HR community

40

HR Magazine Conference: C&B strategies, AMCHAM 20th Annual HC Conference, World HRD Conference, Mumbai.

HR training

52

Parent-preneurs share work-life balance secrets.

HR events

56

Get these dates in your HR diary. If you would like to list your HR events simply e-mail us: kollin@hrmagazine.com.hk

HR classifieds

57

Why bother with MBAs

What do MBA and executive training programmes actually offer students and why send staff on them? We went out to universities across the region to ask these questions and bring you a roundup of our findings.

HR service providers throughout Asia.

HR legal update

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Accidents out of and in the course of employment—reducing employer liability.

Getting HR high

20

HR features

Talent hopping

Getting HR high We know life in HR can be extremely challenging at times—we’re not suggesting drugs. Rather we share insights into what Cathay Pacific is doing—with staff from Hong Kong and mainland China—to keep its teams on the same page and highly engaged. To this end HR Magazine recently caught up with John Slosar, Chief Executive, to get his take on the opportunities and challenges for HR that have resulted from the growing economic integration between Hong Kong and mainland China and how he is leading his team to even greater altitudes. Slosar has been with the Swire Group for 31 years and this is his third time with Cathay Pacific. Having run Swire’s beverage business for over nine years, he has considerable experience at the helm in times of crisis. Slosar is well versed in taking full advantage of situations that seemingly present organisations with an overwhelming number of difficulties. He views the growing economic integration between Hong Kong and mainland China as a great opportunity, rather than a challenge. This positive mindset is undoubtedly a major factor contributing to his popularity in his current role at Cathay

as CE and his no nonsense approach to building solid teams, without letting profit cycles get in the way of HR policy.

Graduate talent mixing bowl

The company has always recruited graduates from both mainland China and Hong Kong and manages them together—nurturing them towards senior management roles within 15 to 20 years. Slosar noted, “The integration of the two markets has meant that talents from mainland China are very interested in working in Hong Kong and at the same time talents from Hong Kong are very interested in working in mainland China.” This ‘talent mixing bowl’ has served to significantly bolster Cathay’s team— producing a diverse network of people with different skills sets and experiences. Slosar was quick to stress the importance of giving employees interesting and challenging jobs in order to help them develop themselves and their skill sets. This enhances staff retention, as employees feel more empowered and can see their own personal development in action, which naturally makes them want to stay with the company to make a career for themselves.

Getting HR high HR Magazine

HR features

HR features

John Slosar debates HK-Mainland synergy at HKMA’s 2011 Annual Conference

20

How sticky are staff in Asia?

In mainland China staff development and retention are notoriously difficult to sustain. Slosar commented, “If you’re a talented, skillful, experienced and aggressive young manager in China you have a lot of opportunities. People are not shy at looking at those opportunities and moving around to take advantage of the best available opportunities.” He added, “The company has always invested in their employees and it’s in our organisational culture to continue as such. The challenge for us is to figure out how to retain people.”

on the same page and everyone has to see some benefit from the success of the company. If certain people involved don’t benefit from the success, the initiative isn’t there to keep them motivated. This will truly pay off when things are tough—people will then pitch in as a team to make things better.” He added, “You have to reach out to your staff—your

staff are still your staff. When things become tougher, it’s their motivation and dedication that will help the company to pull through. It’s a big mistake when a company stops treating the workforce like they belong to the company.” Communication with staff is paramount in any HR policy—which should also include letting staff know how they can contribute to the company’s success. Cathay Pacific have a profit-sharing scheme so that everyone involved can benefit from their hard work—whether it’s a one dollar or five billion dollar profit— staff involved will be apportioned a share of that. “It gives them the confidence to believe: if I work hard and contribute something to the company, I’ll get something back for it,” expressed Slosar. Slosar admits that this is easy to say… much more difficult to do…but that doing so is the ‘right thing to do’ ensuring a healthier long-term HR strategy and a much more engaged team.

Just how sticky are staff in Asia?

24

On the same wavelength

A fundamental issue for every organisation is that there are managers, shareholders and staff involved in its success. With these three elements in mind Slosar stated, “All three have to be

John Slosar, Chief Executive, Cathay Pacific

Spring 2012

HR Magazine recently caught up with John Slosar, Chief Executive, to get his take on the opportunities and challenges for HR that have resulted from the growing economic integration between HK & the PRC.

21

HR features

Chart 1 How would you characterize your view of Greater China economic and financial outlook in 2012?

Ignore margin cycles

Margins are a cyclical issue—in good years they go up and in bad ones they go down, but Slosar advised HR professionals to maintain a long-term HR strategy. He said, “We don’t let the current year change our staff policy.” Annually, 15-20 graduates are hired— recruits move horizontally through the organisation as giving people new roles in new geographies is key to successfully training a recruit. Staff are internally developed and so the company doesn’t need to look outside for new recruits to fill positions. Annual margin cycles shouldn’t influence a company’s staffing policy and this has been proven to be true over the long-term.

Beaches, bananas, Bollywood 38 HR features

Chart 2 Are you seeking a career change in the next 12 months?

China may well not be the global business panacea that sales forecasts predict. China’s captains of industry have expressed caution that glowing sales forecasts for their companies may be exaggerated puffs of smoke in the Year of the Dragon. This according to the latest annual survey of over 5,000 Asian movers and shakers just conducted by the MRI China Group. We present a snapshot of the Group’s latest Talent Environment Index detailing first hand views of the working professionals in jobs and prospective managers, across the Asia talent pool and look at staff sentiment and talent movement trends in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Southeast Asia in addition to Europe and North America.

companies experiencing sickly sales figures in their home markets, but within mainland China, the view is more cautious. Christine Raynaud, CEO, The MRI China Group commented, “Mainland China respondents overall, while relatively optimistic—with over 40% positive about Greater China economic outlook and 15% negative— are less buoyant than the rest of our survey respondents in Asia and in the rest of the world with respectively 50% and 60% of positive outlook and 10% negative. Maybe China’s engineered soft landing, tighter credit, overcapacity and slower demand from the Eurozone have begun to be felt more sharply within China than without.” That difference is even more stark at the top—the lowest rate of positive outlook is with the top management in mainland China with only 38.5% of positive respondents compared with close to 43% from all other mainland China respondents.

Different economic outlooks

The Chinese economy grew at 8.9% in Q4 of 2011 the weakest in two and a half years and analysts are forecasting a GDP of only 8% for 2012. By contrast, domestic retail sales for multinational brands remain robust and the latest PMI figures released show an expansion in industrial activity. “It’s almost as if the China economy, in every respondent perception, was disconnected from the rest of the world,” said Raynaud. She added, “These are confusing times for business leaders. Half of all those surveyed held a negative view of the global economic outlook for 2012, whilst almost half again were positive about the Greater China outlook, which may lead to an overreliance on China growth targets and increase the pressure on teams there.” In Hong Kong and Taiwan very few respondents—6.6% and 6.4%, respectively—were upbeat about world prospects; making the reliance on an

How sticky are staff in Asia?

exuberant China even more crucial to regional and global forecasting by those key decision makers polled.

All change—China career ambitions

With attention so firmly fixed on China’s growth, unsurprisingly mainland China was found to still be the most active location for career changes. For 2012, a third of respondents in mainland China were definitely planning a career change compared with 24% recorded in 2011. The figure is highest in Guangzhou with over 38% of staff planning a career change.

Managers more sticky, but still peeling off

China’s captains of industry have expressed caution that glowing sales 24 forecasts for their companies may be exaggerated puffs of smoke in the Year of the Dragon. China growth—pressure cooker

China demand is still seen as the panacea for Asian and Western multinational

HR Magazine

There is better news at the top management level, of whom 27% are now planning to stay put, compared with just 9% last year—reflecting the more cautious trend amongst top management.

Beaches, bananas and Bollywood belly dancing

is, however, still an improvement on last The survey also indicated that women year’s figure of just 14.8%. in mainland China are fractionally more In all other markets outside mainland stable than their male counterparts when China, top management were found to it comes to sticking with their careers, be more stable with only 17% indicating with a shade over 30% planning to wanting a career change. The survey change careers versus almost 34% of indicated that staff in Taiwan, 38%; men surveyed. This figure is significantly Singapore, 39.5%; and the rest of Asia, lower in Hong Kong, with only just over 37.5% maintained strong intentions for 21% of respondents indicating a definite Hailing from Shanghai in 1903 and career change. intention to stay in their careers. This

Innovative ideas on boosting employee wellness currently headquartered in Hong Kong, the

programme, fresh fruit was generously distributed and the pantry fridge featured number of tips on food storage.

Chart 3 What is yourWallem perception of career opportunities your industry in 2012? a Group handles shipinmanagement

with related agency, brokering and IT services. The Group holds a longstanding record of tending to the health of its six to seven thousand seafarers. Recently, senior executives, in collaboration with Matilda International Hospital, designed a programme to enhance the well-being of its land-based staff.

Bollywood belly dancing

spaced out enough that staff do not get overwhelmed but at regular enough intervals to hold their interest. The wellbeing programme is undertaken every two years with the alternate years focusing on environmental issues.

Beaches, bananas & Bollywood belly dancing The healthy eating campaign was supplemented by other well-being strategies such as the development of a company walking group, hip-hop and jazz dancing classes, as well as Tai Chi and ping pong. Yet the activity which featured most highly in the memories of Wallem Group Head Office staff was that of a Bollywood-style belly dance around the office floor. Elizabeth Berrill, Group Media Manager offered some advice for HR, “Come up with something different and work with your communication teams. Engage the staff, ensure the experience is fun and provides a regular and clear message to your employees.”

ROI measured in retention

Recently, senior executives at Wallem Mini-health checks Group, in collaboration with Matilda 25 International Hospital, designed a programme Beaches and bananas to enhance the well-being of Briefings its land-based staff. Measures included a mini-health check Spring 2012for all and interactive talks from consultant Matilda Medics, closely aligned to the needs of these employees. Sessions incorporate well-woman and well-man type seminars delivered in both English and Cantonese.

As a novel trimming, the staff canteen was temporarily transformed into a relaxing beach area—featuring sun, sea and sand on a decorative mural across the back wall. Each table was pertinently designated as ‘port’ of a country whose cuisine was analysed in terms of its nutritional value. For the duration of the

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Within the Wallem Group line managers are fully briefed on the importance of these initiatives both from an individual and organisational perspective. The key to programmes truly making an impact, explained Berrill, is to have them

Engagement levels of staff was high in relation to the employee wellness activities and the participation rate in the mini-health checks was over 90%. In the open environment of the Wallem offices, early adopters were soon followed by onlookers and those to whom the word had spread. Debbie Mannas, Group Head of Human Resources pointed to the growing momentum of work-life balance considerations in the Asia Pacific region as one reason for the high uptake of these activities. She concluded, “Whilst the value of such incentives cannot be directly measured in financial terms, humans are emotional beings. In an otherwise fair and transparent marketplace these softer benefits count towards the emotive argument for staying put at an organisation and become organisational enablers for retention of staff.”

HR Magazine

Spring 2012

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HR news

Tang–naughty but nice Although admitting to having ‘strayed’ in his love life, the Hon. Henry Tang Yin Yen GBM GBS JP remains tight lipped amid rumours of extramarital affairs—recently purported by Next Magazine. He was, however, much more forthcoming with advice to business leaders in his speech delivered on Leadership Management at the HKMA’s 51st Annual Fellowship Dinner. Citing the visionary leadership of Steve Jobs that led Apple to become a household name, Tang pointed to four key pillars of successful management: leadership, vision, execution and communication. On leadership, he commented, “Some say that we are born leaders. I don’t believe this. I believe that it’s not what you are born with that

makes you, it is what you do that makes you.” Tang went on to note that all good leaders not only have vision, but can also communicate that vision to inspire and influence others to realise those goals. Tang gave advice to aspiring business leaders. He said, “It is important that you never lose sight of your vision, however, don’t get lost in it. It is important that we dare to dream and yet not let little things shackle you and keep you from attaining this dream.” He concluded, “I have learnt through my experience that people expect leaders to lead and governments to plan for the future while governing in the present. I think that this works for managers as well.”

Positive year ahead for many employment sectors in Hong Kong Hong Kong’s white collar recruitment market is set to remain active in 2012 due to continued international investment into the Asia region and Hong Kong’s position as a key regional hub, according to a recent survey conducted by global recruitment firm Michael Page International. Incorporating the responses of more than 250 Hong Kong-based hiring managers, the Michael Page Salary and Employment Forecast revealed that employers are expecting a positive employment market over the next six to 12 months despite economic difficulties in some international markets. “Early signs show that while there is an element of caution, the expectation remains that 2012 will be a solid year for recruitment in Hong Kong with career opportunities for talented professionals,” said Anthony Thompson, Managing Director—Hong Kong and Southern China, Michael Page International. He added, “However, uniformity across

04

HR Magazine

sectors is not expected, with some areas set to experience substantial hiring and others where employers are taking a more conservative approach due to economic conditions in Europe and the US.” Areas where demand for talent is expected include front line, revenuegenerating roles, while individuals with technical skills in engineering, IT, and construction remain in demand due to

continued investment in infrastructure across Asia. In the finance and accounting and financial services sectors, regulatory requirements mean there will be continued need for staff with compliance, governance, internal audit and legal skills. In addition, demand for talented human resources specialists is expected as the management of human capital remains critical for businesses.

Salary snapshot • 72% of employers will award salary increases in 2012 at varying levels based on performance. • Where salary increases are awarded, 42% will be in the range of 4% to 6%, with a further 26% of employers offering between 3% and 4% salary increments. • Skills shortages are also expected to place upwards pressure on salaries—62% of respondents predicting that salary levels will rise above the inflation rate in 2012.


HR news

Cathay Pacific recruitment takes off Cathay Pacific mean business this year and want to further expand their team, taking on board an additional 400 new recruits to fill customer service roles in Hong Kong. The staff will meet, greet and assist passengers at checkin services at the airport and in-town check ins. Integrating the new recruits is a priority and to achieve this they will participate in a 10-day apprenticeship so that they can shadow and learn from more experienced employees. Staff have to deal with close to 100,000 passengers per day, and due to the

consequential stress—turnover rates in these positions remains between 10 – 15%. Starting salaries are a modest HKD11,000 and HKD12,000, but come with good benefits. According to Cathay, new recruits should expect a five-day work week; public holidays and annual leave; allowances for working overtime, overnight, on days off, public holidays or during typhoons/ black rainstorms; professional training; travel benefits for family and friends; medical benefits and insurance; and a Cathay Pacific provident fund. 

More female managers, higher share price Companies that record more women at managerial levels appear to benefit from healthier share prices in times of market turmoil, according to a recent Thomson Reuters survey In recent years, corporations have been doing much more to track the number of women they employ and in those that do, share prices are higher in companies with a higher proportion of female managers. The results come from the latest report from Thomson Reuters: Women in the Workplace based on data compiled from over 2,600 companies worldwide. The study provides an overview of the latest trends in gender equality within large and mid-cap publiclytraded corporations globally, examines the differences between the US and Europe, compares sectors and how more women onboard could reflect higher investor returns. The number of companies disclosing quantitative information on the percentage of their workforce composed of women rose by 13% from 2005 to 2010. For the same set of companies over the same five year period, there was a 10% increase in those disclosing the percentage of their managers who were women. Despite this, there has only been a small increase in the number of women breaking through to more senior roles

(middle management). There are still a number of companies where women make up more than half the workforce but only a fifth of the managerial staff. Progress is being made in Hong Kong and China regarding disclosure, however, in the global context, their figures are still relatively low with only 16% of locallybased companies surveyed disclosing the number of women in management in 2010. The results indicate that, on average, women only account for 27% of staff in management roles, despite occupying 41% of the total workforce. European companies are doing far better at reporting this data than North American businesses, but American companies seem to have more management-level (middle management) female employees according to the data. Three industries: healthcare, cyclical consumer goods/services and financials outdo most of their peers when it comes to offering women managerial posts. The most striking increase was found within the financial sector, in which by 2010 women accounted for an average of 33% of managers. The analysis also indicates that the stock prices of those companies that do best at opening job opportunities to women

may fare better at times when broad stock market indicators are either highly volatile or falling. Comparison of the 2011 returns of Stoxx 600 contributing companies—with more than 30% female managers or board members—against the broader market index, revealed that those with a significant number of women managers fared better during the more volatile market periods in the second half of 2011. Commenting on the analysis, Andre Chanavat, Manager of Environment, Social & Governance Commercial Support, Thomson Reuters said, “The data suggests that companies that help their female employees break through the glass ceiling may produce higher risk-adjusted returns for shareholders in periods of market volatility reminding us that gender equality in the workplace is more than a matter of social justice: it may make good business and investment sense. This analysis also illustrates how being able to screen for a wide range of responsible investment strategies and integrate them with traditional investment analysis can prove interesting for professional investors in identifying a new range of buy and sell signals.”

Spring 2012

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HK employers cool hiring pace in Q2 In terms of hiring outlook, market sentiment—although still positive—is starting to wane slightly. Hong Kong employers expect some opportunities to increase staffing levels during the next three months, according to the latest Q2 Manpower Employment Outlook Survey of 810 employers. The Survey, however, also revealed that employers have their lowest levels of hiring confidence since Q4 2009. This may be a signal that many employers intend to monitor global market trends before taking a more aggressive approach to hiring. After removing seasonal variations from survey data, Hong Kong’s Net Employment Outlook stands at +9% with hiring prospects weakening both quarter-on-quarter and year-on-year. While 11% of employers surveyed forecast an increase in staffing levels in the next quarter, only 3% predicted a decrease. Meanwhile, 82% of employers

surveyed expect no employment changes in Q2 2012. Employers in all six industry sectors surveyed expect to increase staffing levels during the second quarter of 2012, however, hiring prospects soften in all six industry sectors quarter-

over-quarter. Year-over-year, employers report declining hiring prospects in all six industry sectors. The most optimistic hiring plans are reported in the Mining & Construction Sector, where the Outlook stands upbeat at +12%.


HR news

Salaries constant in uncertain market

With the uncertainty surrounding the current global economy as the Eurozone and the US face unprecedented challenges, how does Hong Kong shape up? With its exposure to global markets, Hong Kong will face challenges but is expected to recover from 2011. Recruitment requirements look to increase in the second half of 2012, according to the latest Salary Survey released by Links Recruitment. The survey reviews and forecasts the job market across a wide range of industry sectors including: banking and financial services; accounting and finance; sales, marketing and retail; human resources and administration in addition to temporary and contract hires. Swapna Reddy, Division Manager for Links Recruitment’s Banking & Financial

Services and Accounting & Finance division said, “Recruitment activity within the banking and financial services industry in Hong Kong has slowed down drastically in the last few months. Following the recent financial turmoil, corporations are decreasing their hiring significantly. Most internationally renowned banks are likely to focus on cutting costs rather than hiring new personnel through the beginning of 2012, although optimism is high that companies will start to hire strategically later in the year.” From a sales, marketing and retail perspective, hiring remains relatively strong and positive although carefully measured, and headcounts justified. Employers are cautious about economic instability expected in the second half of 2012. Digital marketing professionals lead the way as one of the most sought after functional areas and there is an increased trend in hiring candidates with experience growing businesses in China across sales and marketing. Although most candidates received salary increments in 2011, concerns about the EU debt crisis and slow economic growth in the US will result in more caution on budget control in 2012. Forecasts do show that most companies will offer some selected budgeted pay increases. Companies are having challenges in sustaining a competitive edge as they face changes such as development of new sectors,

changes in existing business models and modification of skill sets. Catherina Boh, Division Manager, Links Recruitment—HR & Administration Division expects to see the trend for contract roles within the banks to continue into 2012 from Q4 of 2011. Legal, retail, manufacturing and private equity firms will continue to hire quite extensively in permanent positions though. Boh commented, “The majority of our clients have emphasised the importance of language skills and stability from candidates. We expect that the market will recover and continuously increase in recruitment needs across all sectors in 2012.” As the global economy faces instability, opportunities for temporary and contract positions look stable for 2012, as companies are likely to enforce a freeze on hiring permanent staff. For employers, temporary staff provide a low risk assessment to measure their cultural fit and evaluate their job performance. John Eyres, Managing Director, Links Recruitment concluded, “Hong Kong will see challenges in the first two quarters of 2012 with the continued Eurozone crisis. However, it will continue to benefit from the growth of the middle class in China driving consumer demand and associated corporate growth. Salaries will remain flat for the year, with companies required to keep costs under control, and with a large candidate pool to choose from.”

Addressing disability in Asia—a business imperative International studies suggest that around 400 million people with disabilities live in the APAC region. When taking into consideration the impact on Asian families, the lives and livelihood of over 800 million people are impacted, about 25% of the population. Kate Vernon, Managing Director, Community Business commented, “The incidence of disability is widespread and growing in Asia. This is significant for the corporate sector, because these growing numbers of

people affected by disability represent a company’s customers, employees, shareholders, stakeholders, partners and competitors. Addressing the needs of people with disabilities is therefore not merely a philanthropic or socially responsible gesture—it’s a business imperative that requires corporate commitment at the highest levels.” With this in mind, the Building Disability Confidence Campaign was designed to raise awareness on the importance of addressing disability as a business

issue and promote greater equality and access to opportunities for people with disabilities. 20 leading companies from across Asia showed their support for the International Day of Persons with Disability in Asia at the end of 2011. Companies engaged in a wide range of activities from sending out communications about and running employee training programmes to auditing their premises and participating in outreach projects serving people with disabilities.

Spring 2012

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HR news

Raising staff Hz may reduce sick leave

A group of scientists in the US claim that they can lower sickness and boost staff morale through a technique based on the communication of energy. Dr Bruce Lipton and Dr Royal Raymond Rife believe that energy is responsible for the functioning of the human body and, critically, that cells take their signal from individual beliefs, not the environment. This signal is then transmitted through the central nervous system and determines the frequency at which a body resonates. The study cites healthy bodies as operating at between 78 to 83Hz, colds and flu begin at 60Hz with cancer receptors present at 42Hz. Edel O’Mahoney, who works in the field of energetic communications in the UK, asserts that lower frequencies are caused by individual stressors and that HR Departments can provide this knowledge to staff to help them raise their internal frequencies through positive thinking, thereby reducing time off work. She maintains that this knowledge takes the form of understanding the foundation of their well-being, defined by knowing who they are and not being afraid to live out their passions.

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HR Magazine

Super-selective hiring in 2012 Many companies are expected to adopt the same cautious approach to hiring as seen in the second half of 2011, as they continue to monitor the global economic climate. This, according to the latest Robert Walters Global Salary Survey. Last year, Hong Kong experienced active hiring in the first half of 2011 across most industries, however, recruitment efforts were much more cautious in Q3 and Q4 as a result of both European and US economic volatility. In 2011, within the banking and financial services sector, growth in the front office was accompanied with hires in back office roles within finance, which remained a ‘must-have’ function for most companies. Recruitment across the commerce sector continued to grow with steady demand for experienced professionals across various functions such as IT support, shipping, supply chain and HR throughout 2011. With sales in the retail sector jumping over 24% in September from the previous

year’s level, to over USD4 billion, sales and marketing professionals were highly sought-after in the retail and luxury sector. The survey indicates that as we progress into 2012, experienced professionals will continue to be in demand across all sectors, but that organisations will be more selective in their hiring to ensure they bring on the right talent who can add value to the company. This ‘super-selective hiring’ has been exacerbated by the protracted period of global economic uncertainty. While organisations in the banking and financial services sector may adopt a ‘wait-and-see’ approach in the first half of 2012, banks will continue to hire for critical positions particularly in the areas of governance and compliance. The survey also suggests that companies in the commerce space will continue growing—with retail, education and tourism businesses likely to be at the forefront of any hiring activities.

Hong Kong’s financial hiring high Almost half of Hong Kong companies are set to add skilled finance, accounting and banking personnel to their team in the first half of 2012. This is according to research revealed in the latest Robert Half Financial Employment Report. Eighty percent of Hong Kong’s CFO’s and finance leaders are confident about Hong Kong’s economic growth prospects for 2012 and 85% are confident in their own company’s growth plans when compared with last year. Nearly half of those recruiting said the reason is increasing workloads, while 40% cited business growth or expansion.“Hong Kong is maintaining its reputation as one of the world’s most competitive financial hubs… And this means opportunities are available for talented job candidates,” said Pallavi Anand, Director, Robert Half Hong Kong.

Finance (21%) was rated as the toughest functional area to find skilled job candidates, followed by Accounting (18%), Audit (13%), Operational Support (11%) and Compliance (7%). The survey also found that 46% believe there will be no change in the number of permanent accounting and finance professionals in their organisation in the first six months of the year. Only 2% say their company is planning to decrease headcount. “Hiring within finance and accounting remains relatively upbeat and there is still intense competition for talented candidates. We would advise even those employers who are intending to keep headcount the same over the first six months to continue to take proactive steps to retain their best people and help develop their skills as they grow their businesses in 2012,” Anand said.


HR news

Base salary, paternity leave on the up Hong Kong employers are forecasting a base salary increase of around 5% in 2012 despite the uncertain global economy The result emerged from the January 2012 Pulse Survey conducted by Hay Group Hong Kong. The survey examined salary and variable pay trends from 130 local and multinational companies from the industrial, financial, consumer goods and services, public, and real estate sectors in Hong Kong.

Base salaries up 5%

The survey indicates that enterprises are looking forward to an average base salary increase of 5.1% in 2012, up from an actual increase of 4.9% in 2011. Salaries in the real estate sector recorded an average of 5.2% increase in 2011, and are forecast to rise 5.5% this year. Thomas Higgins, Director of Hay Group Hong Kong, said, “Companies are projecting an average base salary increase in 2012 of around 5.0% across the board. However, drops in variable pay are predicted.”

Variable pay drops

The most significant drops in variable pay are forecast in the real estate and finance sectors. Although variable bonuses, are high in the real estate sector, there are uncertainties in the property market, meaning that this year’s bonuses are likely to be less than last year. Financial sector variable pay forecast is down to 1.9 months from actual 2.4 in 2011.

Paternity leave more popular

An interesting highlight from the survey concerns the often vexed area—paternity leave. More than half of the surveyed organisations are already taking steps

towards assisting their employees to balance work and family commitments by offering paternity leave. While there is no statutory obligation to provide paternity leave in Hong Kong SAR, 56% of organisations from 114 responses to the question said that they provided at least some paternity leave, with most providing one to two days, 42%; followed by three to four days, 36%; and the rest providing up to seven days. “While these results are modest by some international comparisons, what it does point to is that more companies are finding any potential short-term productivity loss can be outweighed by achieving a better work-life balance outcome for employees. Further, paternity leave can increase an employee's sense of belonging and enhance the image of a company as a caring employer.” Companies surveyed who did not provide any form of paternity leave, however, are less likely to introduce it in the near future. Higgins added, “We also need to bear in mind that more often than not, this is an employee benefit larger organisations find easier to implement. It can be difficult for small businesses to implement this kind of workplace change.” According to Higgins, the three most critical issues survey respondents face are: maintaining pay competitiveness, and attracting and retaining talent. He commented, “Those organisations that are relying on base salary as the primary mechanism for getting the best people on board and keeping them are at a distinct disadvantage. Hay Group research indicates that the world’s most admired organisations don’t pay any more than anyone else. They more effectively implement variable pay with clear links to performance, develop leadership capability, and put in place retention and engagement strategies for the talent needed to run their businesses. For many, part of the sweetener includes the offer of paternity leave.”

Food for thought Performance management still HR staple Senior HR practitioners and business leaders recently shared unique approaches to contemporary business issues at the Executive Development Seminar hosted by Hong Kong Baptist University. During the seminar, Francis Chan, Country Manager—Hong Kong, Lumesse gave a presentation on effective performance management processes. Chan shared his organisation’s latest findings on how HR practitioners, in adopting the right performance management processes, have been able to significantly enhance employee performance. The research was conducted in 44 countries and encompassed over 500 businesses and HR executives. Chan advised that when conducting performance appraisals HR professionals should ensure that their organisation: develops ‘goals based on Finance metrics’, adopts a ‘pay for performance’ strategy and facilitates ‘goal alignment’. Chan explained that by taking such measures, these strategies would offer both the organisation and its employees a fair and transparent platform—facilitating maximum business progress.   Chan concluded, “Performance Management is a core HR module, yet it is not an easy task to carry out good performance management practices. HR specialists are advised to work closely with their teams and create trends in talent management which reflect how the new business landscape is taking shape.”

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Do MBAs work?

There are few who would argue that academia alone can fully prepare anyone for the world of business, let alone the rigorous and varied challenges of HR. As Henry Mintzberg, Cleghorn Professor of Management Studies at McGill University in Quebec, Canada put it, “Trying to teach people who have never practiced is worse than a waste of time—it demeans management.” Many academic institutes offer courses in ‘management’ and ‘strategy’ but, by the very nature of academia, frequently involve students looking in from the outside. It is virtually impossible to become a manager in a classroom, as management is not a profession, nor a science, but rather an art or a practice learned through experience. Like art, management can be admired in a classroom, but looking is very different from doing.

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In times of economic downturn MBA applications go up—when employees are most fearful for their jobs, or just looking for a change of focus. But do MBAs work? Business schools are certainly not a prerequisite to becoming a successful entrepreneur. A quick look at a few globally successful entrepreneurs would seem to back up this assumption: • Richard Branson—left Stowe School when he was sixteen with poor academic performance and has dyslexia—now has an estimated net worth of USD4 billion. • Bill Gates, Mr Microsoft—a college dropout—named the richest person in the world by Forbes Magazine 27 times­—has an estimated net worth of USD40 billion. • Steve Jobs—dropped out of Reed College—had a total net worth of about USD7 billion when he passed

away, if he had not sold any Apple shares this would have been closer to USD36 billion. • Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook— dropped out of Harvard University—is now worth an estimated USD15 billion. Evidence would indicate then, that let alone an MBA, even a formal education is not required for financial success. So, what is it that executive training programmes actually offer students? Why should L&D managers and HR directors alike invest so much money into sending staff on such programmes? We went out to universities across the region to ask these questions, and to see what they have to offer in terms of practical skills sets that staff can really utilise in the workplace when they get back to the office. In this month’s cover story we bring you a roundup of our findings.


Cover story Why bother with MBAs

Wham, bam, thank you...HR

How short-term intensive staff training programmes are gaining ground over traditional long-term MBAs

Peter Wilson, National President of the AHRI

HR Magazine recently interviewed Peter Wilson, National President of the Australian Human Resources Institute (AHRI) to get his take on the current challenges facing HR. Within the staff development sphere, he revealed that intensive customised training is starting to curry more favour with HR and L&D managers than traditional long-term MBA and eMBA programmes. Wilson is extremely matter-of-fact when it comes to HR, and two minutes into our interview it was clear he had a plethora of experience in a wide spectrum of HR scenarios. Chair of the Board for AHRI, Wilson not only leads the HR research and development conducted by the Institute, but also draws on his expertise and experience to advise government policy makers in Australia. He is also Chair of a major Australian water corporation and is on the Board of Directors of the Fairfax Foundation—one of the largest media families in Australia.

creating the biggest headaches for those in HR. He advised, “Understand workplace culture. You can no longer run on empty— people need to feel that your organisation is a good place to work. Leaders need to be able to inspire. So, if there are pockets of poor leadership you need to weed them out.” Wilson cautioned employers that they need to conduct business in a responsible manner with due regard both internally for staff and externally from a CSR perspective. He noted that many staff, prior to taking on a new position, were now conducting due diligence via social media to find out about prospective employers and verify that they were ‘behaving responsibly’. Wilson said this was something HR could not afford to ignore, as with staff turnover as high as 45% in the first year, this was bringing a huge cost to productivity in terms of the resources that companies had to invest to subsequently train up new recruits. Another critical issue to HR is the fact that highly-talented employees expect a comprehensive induction and job rotation within the first year or two of starting with a company. Wilson said, “They expect

to find out about what the organisation stands for, what the relationships are within the organisation and how people interact. So you’ve got to give top employees time to absorb the organisation, time to contribute, and time to embrace it.”

Customised learning and development

According to Wilson, young employees want to acquire skills that will help them progress in the organisation itself, in addition to developing themselves. On the issue of designing staff development programmes, Wilson explained, “Smart employers will try to maximise the overlap between what employees want and what the organisation needs—and will need in the coming future. This comes via discussion, and if you ignore it you do so at your own peril because that’s what young employees expect.” Wilson remarked upon the big growth that he has seen in the adoption of customised learning programmes by HR as a tool for staff learning and development. Numerous short-term intensive programmes have been developed to help meet this need,

HR key challenges

When it comes to challenges, Wilson pointed towards the issue of talent attraction, retention and development

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covering a huge range of topics including globalised competition, risk management, information economics, advanced marketing, hyper-competition, flexibility in the workplace, strategic management, ethics and cross-cultural management. Another advantage of sending staff on external academic-style development programmes is that it gets them out of the office and hopefully out of the box too, when compared to simply training them in-house. Wilson noted, “Executives and managers need to have specific skill sets, and what was once taught on a two-year MBA has now been distilled down into a 6 to 9-month concentrated executive MBA. It’s hard for a single employer to be able to offer this level of international exposure or diversity of faculty.” Wilson mentioned that one of the best attributes of customised learning programmes was that they not only taught ideas, but also helped staff transition these skills into the workplace. Citing the results of a recent AHRI survey, he pointed out that 90% of staff who had attended a two-week training programme, without any help embedding what they have learnt, had forgotten most of it a few weeks later. He explained, “Modern programme providers no longer just ‘facilitate’ training programmes, but also provide a mentor and/or coach to work in a post-training advisory capacity who helps staff embed and use skills after they return to their workplace.” The most effective staff development programmes are likely to involve a combination of classroom learning, online learning and face-to-face interaction. Wilson said, “People like a social experience of having other people around them that they don’t even know. People have a natural level of enquiry and want to come together in a face-to-face situation to discuss these issues.”

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Company power structures reversed

In recent times the top-down management approach has been replaced with a much more staff-centric model. Wilson commented, “The traditional organisational power structure has been turned on its head, power is now with those serving the customers—you can no longer just educate those at the top, you also need to put significant investment in training and developing frontline staff.” Many in HR worry that the more they invest in training and developing staff the more ‘attractive’ they then become to competitors looking to poach key talent. Wilson stated, “You have to accept that staff exist in a global marketplace—and you are always at risk of losing them. The very fact that you need to hold onto talent means you cannot deny staff reasonable learning experiences. HR should focus on making themselves an attractive employer. Nowadays, employees are now much more active in exercising their preferences and can vote with their feet. It’s a much more fluid marketplace.”

Show me the money

Those in HR are frequently asked to demonstrate ROI, and on this Wilson said, “My advice to HR is that your best friend is the CFO. All C-suite executives expect the HR case to be quantitative, so HR needs to focus on quantitative skills. Top talent is about performance and continuous development—to put metrics around this you need to work closely with the CFOs and CHROs.”

Flexi-work…a word of caution

Managing continuous change in the globalised economy, in terms of how work is organised, brings a host of challenges for those in HR. There are a number of means of providing ‘alternative work methods’ to the traditional 9–5 format.

Wilson advised HR to consider adopting flexible work patterns with options for staff to work from home in order to maximise flexibility from the point of view of staff members. Wilson said that there were over 1.5 million employees working in the service sector in Australia whose flexible work arrangements allowed them to work at home at least one day a fortnight. If an employer has consented formally to a staff member working from home—then it effectively becomes part of the workplace i.e. the home is deemed to be a remote workplace. In this regard, employees could potentially sue employers for accidents that happen in their own home. Wilson cited one such example in which an employee working from home had fallen down the stairs and injured herself whilst on the way to answer a call from the office—which was classed as a workplace injury. In this regard, employers are advised to seek legal advice to ensure they are compliant with occupational health issues when working out flexible work-athome arrangements.

Getting CEO buy-in

Wilson was straight to point on the issue of HR getting buy-in from the CEO, and for those who found it difficult or impossible to get buy-in from the top in terms of quality HR strategies, he said, “Think about leaving.” He went on to advise HR managers wishing to garner support from the Board, “Check your own thinking of the facts—sometimes there’s too much HR political correctness. Stop trying to do everything perfectly—focus on what needs to be done. Reach out to the CFOs and ask them what needs to be done commercially and how you can help. Psychology tells us that the person that is most critical of other people failing is usually failing to understand themselves.”


Cover story Why bother with MBAs

Getting students ready for the workplace Interdisciplinary approach

Professor Arthur B. Ellis, Provost, City University of Hong Kong

This year sees the transition in the Hong Kong education system towards the ‘3+3+4 approach’ whereby now students enter universities one year earlier and will stay there for four years. What does this mean for HR as students emerge from higher education programmes? We spoke to a panel of academic experts at City University of Hong Kong (CityU) who have helped roll out an innovative curriculum to see how this assists HR managers in their quest to find quality talent.

and global advancements in professional practice. Professor Arthur Ellis, Provost at CityU explained, “We are retooling the curriculum accordingly and our aim with the discovery-enriched programme is that every student should be able to make an original discovery. We’re trying to think about students in a different way and fully integrate them in the creative process.”

Under the new four-year university curriculum, students are admitted into colleges and schools, rather than majors, and have at least the entire first year to explore different study avenues before they need to select their majors. DEC will also be complemented with a suite of cutting-edge, interdisciplinary Gateway Education (GE) courses that provide students with critical core skills, broaden their perspectives, and encourage discovery and innovation. Professor Cheung Shuk Han, Director, Office of Education Development and Gateway Education, CityU explained, “Under the new four-year curriculum, 25% of credits are dedicated to GE courses which covers three core areas: English; Chinese Civilisation—History and Philosophy; and distributional area requirements—Arts and Humanities; Study of Societies, Social and Business Organisations; and Science and Technology. To date we’ve established 141 GE courses and more are already in the pipeline.”

Bridging academic-industry divide

CityU is also establishing a suite of research centres to promote interdisciplinary collaborations including the new Advanced

Professional practise

The Discovery-Enriched Curriculum (DEC) lies at the heart of CityU’s academic programme and has been designed to: • motivate and ignite a passion for knowledge and discovery; • prepare students to practice professionally at and beyond international standards; and • promote a culture of knowledge and innovation that spurs local

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Institute for Cross-Disciplinary Studies that will bring globally distinguished scholars together to nucleate interdisciplinary research and teaching in social sciences. Key emerging interdisciplinary areas of study opportunities that have been identified include energy science and engineering, bioengineering, criminology, and creative media. The university has also developed a research cyber-infrastructure to allow faculty, students and external partners to work together to share and explore new ideas at any time and location. Paul Kwan-sing Lam Vice-President (Student Affairs) and Director, State Key Laboratory in Marine Pollution at CityU

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cited numerous projects that have been established in order to nurture future talent ready for the workplace through industry and academic collaboration across the globe. To this end, the School of Energy and Environment has set up a number of projects, including a bio-fuel centre in collaboration with Edinburgh Napier University in the UK and the School has also developed a unique mobile air quality monitoring system that can be used to track exhaust emissions from sources while vehicles are mobile. Professor Lam, further explained that out-of-classroom training was an important element of developing talent ready for the workplace. He said, “This is where I come in, as I handle student affairs. One of my responsibilities is to ensure that, apart from academic knowledge, students also get the opportunity to concentrate on business ethics. There are many reasons why this is important nowadays, as people change jobs quite frequently. Many employers have asked us to help ‘educate’ students in this area—it’s not just a course called ‘business ethics’, but rather something embedded across all disciplines.”

Meaningful internships

Professor Gary Gang Feng, Associate Provost at CityU, explained that to cope with the changing requirements of employers, the university already places a lot of emphasis on internships, with 30% of students currently engaging in internships during their studies—a figure expected to rise to 50% within three years. Professor Lam pointed out that the university is very stringent about what it actually terms an ‘internship’ in that it must be at least four weeks long, and before students go on internships they have to do a project to properly prepare themselves for it. He added, “We work together with employers to make sure internships are of maximum value to both employer and employee… So we need to sit down with the HR Manager and see what the company needs. For example, with a bank we know students can help them with data mining, but during our conversations with the HR team, we may discover the bank also needs help with promotion and marketing.” Students are also sent outside Hong Kong for cultural and language immersion programmes where they frequently engage in CSR activities, such as working with the Salvation Army in collaboration with the University of Kent in the UK. They also took up internships overseas, receiving training at the technical service unit of the Goulburn-Murray Rural Water Authority in Australia, for example. Professor Feng concluded, “The goal of promoting a culture of innovation and creativity is to give students lifelong skills. Employers are looking for creative solutions—so we aim to get students as well prepared for the workplace as possible. With cross-disciplinary knowledge, you will be able to handle almost any job.”


Cover story Why bother with MBAs

Continual development brings continual opportunities We recently spoke with Professor Richard Petty, Associate Dean (International), Professor in Management (Accounting & Finance) at Macquarie Graduate School of Management (MGSM) to get his take on the relevance of higher education programmes to HR and L&D managers.

What skills are learnt in a higher education setting that could not be acquired in the workplace?

Organisations today are seeking executives who are flexible and who possess superior knowledge and the ability to lead and manage effectively. There are even greater expectations in the areas of high level communications and negotiation skills, the need to deliver and achieve positive outcomes, as well as the ability to motivate and inspire others. The MGSM mission is to enable people of high potential to become successful business leaders who bring lasting prosperity to their organisations and communities. Many students have a view to working in China and they have multinational clients. The demands of multinational clients and the demands of a regional role requires that managers possess a broad range of skill sets that address financial understanding, strategic insights and all forms of communication skills. Our programmes help managers develop their problem-solving skills and become better strategic thinkers and communicators. We are finding that an increasing number of students are opting to do the full MBA because it opens more doors for them professionally. The MBA provides an opportunity to switch careers—particularly if a particular specialisation has been followed. The multi-tiered structure at MGSM creates option value and the flexibility to move along at a pace of study that is suited to the individual. Many of our MBA candidates move out of traditional line based roles in large firms and into a senior management role either during

the course of their study, or shortly thereafter. Managers are able to gain the skills they need to excel at a high level in business on our programmes, facilitated by world-class faculty, many of whom have extensive experience in business at a senior level in addition to academic credentials. The faculty are well placed to guide students and to counsel them about their study options and to help them in practical problem-solving during their time in the programme and after they graduate and join MGSM’s large alumni.

Does higher education make people more employable?

Yes, students expect more opportunities for career growth and for personal development as a consequence of doing post-graduate study. Managers today require a global outlook and our programmes are increasingly focused on providing education that is internationally portable. There is an even greater need for high-level management education during times of crisis in business— programmes that will help to develop managers who can face the financial and other challenges currently confronting many businesses.

Will higher education institutions increase focus on in-situ staff development? We are active in experiential learning and also partners with leading employers to offer tailored MBA programmes that meet their specific needs.

Is continuous training required for staff at all levels? All staff benefit from appropriate training. There are two issues here. Firstly, staff at different levels require different types of training to help them in their specific roles. Secondly, the idea of continuous training goes hand-in-hand with continuous improvement. For companies to improve, staff must individually and collectively strive to improve.

Professor Richard Petty, Associate Dean (International), Professor in Management (Accounting & Finance), MGSM

As staff become better qualified, should HR worry about them being poached?

Most companies want staff who are better trained, more knowledgeable and better qualified. Informed companies know that if they provide these opportunities to staff as part of an open, satisfying and supportive working environment, then those staff will add even greater value to the company.

What do you feel the future hold for economics and accounting graduates?

The outlook for economics and accounting graduates is likely to be brighter than for graduates of other disciplines. Organisations today are seeking executives who are flexible and who possess superior knowledge and the ability to lead and manage effectively. There are even greater expectations in the areas of high level communications and negotiation skills, the need to deliver and achieve positive outcomes, as well as the ability to motivate and inspire others. We are particularly strong in teaching and research the fields of finance, banking, financial management, and accounting. Students have the opportunity to learn skills in risk management and in financial management that will help them in responding to the challenges posed by the current financial crisis.

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Catherine Ng, Sr. Teaching Fellow, Dept. of Management and Marketing at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (HKPU) highlights the effectiveness of higher education programmes. In-house vs academic programmes

In relation to in-house training noted that it was very skills orientated, organisation specific and focused on the company and what it requires on a day-to-day basis. She added, “You can intuitively be a good manager but if you truly want to understand what makes you tick and what makes others in the organisation tick then that will require the study of theoretical models. At the very least, higher education will be help you broaden your horizons.” Ng pointed out that it is often very difficult for HR to put specific metrics on many of the skills or the advantages that can be gained from higher education. She suggested a major benefit of a Master’s programme what that it helps students think from a different angle as, when trying to complete a task, a student will try to apply what they’ve learnt in class. It can inspire a person to tackle a problem from a different perspective.

Application of skills

Ng commented, “Application is not a distraction. Universities have consultancy projects so that students can apply the theories that they have learnt.” The MSc in HRM run by HKPU is a conversion course so students come from diverse backgrounds including the Police Force, nursing and engineering. Most student projects allow them to look at their own situation and Ng pointed out, “So it is not just a case of we need to ensure you are getting XYZ practical experience as you need to find a job after, but rather it’s very healthy to look at all issues from an application perspective.”

Why bother?

Ng noted that it is extremely useful to have ‘more in store intellectually’ to help staff prepare for the unpredictability in faster changing markets. Workforces are becoming more diversified as people can fly and work anywhere in the world. Ng advised those in HR, “You need to have

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good knowledge on how to manage groups of people from different backgrounds. You need to be sensitive.” Before studying most MBAs work experience is a must— to get accepted on HKPU’s MSc in HRM applicants must have sufficient work experience so they can fully appreciate the material covered in class. Ng noted, “At university you do not just study models on globalization, if students look around they can see that their classmates are from different places around the world. By giving them the chance to work together in group projects, they gain exposure to an international workplace. Different classmates will have different things to contribute.” Ng asserted, “You must get a Master’s degree. If you are looking for inspiration, interaction and stimulation—higher education will provide this. Professors do not just hand you the information but point you in the right direction. A professor gives you the spark to go in the direction that you want to go in.”

students would rather have support in the form of more free time given around the exam/assignment deadlines.

Power naps at work OK

Ng asserted, “We no longer have that mentality where you work for one company for your entire life. An employee looks at a company and asks if whether or not it’s allowing him or her to grow professionally.” With this in mind, when HR hire a greater number of degree-holders, this should not necessarily increase staff turnover. Ng commented, “It’s up to that company to manage its staff appropriately and understand their needs. A pay rise is not always what is sought, but may—for example—simply be staff wanting flexitime. Twenty years ago work schedules were much more rigid, but now progressive concepts are prominent even to the extent of some employers introducing ‘power naps’ in work schedules.”

Super-qualified employees

Ng asserted that although a sense of elitism—in terms of ‘super-qualified’ employees—may exist in the UK or the USA it does not exist in Hong Kong. She added, “Obtaining a degree is a real opportunity for everyone and to do it isn’t deemed overly expensive at around HKD130,000.” At undergraduate level in the US, the much greater expense involved in obtaining a degree is often questioned—with students calculating how many years of work it will take them to recoup the time and money invested. Ng explained, “It doesn’t seem that these same thoughts transcend to post-graduate level. ‘Unaffordability’ isn’t spoken about here—society isn’t divided up by those who can afford to do degrees and those who can’t.” Company sponsorship of academic fees is less frequent now compared to ten years ago, according to Ng, pointing out that

Catherine Ng, Senior Teaching Fellow, Department of Management and Marketing, HKPU

MBA key benefits

On the benefits of MBAs Ng said they bring multiple benefits to both staff and the organisation as a whole. For staff, it allows them to feel like a better communicator and develop their interpersonal skills. She added, “A number of students who have applied to do my course came here because their bosses referred them, telling co-workers and subordinates that they would benefit a lot too. If bosses find it useful—they would like to see their juniors as open-minded as well.”


Cover story Why bother with MBAs

Bernard Poon, President—Greater China, CPA Australia: an insider’s view on the CPA experience.

Bernard Poon, President—Greater China, CPA Australia

Poon went through the CPA programme 20 years ago and has since become an active member on the CPA Council. In his role as a council member he has had the opportunity to network with a wide range of international organisations including: the Australian Consulate, National Australia Bank, Australian Chamber of Commerce, Hong Kong Government, the Hong Kong Institute of Practising Accountants and regulators throughout greater China. Representing the CPA at Annual Career Expos in Australia, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore also allows him to share in the latest employment trends and what employers are currently looking for in candidates.

Key soft skills embedded in CPA programme

The CPA programme involves 14 exams with three years of required field-relevant experience, which is supervised. Learning through experience is a vital step to gaining the CPA qualification and student can learn a lot through interaction with real businesspeople. Poon explained, “The programme integrates core accounting knowledge with strategy, leadership and international business themes. The exams are split into two levels: fundamental and professional.” The fundamental level contains eight exams and once those exams have been passed, students can proceed to take the professional level exams. The professional level allows the student some choice as two of the modules are electives which they can choose from a list of three or four. Poon expressed, “This programme allows the students to learn a great deal from the soft skills perspective. They

can also enhance their CV presentation skills to more effectively communicate with recruiters.” Managers also get the opportunity to undergo a 360-degree management skills training series—enabling them to enhance decision-making and interview skills including how to select the correct candidate and influence others to achieve a win-win situation. There are also Putonghua modules and communication skills training series—to develop Microsoft PowerPoint and Excel knowledge.

Skill sets transitioning to workplace

The CPA programme is internationally recognised as it follows the international financial reporting standard. Poon has worked in China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Thailand and the skills sets that developed via the CPA programme have enabled him to be successful across borders. This cross-border functionality gives graduates great flexibility regarding opportunities for work overseas. Poon said, “People now treat accountants like consultants. Accountants now need ‘world vision’ rather than simply just being an accountant, as they’re expected to know everything about the economy and business. CPA students can adapt to the fast-changing world in which we now live—essential to cope with the rapidly changing economy, political structures, technology and accounting guidelines.”

Benefits to HR

The CPA programme helps develop an accountant, not only in terms of basic accounting knowledge that every business expects, but it also enhances an accountant’s world vision including strategy and leadership. In short, it offers students the exposure to different subjects that modern business requires. This is good news for HR, as one criticism they have of new recruits is that they often lack basic business acumen.

Lifelong learning still relevant

Poon stressed, “In my personal experience the concept of lifelong learning has not shortened. Organisations need to continue

spending resources on training to maintain the quality of service that they provide for their clients. We have a brand to protect so it makes perfect sense to continue spending resources on training.” In 2011, the CPA held more than 120 Continuing Professional Development Seminars in Hong Kong and Macau, which gave each member nearly 480 hours of new industry knowledge and face-to-face interaction with high-profile industry experts.

Key employee attributes

As an employer at Ernst & Young, Poon explained what he looked for in the ‘accountants of tomorrow’, “The mindset is very important—the attitude to learn. Accountants of tomorrow need to understand that they have to continue learning new skills sets—they need to continue acquiring new knowledge.” In order to become a successful consultant Poon stressed that staff have to be open-minded to new things, read extensively—including journals, business reports and multiple sections of quality newspapers to keep up-to-date with a wide range of international issues. He said, “Nowadays, when interacting with a client you need to know so much more than the accounting.”

Accounting trends

The CPA currently has around 14,000 members in greater China and just under 140,000 spread across 114 countries globally. This number is increasing all the time. Poon quipped, “In any phase of the economy, you’ll need an accountant. When business is booming—accountants are needed as organisations go into investment mode; while during a downfall—you are looking at liquidation, restructuring or selling off assets. As an accountant, there are so many ways you can move your career: work as a partner in a firm, start up your own consultancy firm, move into industry or focus on investment. There are so many opportunities in Asia and all these opportunities need accountants.”

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Dr Yu Ha Cheung & Dr Alicia Leung, Programme Directors, MSc in Strategic HR Mgt. Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) share their views of the evolution of HR. Changing role of HR

HR used to play, or at least be seen to be playing, a fairly passive role in the office— looking after nuts and bolts procedures like compensation and benefits, recruitment and payroll, but recently those in HR have had to become much more proactive. This means HR professionals are now widely regarded, and increasingly accepted, as strategic business partners who are more attune to market developments. Dr Alicia Leung commented, “Nowadays, HR functions and practices try to be more in line with the organisational development and strategy. The HR function for a company moving to China needs be training the staff in Mandarin, helping them understand the Chinese market—as such, recruiting the right people is essential to gain maximum benefit from market exposure. HR must understand the company’s vision and mission so that the HR strategies will collaborate with top management.” Those in HR today also frequently have to play the role of marketing/PR and it’s important that they realise they are key to promoting the image of the organisation and sharing how they improve the wellbeing of the employees.

What’s so strategic about SHRM?

SHRM refers to Strategic Human Resource Management, Leung explained why this is so crucial for those thinking about a successful career in HR. She pointed out that HR now needs to be in line with the organisation’s marketing strategy and should sit on the board. Leung said, “HR can now speak the boardroom language and can understand the needs of the company and contribute to the organisation’s productivity. We have a subject called HR Measurement to help HR audit the company’s performance and properly quantify the results—to allow them to qualitatively measure productivity per employee.” The world is changing so there is a need for organisations to develop a competitive edge. HR, as a strategic partner, can do this by being integral to decision-making and making that process more transparent.

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According to Leung, many companies do not succeed because of various factors related to HR—compensation and benefits are not competitive enough, a lack of fairness regarding distribution of resources, and poor leadership. Leung advised it’s up to HR to rectify these issues.

Students are set projects to complete within a company that follow an ‘actionlearning approach’ meaning they act and learn in the real world as they apply what they have learnt in their degree. Effectively, they take on the role of a consultant and try to solve existing problems.

Effective HR—key skills

Ethics critical

Dr Yu Ha Cheung pointed out that communication skills are critical as HR has to act as a bridge between the senior executive and the employees. She advised, “HR needs to be able to foresee any problems and not be afraid to make changes. They must make changes, but at the same time create a comfortable environment for the staff to avoid fear or resistance.”

MSc vs work experience

Ethics are also engrained in all courses— as nobody wants to work in an unfair market. Leung stressed the need for HR to promote fair working practices to prevent ‘good apples going bad in bad barrels’ i.e. without a good HR system good employees may go bad too. If a company is unethical, employees will not feel committed or loyal as they look for teamwork and a senior management who care. Cheung commented, “People will not just start looking for other jobs once they obtain a new degree. The decision to move also depends on how loyal they are to the company. HR must provide good career paths to reinforce employee engagement. Upon completing a higher education programme, HR should reward employees with career advancement.”

The MSc in SHRM at HKBU comprises ten core courses and three electives— allowing students to specialise. It is designed for executives with at least five years of experience. There are three core values: ethics, globalisation and strategies. Leung said, “These values are well-integrated into our programmes. All courses address Getting CEO buy-in market needs, and this is the only HR Top management and HR now have to programme in Hong Kong that includes a maintain a symbiotic relationship. Moreover, psychology element.” rather than merely being reactive—whereby Leung explained that HR professionals you simply execute what has already are increasingly being expected to been decided, HR needs to proactive in its improve not only the physical but also the approach. Cheung concluded, “HR needs to psychological well-being of their employees be part of that decision-making process.” as more and more employees suffer from stress and/or depression. She added, “These courses show you how to develop strategies to fall in line with top management. Students will have the confidence to observe and develop performance, as well as give recommendations to senior executives. Furthermore, they develop the skills and techniques to Dr Alicia Leung (left) and Dr Yu Ha Cheung (right), Programme Directors, Master really change work culture.” of Science programme in Strategic Human Resources Management, HKBU


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Getting HR high We know life in HR can be extremely challenging at times—we’re not suggesting drugs. Rather we share insights into what Cathay Pacific is doing—with staff from Hong Kong and mainland China—to keep its teams on the same page and highly engaged. To this end HR Magazine recently caught up with John Slosar, Chief Executive, to get his take on the opportunities and challenges for HR that have resulted from the growing economic integration between Hong Kong and mainland China and how he is leading his team to even greater altitudes. Slosar has been with the Swire Group for 31 years and this is his third time with Cathay Pacific. Having run Swire’s beverage business for over nine years, he has considerable experience at the helm in times of crisis. Slosar is well versed in taking full advantage of situations that seemingly present organisations with an overwhelming number of difficulties. He views the growing economic integration between Hong Kong and mainland China as a great opportunity, rather than a challenge. This positive mindset is undoubtedly a major factor contributing to his popularity in his current role at Cathay

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as CE and his no nonsense approach to building solid teams, without letting profit cycles get in the way of HR policy.

Graduate talent mixing bowl

The company has always recruited graduates from both mainland China and Hong Kong and manages them together—nurturing them towards senior management roles within 15 to 20 years. Slosar noted, “The integration of the two markets has meant that talents from mainland China are very interested in working in Hong Kong and at the same time talents from Hong Kong are very interested in working in mainland China.” This ‘talent mixing bowl’ has served to significantly bolster Cathay’s team— producing a diverse network of people with different skills sets and experiences. Slosar was quick to stress the importance of giving employees interesting and challenging jobs in order to help them develop themselves and their skill sets. This enhances staff retention, as employees feel more empowered and can see their own personal development in action, which naturally makes them want to stay with the company to make a career for themselves.


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John Slosar debates HK-Mainland synergy at HKMA’s 2011 Annual Conference

Talent hopping

In mainland China staff development and retention are notoriously difficult to sustain. Slosar commented, “If you’re a talented, skillful, experienced and aggressive young manager in China you have a lot of opportunities. People are not shy at looking at those opportunities and moving around to take advantage of the best available opportunities.” He added, “The company has always invested in their employees and it’s in our organisational culture to continue as such. The challenge for us is to figure out how to retain people.”

on the same page and everyone has to see some benefit from the success of the company. If certain people involved don’t benefit from the success, the initiative isn’t there to keep them motivated. This will truly pay off when things are tough—people will then pitch in as a team to make things better.” He added, “You have to reach out to your staff—your

staff are still your staff. When things become tougher, it’s their motivation and dedication that will help the company to pull through. It’s a big mistake when a company stops treating the workforce like they belong to the company.” Communication with staff is paramount in any HR policy—which should also include letting staff know how they can contribute to the company’s success. Cathay Pacific have a profit-sharing scheme so that everyone involved can benefit from their hard work—whether it’s a one dollar or five billion dollar profit— staff involved will be apportioned a share of that. “It gives them the confidence to believe: if I work hard and contribute something to the company, I’ll get something back for it,” expressed Slosar. Slosar admits that this is easy to say… much more difficult to do…but that doing so is the ‘right thing to do’ ensuring a healthier long-term HR strategy and a much more engaged team.

Ignore margin cycles

Margins are a cyclical issue—in good years they go up and in bad ones they go down, but Slosar advised HR professionals to maintain a long-term HR strategy. He said, “We don’t let the current year change our staff policy.” Annually, 15-20 graduates are hired— recruits move horizontally through the organisation as giving people new roles in new geographies is key to successfully training a recruit. Staff are internally developed and so the company doesn’t need to look outside for new recruits to fill positions. Annual margin cycles shouldn’t influence a company’s staffing policy and this has been proven to be true over the long-term.

On the same wavelength

A fundamental issue for every organisation is that there are managers, shareholders and staff involved in its success. With these three elements in mind Slosar stated, “All three have to be

John Slosar, Chief Executive, Cathay Pacific

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How HR can tackle market challenges Talent-mobility collaboration critical in creating jobs Collaboration in talent mobility among stakeholders on all sides of the employment equation is the most effective measure in addressing labour market failures and enhancing job creation. This according to a report just released by the World Economic Forum: Talent Mobility Good Practices— Collaboration at the Core of Driving Economic Growth. The study, prepared in collaboration with Mercer, was based on 55 case studies from around the world and showed concrete actions that companies,

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governments, academic institutions and non-profit entities have implemented in order to address talent challenges. Patricia Milligan, President—Talent, Rewards and Communication, Mercer commented, “This joint research was designed to create a recognised platform where various stakeholders can address talent mobility challenges and exchange practices and experiences. The findings demonstrate that despite the challenges, a variety of scalable and practical solutions already exist in practice to address talent

shortages and lead to job creation and ultimately economic growth.” While there are several examples of good practices that can be adopted to help rebalance global talent markets, the report found that talent mobility is not achieving its full potential. It pointed out that talent markets are impeded by four key problems: • widespread unemployability • skills gaps • information gaps • private and public constraints on mobility


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These issues are pervasive and daunting, with many countries and regions struggling with high unemployment and untapped labour pools, while many industry sectors and employers face talent shortages and skills gaps. The report highlighted numerous solutions to these problems ranging from shaping academic curricula to better meet an industry’s talent needs to training underskilled workers for employment. Nearly all of the solutions exhibit different forms of collaboration among multiple stakeholders. Key examples include:

Association of Southeast Asia Nations (ASEAN) Member states of this association are collaborating with universities, government ministries and the private sector to break down legal barriers to talent mobility and establish the free flow of skilled labour across borders. Such cooperation has resulted in agreements that aim to facilitate the movement of industry experts, professionals and skilled labour; member nations now also provide visa exemptions and have established an ASEAN Business Travel Card, a document that facilitates intra-ASEAN business travel.

The Toronto Financial Services Alliance This alliance was established by the City of Toronto as a publicprivate partnership between government, academia and financial services organisations to attract talent and thereby strengthen the Toronto financial services sector. The partnership aims to close information gaps by identifying specific skills and talent needs of the industry at college and university levels. The creation of the Centre of Excellence in Financial Services Education in 2009 was a result of this ongoing partnership.

NASSCOM The IT industry association in India works towards upgrading and standardising the portability of skills across the industry. In 2008, it partnered with state universities to create a standardized skills assessment and certification programme to streamline the application process for the industry. Since its creation, about 100,000 college graduates have taken the test for entry-level hires; up to 250,000 students per year are expected to take the test in the future.

Wal-Mart In Brazil and India, this company has worked with local governments, schools and communities concerned with the employability of the local workforce, launching innovative training programmes to meet both the company’s own talent needs and the very specific skills needs of students in these countries. In Brazil alone, Wal-Mart has added 10,000 new jobs in 2010 through this programme, involving local high schools, and expects to add another 10,000 in 2011.

Saudi Aramco As the world’s largest oil and gas company, Saudi Aramco relies on rigorous workforce planning methods, substantial targeted investments in education and training, and expansive talent mobility programmes that give its employees exposure to the management practices and tools used by other major firms around the world. These programmes contribute to internal mobility at all career levels. Saudi Aramco also works closely with the government of Saudi Arabia and key academic institutions to secure a steady flow of talent to the company and throughout the country.

The report went on to highlight how individual stakeholders can advance successful collaborative talent mobility practices. These include sharing access to labour market information, using measurement and modelling tools combined with workforce and performance data to estimate the business impact of talent mobility and developing fact-based cases for multiple stakeholder collaboration. Piers Cumberlege, Head of Partnership, World Economic Forum concluded, “Our research clearly shows that a broader view of talent mobility, beyond traditional international assignments, is necessary to grow businesses, industries and economies. Bringing together diverse stakeholders with common interests produces effective multidimensional solutions that have the greatest impact on tackling talent market challenges and stimulating economic growth.”

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Just how sticky are staff in Asia? Chart 1 How would you characterise your view of Greater China economic and financial outlook in 2012?

China may well not be the global business panacea that sales forecasts predict. China’s captains of industry have expressed caution that glowing sales forecasts for their companies may be exaggerated puffs of smoke in the Year of the Dragon. This according to the latest annual survey of over 5,000 Asian movers and shakers just conducted by the MRI China Group. We present a snapshot of the Group’s latest Talent Environment Index detailing first hand views of the working professionals in jobs and prospective managers, across the Asia talent pool and look at staff sentiment and talent movement trends in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Southeast Asia in addition to Europe and North America.

China growth—pressure cooker

China demand is still seen as the panacea for Asian and Western multinational

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companies experiencing sickly sales figures in their home markets, but within mainland China, the view is more cautious. Christine Raynaud, CEO, The MRI China Group commented, “Mainland China respondents overall, while relatively optimistic—with over 40% positive about Greater China economic outlook and 15% negative— are less buoyant than the rest of our survey respondents in Asia and in the rest of the world with respectively 50% and 60% of positive outlook and 10% negative. Maybe China’s engineered soft landing, tighter credit, overcapacity and slower demand from the Eurozone have begun to be felt more sharply within China than without.” That difference is even more stark at the top—the lowest rate of positive outlook is with the top management in mainland China with only 38.5% of positive respondents compared with close to 43% from all other mainland China respondents.

Different economic outlooks

The Chinese economy grew at 8.9% in Q4 of 2011 the weakest in two and a half years and analysts are forecasting a GDP of only 8% for 2012. By contrast, domestic retail sales for multinational brands remain robust and the latest PMI figures released show an expansion in industrial activity. “It’s almost as if the China economy, in every respondent perception, was disconnected from the rest of the world,” said Raynaud. She added, “These are confusing times for business leaders. Half of all those surveyed held a negative view of the global economic outlook for 2012, whilst almost half again were positive about the Greater China outlook, which may lead to an overreliance on China growth targets and increase the pressure on teams there.” In Hong Kong and Taiwan very few respondents—6.6% and 6.4%, respectively—were upbeat about world prospects; making the reliance on an


HR features Chart 2 Are you seeking a career change in the next 12 months?

exuberant China even more crucial to regional and global forecasting by those key decision makers polled.

All change—China career ambitions

With attention so firmly fixed on China’s growth, unsurprisingly mainland China was found to still be the most active location for career changes. For 2012, a third of respondents in mainland China were definitely planning a career change compared with 24% recorded in 2011. The figure is highest in Guangzhou with over 38% of staff planning a career change.

The survey also indicated that women in mainland China are fractionally more stable than their male counterparts when it comes to sticking with their careers, with a shade over 30% planning to change careers versus almost 34% of men surveyed. This figure is significantly lower in Hong Kong, with only just over 21% of respondents indicating a definite intention to stay in their careers. This

is, however, still an improvement on last year’s figure of just 14.8%. In all other markets outside mainland China, top management were found to be more stable with only 17% indicating wanting a career change. The survey indicated that staff in Taiwan, 38%; Singapore, 39.5%; and the rest of Asia, 37.5% maintained strong intentions for career change.

Chart 3 What is your perception of career opportunities in your industry in 2012?

Managers more sticky, but still peeling off

There is better news at the top management level, of whom 27% are now planning to stay put, compared with just 9% last year—reflecting the more cautious trend amongst top management.

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Asia’s first centralised online employee benefits system —and it’s free! Whether attempting to reduce staff turnover, absenteeism and costs; trying to increase productivity and employee satisfaction; or simply looking to attract good quality staff—HR professionals and senior management teams alike tend to be united in the view that employee engagement programmes do work.

Free staff benefits platform

It is well documented that enthusiastic and motivated employees can further a company’s interests. What many cannot agree on, however, is what is the most effective and efficient way of emotionally engaging staff in order to achieve corporate objectives. In addition, it is difficult—if not impossible—to quantify effectiveness and associate a return on investment to an employee benefits and engagement budget. There is no such thing as a silver bullet— with every company differing in terms of their internal makeup and corporate character, so organisations are often left in something of a quandary when it comes to designing employee benefits packages. Mybenefits—an Alliance Group Company—has made the first inroads towards helping organisations implement a more tailored approach to employee benefits by developing a platform that is not only free, but also aims to dramatically reduce the costs of employee benefits. The platform, scheduled for launch in May

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2012, should help HR reduce concerns over budgets and assist them in qualifying the monetary value of strategic benefit programmes that are introduced.

Pick and mix functionality

The online facility will allow companies to quickly put together a branded and tailored engagement strategy that works towards centralising all employee benefits in one location. The objective-driven benefit solution also aims to provide an interactive added-value engagement element that actively promotes an emotional integration between the company and its staff. What this effectively means is that via the Mybenefits system, HR managers will be able to ‘pick and mix’ benefits they provide to employees from a menu of free services then package these with their company logo and corporate colours to present them to their staff. Services will range from events calendars, forums, newsletters and advice centres to information on employeespecific insurance and pensions advice.

HR FAQs

How do I implement an employee incentive and rewards programme? The platform will be easily tailored to suit individual organisations—allowing staff to receive discounts through voluntary benefits, and also be rewarded from the company with incentive points. This does

not cost the organisation anything, which should help keep the CFO happy as well.

How do I handle numerous staff enquiries on insurance and MPF issues, so that I can focus back on HR strategy? Through the support of Alliance, when using the Mybenefits system, all staff queries can be re-directed to a central benefit support centre instead of bombarding the HR department throughout the day.

How do I reduce overall costs? The system has been designed to reduce the price that organisations will need to pay on insurance by an average of 30%, an accomplishment made possible by having all benefits centralised and thus subsidising the cost of each other.

How do I keep my staff healthy and happy? The site will also include healthy eating recipes, nutrition advice, access to financial planners and lifestyle consultants are all included­—for free. Mybenefits services are initially being offered to companies with over 200 employees, something of a drawback to SMEs, but in future the system may also be made available to companies with fewer staff. Still pre-launch, you heard it here first, we’ll keep you posted when it goes live.


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Gender inequality rife in China’s finance sector Provision of childcare subsidies or reimbursements and onsite childcare remain woefully low in Greater/mainland China at 4% and 2% respectively. Less than 30% of companies offer flexible scheduling to allow staff to work from home. This, according to the latest eFinancialCareers Gender Diversity Survey, conducted with 1,355 finance professionals

from Singapore, Hong Kong, China and Australia. The survey was carried out in partnership with The Women’s Foundation in Hong Kong, a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to improving the lives of women in Hong Kong. The study also revealed that, of the professionals surveyed, 53% believe that there is a gender income gap in the financial services industry. The malefemale income disparity is, according to 51% of respondents, more prevalent in high-powered positions, whilst only 21% think that entry level positions are affected. Almost 60% think that there is heavy male representation in management positions

as they are more likely to put themselves forward for promotion opportunities and 42% think that being male improves your chance of success. A similar percentage also reports that they or others in their workplace have experienced discrimination. George McFerran, Head of Asia Pacific, eFinancialCareers commented, “Financial institutions should promote gender diversity programmes to take this issue. Over four in ten finance professionals surveyed confirm their firm does not have an explicit gender diversity programme. Moreover, 34% feel that the gender bias begins right from the recruitment process.”

China growth drives recruitment strategy overhauls China’s continued growth as an economic superpower drives aggressive recruitment campaigns In 2010 China’s economy grew by over 10%, while the rest of the world grew by barely 4%. With GDP continuing to expand throughout 2011 and reaching an historical high of 2.2% in June, this market growth has driven big players to hire aggressively over 2011. One such organisation, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) made over 2,000 hires across Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Tianjing and Hong Kong in 2011. GSK has a strategic goal to transform its recruitment processes to enable it to build a robust talent pipeline and has implemented Lumesse TalentLink as the core technology platform supporting the shared HR-service team in its Greater China talent acquisition strategy. As part of the global recruitment solution implementation, the Lumesse China team took just three months in early 2011 to implement Lumesse TalentLink solutions locally in a project

that included system tests and user training. Blake Cai, Recruitment & HRIS Manager—HR Shared Services, GSK Greater China noted, “To allow us to manage the China market the evolution of the HR team into a shared-service unit pairs up recruiters with business managers as close partners. Meanwhile we are conscious that this model has to be balanced with stronger centralisation across cities to drive efficiency.” Staff referrals have traditionally been a very important hiring channel in the pharmaceutical sector and the TalentLink platform adopted by GSK publicises job advertisements among existing staff in addition to making them available on the two largest job boards in China. The scalability and flexibility of the platform has offered a better candidate experience in the application process for the large number of applications it receives.

Matthew Parker, CEO, Lumesse commented, “High growth markets like China are driving global brands to rethink talent strategies. The need to combine both high volume and specialists skills when recruiting puts huge demands on managers and HR professionals.” To keep pace with the new demands of the recruitment market, recruiters are needing to change the way they work as businesses rapidly expand. Cai pointed out, “What worked in the past with isolated spreadsheets will now be replaced with a single, regionally-shared talent acquisition platform that provides better information transparency and standardised workflows. We believe that the better data integrity, accuracy, and analytical reports that have come after the change have genuinely improved the shared-service team’s working lead time, cost, and service delivery.”

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Coaching and KINGS Kings and carriages

According to Charlie Lang, Managing Partner of Progress-U, the word ‘coach’ originates from Hungarian, and a small town near Vienna called Coach—which was famous for manufacturing horsedrawn coaches. One theory postulated as to how the term ‘coach’ transitioned into its current meaning in the realm of L&D was that the Royal family often travelled long distances with their families and so would bring along a teacher who would ‘coach’ the children inside the coach. Another theory is that the ‘coach’ is seen as a metaphor for a ‘vehicle’ which helps take people from where they are to where they want to be. Lang explained that in the same way as a traditional horse-drawn coach, modern-day coaches also help people to get where they want to be in a faster, safer, more convenient and more comfortable way.

Good fights great

Many companies design training and development programmes that are suitable for a specific cohort of staff, at a

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specific moment in time, under specific market conditions. Problems arise, however, when HR continues to roll out the same programme for the next ten years, when, in fact, all such parameters

Good is the enemy of great…with any programme you develop— you need to continually evolve it, develop it and update it.

will have changed significantly. To avoid falling into this trap, it is therefore essential for HR and L&D managers to

continually innovate when it comes to the design of their staff development programmes. Lang noted, “Good is the enemy of great…In fact, with any programme you develop—you need to continually evolve it, develop it and update it.”

Coaching evolution

From the traditional one-on-one coaching, over the past ten years coaching has experienced a metamorphosis into a wide range of different applications.

Self-coaching—popular with coaches themselves—looking critically at how effective they are conducting particular work task

Group coaching—similar to one-on-one coaching, but where one coach works with a group of individuals


HR features Certification training—minimum requirements for coaching mentors

Team coaching—where a coach works with a team of people who work closely together on a daily basis in an attempt to make them work better collaboratively.

Talent coaching—where senior executives, typically first-, second- and third-level executives, help coach staff at lower levels. This differs from mentoring in that it can transcend different business functions, whereas mentoring tends to be conducted within the same business unit.

Coaching as a leadership style—managers use coaching in their daily duties as a leader.

A combination of all of these types of coaching then empowers organisations to develop what Lang terms a ‘Corporate coaching culture’.

Qualitative accreditation for coaches

Lang stressed the lack of a qualitative accreditation scheme for coaches and, to help fill this void, his organisation has adopted a certification system in accordance with International Coach Federation guidelines which comprises three key levels (see above).

Pro-bono coaching for charities Progress-U started developing professional coaches in 2007 and already has forty executive coaches and trainers in APAC. The organisation also recently announced the official registration of the Institute of Innovative Corporate Coaching (PIICC). Under the PIICC students are encouraged to take pro-bono coaching assignments with executives of charitable organisations. This cooperation not only helps newly

established coaches build experience but also provides assistance to charities that will ultimately help benefit less fortunate communities throughout the region. The programme has been developed in line with the standards of the Worldwide Association of Business Coaches (WABC), the International Coaching Federation (ICF) and covers the nine coaching masteries as defined by the International Association of Coaches (IAC). In addition to the intensive classroom training and practical case studies, students of the Professional Corporate Coach Certification Program (PCCCP) are also required to complete coaching assignments. They also receive feedback via teleclasses to help lead them though the practical challenges of coaching. Charlie Lang, Founder and Managing Partner of the organisation said, "We wanted to make our programme more engaging and practical. We have tested and modified the course over the last years and have received an overwhelmingly positive response from the APAC corporate community.”

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Dormant expats Dormancy options give expats more flexibility on healthcare policies

As workforces become increasingly globalised, and shortterm overseas assignments in multiple countries more common, staff and HR alike frequently face headaches when it comes to marrying in-company healthcare packages with existing individual insurance policies of staff. A novel concept, just introduced by Allianz Worldwide Care, looks set to provide both staff members and HR with help on this issue.

Dormancy option

The Dormancy option, written into the healthcare policies, provides coverage for expatriates who may not know what their employment situation will be a few years down the road by allowing them to freeze individual coverage whilst enrolled in an employer-provided company health insurance policy.

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In the event that the policyholder leaves the company, and thus the company’s health insurance coverage, they can then reactivate their dormant policy with no additional underwriting. Furthermore, medical conditions which the policyholder may develop while the plan is dormant will be fully covered, up to the existing policy limits, once the plan is reactivated. The Dormancy option has been developed by Pacific Prime Insurance Brokers in collaboration with Allianz Worldwide Care.

Expat concerns

With more people than ever before choosing to live outside their home nations and with the average expatriate forecast to hold 3 to 4 jobs over a 15 year period, ensuring continuing health insurance coverage on a global basis can be a major concern.


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The development of an international medical insurance option designed specifically for globally mobile expatriates, who will often have their need for health insurance vary based on their employerprovided benefit package, represents a step forward for the health insurance industry worldwide. Due to the nature of many expatriates’ jobs it is often typical that they will be offered medical insurance protection through their employer while on assignment overseas. This employerprovided health insurance coverage is often extremely comprehensive, but may also be very basic—largely dependent on the employer. In most cases, employer-provided medical insurance plans offer a suitable amount of coverage to the expatriate employee, which is fine as long as the employee remains with the company. It may also be possible that the expat’s spouse can obtain superior health insurance coverage through their employer. Again, as long as the spouse, and consequently the family, is covered by an employer-provided health insurance plan there is no need to consider additional coverage. As employment tenures continue to contract, however, the idea that staff will remain with a single company over the entire course of their working career is becoming increasingly unrealistic.

‘Pre-existing’ clauses

If, for any reason, an expatriate employee leaves a company—which has been providing company health insurance— their medical insurance coverage will typically cease. While there are options for short-term stopgaps in terms of coverage continuity, once the employee has left the organisation that provided the insurance protection, they will probably then have to consider health insurance options on an individual or family basis. Searching for individual health insurance protection having left a company health insurance plan can pose some major challenges including the possibility that the expatriate employee may have developed a medical condition while enrolled on their employer’s coverage. Any medical conditions which may have developed

while on the corporate health insurance plan would be considered “pre-existing” upon any subsequent applications for insurance, and consequently may not be covered by a policy. The introduction of the Dormancy option now provides expatriate employees with higher levels of security in relation to their employment and healthcare. For instance; if an expatriate has obtained a health insurance plan with a dormancy benefit prior to being relocated, once overseas the employee can elect to place that plan in a dormant state while enjoying coverage offered by the overseas employer. If, during the employment term at the company, the employee develops a medical condition, but has also decided to leave the company, when they leave the dormant plan is automatically reactivated. As the employee enrolled on the plan prior to developing the medical condition, even if the plan was ‘dormant’ treatment received after the reactivation of the policy would still be covered under the plan. Even if the employee developed a serious medical condition, such as cancer, while under company medical coverage, that condition would typically be considered a ‘pre-existing medical condition’ and excluded from the coverage of any new health insurance policies. Apart from finding an employer offering a corporate health insurance scheme with a ‘Medical History Disregarded’ benefit, obtaining coverage for any ‘pre-existing medical condition’ would be extremely difficult on new health insurance applications. Serious chronic conditions also tend to be more prevalent in older individuals—who, by virtue of their experience and career history, are more likely to take up job opportunities internationally and thus more likely to need international insurance coverage. If an expatriate employee develops a medical condition while working for a company and under the company’s group health insurance plan, however, the chance of them receiving coverage for the medical condition under their individual or family health insurance policy is very low. Even less serious, manageable conditions such as Diabetes can also

make it difficult for staff to get insurance coverage if the condition developed prior to the purchase of a health insurance plan.

Globally mobile expats

It is not unknown for policyholders to return to insurance brokers for alternative coverage options two or three times within a 10-year period. This often arises due to changing employment situations and the fact that employees consider an individual health insurance plan unnecessary if they are offered high levels of coverage through their workplace. However, when changing jobs, or even countries, it often becomes necessary for employees to implement some form of personal medical protection. The upshot of this has been that some globally-mobile expatriate employees end up holding health insurance plans with a number of different international health insurance providers over the course of their careers, which is not very conducive to establishing long-term relations with insurance providers. The dormancy option offers a substantial benefit in so far as it allows expatriate employees to possess a single individual plan for the entire tenure of their posting overseas— eliminating the hassle of obtaining new policies each and every time their situation changes.

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HR Karma

What HR needs to do today to ensure peace of mind in succession planning for the future While talent retention is often at the top of the agenda, succession planning often fails to receive the attention it deserves. With self-development programmes popular amongst the most driven of employees— when they reach for the next rung on the ladder, who will be able to fill their shoes? HR Magazine met with Francis Chan, Country Manager—Hong Kong, and Drs. Erik Schmit, Group Managing Director— APAC, Lumesse to discuss the importance of succession planning and what steps companies should be taking now to help ensure peace of mind in the future. Chan explained, “Company executives must clearly articulate their goals and visions. Unclear or poorly-defined goals confuse and beg more questions than they answer. ‘We want to grow’; but how, where and by how much? ‘We want customer satisfaction’; but how much and how will it be measured? Smart goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant/realistic and time-bound.” For these reasons, executives need to know the company inside-out: the challenges, the drivers, the objectives, the business strategy and the needs and strengths of each employee. With this information they must identify systems and processes to follow their business strategy metrics. Schmit pointed to six key elements that HR must consider when identifying suitable successors.

1. Know your employees

Your company must be aware of the skills and competences of your employees. Start from the bottom and find out what kind of employees you have working for you—what are their strengths and how they align with the business strategy.

2. Align staff with company vision Assess the best direction for staff individually, based on their abilities and ambitions, train them and change department teams until you are sure

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everyone is in the place where they can contribute most.

3. Create a database

Having a database listing your employees’ skills, ambitions and other strengths will prove invaluable in the future. Initially, it is a big undertaking—but start by profiling the top 5%-10% of your workforce then gradually add to this. Keep the database up-to-date with new accomplishments and training. This can help you make much better informed decisions about where you place your employees in the future.

6. Transparency is key

When relevancy rather than seniority is used to justify a promotion, in order to avoid discord and dissatisfaction amongst employees, management must show

4. Know business strategy

Never underestimate the importance of the middle to senior management knowing the business strategy well— this is essential for them to be able to implement it. Additionally, they should always be on the lookout for talent within their teams who align themselves well with the company strategy.

5. Top management must be involved

Managers are sometimes reticent about promoting the best talent within their own departments—recognising that they then will have to find a suitable replacement. Involvement by top management helps ensure that talent gets recognition and promotion as appropriate and that proper succession planning takes place. This means that finding a suitable replacement will not be such an arduous task, but rather a wellplanned strategic progression.

Tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today. African proverb

Erik Schmit, Group Managing Director—APAC, Lumesse—Hong Kong

clearly the relevant thought processes that showed the employee to be more appropriate for the role.

Staff stress When it comes to midnight emails, international clients and career progression, today’s employees know stress like no other. Before trying to combat it, employees and their employers must first recognise why it is there and try to stop it rearing its head again.

Family life One major factor that causes stress is juggling work and home-life issues. Often, tasks from work can eke their way into the evening—checking emails, answering important phone calls; eating away at an employee’s home life. Employers must ensure that they employ a degree of flexibility. For instance, if an employee’s child has an event during office hours, consider being flexible with


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work times—as today’s interconnectivity means that often during family time the employee’s mind will be on the job. Schmitt advised, “Employers must not forget that the family is the support network that employees need to allow them to work their best—their role should not be underestimated.”

experienced staff. Trivialities should not get in the way of letting staff fulfil their potential within their role. Chan added, “To see results don’t tell your employees to work harder, longer hours, rather give clear performance strategies, goals and feedback and let them work smarter.”

As for the future, your task is not to foresee it, but to enable it.

Staff encouragement Also important is an employee’s sense of accomplishment and progress. Without regular praise and direction they may feel undervalued and as if they are underachieving; a self-fulfilling prophecy. Leaders and managers should set themselves up in a coach-type role, giving feedback to employees while leading them to develop in the areas in which they are weaker and making them more effective.

Working smarter By providing the technology and tools employees require, employers can help to make their work run as smoothly as possible. Such resources may be in the form of computers, communication systems or even support from other more

Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Retaining staff—three key angles Feedback Give employees clear career progression criteria/profiles. Management must be aware of the factors that cause people to stay at their jobs rather than looking for the proverbial greener grass. Once these have been identified, consider what aspects contribute to employee satisfaction. For example, interesting tasks, challenges, access to opportunities, training and good employer-employee relations. Let employees know the potential career paths available to them and what attributes they will need to ascend to each level. Chan noted, “In this way, they can develop themselves with a specific endpoint in sight and know which particular skills to focus on to fit the bill.” If staff members are found to be currently unsuitable for promotion, the areas for improvement can be pointed out and a strategy arranged between employee and their coach to help them progress. Criticism should be encouraged, so long as it is constructive rather than simply critical. Employees must be made to feel successful whilst at the same time employers should help them to grow and become successful in their own right.

Incentives

Francis Chan, Country Manager, Lumesse—Hong Kong

It does not hurt to offer financial rewards, indeed in sales and marketing environments this can be a fantastic encouragement to help staff meet targets and increase productivity in the shortterm. More companies might, however,

consider the strategy favoured in America, and interestingly in many companies in India, of offering stock options to staff. This can motivate employees in the longterm due to their vested interest in the success of business ventures.

Share business strategy Finally, it is not only important that management be aware of the company vision and goals, these should also be shared with the employees. Schmitt stressed, “NGOs are experts in this aspect; all members of the organisation are aware of and strive for the same vision and members therefore share a sense of belonging. Private firms would do well to follow this example; giving employees an awareness of the business strategy to involve them in the over all ethos.”

Key mistakes to avoid 1. Succession planning should not be seen as a task that only relates to HR departments—it requires universal effort, thought and continued support from the top down. 2. Companies should not take the ‘big-bang approach’ when initiating succession planning but rather adopt a process of ‘evolution’. Schmitt advised, “A system cannot be put in place in one day so start with role profiling and work your way up; tracking performance, evaluating potential and reviewing capabilities and ambitions. In due course you will have a valuable database of appropriate candidates for promotion and replacement. 3. Above all, do not presume succession planning simply requires the same amount of—or less—attention than other HR metrics. It is an integral part of business strategy and as such should be prioritised accordingly in any business.

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HR features

Sourcing international talent

Despite the sustained volatility in regional economies, HR in Hong Kong and Asia is bucking the trend by continuing to source international talent. At all levels of the HR spectrum, employers are renouncing the recent tendency to restrain from hiring, instead actively searching for professionals to strengthen their businesses. The news shows continued esteem placed in those qualified in telecommunications, sales and marketing, industrial practice and recruitment, in particular those with experience in leadership and consultancy roles. One such company, Talent2, recently employed four HR experts

for key roles in its Asian headquarters in Hong Kong. Their new Head of Practice, Information Technology and Telecommunications, Andrew Daniels, brings with him 13 years of recruitment experience of leadership and strategic planning levels, whilst leading Sales and Marketing and Industrial Practice is Barbara Yeung, herself with copious recruitment experience along with over 15 years working in Marketing and Communications in the banking industry. Thomas Cheung, the recently appointed

Senior Consultant in Sales and Marketing and Industrial Practice, has accumulated 18 years’ Sales and Marketing experience in the B2B industrial sector. The final new addition is Andrew Simmonds, taking on the role of Senior Consultant and leading the Interim Management Practice. Whilst in the UK working for their fastest growing Interim Management and Executive Search firm, Andrew recruited for positions across sectors including HR, Project Management, Finance and Marketing.

26 April 2012 Staff Learning & Development Strategies Leading HR Directors and HR practitioners tell you what you need to know about the latest learning & development strategies to help train, develop and retain your staff. Put all your questions to our experts.

Learning and development strategies:

HR professionals from across the region share advice from their organisations on: ● Making training engaging ● Coaching & mentoring effectively ● HiPo development & executive training ● Enhancing workforce effectiveness & demonstrating ROI ● Cultural change & development

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HR features

Links to risk culture, engagement essential in HCM Pay for performance remains priority for financial services A third of senior human resources professionals from the financial services industry identified refinement of incentive plans, risk metrics and governance as the most important human resources priorities in the next 12 months. This represents a stronger focus on pay issues than other HR-related initiatives such as right sizing, HR infrastructure, succession planning and extension of pay rebalancing system. The results emerged from the latest Towers Watson study in Hong Kong which polled 60 local and regional senior human resources professionals on the impact of the regulatory environment in APAC and the structure of financial services bonuses relative to performance. Close to three quarters of the group believed that executive base salary levels have stabilised in APAC. The group remained almost equivocal about the general direction of year-end incentive pay: 53% indicating incentives would go up and 47% indicating they would go down. There was, however, general agreement that total expected compensation trends from 2010 to 2011 were going to be in the range of 0–10%. Global financial institutions face many issues that connect human capital challenges across pay, performance, risk, regulation, culture and governance and this is being tested in the ensuing financial turmoil across global markets. Chris Fabro, Global Co-Lead, Towers Watson—Talent and Rewards Financial Services commented, “Given the dramatic evolution of pay policies and structures, sufficient linkage to other human capital priorities such as

talent management, risk culture and engagement are essential.” Overall, the tougher global economic environment also means that there will be an increasing number of staff who do not receive any pay incentive increase—almost half of respondents asserted that between 5 and 20% of incentive-eligible employees will receive zero incentive this year. According to the survey, the outlook remains more positive for Asia than for Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the US in terms of compensation dollars spent, pay increases and prospective recruitment in the financial services industry. This would suggest that the financial sector in Asia has suffered

less from headcount reduction. China and Hong Kong were in fact regarded as the hottest talent markets in Asia by 38% and 32% of the respondents respectively, reflecting the still strong prospect of growth for those markets. Jeffrey Tang, Asia Pacific Regional Leader, Towers Watson—Talent and Rewards Financial Services summed up, “The financial services industry is beginning to reshape its strategies in response to altered global business environments. Top of mind [for HR] will be pay strategies that reinforce the payfor-performance culture, differentiate among people’s roles, skills and performance, and attract the right talent to ensure market competitiveness.”

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Changing times for HR, HR features

HKMA Awards for T&D With information now disseminated at an unprecedented rate, Gen-Y is becoming a force to contend with and with world economies in decline, the HKMA has altered its Award for Excellence in Training & Development in appreciation of what these factors mean for HR.

Changes are afoot for this year’s HKMA Award for Excellence in Training and Development according to John Allison, Vice President, HR, Asia Pacific, FedEx Express and Chairman of the Award’s Organising Committee. 2012 will see the award split into its respective ‘Training’ and ‘Development’ elements. Typically, explained Allison, companies are now focusing separately on skills training in order to get the job done most effectively and on long-term development programmes for management, leadership and talent generally. This division also enables SMEs to compete in the skills category, an objective that the HKMA

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awarding body feels should capture a larger number of organisations and provide recognition for those who could not be considered in previous years. The application process itself has been simplified, candidates will attend the shortlisting interviews, during which the Board of Examiners will determine six finalists of each category. They are required to submit a two-page summary that provides sufficient information for the examiners prior to the interviews. Six finalists will then be invited to give a presentation at the Final Presentation Seminar. Allison encouraged potential candidates to visit the library at the HKMA


HR features

office to see what had constituted a good programme from past submissions and to consider what their organisation does better. Thus, entering this award allows organisations to share best practises and, importantly, to look at themselves critically and judge whether their T&D programmes really are effective. The ever-increasing quality of applicants year on year was applauded, and Allison concluded that this speaks volumes for the business community of Hong Kong. Current positive trends see the inclusion of more frontline staff and instructors becoming joint participants throughout the training programme. According to Allison, key elements of training and development programmes fall into two broad categories: skills and development.

Skills training

the trade cycle, Allison asserted that HR should take on a consultancy role. By this, he explained, HR Managers should see what is actually taking place on the plant floor, should automate where possible and make processes more efficient. Only by understanding the business at this level can talent be maximised. Allison added that change must also be managed across the various employee demographics that now exist since baby boomers, Gen-Y and Gen-X have differing work ethics and attitudes generally. Training and development programmes should be adapted to reach each group and learners should fully participate. Despite China’s huge expansion, Allison referred to a ‘slowdown’ from a trade perspective, given its dependence on the export markets of Europe and America. Even in these changing economic times, however, the majority of businesses in

The best trainers have a genuine love of people and a passion for developing the curriculum.

the Asia Pacific region remain robust and unemployment rates are low. Most industries are growing steadily with resulting recruitment and training requirements. Allison concluded with a cautionary note to those in HR and said, “Companies should not stop investing in the employees, so that they are with you and ready for when the economy does return to full strength. Ensure they are properly trained and continue to be developed.”

Any learning activity provided to improve job-specific skills, knowledge and behaviour that contributes to business results. E.g. basic training, specific skills training and refresher training programmes.

Development

Any activity, initiative or programme focused on people development that contributes to on-going enhancement of organisational capabilities and business results. E.g. Leadership/executive/talent development programmes, cultural change programmes and career development programmes.

The best person to be a trainer, in Allison’s opinion, is someone with a genuine love of people who has a passion for developing the curriculum. Good training is no longer about lecturing to a group. Those people who have learnt to be interactive and to change with the times will thrive and be most effective in achieving organisational goals. When asked how organisations should rise to the challenges presented by escalating technology and the resultant shortening of

John Allison, Chairman of HKMA Award Organising Committee

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HR features

Beaches, bananas and Bollywood belly dancing Innovative ideas on boosting employee wellness Hailing from Shanghai in 1903 and currently headquartered in Hong Kong, the Wallem Group handles ship management with related agency, brokering and IT services. The Group holds a longstanding record of tending to the health of its six to seven thousand seafarers. Recently, senior executives, in collaboration with Matilda International Hospital, designed a programme to enhance the well-being of its land-based staff.

Mini-health checks

Measures included a mini-health check for all and interactive talks from consultant Matilda Medics, closely aligned to the needs of these employees. Sessions incorporate well-woman and well-man type seminars delivered in both English and Cantonese.

Beaches and bananas

As a novel trimming, the staff canteen was temporarily transformed into a relaxing beach area—featuring sun, sea and sand on a decorative mural across the back wall. Each table was pertinently designated as ‘port’ of a country whose cuisine was analysed in terms of its nutritional value. For the duration of the

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programme, fresh fruit was generously distributed and the pantry fridge featured a number of tips on food storage.

Bollywood belly dancing

The healthy eating campaign was supplemented by other well-being strategies such as the development of a company walking group, hip-hop and jazz dancing classes, as well as Tai Chi and ping pong. Yet the activity which featured most highly in the memories of Wallem Group Head Office staff was that of a Bollywood-style belly dance around the office floor. Elizabeth Berrill, Group Media Manager offered some advice for HR, “Come up with something different and work with your communication teams. Engage the staff, ensure the experience is fun and provides a regular and clear message to your employees.”

Briefings

Within the Wallem Group line managers are fully briefed on the importance of these initiatives both from an individual and organisational perspective. The key to programmes truly making an impact, explained Berrill, is to have them

spaced out enough that staff do not get overwhelmed but at regular enough intervals to hold their interest. The wellbeing programme is undertaken every two years with the alternate years focusing on environmental issues.

ROI measured in retention

Engagement levels of staff were high in relation to the employee wellness activities and the participation rate in the mini-health checks was over 90%. In the open environment of the Wallem offices, early adopters were soon followed by onlookers and those to whom the word had spread. Debbie Mannas, Group Head of Human Resources pointed to the growing momentum of work-life balance considerations in the Asia Pacific region as one reason for the high uptake of these activities. She concluded, “Whilst the value of such incentives cannot be directly measured in financial terms, humans are emotional beings. In an otherwise fair and transparent marketplace these softer benefits count towards the emotive argument for staying put at an organisation and become organisational enablers for retention of staff.”


HR community

Over 200 HR Directors and Heads of C&B turned up to HR Magazine’s February Conference to share their experiences of different C&B strategies—the strategies that have proved to be winners and the resultant benefits for the employee and organisation. It comes as no surprise that money is not always the answer, but if it is—how do we quantify the value of buddy systems, flexible schedules, after-work drinks, employee empowerment and barbeques? The conference provided insight into an employee’s psyche and it allowed us then to look into which C&B measures will maximise that employee’s value without blowing our annual budgets. Both local and international C&B strategies were compared to deepen our understanding of current trends and the direction these trends should be headed in.

Joseph Yip Director—Total Benefits Rewards, Towers Watson (Asia Pacific) Topic: Benefits optimisation—increase your ROI on benefit spend. Yip said, “You need to be flexible with your C&B strategies, have in place the fundamentals and then let your employees select the system that suits them.” Within every workforce there are different needs. The top two employer challenges in Asia Pacific are: controlling benefits costs and maximizing employees’ value of said costs— “you don’t want to be spending 20% of your budget while the employees are only interested in about 15% of it,” Yip warned. Find out what they want by asking them. Benefit package improvements do not necessarily have to be monetary— “Generally speaking, cash incentives do work and they are easily quantifiable,” Yip added. They do not, however, make up for the perception that a role is underpaid or provides few opportunities for advancement. To retain staff, address

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these two factors. To attract staff ensure a fair salary, career advancement prospects and scope for skills learning. Yip compared career progression to computer games, seeking merit points to allow you to proceed to the next level, where you find you acquire new abilities. Perfect for Gen-Y—less so for other groups—it is impossible to please all within one rigid system so be flexible and respond to requests and changes. When explaining your pension contribution strategy provide financial planning advice so that employees fully understand what you as employers and the government can do to aid them as, in Asia Pacific, pension worries are seen to be a personal problem. Information about employee entitlements, pension contribution arrangements and business strategies should not be given in a 90-page manual— Yip commented, “It will not be read and no one will be any better informed.” Try to give information in a fun or interesting way, make an iPad app, or create a cyberinfo café. Technology is in our lives now—

embrace it. Make information as accessible to senior team members as to Gen-Y.

Ms Ka Shi Lau MD and CEO, BCT Financial Ltd.

Topic: Compensation and benefits—let’s go beyond the money. Lau said, “We need to help our colleagues plan for retirement.” BCT Financial Ltd. recognises the need for C&B strategies to reach far beyond the here and now. With Gen-Y employees happy to learn and leap to the next opportunity, Lau stressed the importance of creating a sense of belonging between the company and team members. According to a 2011 JobsDB survey, the top three reasons for changing job are dissatisfaction with current pay and benefits, lack of promotion prospects and a dislike of company culture. Lau identified the benefit areas which must be reviewed to optimise retention to be—in addition to a sense of belonging— economic stability, incentives, housing


HR community HR Conference

Morning session 09:10

Joseph Yip

Director of Total Benefits Rewards, Asia Pacific, Head of Health & Group Benefits, Hong Kong

09:50

Ms Ka Shi Lau

Managing Director & CEO, BCT – BCT Financial Limited / Bank Consortium Trust Co. Ltd.

11:00

Janet Bibi Ferreira

Director—HR & Administration, Baker Tilly Hong Kong

11:40

Bonnie Chan

Manager—Learning & Development, City Telecom (HK) Limited

Afternoon session 14:00

Tiffany Wong

Manager–Human Resources Division, 14:40 Robert Walters Ruby Chan HR Manager, North East Asia, United Technology Corporation (NYSE, UTX) and

Peter O.K. Lam, MSc. MIET

15:50

Claire Garner

VP, Talent & Organisational Development, moksha8

Executive General Manager, UTC, Fire Solutions

allowances, leave entitlement, educational allowances, medical/life insurance and retirement benefits. Considering a rapidly aging population with worries for future stability she suggested, “Companies should not underestimate the importance of retirement benefits and strategies.” She advised offering generous MPF and

ORSO contributions to attract talent and promoting retention and loyalty through the communication of a good retirement strategy—a company culture that does not turn its back on colleagues upon their retirement but rather allows them to opt into a ‘second career’, perhaps taking on a mentoring, part-time role—with a well-

16:30

Ada To

Winner of Best HR Leader—Hong Kong HRM Awards 2009 & 2010

considered vesting scale. Not only does BCT intend to help its employees save for the future but also for now and all the time in between. Assisting employees to get more finance-savvy by enlisting the services of financial advisors can help them to put themselves in control of their wealth and financial security. Companies

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must make sure they are getting the best out of their MPF service providers, where possible try to have your own dedicated liaison and regular member savings performance briefings.

Janet Bibi Ferreira Director—HR & Administration, Baker Tilly Hong Kong Topic: C&B strategies from Baker Tilly. Ferreira said, “80% or more relate C&B to the dollar sign,” but research has shown that in the case of paying above the premium for those who need creativity when at work, the employee’s performance actually deteriorates. Finding the right balance, however, seems to be key, Ferreira added, “If you don’t pay them market rate, they’ll jump ship.” 80% of Baker Tilly’s workforce is Gen-Y—the other 20% involved must coach and engage the younger members of staff. Money is not Gen-Y’s priority, it counts, but other factors such as opportunities for development must be taken into consideration to establish a successful employee value proposition. Their buddy system used to comprise a manager mentoring a group of 20 staff, but now is someone senior mentoring a group of only five or six. An allowance is provided for the buddy group activities, the last activity was a barbeque including 70 to 80 people—but a buddy group is only 5 or 6 people—proving the system is well-received. Appraisal systems are two-way, from their immediate supervisor and from the employee. Baker Tilly offers 20

CPD seminars a year, furthermore, the company organises breakfasts or lunches of groups (max. 30 people) which are voluntary so the ‘buddies’ prepare their own training materials. Forums are provided to allow staff to discuss and share ideas; this allows staff to participate in decision-making. Referral incentives are offered to senior staff; a percentage capped at HKD25,000. Retaining the best talent is not always so complicated, often that employee who has handed in their resignation just needs someone to speak to, maybe they’re under pressure or they’re stressed. “It’s not just to retain them, it’s to find out what’s bugging them,” Ferreira advised.

Tiffany Wong Manager—Human Resources & Business Support Division, Robert Walters, Hong Kong Topic: Industry best practices in recruiting, rewarding and retaining staff Representing professional recruitment consultants Robert Walters, Wong was able to offer a cross-industry, global perspective into best practices in reward and retention of staff. Wong asserted that today 41% of companies are competing for talent globally. She warned HR managers against dropping their standards and relayed that competent candidates are prechecking company reports in their desire to work for only those organisations found to be profitable and growing. It becomes essential to succession plan so as to retain the right talent to foster business growth. Traditional C&B

strategies of salaries consistent with market rate, PRP with rigorous appraisal systems, and long-term opportunities through training and development still hold sway, according to Wong. Today’s workforce, however, desires flexibility of hours and location and provision of child-care is looked upon very favourably by time-stretched employees. Empowerment has been found to be a strong determiner and engagement is known to further add to an employee’s sense of worth. According to Deloitte, primary retention strategies also include encouraging a strong worklife balance and understanding the different motivations of Gen-X, Gen-Y and baby boomers. HR have become more innovative with their incentive programmes of late such that flexible dollars, vouchers, and the provision of drinks and snacks have become commonplace. Microsoft, for example, has adopted a practice of free pizza for all employees at 6pm. The company overall must foster a strong management structure with clearly communicated objectives. Lastly, Wong refers to the exit interview as a much underestimated tool for HR from which they can develop compensation and benefits to retain staff for longer. She quoted from Nobel Prize winning economist Gary S. Becker, “The very definition of human capital is that it walks out of the door every evening and exits permanently with an employee who leaves the company.”

Bonnie Chan Manager—Learning and Development, City Telecom (HK) Limited Topic: Magic jewels and C&B strategies from City Telecom. Chan said, “Employees love both monetary and non-monetary awards.” City Telecom believe their competitive advantage is their talent’s unity, so they have full company meetings during which you can expect to get a two-hour long concert from an international superstar. Chan expressed, “We can do something special for you and in return you can do something awesome for your customer.” It’s important to challenge talent but to

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HR community HR Conference

do this you need to identify how to inspire talent. City Telecom can help you achieve your dream of going to university. HKD6 million was available last year for this scheme but the investment will be higher as employee skills sets will be enriched. After graduation, it is not the end—participants must reflect and thus talent are equipped with a career mindset. In 2011, 94 people went to Cambodia for six days and worked with the Cambodian Children’s Fund—the purpose: servicing. This means “we help each other and we help others to dream,” Chan explained. After-trip reflection shows that productivity increased by double or treble and a 20-30% efficiency gain was achieved. It is impossible to take everyone but inspiration from such activities will permeate the organisation. The ‘Paint our Dreams’ momentum is kept going by providing art therapy classes to allow staff to express themselves and learn what it is about them that’s holding them back professionally and personally. The participants speak to an in-house consultant about how to build their dreams. Chan advised, “Engagement is two-way.” Taking care of your talent is essential to maintain success. Every year the bottom 5% performers are identified and given 6 months to improve. This strategy is open, staff are aware of it, “communication is important,” Chan added.

Peter O. K. Lam Msc. MIET, Executive General Manager, UTC, Fire Solutions and Ruby Chan HR Manager (North-East Asia), Chubb Hong Kong Limited Topic: Workforce culture transformation and staff benefit enhancement—radical workspaces at Chubb Lam commented, “It’s easy to talk about coaching, collaboration and communication but it’s very difficult to implement them.” New offices in Kowloon Bay were designed to enhance these three Cs and the concept is very much about breaking down the walls between people. The new move saw 36 managers lose their rooms—everything is open to encourage better communication.

There are no physical barriers between people so, psychologically, employees are not divided. The company showed its employees the final designs which included many of their own ideas and the management proved to be committed, “We realised what we promised them,” Lam highlighted. There is a free snack bar—with 100 pieces of cake ordered everyday—for all employees to enjoy too. The working environment is more mobile now and there’s more equipment readily available for the staff to use. A team of employees can bring their computers around one desk and, at the press of a button, they can switch from one computer to another to look at another team member’s screen—an efficient means of sharing information and so time-wasting is avoided. The new offices only house four rubbish bins as the company attempts to implement a paperless environment and, of course, some people are not entirely happy with not having their own bin but, “Certain concepts need to be educated more,” suggested Chan. It is difficult to coach employees and encourage them to accept change, however, Chan added, “This is an indirect way of investing ahead of the curve.”

Claire Garner VP, Talent & Organisational Development, Moksha8 Topic: Driving performance through creative C&B structures Moksha8 currently operates in Latin America but they have their sights on the Middle East, North Africa and then Asia Pacific. Garner pointed out that HR faces similar difficulties in both Latin America and APAC relating to talent shortages. Garner expressed, “We are very keen that we create the right culture that will attract and retain the right people—we see C&B as one tool around doing that.” Emerging markets such Latin America are not known for their ethical compliance so the company is ensuring that its strategy, including its C&B structures, is trustworthy. The company offers competitive annual leave and salary; moreover, it provides flexible hours and healthcare. What’s strange is that as a private organisation it has stock options to give and Garner commented, “We tend to use them as a long-term incentive—they tend to go to the people who value having a long-term option and to those who we want to keep

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in the business for the long-term—over time those options will become more valuable.” Bonuses are performance based and they can be as high as 50% of the employee’s base salary. Garner added, “It’s a small company which is rapidly growing so employees have the opportunity to see their career dramatically advance. People are moving from field roles to corporate roles and it’s hugely motivating for them.” The company has created a Moksha8 points system with which employees can earn points for performance and exchange those points for things such as iPads. Ambassador’s Club is a reward package for the top 10% performers, so they go somewhere with their spouses and the head of country for a week e.g. the Brazil team recently enjoyed a week in Cuba. Sales force conventions are a broader tool, the most recent being in Cancun, used to get the whole force together to make sure they are being trained properly and that they are receiving up-to-date information.

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Ada To Winner of Best HR Leader— Hong Kong HRM Awards 2009 & 2010 Topic: Successful C&B strategies in mergers and acquisitions To said, “C&B is about the survival of our business.” C&B in regards to mergers and acquisitions becomes incredibly complicated when we’re talking about To’s 16 deals last year which included 11,000 people in 13 different countries. High level due diligence is essential in this industry as To’s company “needs to be careful of super benefits,” To highlighted. You need to look into what benefits these new employees have and consider if they fit into your own company’s policies. During her time in M&A, To has been faced with employees who have benefitted from holiday homes and private jets. She explained that HR needs to look at cost growth and retention—it needs to turn itself into a profit centre. To spoke of harmonization, communication and

integration. Harmonization means defining the terms and conditions, for example, it is possible that an employee had 12 holiday days before but with To’s company they will only receive 10. The two days can be added to their base salary. To added that communication means explaining in detail to the new acquired employees how they will be affected. Integration means the new employees participate in an orientation programme so that they can better adjust to the new corporate culture. To concluded that HR has a very important job to identify expected liability, in shared deals, including payment in lieu of notice, payment in lieu of unspent annual leave, and what are the share options when they acquire a public listed company. She warned, “HR must create a true picture of what the current people cost is and what it will be in the future—the people cost estimation could be HKD15 million but without due diligence the cost could increase to HKD20 million and eat up the profit margin.”


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Powering Asia

—the future of the global economy AMCHAM: 20th Annual Human Capital Conference

AmCham: 20th Annual Human Capital Conference—Panel of speakers

Someone who can tell me how they develop a team, how they previously managed a team—what worked, what didn’t work, and if they were given a clean slate—what would they do differently.

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HR Magazine

Sara Yang Bosco, President, Emerson Electric Asia-Pacific

The American Chamber of Commerce recently brought together around 100 HR professionals to celebrate their 20th Annual Human Capital Conference. Among the speakers, Robin Moriarty, MD HK-International Kimberly-Clark North Asia shared her take on the importance of cultural considerations when dealing with diverse staff pools. She said it was vital for HR to help their staff adjust to different cultures. She pointed out that this adjustment to different styles might only require a minor change in habits, such as allowing people sufficient time to answer a question; or realising that ‘yes’ doesn’t always mean ‘yes’ but in fact may mean ‘no’. She also encouraged


HR community

those in HR to help create a culture of willingness to speak out in global meetings within their organisations. She made some generalisations regarding different working styles adopted by different cultures and asserted the need to motivate Asians to be more proactive in speaking up during business meetings. Moriarty also advised HR to promote the brainstorming of ideas by employees. She said, “Encourage employees to just make a proposal and put forward new ideas.” Mitya New, MD, Leading Organisations International highlighted the distinction between multi-nationals and local companies in terms of their HRD needs. New asserted that Asia has long been important in terms of the future business development globally, but that with the developments in the US and Europe over the last 1-2 years, it has come even more to the forefront. In terms of

Someone who does not only prioritise technical competences, but also looks at interpersonal and professional skills; and someone who is excited about training other people in how to perform—driving behaviours that will drive results.

Robin Moriarty, MD, HK-International Kimberly-Clark North Asia

Someone with global experience and understanding; a good track record in terms of learning and development; and someone who understands the importance of team effectiveness.

Mitya New, MD, Leading Organisations International

driving business change and the way organisations look towards people and human capital, New contended that Asia is a world leader. Many in HR have witnessed the change in the set up of MNCs over the last few years. Originally cautious in terms of setting up joint ventures and partnerships, many MNCs are now much more confident and proactive in stationing their own, i.e. non-outsourced, staff in their Asian operations. New added, “As Asia is now centre stage, you want to be more in control of what’s happening on the ground. So we’ve seen a shift towards managing your own staff, who may well be expatriates stationed in China, rather than partner staff.” New pointed out that MNCs are also now beginning to see disengagement with senior level management, who have been with them on the journey through their expansion into Asia and are now turning to local companies who can offer them more suitable EVPs. New detailed two main change agents that are currently influencing the HR sphere. Firstly, recruitment: citing Jeffrey Joerres, Chairman and CEO, ManpowerGroup, New explained that human skills sets would become the defining differentiator in the future. He also pointed out that employers were now working much harder to make the individual and their skills sets better fit the job they are applying for. This transition is made even more important as the talent pool in Asia continues to grow. He explained, “Employees are now looking more carefully in terms of recruitment, they are not

just seeking remuneration. They want to see a certain amount of learning and development in terms of what the companies offer, and MNCs are no longer the natural choice.” The second change agent has been the concept of ‘teamwork’. New added, “Teamwork has become very important at enhancing the effectiveness at which an organisation operates, including a growing number of virtual teams.” Organisations that crack this nut will be much more successful than those that don’t—competition drives this naturally, and more and more senior leaders have been socialised into a team-based approach. There has been a growing tide of companies, such as Amazon, that have decided to recently migrate their head offices from Hong Kong into mainland China. On this, Sara Yang Bosco, President, Emerson Electric Asia-Pacific, commented that sustainability was a key challenge for companies in Asia. With the rise of local companies, with different business practices, she highlighted the need for organisations to remain competitive. She said, “Emerson has been in the region for over 15 years, so we look at trends and take advantage of technologies such as shared-services infrastructures. Currently, we have 12 of these globally—with four in Asia—to help us work via the internet. In this way we can generate cost savings by leveraging synergies and technologies.” Richard Vuylsteke, President, AmCham Hong Kong concluded the session by asking the panelists: if you had to hire a new HRD, what are the top qualities that you would need?

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HR community

World HRD Congress 2012 HR Magazine recently flew west to Mumbai, India as official media partners of the World HRD Congress. The Congress entitled ‘Survive and Thrive—HR leadership & challenges in the coming years’, was held at the Taj Lands End (Bandra), Mumbai in mid-February and brought together an international array of speakers sharing ideas in the HR sphere.

Talent hard to find

The pre-conference focused on compensation and benefits, Preeti Gupta, Group Head Rewards & Benefits, Aditya Birla wasted no time in jumping straight into debate on the broad frameworks that had been set up within companies to help attract and retain key talent. Virtually all speakers concurred that it was becoming increasingly difficult to hire talent, and HR was being forced to ask some fairly soul searching questions. Most frequently asked was how much more should HR pay for local talent and how should HR handle pay disparities—with differences between new hires and incumbents being around 25%. It was suggested that good principles of remuneration needed to include both top- and bottom-line measures, in addition to the introduction of cash-flow measures as and when new situations, such as acquisitions and mergers, arose.

Benchmarking C&B

On the issue of linking leadership with pay Madhavi Lall, Regional Head—India & SA, Standard Chartered Bank explained that the bank did internally benchmark people every year and stressed the importance of having a strong overarching corporate governance when it came to designing C&B strategies. Lall said, “You can just keep benchmarking with external organisations, but compensations are likely to vary from position to position and person to person, so you need to agree with relevant line managers exactly what the organisation expects of particular staff

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members—and then come up with an agreed figure. Obviously, you need to get a sense of what the market is doing, but you also need to benchmark internally.” Lall went on note that in smaller organisations where business volumes are not as high, sometimes there was a larger disparity with staff salary expectations. She added, “The variable pay difference is still there, but staff working in what were traditionally known as ‘support functions’ are becoming more like experts—so remuneration for staff in such functions has also become a lot more complex in recent years.” As such, specialised salaries have moved up to global levels, and due to the last four years of volatility in the market there have been a large amount of job losses and restructuring. Rajesh Padmanabhan, Head—HR, Capgemini explained that when it comes to benchmarking staff salaries, HR have to be realistic in terms of where they stand. He said, “Compensation doesn't just have to move upwards, it can move downwards too. If you’re in a high growth situation obviously it doesn’t create problems, but when the growth comes down and margins are reduced—that’s the stage when C&B comes to the forefront.”

Long-term staff incentive plans

Long-term incentive plans (LTIPs), in the context of world extraordinary events, are becoming an integral part of the total reward strategy. K. S. Kuman, VP

HR, Castrol India Ltd. explained, “The perception of reward is relative rather than absolute, as it has to be seen in the context of what other staff are getting.” The success of LTIPs relies on the contribution to the firm being greater than the costs. Kuman cited a recent Hewitt-Kellogg research study, conducted over a four year period, which indicated that a share of the shortterm incentive is tied to the company’s scorecard of the best practices of the company. He, therefore, advised HR to have monthly town hall meetings with staff to share ideals of the current scorecard of the company. The vesting period of LTIPs tends to be three to four years in India, represent 35-40% of company’s total share offer and are offered to the top 2-3 levels of management. Annual awards are proportionate to base salary. Kuman added, “We’re seeing a lot more fullvalue shares issued to staff, rather than market-value options, the advantage being that even with share tanks, staff can still get the residual value of the share.” Although, within the private equity space, Very Long-term Incentive Plans (VLTIPs) might go on for as long as 10-12 years. Kuman cautioned with any LTIP option for staff, problems can arise because they can be too long-term and employees perceive these as their grandchildren’s plans rather than their own. He said, “LTIPs are not the panacea for attrition. Retention is a function of total reward.” He went on to explain the difficulty in


HR community

prescribing ‘one formula’ for LTIP/salary mixes as this depends on the appetite of the staff members themselves and the culture of the company. He added, “What actually makes a good mix depends on the rest of the mix that you have, but for LTIPs to be substantial for senior management I would go up to 50-100% of base pay. Make it a little bit difficult, and then there is an incentive for them.”

Culture and C&B

Kuman cited Professor Geert Hofstede who conducted one of the most comprehensive studies of how values in the workplace are influenced by culture. The study, also highlighted the significance of cultural dimensions which come into play in connection with C&B strategies which are dependent on staff members’ level of 'uncertainty avoidance’. With this in mind, HR should look at power differences that exist within their organisation and ask how much can people accept salary disparities at different levels and how individualistic are staff? HR needs to look at an organisation’s level of ‘masculinity’ which was defined as ‘the degree to which an organisation looks favourably on aggressive behaviours that go for results’. HR were also advised to look at long-term orientation, and the degree to which staff would hold out for rewards in the longterm—which may be difficult with young staff who are fresh into the company. Kuman added, “The value of long-term is perceived, and employee decisions on C&B are not purely rational. In isolation: it’s like a bandage without the ointment, in its absence: it’s like ointment without the bandage.”

With these workplace changes evident, he the spoke on the merits of a wide variety of employee options.

Stock Appreciation Rights (SARs)

SARs are granted to an employee to receive a bonus equal to the appreciation in the company's stock over a specified period. Similar to Employee Stock Options (ESOs) SARs bring the holder benefits in terms of an increase in stock price. The main advantage over ESOs being that SARs do not require employees to pay the exercise price, but rather just receive the amount of the increase in cash or stock.

Restricted Stock Options (RSOs)

RSOs refer to stock of a company granted to employees, but that is not fully transferable until certain conditions have been met such as: continued employment over a minimum period and/or performance conditions where the company has to achieve a certain level of earnings per share/financial targets. Restricted stock is becoming a more prominent form of employee compensation, particularly to executives and has overtaken stock options in terms of popularity after the recent financial turmoil and additionally they can be more tax efficient for employees than ESOs.

Performance Shares (PS)

Performance shares are usually only issued to managers if a range of companywide performance criteria have been met

such as targets relating to earnings per share. The goal of performance shares is to try to link managers to shareholder interests. In the same way that ESOs work, they provide an incentive for management to focus their efforts on maximising shareholder value. The manager usually receives performance shares as compensation for meeting targets, as opposed to stock-option plans where employees receive stock options as part of their usual compensation package.

Deferred Compensation Plans (DCPs)

DCPs involve employees deferring an agreed portion of their current income until a specified future date—in this way a certain percentage of wages earned in one period will be paid later. Life insurance can be used to fund deferred compensation plans—deferred amounts being used to pay premiums on cash value life insurance. The cash value can then be made available at retirement or, if the insured dies before retirement, the insured’s designated beneficiary would receive the insurance policy’s death benefit. Chainani highlighted the growing role of deferred compensations plans. He explained, “Volatility in markets is a driver of change and this is often mainly focused on middle and junior management levels. Holdbacks—where during a bonus payout a certain portion of that is held back till a later date, and Clawbacks—where, after employers have made a payout, if there is a market change or a staff member leaves earlier than an agreed minimum time, the

Portfolio approach to LTIPs

Gautam Chainani, CPO–Financial Services, Aditya Birla Financial Services Group then took the conference underwater for a few moments. He began by saying, “The time when ‘underwater’ was all about SCUBA diving and not about stock is long over. You don’t have golden parachutes anymore, you only have trainee pilots flying in the cockpit.” He noted that reward and retention continued to be the primary objective for LTIPs and that a portfolio approach, in which multiple forms of LTIPs were offered, was slowly gaining ground.

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HR community

employer then ‘claws back’ that amount. He cautioned HR that regulators today were very much ‘on the prowl’ including the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) and that employers must be mindful of a wide range of compliance issues when drawing up any staff compensation plans. He added, “The framework is being set for a much more active approach.”

Hybrid C&B plans

The emergence of ‘hybrid staff compensation plans’ which offer a combination of equity and cash is gaining ground, especially in organisations that are already listed—and there is uncertainty about what the stocks are going to do over a period of time. Chainani explained that this was a particularly good option in times of volatility.

Phantom Unit Plans (PUPs)

A PUP, sometimes referred to as ‘shadow stock’ is an employee benefit plan that gives selected employees, usually senior management, many of the benefits of stock ownership without actually giving them any company stock. Even though employees don’t receive ‘real’ stock the PUPs follow the value movement of the company's actual stock and pay out any resulting profits.

Institutionalised plans vs new adopters

Chainani noted that many companies have well-established long-term plans, but that they were dependant on what stage

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they were at in the business lifecycle, that different companies were likely to adopt very different strategies. For start ups, they might look at offering stock plans based on the company’s performance; while for longer-established companies, they might consider offering more performance-related options.

Culture of performance

There is a culture of differentiation within many organisations—where stock options are cut off at certain lower levels within the organisation—such systems may also have a level of discretion built in to them. Chainani advised HR that if a stock plan was going underwater, this may well necessitate looking at resetting the whole organisation’s C&B structure. He said, “There are a number of different perspectives coming into play, but the earlier you can filter this down to frontline staff the better, because if you leave it simmering away it can create huge problems later.”

Showing value, enhancing stickiness

On the question of how smaller employers could make people see the value—when they were not a listed company—Chainani suggested employers look at more intrinsic programmes. He explained that this was likely to involve working out a capital valuation formula—to be accepted and agreed across any joint-venture partners. Then, looking at a PUP price and modelling it to predict what the value might do in future and finally, creating an employee option based on these metrics.

For junior and middle level staff plans Chainani said that this is likely to be linked to the performance of company over the last two years, and companies may pay 15-20% based on that. He added that, accordingly, most performance-linked C&B plans are linked to tenure—and the employee must stay for at least two years. Chainani explained, “We have to make sure these plans are consistent and run across all levels. I believe that culturally there are a number of things that HR needs to drive—Defined Contribution (DEFCON) plans help build a culture of stickiness. You should ensure that you value performance, but you should also value years of tenure too. I also have a variable pay plan, which can be rolled out for selected employees.” HR must also look at risk and structure in relation to incentive plans. Ensure you know how plans can be structured, and changed, over time in accordance with market changes. HR also needs support from strong governance to ensure there is no mis-selling when staff are incentivised by sales. A quick straw poll of delegates attending the event showed that 84% agreed cash compensation plays a higher role in staff retention and 66% agreed it was acceptable to have differentiation in pay structures.

Keeping HiPos

Dr Adil Malia, Group President—HR, Essar Group said that the war for talent had in no way slackened off, but that the balance of power had shifted slightly in the economic slowdown and as organisations reached different stages in their lifecycles. Malia noted many senior professionals would hold out for better salaries and most people didn’t really want to change job. Malia said, “When you try to lure HiPos out of a job, they become more risk aware and are more likely to stay put. Also, if they quit, they may be leaving an LTIP on the table because they fail to complete the minimum tenure. The average employee doesn’t really have line of sight on how the profits are going to affect what they actually get out of their LTIP. So LIPTs tend to become much ‘stickier’ and the level of reward required by staff to switch careers increases."


HR training

Parent-preneurs: work-life balance secrets

We hear so much advice about giving ourselves and our staff a better work-life balance, but seldom do we get practical advice on how to actually balance career, home life, partners, children and everything else that makes us human. US parent-preneurs and CEOs Ed and Ellen Schack give their take on how to successfully balance business endeavours, marital relations and family life. Today many in HR strive to ‘have it all’ with respect to personal and professional life but, all too often, this shotgun effort leads to disappointing results on many—if not all—fronts. The Schacks point out, “The complexity lies in creating abundance in your life while still being able to relax and enjoy life to its fullest.” Individual business owners and parents of three, the Schacks have combined their family life, work lives, and personalities successfully so that they complement each other, serving as a model for other couples and families striving to do the same. The serial entrepreneurs now share some of their key principals that have helped them successfully balance family life with growing businesses.

Embracing difference—the spice of life

One of the most important components of life is to recognise how very unique each one of us is and how we can actually harness these individual qualities to add greater strength or capabilities to a relationship. Whether it’s a spouse or a child, it is important to appreciate differing characteristics and personalities. This may mean modifying a disciplinary or communicative approach to lead to the necessary changes generating a positive family impact and outcome.

Are we having fun yet?

Life is far too short to be too serious about it. Life is supposed to be fun and work is too. Ed and Ellen’s philosophy is to make everything in life a worthwhile experience, lived moment to moment.

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Be present in those moments and make them as memorable as possible. Also keep a peaceful state of mind by purposely relaxing—rather than waiting for random chances to present themselves.

Open communication

Communication is vital to any healthy relationship whether business or personal. The Schacks have embraced their business coach’s philosophy: WIFLE— What I Feel Like Expressing. This mantra, part of every weekly meeting where employees get the chance to discuss CEOs, employees, themselves, the company and so on, can also be applied in a more informal way at home with family and children. Make sure there is resolution on each topic presented so that no one is confused and be sure to reach a decision that provides one answer.

All hands on deck—operating with respect & recognition

When looking for inspiration in one’s life, it is important to have go-to people to lean on in both career and non-career aspects. This may mean using a business consultant who can take the business to the next level or a personal confidant who can help you make personal changes, improve communication, resolve issues and become a better person. Tied to the principle of recognising the value in others and accepting others’ opinions is the overriding principle of being respectful in every aspect of life. Have respect, let it go. Never stay angry. Don’t get crazy over little things.

Shelter against the storm— finding your neutral zone

It is not easy to maintain happy and healthy relationships on a personal or professional level. There will be discord and disagreement, so finding a neutral zone, where each side can go to get away from stress, is important. Think about your home or other location as a sanctuary that is replete with peace and positivity. Establish a place of escape from life’s difficulties, so that you can clear your head, regroup and productively deal with the situation at hand.

Shift change—keeping home and businesses separate

It is important to create boundaries that keep work and home life separate, so that couples can carve out as much quality family time as possible. This helps to reduce anxiety and stress in the family unit. Those with home-based businesses can still establish work hours and then, after that time, close up shop and focus on the family—for the health and happiness of all involved.

More than skin deep—social responsibility inside & out

Establishing a business and a family life based on a philosophy of social responsibility can generate a great deal of satisfaction. Whether it is the idea to ‘pay it forward’ by helping those who are less fortunate or to create a bucket list based on what you can do for others—rather than yourself—makes a difference in others’ lives, enriches your own life, and makes it feel more fulfilling. Doing these activities as a couple, family or work unit is also a unique bonding experience.


HR training

Coping with career change 116,000 people were reported jobless in Hong Kong in the last quarter of 2011, leaving the unemployment rate a shade over 3%, according to the Census and Statistics Department. Hong Kong is reacting. Two years ago, Financial Secretary, John Tsang announced job creation plans that saw HKD1.6 billion spent and 62,000 jobs created from 2009 to 2011. As the market gradually recovers and stabilises, there are an increasing number of employees looking towards career change. As the job market bounces back employers, employees and jobseekers need to evaluate their position. Instead of ignoring the current environment, it is time to look at your circumstances and the possible opportunities the current climate may create. Those in work may see a change in role, increased confusion and the stress of a heavier workload. Those in transition will find the job market more competitive as the number of people out of work has grown with more people to fill fewer vacancies. Deborah Matson, Managing Director, Links Recruitment commented, “Change is in the air. Employers and employees are experiencing much transition, be it internal organisational restructure, redundancy, career break or changes within current role.”

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What should HR managers do to cope with career change?

Matson went on to say, “It is critical to be career fit as an individual regardless of whether you are happy in your current role or searching for the next opportunity.” She then highlighted steps HR managers can take to gain self empowerment and control of their situation: ▪▪HR managers should organise their CV and portfolio. Review their last role identifying key achievements. Always try to include successful financial indicators such as sales performance, cost savings, projects brought in on budget and other related highlights. ▪▪Understand strengths and areas of development. Skills are transferable. If an HR manager is looking outside of the HR industry, consider sectors and positions that complement the developed skill set. ▪▪Knowledge is power. Keep up to date with competitors. Research both the current and desired industry. Who’s hiring, who’s firing. Technical and product developments. Office openings. ▪▪It is important to think about job fulfilment. Invest in building good relationships with colleagues not only in the HR department,


HR training

but in every department. Take opportunities to develop within an existing role and company. ▪▪Have a positive mental attitude. To gain clarity on strengths and development areas managers may want to invest time with a professional who offers psychological assessment, development planning and coaching support. ▪▪If roles are made redundant take some time to assess what this means. See this as an opportunity to take stock and be clear about the next steps. Following the initial shock, there can often come a sense of relief which enables exploration of new options. HR managers should consider whether they are on the path they want to be on. Managers should consider if they will target a new role as quickly as possible in the same industry or change industry, learn new skills or take a career break.

Helen Hanson, HR Services Consultant & Career Transitions Manager, Links Recruitment explained, “Redundancies have unfortunately been inevitable over recent months and acting responsibly as an employer is crucial. Redundancy programmes that are handled poorly can spell disaster both internally by potentially destabilising your surviving employee base and externally, which can have a negative effect on your brand.” She went on to point out that redundancy is one of the most traumatic events an employee may experience. Announcement of redundancies will invariably have an adverse effect on morale, motivation and productivity. These negative effects can be reduced by sensitive and empathetic handling of redundant employees and those remaining. In order to deal with redundancies many companies turn to outplacement support for help in this situation as people can be more receptive to an external

resource. The business often requires additional professional resources. Retaining your talent following redundancies and restructuring while keeping morale high and ensuring productivity is difficult to do. HR managers should focus on planning for the future. This helps to demonstrate your commitment to the retained and ‘surviving’ talent and will strengthen relationships for when the situation picks up. Employees are at the heart of any business and encouraging passion, involvement and motivation are primary factors in retaining your top talent, especially during challenging times. Managing change, career transition services are becoming increasingly popular in this current climate as both employers and employees can benefit from the suite of services including outplacement support, psychological assessment, career advice and training from professionals.

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HR events

What’s coming up in the world of HR

When

Who

What

Where

Details

16 March 2012 (Fri) 09:00–17:00

Dale Carnegie Training

Workshop: How to Win Cooperation without Authority

Suite 1701, 17/F, East Exchange Tower, 38 Leighton Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong

Details & Register: http://goo.gl/mj9wI Fee: HKD1,500

16 March 2012 (Fri)

Human Capital Committee— American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong

“I Know The Team Could Do Better, But I’m Not Sure What To Do…”—Improving Performance With Teams

AmCham Office 1904 Bank of America Tower, 12 Harcourt Road, Central, Hong Kong

Register: http://goo.gl/IHYH8 Members: HKD250 Non-Members: HKD350

26-27 March 2012 (Mon-Tue)

Crown Leadership International Group

Flexible Workplaces Asia Masterclass

Copthorne King’s Hotel, Singapore

Register: http://goo.gl/fdKiU Several seats left

27 March 2012 (Tue) 14:30-17:00

FlexSystem

FlexSystem Conference 2012 —Announcing FESA Finance & FESA HRMS V12

Room 1, 3/F, The Mira, Tsim Sha Tsui MTR Exit B1, Hong Kong

Register: http://www.flex.hk/event Fee: Free of charge

10-11 April 2012 (Tue-Wed)

Crown Leadership International Group

Driving Public Sector Services via Social Media & Online Community Masterclass

Copthorne King’s Hotel, Singapore

Register: http://goo.gl/Aj9cP Several seats left

20 April 2012 (Fri) 15:00-17:00

The Hong Kong Management Association (HKMA)

Seminar: Choose Tomorrow’s Leaders Today—The Key Strategies to Successful Succession Planning and Talent Development

CYMA Charity Fund Management Development Ctr., Room 201, Pico Tower, 66 Gloucester Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong

Register: http://goo.gl/xeQUu HKMA Members: HKD380 Non-Members: HKD480

26 April 2012 (Thu) 08:30-16:30

HR Magazine

HR Magazine Conference— Staff learning & development strategies • Making training engaging • Leadership development • Succession planning • Sales training • Coaching & mentoring effectively • HiPo development & executive training • Enhancing workforce effectiveness • Cultural change & development • Tools to demonstrate ROI

Cliftons Central Facility Level 33, 9 Queen’s Road, Central, Hong Kong

Fees: FREE ENTRY to HR Magazine Subscribers Half day HKD800 Whole day HKD1,200 Full details at: www.hrmagazine.com.hk

16-17 May 2012 (Wed-Thu)

SharedXpertise & HRO Today Forums

HRO Today Forum APAC 2012

Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore

Details: http://www.hrosummits.com/ hrosummitapac/ Register: http://goo.gl/lxb0S *Special discount for HR Magazine subscribers—Enter code HRMAG12 when you register Register by 23 March to receive a further 20% discount

21-22 May 2012 (Mon-Tue)

Crown Leadership International Group

Negotiating, Drafting & Managing Commercial Contracts Asia Masterclass

Copthorne King’s Hotel, Singapore

Register: http://goo.gl/z3I9M Register by 16 March to enjoy SGD200 off

22-23 May 2012 (Tue-Wed)

International Quality & Productivity Centre (IQPC)

13th Annual Asia Lean Six Sigma & Process Improvement Summit

Amara Hotel, Singapore

Register: http://www.sixsigmaasia.com *Special discount for HR Magazine subscribers—Enter code ISG_HRM_ad to receive an exclusive 10% discount

24 May 2012 (Thu) 08:30–17:30

SHL Group

LINK Greater China 2012 Conference

Pudong Shangri-La Hotel, Shanghai

Register: http://www.shl.com/uk/campaign/link-gc Fee: Complimentary with limited space

4-5 June 2012 (Mon-Tue)

Crown Leadership International Group

Public Sector Procurement Asia Masterclass

Singapore

Register: http://goo.gl/hJ5en Register by 9 March to enjoy SGD400 off

16-20 June 2012 (Sat-Wed)

The Enneagram in Business

Certificate Program: Coaching With The Enneagram Based on Bringing Out The Best In Everyone You Coach

Sydney, Australia

Details: http://goo.gl/g1NCl Register: http://goo.gl/pI0JA Fee: AUD1,950

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HR classifieds

Index Business Process Outsourcing

| 57

Legal / Employment Law / Tax

| 60

Conference & Exhibition Venues

| 57

Pest Control & Environmental Services

| 60

Education and Corporate Training

| 58

Psychological / Assessment Tools

| 61

Employee Health & Wellbeing

| 59

Recruitment / Executive Search

| 61

HR Technology Solutions

| 59

Relocation & Logistics

| 62

Leadership Development

| 59-60

Staff Benefits

| 62

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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, award-winning chefs and attentive hospitality staff, AsiaWorld-Expo is definitely your choice for an unforgettable event.

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Conference & Exhibition Venues

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Spring 2012

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DSL/Evans & Peck (Hong Kong) Ltd. provides Business advisory services to improve the efficiency, effectiveness and success of our client’s core business and projects. Our services include: Change Management, Leadership Development; Agile Business Optimisation; Process Improvement; Building high performance teams using NASA 4-D and other methodologies; Executive Coaching and Training. Evans & Peck, part of the WorleyParsons Group, is an international infrastructure-based advisory company supporting major projects and change programs for private organisations and governments throughout Australia, Asia and the Middle East.

DSL/Evans & Peck (Hong Kong) Ltd. Level 14,Sun House, 181 Des Voeux Road, Central, Hong Kong

Tailor-made business training, testing and benchmarking solutions throughout Hong Kong, Macau and China. Corporate and individual programmes.

Excel Education Limited Unit 101, Fourseas Building, 208-212 Nathan Road, Jordan, Kowloon, Hong Kong

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.

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HR Magazine

Tel: 800 903 210 Fax: (852) 2816 7150 info@bitesizedtraining.asia www.bitesizedtraining.asia

Contact person: Yvonne Hau Tel: (852) 2722 0986 Fax: (852) 2492 2127 www.evanspeck.com

Tel: (852) 2736 6339 Fax: (852) 2736 6369 info@excelhk.com www.excelhk.com

The Hong Kong Management Association was established in 1960. As a non profit making professional organization, 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.

Hong Kong Management Association 14th Floor, Fairmont House, 8 Cotton Tree Drive, Central, Hong Kong

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 ayesha.mathias@macsimize.biz www.macsimize.biz

reallyenglish works with major international publishers (Cambridge University Press, Pearson Longman, McGraw-Hill) to create costeffective and flexible world-class courseware that is tailored to local needs. We provide educational, fun and interactive online courses which are easy to use and hold learners’ interest. By controlling every aspect of the service, including hosting, support, coaching and reporting, we guarantee that over 80% of students will complete their course. All our energy is devoted on two service objectives—getting students to finish and showing managers and educators the results.

reallyenglish.com (Hong Kong) 51/F Hopewell Centre, 183 Queen’s Road East, Wanchai, Hong Kong

Tel: (852) 2526 6516 / 2774 8500 Fax: (852) 2365 1000 hkma@hkma.org.hk www.hkma.org.hk

Tel: (852) 3602 3090 Fax: (852) 3602 3111 Mobile: (852) 5165 2467 davida@reallyenglish.com www.reallyenglish.com


HR classifieds

Employee Health & Wellbeing Matilda International Hospital offers newly developed facilities and stateof-the-art equipment for a comprehensive health assessment service and is committed to providing the best care and personal attention for both corporate and individual clients. Matilda Medical Centre has extended services to Central and Tsim Sha Tsui and provides full primary and preventative healthcare services. The combined expertise of the hospital and medical centres results in an entire suite of result-oriented health and wellness services to address specific medical and budgeting needs. The provision of inpatient services and advance surgical suites ensures seemless follow through care and access to a wide range of experienced specialist facilities and advanced treatment options.

Matilda International Hospital 41 Mount Kellett Road, The Peak, Hong Kong

Pacific Prime Insurance Brokers is a leading international health insurance brokerage specializing in providing comprehensive coverage options to individuals, families, and companies throughout the Asia-Pacific region. Working with over 80,000 clients in 150 countries, Pacific Prime can deliver advice in more than 15 major languages. With offices strategically located in Shanghai, Singapore, Dubai, and Hong Kong, Pacific Prime is able to provide immediate advice and assistance to policyholders located around the world. Pacific Prime works with 55 of the world’s leading health insurance providers, giving customers unprecedented access to the best medical insurance products currently on the market.

Pacific Prime Insurance Brokers Ltd. Unit 1-11, 35th Floor, One Hung To Road, Kwun Tong, Hong Kong

With a mission of providing and promoting primary and preventive eyecare to the public, PolyVision offers a pioneering eye healthcare plan fitting different staff benefit schemes, and provides eye care seminar and packages to help monitor and maintain the eye health of staff through companies.

PolyVision Eyecare Centres Room 4201, Hopewell Centre, 183 Queens’ Road East, Wanchai, Hong Kong

Their eye examination is one of the most comprehensive in Hong Kong. It covers: Case History, Vision & Refractive Status, Binocular Vision, Color Vision Screening, Intra-ocular Pressure, Ocular Health, Fundus Photography, Diagnosis & Treatment.

Contact person: Sireen Cheng Tel: (852) 2849 0389 www.matilda.org

Tel: (852) 3113 1331 Fax: (852) 2915 7770 info@pacificprime.com sam.cooper@kwiksure.com www.pacificprime.com

Tel: (852) 2861 0138 Fax: (852) 2861 0123 info@polyvision.com.hk www.polyvision.com.hk

HR Technology Solutions Lumesse is the only global company making talent management solutions work locally. We help customers around the world to implement successful local talent management initiatives that identify, nurture and develop the right people, in the right place, at the right time. Our multicultural background and presence means we understand how to deliver talent solutions that work the way our customers work, as individuals and as teams, because no two people, organisations or cultures are the same. We regard differences as strengths, not as obstacles. Our passion is developing intuitive talent management technology that people love to use. Our integrated talent management solutions—including talent acquisition, onboarding, performance management, succession management, compensation management, enterprise learning management and talent analytics—create fantastic outcomes and inspiring careers.

SilkRoad technology is a Talent Management software company providing solutions to enable companies to manage the entire career of your employees. We help you to bring in the best talent and keep it for the long term. From our offices in Hong Kong and throughout AsiaPacific we focus on the people, not the numbers, and pride ourselves in being the only HR technology vendor to centre our efforts around helping our clients provide truly positive talent experiences. Spread the smiles with SilkRoad’s talent management software. Work Happy!

Lumesse Unit 1905, World Trade Centre, 280 Gloucester Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong Tel: (852) 2815 3456 Fax: (852) 2890 0399 hkinfo@lumesse.com www.lumesse.com

SilkRoad technology Hong Kong Tai Yip Building, Floor 10-05, 141 Thompson Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong Contact person: Eric Choi Tel: (852) 9193 8573 eric.choi@silkroad.com www.silkroad.com

Leadership Development The Center for Creative Leadership (CCL®) is a top-ranked, global provider of executive education that unlocks individual and organisational potential through its exclusive focus on leadership development and research. Ranked among the world’s top providers of executive education by BusinessWeek and No. 3 in the 2010 Financial Times executive education survey, CCL serves corporate, government and non-governmental clients through an array of programs, products and other services. CCL-APAC’s headquarters are based in Singapore. Other global locations include Brussels, Moscow and three campuses in the United States.

CCL® 89 Science Park Drive #03-07/08 The Rutherford Lobby B Singapore 118261 Tel: (65) 6854 6000 Fax: (65) 6854 6001 cclasia@ccl.org www.ccl.org/apac

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HR classifieds With 98 years of experience, Dale Carnegie Training® is a world leader in performance-based training. With offices over 80 countries worldwide and courses in 27 languages, we produce measurable business result by improving the performance of employees with emphasis on: • Team member engagement • Leadership development • Customer services

• Sales effectiveness • Process improvement and • Presentation effectiveness

Dale Carnegie Training® Suite 1701, 17/F East Exchange Tower, 38 Leighton Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong Tel: (852) 2845 0218 Fax: (852) 2583 9629 info@dale-carnegie.com.hk www.dale-carnegie.com.hk

Over 425 corporations of Fortune 500 continue choosing us to be their partner.

Calling all HR Managers & Directors: • Are you looking for structured programmes to develop your staff? • Sponsor or part sponsor your staff to achieve MBA, Masters, Bachelor, Diploma or Certificate courses. • The spend is value for money • The return is measurable & tangible • Choose from 31 courses from 9 UK Universities (Bradford, Sunderland, Wales, Birmingham etc.) • 16 years in HK *All courses are registered

RDI Management Learning Ltd. 7/F South China Building 1-3 Wyndham Street Central, Hong Kong

Alphaeight specialises in behavioural-science research and people development. We utilise research to create individual and team development solutions—focused on business objectives—for leaders, managers and frontline workers. It’s all about research and evidence: solutions, built upon scientifically proven research on how the human mind works, are practical and easy to adopt and utilise exclusive tools and techniques developed by our research institute. It’s all about you: solutions tailored to your people’s specific needs and your business objectives—give you the results you want. It’s all about impact: measure changes before, during and after development.

the alphaeight institute 1906, 19/F., Miramar Tower, 132 Nathan Road, Tsimshatsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong

Baker & McKenzie defined the global law firm of the 20th century and is redefining it to meet the needs of the global economy of the 21st century. With a network of 69 offices across 41 countries, we have been building valuable insights into the different laws and distinctive business cultures around the world. What sets us apart is our uncompromising commitment to excellence, coupled with our deep local roots and the experienced global perspective that comes from helping companies navigate sophisticated legal and business issues at home and across borders. We are regularly involved in first-to-market transactions and are widely recognised as the leading law firm in Hong Kong and China.

Baker & McKenzie 14th Floor, Hutchison House, 10 Harcourt Road, Central, Hong Kong 23rd Floor, One Pacific Place 88 Queensway, Hong Kong

Tel: (852) 2992 0133 Fax: (852) 2992 0918 info@rdihongkong.com www.rdihongkong.com

Contact person: Mrs Stephanie Herd Tel: (852) 2302 0283 Fax: (852) 2302 0006 stephanie.herd@alphaeight.com www.alphaeight.com/

Legal / Employment Law / Tax

Contact person: Andreas Lauffs and Jennifer Van Dale Tel: (852) 2846 1888 Fax: (852) 2845 0476 hrlaw@bakermckenzie.com www.bakermckenzie.com

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.

Tel: (852) 3575 2575 Fax: (852) 3575 2570 info@biocycle.com.hk www.biocycle.com.hk

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.

Truly Care (HK) Ltd. Room 1522, Nan Fung Centre, 264-298 Castle Peak Road, Tsuen Wan, N.T., Hong Kong

Don’t put your staff’s health at risk!

Tel: (852) 2458 8378 Fax: (852) 2458 8487 info@trulycare.com.hk www.trulycare.com.hk

For a free, no obligation, inspection and quotation, please call us now on 2458 8378

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BioCycle (Hong Kong) Limited Unit A G/F & 11/F, Lok Kui Industrial Building, 6-8 Hung To Road, Kwun Tong, Kowloon, Hong Kong


HR classifieds

Psychological / Assessment Tools PsyAsia International is Asia’s leading independent distributor of Psychometric Tests of Personality and Aptitude. PsyAsia International also offers employee screening and assessment services, personal development courses and human resource training and consultancy. Using highly qualified and experienced organisational psychologists, our solutions are World-Class. Our focus on scientific, evidence-based psychology at the core of our Human Resource Training and Consulting activities, as well as the employment of fully registered organisational psychologists, separates us from those providing similar services in the HR field.

PsyAsia International Level 8, Two Exchange Square 8 Connaught Place Central, Hong Kong Tel: (852) 8200 6005 www.psyasia.com/email www.psyasia.com

Recruitment / Executive Search AsiaNet Consultants, founded in 1988, has offices in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou and London providing International Executive Search and Business Start Up Services in China.

AsiaNet Consultants 15/F Onfem Tower 29 Wyndham St, Central, Hong Kong

AsiaNet is a member of the International Executive Search Federation— the largest executive search group both in Asia Pacific and worldwide.

Tel: (852) 2530 0130 info@asianetconsultants.com www.asianetconsultants.com

Established in 1997, ConnectedGroup is a privately owned enterprise and has developed from a pure executive search business into a full spectrum human capital consulting firm. With offices in Asia and the Middle East we are well placed to service two of the fastest growing regions in the world and our consultative and client driven approach has positioned us as a partner of choice for companies across a diverse range of functions and industries. We work to values of candid, creative and connected and our employees are constantly measured against these behaviours to deliver the highest levels of service quality.

ConnectedGroup 19/F, Silver Fortune Plaza, 1 Wellington Street, Central, Hong Kong

Dynamic Resources has been established since 1997 with direct offices in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Vancouver. We provide Outsourcing Services in Employment, Payroll & Fringe Benefits Administration; Project Recruitment & Mapping; Executive Coaching; Business Entity (Representative Office, WOFE) & HR Management System Establishment in the PRC.

Dynamic Resources Asia Limited 904, Tower B 14 Science Museum Road Tsim Sha Tsui East, Hong Kong

Silenus is certainly your partner of choice who specializes in recruiting talents in the Consumer and Retail sectors in Hong Kong. We provide customized solutions to meet your specific recruitment needs. Leveraging on our deep understanding of your manpower and business needs, coupled with an extensive candidate pool, we can help you recruit the right candidate who is able to drive your business to new heights. Our dedicated professional recruitment consultants possess superb recruitment skills. They can see the competency, personality, career aspirations and interests of candidates objectively and accurately, thus enhancing the efficiency and value of the recruitment process.

Silenus (Hong Kong) Limited 8/F., World Wide House, 19 Des Voeux Road, Central, Hong Kong

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.

Tricor Executive Resources Limited Level 28, Three Pacific Place, 1 Queen’s Road East, Hong Kong

We also offer related HR services such as recruitment outsourcing; compensation and benefit advice; outplacement and career counselling; and advisory services on grading structures and job descriptions.

Contact person: Adam Edwards Tel: (852) 3972 5888 Fax: (852) 3972 5897 adam.edwards@connectedgroup.com www.connectedgroup.com

Tel: (852) 2135 8038 kcliu@dynamic-resource.com www.dynamic-resource.com

Tel: (852) 2185 6300 Fax: (852) 2185 6303 info@silenus.com.hk www.silenus.com.hk

Tel: (852) 2980 1166 Fax: (852) 2869 4410 fiona.yung@hk.tricorglobal.com www.hk.tricorglobal.com

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HR classifieds

Relocation & Logistics Crown Relocations, a worldwide leader of global mobility, domestic and international transportation of household goods, and departure and destination services, has over 180 offices in more than 50 countries. From preview trip and immigration assistance to home and school searches, orientation tours, intercultural training, partner career program, and ongoing assignment support, Crown offers the best relocation solutions to corporate clients and transferees across the world.

Crown Relocations 9-11 Yuen On Street, Siu Lek Yuen, Sha Tin, New Territories

Nespresso, the worldwide pioneer and market leader in highest-quality premium portioned coffee, introduces consumers to the world’s finest Grand Cru coffees to be enjoyed in the comfort of their own homes and savoured outside the home, in locations such as gourmet restaurants, upscale hotels, luxury outlets and offices. Nespresso is driven by core competencies that enable it to create highest quality Grand Cru coffees, long lasting consumer relationships, and sustainable business success. Nespresso focuses on its unique Trilogy, the unmatched combination of exceptional coffee, smart and stylish coffee machines and personalised customer service. Together, these three elements deliver moments of pure indulgence – the Nespresso Ultimate Coffee Experiences.

Nespresso Division of Nestle Hong Kong Ltd. 7 Floor, Manhattan Place, 23 Wang Tai Road, Kowloon Bay, Hong Kong

Total Loyalty Company provides a staff social club outsourcing solution for Hong Kong companies. Offering a customized solution for each client, the staff social club program includes a company branded website, branded membership cards, a wide range of lifestyle benefits and privileges and a full calendar of social events. www.totalloyalty.hk

Total Loyalty Company Suite 2202, 22/F Manley Comm. Bldg. 367-375 Queen’s Road Central, HK

Tel: (852) 2636 8388 hongkong@crownrelo.com www.crownrelo.com

Staff Benefits

A staff social club can add immense value to a company’s culture, from generating greater employee engagement, assisting with staff retention, through to creating a better work life balance for employees.

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Tel: 800 905 486 Fax: 800 968 822 club.asia@nespresso.com www.nespresso-pro.com

Contact person: Sam Lau Tel: (852) 2536 9010 Fax: (852) 2536 9008 sam@totalloyalty.hk www.totalloyalty.hk


HR legal

Accidents ‘out of and in the course of employment’ Accidents do happen, but what if they happen when the employee is travelling in connection with their work? When is the employer liable? We look at an interesting case where an accident was deemed to arise ‘out of and in the course of employment’ and we consider what steps employers can take reduce their liability Hong Kong.

Employers often require a mobile workforce and many employees from Hong Kong are expected to travel to mainland China and other destinations as part of their duties. Employers will be aware that if an employee has an accident while travelling for work then they may be entitled to compensation under the Employees' Compensation Ordinance (Section 5(4) (g)), if certain conditions are satisfied. In order to successfully claim compensation for an accident which took place 'in the course of employment', an employee will need to demonstrate the following elements:

1. The accident happened while the employee was travelling with the express or implied permission of his employer; and 2. The employee was travelling by any means of transport for the purposes of and in connection with his employment between Hong Kong and any place outside Hong Kong or between any place outside Hong Kong and any other such place.    The following case reported, demonstrates the challenge of applying these provisions to real-life scenarios

which are less clean-cut. It appears that the courts are adopting a common sense and purposive approach in such cases.

Does a detour interrupt ‘the course of employment’?

Chan Ho Yuen v Multi Circuit Board (China) Ltd [2011] 5 HKC 565 Chan Wa Keung acting for himself and other Members of the Family of Chan Chi Kai, deceased v Multi Circuit Board (China) Limited (CACV 217 of 2010)

In brief: The Court of Appeal considered whether a car accident could be deemed to be

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in the course of employment when the employees involved had been travelling in a colleague's car, without express permission and had interrupted their return journey by visiting a karaoke parlour.

Facts: Mr Chan and Mr Chan Chi Kai attended the annual dinner of their employer, Multi Circuit Board (the "Company") in Shenzhen. The Company had made arrangements for the HK-based staff to travel either from the HK office or the Customs Port in Shenzhen to the dinner venue and a similar arrangement was made for the return journey. The Appellants told the CEO of the Company that they were returning separately and there was no objection to this. The Appellants went to a karaoke parlour with another employee of the Company ("Mr Lee"). They left the karaoke parlour shortly after midnight and Mr Lee intended to drive them to the Customs Port. On their way to the Customs Port, Mr Lee's car crashed. As a result, Mr Chan Chi Kai was killed and Mr Chan suffered serious injuries. The Court of Appeal had to determine: 1. Whether the Appellants had the express or implied permission of their employer to return to Hong Kong from a company dinner in Shenzhen in a colleague's car; and    2. Whether a detour to a karaoke parlour had the effect of taking the return journey out of 'the course of their employment' for the purposes of claiming compensation under the Employees' Compensation Ordinance (Section 5(4)(g)).   

Outcome: The Court of Appeal held: 1. It was reasonable for the Appellants to conclude that they had implied permission to travel from the venue in their colleague's car to the border. Although the employer had provided a company vehicle which most of the HK-based staff used that evening, there was no directive prohibiting use of another vehicle or requiring use of the company vehicle only.   

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2. It was accepted that the detour was not incidental to the employment of the Appellants and did interrupt the course of employment. However, this was deemed to be a temporary interruption until the return journey resumed, which was in the course of employment. It was determined that an interruption for only 2.5 hours was not sufficiently lengthy to be considered more than a temporary one. It was significant that the resumed journey was on precisely the same route that their colleague would have taken from the annual dinner had they not taken the detour.    Therefore, the Court of Appeal allowed the appeals and held that the car accident did occur in the course of employment.

HR take away points: 1. It is always challenging for the parties and the court to determine the existence of an implied term. Therefore as a general point, it would be preferable for employers to state clearly whether or not company transportation that is provided is mandatory (for example at a work social event). It is noteworthy that

Hon Justice Fok commented that an employer could prohibit the making of detours for personal business or to limit the type of detours that are permissible. This highlights the need for clear communication to employees should the employer wish to take this approach.    2. It is helpful to review the terms of use of employees' personal vehicles and to ensure practice is consistent with such terms. The Court of Appeal rightly scrutinised the past history and practice of the employer in order to conclude what an employee would reasonably believe they are permitted to do based on the same.   

For more information, please contact: Jennifer Van Dale (852) 2846 2483 jennifer.van.dale@bakermckenzie.com Susan Kendall (852) 2846 2411 susan.kendall@bakermckenzie.com


MELISSA CLAASSEN CPA (Aust.) CFO TaylorMade adidas Golf

As a CPA, Melissa Claassen understands the value of strong strategic and financial leadership. Working across marketing, sales and operations for adidas, Melissa ensures that all of these people understand the financials. Plus, she formulated a strategy that increased cash flow by more than 50%. It’s the skills gained from the CPA Program that allow her to make such a valuable contribution. For over a century CPA Australia has been committed to the continuous development of over 139,000 members in more than 114 countries. We connect these members to a global network of business and finance professionals through our international alliances. All of this helps Melissa keep the team focussed on being the leader in Hong Kong. For adidas, it’s the perfect combination of sport + business.

cpaaustralia.com.au


HR Magazine Spring 2012