HR Magazine 2012 Autumn

Page 1

HR Magazine

Publisher’s note

Autumn 2012


Autumn 2012

HR hard sell

ry a n rgd s / bi

HR beyond the balance sheet

In the news…


Stephen Covey

trust in HR

Australia AU$7 New Zealand NZ$9 Brunei B$8 Philippines P250 China ¥50 Singapore S$8 India Rs250 South Korea W6,500 Indonesia Rp50,000 Thailand Bt200 Japan ¥650 Vietnam US$6 Malaysia RM15 Rest of the World US$15

ISS N 2221-8394

Our Team

Publisher & Editor-in-Chief

Paul Arkwright Copy Editor

Sarah Purcell Layout Editor

Zoe Wong

Staff Writers

Philippa Edwards, Drew McNeill Sophie Pettit Designers

Malou Ko Toby Lam Advertising & Sales

Kollin Baskoro Jeffrey Choi Carrie Hui


Malou Ko Graham Uden


Subscription Enquiries

Tracy Poon Tel: (852) 2736 6375 Fax: (852) 2736 6369

What’s wrong with Hong Kong? Recent surveys show that Hong Kong workers are among the least engaged in the world, with over 80% stating they are disengaged. That said, if you are a male civil servant and soon-to-be dad, there is some room to smile as the Government recently announced plans to offer five days full-paid paternity leave to eligible government employees. We’ll see how long it takes the private sector to catch up. Staying with the Hong Kong Government, we also take a detailed look at HKSAR government talent development strategies—to maintain their talent pipeline—as over 5,000 civil servants retire each year in Hong Kong (page 38). On the plus side, sentiment does seem to be changing in the hiring market. After a cautious start to 2012, the latest Manpower Employment Outlook Survey points to ‘cautious confidence’ as we move into Q4. PwC’s launch of its 2012/13 Graduate Recruitment Campaign seems to support this confidence with career opportunities on offer for 2,000 top calibre candidates from Hong Kong and mainland China. And as China continues to attract more and more overseas talent, key cities such as Shenzhen and Guangzhou have now overtaken London in being among the most expensive places in the world for assignees to work.

Trust and HR

Stephen MR Covey shares his insight on the importance of trust in modern-day HR and what HR leaders can do to embrace, nurture and leverage it whilst using it to add value to the bottom line. (Cover Story, page 18).

Angry birds and HR

Find out what on earth Angry Birds has to do with HR in our interview with the creators of the global phenomenon that now means more three year olds know how to play this game than write their own name (page 22). Convincing tight-ass CFOs and CEOs to give HR more budget is something HR needs to be passionate about, according to NiQ Lai, Head of Talent Engagement and CFO of HKBN. In an exclusive interview we reveal Lai’s no-nonsense advice to HR to help them hard-sell strategic moves to the C-suite (page 30). Hotel talent wars, China’s innovative HR practices, avoiding typhoon shutdown, global nomads and HR beyond the balance sheet…is there anything we didn’t fit into this issue? Enjoy…

Editorial Enquiries

Paul Arkwright Tel: (852) 2736 6318 Advertising Enquiries

Kollin Baskoro Tel: (852) 2736 6362

Published by

Excel Media Group Ltd. Unit 101 Fourseas Building 208–212 Nathan Road Jordan, Kowloon Hong Kong

Paul Arkwright Publisher & Editor-in-Chief HR Magazine

Printed by

Paramount Printing Company Ltd. 1/F, 8 Chun Ying Street Tseung Kwan O Industrial Estate Tseung Kwan O, NT Hong Kong

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.

Autumn 2012



Inside this issue 04

HR news

Cover story


APAC salary rises, Good news for fathers, HR top gripes about Gen-Y, Scientists more satisfied with employers.

HR events


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

HR moves


Gaurav D. Garg joins Mercer, Fleishman-Hillard appoints new Senior VP, Community Business Board Director steps down.


HR features

Angry birds and HR, HR Counts, Poor HR governance hinders Asian companies, Global nomads, HR hard sell, To outsource or to not outsource? Hotel talent wars, Talent Development in the Civil Service.

HR training


HKMA 2012 Award for Excellence in T&D—take home tips.

HR community

Stephen M R Covey on HR

When you trust each other s#**# happens! But not what you’re thinking...”When you trust each other speed happens.” Covey shares his insight into how trust can help HR attract and retain the best talent and add bottom-line value during his brief stopover in Hong Kong.


HR Magazine Conference: Strategic HR—how HR can captain the ship, Workplace confessional—what staff hate most.


HR book review

In the Path of Light with Maa, Global HR, Where’s my safety net.

Angry birds and HR


Angry Birds has enthralled youths and adults. Their creators share how they find, nurture and retain creative talent.

HR hard sell


HR classifieds HR service providers throughout Asia.


Mention financial issues to most in HR and you’ll usually get a yawn. NiQ Lai explains why HR needs to hard sell HR strategies to their CEOs.


HR counts

Inefficient performance measurement and lack of proper KPIs mean HR often struggles to motivate its talent. CPA Australia explain how it should be done.

Autumn 2012


HR news

Q. What’s wrong with HR in Hong Kong? A. A lot, apparently HK workers are now officially among the least engaged workers in the world More than 80% of Hong Kong workers are not fully engaged in their work and are struggling to cope with work situations that fail to provide sufficient support. According to the latest Towers Watsons Global Workforce Study, employees are finding it difficult to sustain the kind of positive connection to their companies required to yield consistent productivity. This has been brought on after more than a decade of pressure on employees to do more with less, respond to the challenges of global competition and ever-evolving technology, in addition to the ongoing need for strict cost management.

The study also found that employees everywhere are working more hours, feeling more stress and are tired of workplace change. Hong Kong’s workforce is one of the world’s most disengaged, with only 19% of employees fully engaged, relative to a global figure of 35%. “The survey results are disturbing; when we see such a large percentage of workers feeling disengaged, Hong Kong employers must contend with greater performance risks. A disengaged workforce makes companies more vulnerable to lower productivity, poorer customer service, greater rates of absenteeism and turnover, increased compliance risk and costs for chronic illnesses.

Without attention and interventions aimed at improving on-the-job support for employees and creating a sense of attachment to the organisation, the effects on business outcomes will continue to rise,” said Jeffrey Tang, Director of Talent & Rewards, Towers Watson Hong Kong. Sustainable engagement starts with basic engagement, defined as employees’ willingness to expend discretionary effort on their job. It also requires enablement—having the tools, resources and support to do their job effectively, as well as energy, through a work environment that actively supports employees’ well-being.

Good news for fathers The Hong Kong Government has already announced that with effect from the 2012 – 2013 financial year, eligible government employees would be given five working days of paternity leave on full pay on each occasion of childbirth.

Eligibility criteria 1. The child's expected due date or actual date of birth must fall on or after 1 April 2012 in order to benefit from this measure; and 2. The officer must be a full-time government employee—including civil servants, non-civil service contract staff and political appointees—with no less than 40 weeks' continuous service immediately before the expected or actual date of childbirth.


HR Magazine

What about everyone else? Legislative Council members have expressed support for the Government's policy and have indicated a wish to see statutory paternity leave extended to all workers. At present, the Government hopes its own move will ‘encourage’ employers to adopt family-friendly employment practices. However, it does seem likely that statutory paternity leave will be on the Hong Kong private-sector horizon any time soon. Aware of concerns amongst small and medium-sized companies the Labour Department is studying the feasibility of statutory paternity leave with a

comprehensive study in consultation with the Labour Advisory Board and the Legislative Council Manpower Panel. Once this report is published we will be able to more accurately gauge when this entitlement is likely to be required for all employers.

HR news

Scientists more satisfied with employers

In the wake of global industry scandals involving Enron and ImClone, many research scientists reported a key career goal of simply wanting to work for a company that had integrity. It seems the tide is changing in the scientific industry, and today—although high ethical standards still rank as the third most important factor—what scientists look for most from their employer is the ability to provide deep personal and scientific satisfaction.

ADInstruments, Epizyme and DuPont were recently named by the Scientist magazine as the top three workplaces in its tenth annual readers survey. In order to calculate the overall rankings of companies, assessments were made based on eight key metrics including: research environment, management, integrity, communications, job satisfaction, training and development, remuneration and benefits, and policies and practices.

Top 5 best places to work—industry 2012 Rank


No. of employees






DuPont (including Pioneer HiBred)


Wyatt Technology


Vertex Pharmaceuticals

Significant recent developments


Significant advances in research and educational software including data recording from multiple devices and online delivery of experiment content.


Ushered two lead programmes for personalised therapeutics for patients with genetically-defined cancer into preclinical development.




Launched over 1,700 new products and applications, including a renewably sourced high-performance polyamides family and enzyme-based offerings that extend the shelf life of bakery products. Developed an instrument which measures particle/protein charge/ mobility within a range of salt and pH values inaccessible by other commercial devices. Launched its first medicine for hepatitis C in 2011. Nine months later, launched a therapy for people with cystic fibrosis.aa

APAC salary rises As APAC economies continue to face inflationary pressures in the midst of growth uncertainties, companies in the region are continuing to take steps to help employees cope according to the 2012 Asia Pacific Salary Budget Planning Survey by Towers Watson. Of the 18 countries covered in the study, those in more developed markets are budgeting salary increases of about 3% to 5% in 2012, whereas in the emerging markets, salary budgets are projected to increase by about 6% to 12%. In all but one—Vietnam—of the 18 countries, the 2012 salary growth rates are expected to outpace projected inflation rates in general. These are most notable in China, India and Indonesia when compared to 2011. Rachelle C. Arcebal, Global Data Services Practice Leader, Asia Pacific, Towers Watson commented, “When employees grapple with the rising cost of living, they naturally look to receive higher pay from current employers or look for alternative jobs which could offer higher compensation. Companies need to be able to find the balance between meeting these expectations and practising prudent financial planning. While it is important to keep wages competitive and retain talent, it is also imperative that compensation levels do not increase to unsustainable levels. Companies should also explore other ways to increase productivity, possibly through redesigning jobs, upgrading skills, and optimising work processes.” Overall, respondents from Vietnam and India are budgeting double-digit salary increases, with planned salary hikes of 12.2% and 11.5% respectively meanwhile respondents from Hong Kong are planning to increase wages by 4.7%. Respondents from Japan are planning the lowest increase at 2.6%.

Source: The Scientist—best places to work industry, 2012 survey

Autumn 2012


HR news

Mixed picture on bonus front Bonus season is well underway and the eFinancialCareers 2011 APAC Bonus Survey reveals that this year’s bonus season is a mixed picture. A third of surveyed finance professionals in APAC experienced a decrease in bonuses in 2011. However, a similar proportion enjoyed an increase. Looking at country differences, finance professionals in Hong Kong and China fared slightly better than their counterparts in Singapore. Top earners across the region saw the highest decrease. Those in the highest salary quintile, top 20% salary level, were much more likely to report a decline in bonus, 47%, than those in the bottom salary quintile, 29%. Those with an increase were most likely to cite ‘personal performance’ and those with a decrease were most likely to cite ‘firm performance’ for their bonus change in 2011.

How did your 2011 bonus compare to the previous year’s bonus? 14%

14% 32%





Hong Kong and China













Increased Decreased Stayed the same Not applicable

Source: eFinancialCareers 2011 APAC Bonus Survey

How satisfied are you with your 2011 bonus? APAC

Hong Kong and China



21% 18%

19% 31%



31% 21%





22% 18%

24% 30%

21% Very satisfied Somewhat satisfied Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied Dissatisfied Very dissatisfied


HR Magazine


33% 15%

Totals may not equal 100 due to rounding Source: eFinancialCareers 2011 APAC Bonus Survey

Across the region, satisfaction levels with bonus payments were at their highest in Australia, where nearly half were either very satisfied or somewhat satisfied. This compared to four in ten respondents in both ‘Hong Kong and China’ and Singapore. The highest 2011 mean bonus in the region was also paid in Australia, and the lowest in Singapore. Disappointment among finance professionals, however, should not be ignored, as it is a legitimate cause for concern. George McFerran, Managing Director, Asia Pacific, eFinancialCareers commented, “Firms may not fear retention reprisals this season, given the targeted layoffs and moderation in recruitment activity, but top performers may consider moving on if a better opportunity comes along.”

HR news

Job market remains cautious in 2012 Survey shows employers averse to taking risks Throughout 2012 employers will continue to take a cautious approach to hiring, although the commerce sector, retail, education and tourism businesses are likely to keep growing and be at the forefront of hiring activity, according to Robert Walter’s latest Global Salary Survey. The results:

2011 •

Hong Kong experienced active hiring in the first half of 2011 across most industries. More caution was exercised during the second half as a result of European and US economic volatility Within the banking and financial services sector, growth in the front office saw a flow through to back office roles within finance, which remained a ‘musthave’ 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. Demand levels remained strong in the face of global economic uncertainty With sales in the retail sector jumping 24.1% in September from a year earlier to HKD31.2 billion (USD4 billion) in 2011, sales and marketing professionals in the retail and luxury sector were highly sought-after

2012 •

Many companies 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 Experienced professionals will continue to be in demand across all sectors, but organisations will be more selective in their hiring to ensure they bring on the right talent who can add value to the company—even more so this year in light of global economic uncertainty While banks and financial services firms may have adopted 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 Companies in the commerce space to continue growing, with retail, education and tourism businesses likely to be at the forefront of hiring activity Contracting may be an option for both employers experiencing challenges in gaining headcount; and for candidates who are open to the prospect of working on a variety of exciting new projects

Professionals snap up first job offer Employers and jobseekers cautious

Robert Walters, professional recruitment consultancy firm, has also recently released the findings from its latest Global Web Poll. The poll question, answered by representatives from 19 countries, was: ‘Before accepting your last role, how many job offers did you receive?’ Results showed that most professionals typically have one job offer while searching for a new job which they usually accept, with 35.1% of respondents doing so. This was followed closely by 32.4% of respondents receiving two job offers before moving on

to their most recent role. This is indicative of the cautiously optimistic approach for both employers as well as professionals seeking new jobs, particularly in today’s sentimentdriven job market. Many organisations are currently careful in assessing global economic uncertainty as a factor in making headcount decisions. Consequently, professionals are aware of the current conservative climate in the job market and therefore are more likely to accept the first job offer they receive.

Number of job offers received before accepting a position

Autumn 2012


HR news

HR sick of medical benefit fee hikes As HR departments try their best to reduce costs and keep things on budget, many are still left feeling a little sick as the cost of providing employee medical benefits continues to escalate at double-digit levels across APAC. The 2012 Towers Watson Global Medical Trends Survey found that the cost of employee medical benefits in the region is expected to be 10.2% this year, compared to 10.1% in 2011. India continues to show one of the highest trends in the region at 13% for 2012, while China expects rates at close to 10%, driven by employee demand for private health care as well as the expanding private insurance landscape. Even the more developed health care markets in the region are not immune to the rising cost of providing medical benefits: both Singapore and Hong Kong are consistently experiencing trend rates of 8% to 9%. Additionally, half of the respondents from APAC said that they expected medical trends to increase over the next five years— compared to 41% for Europe, and only 22% for North America. “The news is not all doom and gloom. Across all regions, we are seeing projections increase at a slower rate than in the recent past—perhaps evidence of the global economic slowdown,” said Dr Rajeshree Gina Parekh, Asia Pacific Director of Health and Corporate Wellness at Towers Watson. “With trend rates expected to continue rising, employers will be compelled to look for innovative solutions to manage their medical costs. In particular, many will investigate how a strategy of holistic health promotion can help curb long-term costs effectively.”


HR Magazine

Financial sector hiring up Financial sector job opportunities in APAC dropped 14% year-on-year, although there are signs of stability returning to the market according to the eFinancialCareers Quarterly Job Barometer.

Amidst the conservative hiring environment across APAC, there are still some areas of growth: job postings for information-services positions in the region increased by 76% year-on-year in Q2, driven by a growing emphasis on risk management.

Strong growth sectors The top performing sectors in the region were asset management, information services and operations, with quarteron-quarter growth of 28%, 26% and 15% respectively. • Asset management—compared to banks, asset management firms have been proportionally less affected by recent cutbacks in APAC. In Hong Kong, the sector has benefited from the expansion of yuan funds, with experienced, China-focused portfolio managers in demand. Recruitment in investment banking is generally stagnant, with some buy-side firms taking advantage of bankers’ desire to move into potentially more stable, less hierarchical careers. • Information services—during the second quarter, banks put an increased emphasis on risk management and compliance thanks to fluctuating markets and an ever-changing regulatory environment. • Operations—there has been a partial recovery in operations recruitment in the last three months, despite continued offshoring of roles out of Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia into lower-cost countries such as India and the Philippines.

Positive job market Although redundancies and lowered recruitment affected Hong Kong in Q2, there is optimism in the job market, especially for sectors with a focus on China. Redundancies were made within China but, in contrast to more mature markets, these were more sporadic. For the second half of 2012, China’s financial sector is expected to suffer from skill shortages and scarcity of experienced professionals in job functions such as relationship management, compliance and information technology. Retention is also likely to become an issue. Pent-up desire among employees in China to move roles when markets recover will pose an important retention challenge, especially for foreign firms. George McFerran, Managing Director, Asia Pacific, eFinancialCareers concluded, “The Hong Kong market continues to benefit from the expansion of yuan funds and the growing importance of China-focused portfolios.”

HR news

90% employers can’t find right talent Talent attraction and retention remain a pressing issue for many organisations across all industries. In Hong Kong, 90% of CFOs find it challenging to find talent with the right organisational fit, namely professionals who are able to align themselves with the company’s goals and strategies. According to the Chief Financial Officer Survey of 300 CFOs from small to large organisations across various industries, released by Robert Walters, over 70% of respondents indicated that it was difficult to secure the right talent. When asked about their top priorities for the year, the vast majority of CFOs surveyed felt that

‘maintaining the current revenue/ profit margin’ would be the key business challenge. Additionally, 70% of respondents agreed that managing cost was second of their top three challenges. Employers also selected ‘recruiting and retaining the best finance talent’ as one of their top three challenges in running their businesses, with over 62% in agreement. The survey findings show that while most senior management remain highly focused on generating profit, talent attraction and retention has emerged as one of the top challenges in managing a business.

Talent shortage Talent constraints squeezing competitiveness Talent could prove to be a potential game changer to the growth prospects of Chinese companies. PwC’s Global CEO Survey revealed that 54% of polled CEOs in China—far higher than the global average of 31%—say the talent crunch has prevented their businesses from innovating effectively. Only a third of the 160 China and Hong Kong-based CEOs polled are very confident they will have the necessary talent to execute their strategies in the next three years. In particular they are finding it difficult to source senior and middle managers. “There’s a huge demand for talent—more so in China than elsewhere—to match its potential for domestic growth. Ironically, the ‘China speed’—that extraordinary pace where products are designed, factories equipped and production ramped up in a small amount of time—appears to hit a speed bump when it comes to creating the right talent. China CEOs recognise this challenge and are focused on developing their people rather than

simply hiring them,” observed Nora Wu, PwC Asia Pacific Human Capital Leader. Two-thirds of China CEOs are investing in workforce development outside of their own companies to build a bigger base of potential employees, while 59% expect to source more people globally. Furthermore, 57% of China CEOs are partnering with other companies to help overcome talent deficits. Meanwhile, with no signs of a pickup in the Eurozone and US economies, strong expectations are being placed on China for growth opportunities. Globally, 30% of global CEOs rank China as their top growth market in the next 12 months. David Wu, PwC China Beijing Lead Partner commented, “The Chinese economy may be slowing down, but the China story remains attractive and critical to global CEOs’ growth strategy. Beijing may have lowered China’s growth rate to 7.5% for this year but it still doesn’t deny the fact that that projection is still more than double the growth rate of the global economy.”

Top 3 recruitment challenges: 1. Finding the right talent with the right organisational fit: 90% 2. Securing the right talent: 72.5% 3. Managing employees’ expectations: 47.5%

Top 3 business challenges: 1. Maintaining the current revenue/profit margin: 90% 2. Managing cost: 70% 3. Recruiting and retaining the best finance talent: 62.5%

Mainland students learn from HK senior executives ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) recently held its first Future Business Leadership Programme in Hong Kong, giving 29 students from mainland universities—chosen for their outstanding performance—the chance to join a six-day training event in Hong Kong. During the programme, students visited Ernst & Young, HSBC and Bank of East Asia and participated in a series of career planning seminars to acquire more information about their future career development. They also shadowed senior executives for a day giving them an opportunity to learn more about their work duties and challenges, day-to-day dealings and what qualities are desirable in an accounting and financial professional. Participants concluded that employers are looking for candidates with not only a solid foundation of professional knowledge, but also problem-solving skills, a positive work attitude, cross-cultural communication skills, strong analytical skills and determination.

Autumn 2012


HR news

HK finance professionals sticky The majority, 82% of Hong Kongbased finance professionals have no intention of leaving Hong Kong in 2012, according to the eFinancialCareers 2012 Movement Survey. Of the 653 surveyed, a similar proportion also said they would recommend Hong Kong as a place to live to other finance professionals. When asked about the best things about living in Hong Kong, financial professionals cited safety, a favourable taxation system and greater job opportunities. Furthermore, compared to their counterparts in the rest of APAC, Hong Kong finance professionals are the least likely to move or consider moving countries by the end of 2012.

China insufficient pull The survey revealed that more than 8 out of 10 Hong Kong finance professionals are not considering relocating to mainland China, despite its increasing regional prevalence. George McFerran, eFinancialCareers Managing Director, Asia Pacific

remarked, “Those who do choose to take their careers to the Mainland are well-positioned to take advantage of those opportunities.”

Tempting talent Although Hong Kong’s finance professionals wish to stay in the city, 50% of respondents are considering a change of industry since the large bonuses that once attracted them no longer exist, whilst the stressful conditions and long hours remain. More than 4 out of 10 believe sectors outside financial services offer more job opportunities with 22% citing greater remuneration packages being offered. The top industries finance professionals are looking to transition to include hardware and software technology, media and advertising, and travel and tourism. In order to retain top performers, finance firms will need to provide employees with a well mapped out career path and opportunities to grow or try different job functions that will help advance their careers in the long term.

Inside employers’ minds HR solutions for pensions, benefits and talent management Employers worldwide are dealing with an increasingly disengaged workforce. Research carried out by Mercer in 2011 showed that in 17 markets across all global regions, between one-quarter and one-half of the employees surveyed were seriously considering leaving their organisations. With this in mind, Mercer has launched an initiative to help organisations understand and address their most pressing issues and concerns. Entitled Inside Employers’ Minds: Confronting Critical Workforce Challenges, it provides resources and solutions in three areas:


HR Magazine

taking pension risk off the table— to better manage risks related to growing pension liabilities and the potential impact on corporate financial performance; making smart benefit choices— to enable employees to make better choices as they take greater accountability for retirement and health benefit decisions; and building world-class talent—to find new ways to build agile, world-class workforces that are ready and able to respond to evolving business needs and new opportunities.

Swissôtel validates ‘investing in people’ In order to validate their HR philosophy of ‘putting an accent on our people’, Swissôtel Hotels & Resorts recently challenged its HR management practices by testing them with various assessments. The hotel chain is now reaping the results as it was awarded the Investors in People (IIP) certification for its hotel operations worldwide and corporate HQ in Zurich. The IIP is a UK quality standard introduced in 1991, which is specialised in transforming business performance through people. Currently represented in twenty countries worldwide, the organisation supports companies from all industries in improving economic efficiency in the field of human resource management. The certification framework is very challenging and requires a broad range of detailed criteria to be fulfilled, which has enabled the hotel to operationalise its strategies, through its team members, and thus increase everyone’s contribution to the success of the company. Pierre Botteron, VP, HR, Swissôtel Hotels & Resorts commented, “It is crucial practice for our hotel chain to regularly evaluate the impact its team members have on the business, and focus on effective outcomes at the same time.”

The need to confront these workforce challenges comes at a critical stage when employers worldwide are having to confront a constantly changing and complex economy, while simultaneously dealing with a workforce that is increasingly disengaged. Brenda Wilson, Asia Pacific Talent Management Leader at Mercer stated, “The implications of these issues are immense for organisations in both emerging and mature markets, especially in a global economy that remains complex, diverse and somewhat volatile. Those that get it right will be in a position to excel. Those that get it wrong will find their financial performance and competitive position at greater risk.”

HR news

HR top gripes about Gen-Y According to the JobsDB Q2 2012 Hiring Index, a little over half of employers surveyed intend to hire staff in the coming three months—representing a 14% decline compared with last year’s Q2 figures. 23% of employers plan to freeze headcount and 6% say they are likely to cut headcount. In light of the reported drop in exports to the EU, Justin Yiu, JobsDB Hong Kong's General Manager of Sales and Marketing commented, “I believe employers will continue to control hiring costs by adopting a cautious approach.’’ He did, however, offer some reassurance for the domestic market since low unemployment and the growth of visitors to Hong Kong support its economy.

are advised to make career choices carefully by taking into account both salary and career prospects.” Although it was reported that many employers are still not yet familiar with the new DSE grading standard, the survey does not see a notable difference between the intentions of recruiting A-level and DSE graduates. He explained, “Employers tend to focus on personal interests, abilities and work attitudes of candidates."

Top 3 HR gripes about fresh graduates

1. Unable to demonstrate adequate company knowledge during interview 2. Unable to adapt to the working environment 3. Bad attitude during interview

Fresh grads overvalued by 11% For employers who have hired fresh university graduates in the past 12 months, 37% claim that their expected salary is about 11% too high. Yiu asserted, "Fresh graduates

The survey also asked what employers did look for in these graduates. Yiu summarised, “Employers place a high value on those who have a positive attitude towards work and challenges.”

HK labour market stable According to the latest labour force statistics released by the HKSAR Government Census and Statistics Department, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stood at 3.2% from May to July 2012—identical to that reported for the period from April to June 2012. This is consistent with research conducted by Robert Half Hong Kong among CFOs and Financial Services leaders in Hong Kong. Commenting on the immediate term, the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, said, “The labour market remained in a state of full employment. It is noteworthy that the recent private sector vacancy figures still demonstrate a generally positive

hiring sentiment among employers.” Robert Half reported that executives have predicted growth in their finance, accounting and banking teams in the last two quarters. Brien Keegan, Director, Randstad Hong Kong, expressed caution for the endof-season outlook, “With the summer coming to an end we can expect pressure on the local employment market as new graduates and school leavers chase job opportunities in an already constricted market. Although the retail and lifescience sectors continue to provide multidiscipline employment opportunities, entry positions in other industries are increasingly difficult to secure.” Banking and finance remain the most sought-after industries for many fresh graduates and young adults.

Eagle talent

Hosted by the Employer Branding Institute, World HRD Congress and Stars of the Industry Group, the Asia’s Best Employer Brand Awards 2012 recently acknowledged 100 organisations across Asia that had demonstrated excellence in building their brand and identity as an employer of choice visible through its HR practices, polices and strategies. TCL Corporation was awarded Asia’s Best Employer Brand Award at the official ceremony in Singapore in July, for its efforts in enhancing its HR policies through inculcating corporate values and serving as a social employer with a culture that encourages contribution and attracts global talents. One of TCL’s best recognised HR practices for cultivating outstanding and competent staff was their Eagle Talent Training Scheme that covered four key training cohorts: • Top-management training— focusing on developing international operation capabilities, strategic thinking, industry and business group management skills and ability to lead a team; • Middle-management training— including managing an enterprise, decision-making abilities and leadership qualities; • Newly-promoted employee training—including basic management skills and team collaboration skills; • Fresh blood training— professional training for freshgrad staff to help them better understand the corporate culture, develop career skills and cultivate the ability to adapt to the company and society.

Autumn 2012


HR news

Asian companies hiring senior executive talent Global scope to recruitment Asian companies now hire about one out of every three senior executives recruited by head-hunters in the region, as estimated by executive search firm, CTPartners. Ten years ago, almost all the senior executive positions in Asia placed by international search firms tended to be for foreign multinational corporations. In ten years time, the proportion of senior talent hires by foreign multinational and Asian companies in the region is projected to be 50/50. Train Luo, Managing Partner, CTPartners, China said, “Nowadays Asian companies, including Chinese stateowned enterprises, are less inclined to rely on their own networks to search for their next chief executive, regional director or international business development head, and will turn to global executive recruiters to extend their search across the world and across industries. Asian companies are also increasingly open to hiring western

Temp trap Temporary work can be a great way for young people to gain work experience while still studying or travelling. But, as the youth jobs crisis shows no signs of abating, temporary jobs have become, in many cases, a case of necessity. The use of temporary contracts for young workers has nearly doubled since the onset of the economic crisis and young people in developed economies are far more likely than adults to be temporary employees. Ekkehard Ernst, head of the ILO’s Employment Trends Unit, says increases in temporary work have been particularly strong in countries hit hard


HR Magazine

Supply chains need to tighten

executive talent, particularly if the candidates bring highly technical, functional or product expertise and have already spent a long time living and working in Asia.” The Managing Partner of CTPartners in Singapore, Kathryn Yap, agreed, “What is required are executives with profit and loss experience, strategy expertise, and bottom-line skills as well as people management skills. As a result of the demand for such talent, seasoned professionals with top-level general management expertise are among the most difficult executives to identify and retain in the APAC region. Over the last decade, we have also witnessed more than a ten-fold increase in the number of candidates from the US and Europe that want to come to work in Asia. The economic slowdown in the West has resulted in their interest in moving here, in search of greener pastures.”

Scott Price, President and CEO, Walmart Asia, stressed the need to adopt new leadership methods to champion industry supply chains at the APEC CEO Summit 2012. Walmart was one of the few companies able to deliver supplies quickly to Japan and New Orleans in the aftermath of the tsunami and Hurricane Katrina. Price urged APEC economies to continue making progress on important free trade agreements such as TPP (TransPacific Partnership). He asserted, “We have to think about new challenges such as data transfers, access to the internet, modes of electronic payments and data privacy...Trade negotiators should take a systems approach to tackling barriers in the supply chain. We have to think in a more holistic way about the ways in which we can tackle these going forward.”

by the Euro crisis. He explained, “In the European Union we see that temporary workers–or temporary contracts– are very prevalent among young people, more than among the adult population.” Younger people face a 70% possibility of a temporary contract in comparison to 20% for adults. Employers turn to a temporary workforce as a means of cutting costs, especially in times of economic crisis. “Businesses are very interested in crisis times to hire only temporary workers because of the uncertainties they face for their revenues and demand conditions. They typically prefer to hire temporary workers over permanent staff as they are likely to see layoffs coming up quite quickly if demand conditions change. In addition, temporary workers have typically less social security and less access to

training so this makes them cheaper for businesses,” observed Ernst. One of the problems that young people face is that they often cannot get permanent contracts due to their lack of job experience. Ernst continued, "Younger people have the problem that firms are reluctant to hire them on permanent contracts. Younger people run the risk of continuously being employed on temporary contracts with less developments for their career prospects and lower wage developments." On prospects for young people, Lau stated, “Governments can help companies or encourage them to hire young people on a permanent contract. In addition, they could set up tax incentives to allow younger people to be hired on permanent conditions and to reduce the difference that exists in terms of cost between temporary and regular employment.”

HR news

China cost of living overtakes central London Shenzhen and Guangzhou have jumped up the global ranking of the most expensive locations for assignees to work, coming in at 55th and 56th respectively. Research carried out by ECA International has shown that the cost of living in these cities has risen steeply in the past year for expatriate workers. Beijing and Shanghai have also shown great living cost increases, leaping from 48th and 49th place to 20th and 26th place. Shopping baskets in the mainland China locations now cost more than in central London, ranked 62nd.

No.3 in Asia Hong Kong was found to be Greater China’s third most expensive city, sitting in 36th place globally—also significantly ahead of central London. Within Asia, Hong Kong is now the 9th most expensive location for international assignees, behind Beijing at number 5 and Shanghai at number 6. Tokyo remains the most expensive location; both in Asia and the world, and Japanese cities occupy the top four places in Asia.

Asian currencies going from strength to strength Lee Quane, Regional Director, Asia for ECA International explained, “The price of goods and services commonly purchased by assignees in China has gone up sharply in the past year. In addition, the Renminbi has strengthened against major currencies. Together, these two factors have contributed to pushing up the cost of living in Chinese cities for international assignees considerably.” Companies are finding that the cost of sending their employees to China has increased significantly even when compared to its regional neighbours, including Hong Kong. A year ago the cost of purchasing goods and services in ECA’s cost of living basket was almost 10% more expensive in Central London than when purchasing the same items in Guangzhou, and

15% more than in Shenzhen. Quane explained, “Now the cost of living in these cities for international assignees is approximately 1.5% and 2% more than in London where—unlike China—prices have increased at a much slower rate than the year before and sterling has depreciated against many major currencies.” While Hong Kong has remained in 9th position in the Asia rankings, the city has climbed back up the global ranking following last year’s fall. Globally, Hong Kong’s position at 36 represents a jump of 11 places from last year’s 47th position, perhaps as a result of the continued strength of the Hong Kong dollar against the increasing unstable Euro. Living costs for assignees are affected by inflation, availability of goods and exchange rates, all of which can have a significant impact on assignee remuneration packages. To help multinational companies calculate assignment salaries, ECA carries out two Cost of Living surveys per year, comparing a basket of consumer goods and services commonly purchased by assignees in 400 locations worldwide. Certain living costs such as accommodation, utilities, car purchase and school fees are not included in the survey—such items can make a significant difference to expenses but are usually compensated for separately in expatriate packages.

Globally, the rapid rise of Beijing and Shanghai has seen both cities overtake a number of locations in Australia, Brazil, Europe and the United States, including Rio de Janeiro 31st, Paris 34th and Manhattan 40th. Singapore has also continued its rise up the global ranking. The city is in 32nd position, up from last year’s 38th and the previous year’s 69th place. However, it has also been overtaken by Beijing and Shanghai, causing it to fall from 6th to 8th place in the Asia ranking, just above Hong Kong.










Guangzhou Shenzhen 9 Hong Kong


Regional overview In Asia as a whole, the price of goods and services commonly purchased by expatriates has risen by more than 6% on average—slightly higher than the average increase of 4% witnessed a year ago. While Japan has seen the smallest price increases in the region, a strong yen has kept Tokyo in first place as the most expensive location in Asia—and the world—for international assignees. Locations across mainland China have climbed up the ranking. Shenzhen and Guangzhou now sit just behind Hong Kong at 10th and 11th place in the Asian rankings.










Rio de Janeiro

Autumn 2012



55 Guangzhou Shenzhen 36 Hong Kong


HR news

Cautious confidence in Q4 hiring The latest Manpower Employment Outlook Survey reveals that while the region’s Net Employment Outlook stands at an upbeat +11%, the majority of the 808 employers interviewed expect no employment changes in payrolls. Despite a positive forecast for payroll gains in Q4 2012, hiring intentions among Hong Kong-based organisations have weakened by 3% quarter-on-quarter and 10% yearon-year, suggesting stability with a degree of caution.

Sector overview Predictions for recruiting in the fourth quarter remain positive in all six industries surveyed. An annual

comparison, however, reveals declining outlooks across all sectors: A positive hiring environment is forecast in the Wholesale & Retail Trade sector, where the outlook stands at +14% despite a weakening trend of 4% quarteron-quarter and 5% year-on-year. A similar trend was reported in the Transportation & Utilities sector. Meanwhile, hiring plans are softer in the Finance, Real Estate & Insurance sector, with hiring set to slow down 4% from last quarter and 15% from the same time last year. The Services sector has weakened considerably—13% in the last 12 months. Employers in the Mining & Construction sector are reporting weaker hiring intentions, while those in the Manufacturing

sector report a cautiously optimistic forecast of 10% growth.

Regional outlook In the Asia Pacific region, hiring expectations are softer in the majority of markets compared to three months ago, while a year-on-year comparison reveals declining outlook in all of eight countries and territories. Hiring plans are strongest in Taiwan, Indian and New Zealand, and weakest in Australia.

Global outlook Globally, employers in 31 of the 42 countries and territories surveyed report varying degrees of positive hiring activity for the fourth quarter of 2012.

Note: Employers in the Public Administration/Education sector have not been included in this survey.

Virtual career fair Skills shortages and scarcity of experienced professionals is expected in China’s financial sector. In its latest Job Barometer, eFinancialCareers anticipated shortages in the second half of 2012 in job functions such as relationship management, compliance and information technology. The 2012 Shanghai Financial Virtual Career Fair, hosted by the Shanghai


HR Magazine

Finance Association and co-organised by eFinancialCareers, took place on 15 and 16 September 2012. The fair allowed job seekers in Hong Kong to speak to line managers and recruiters from top financial organisations in Shanghai virtually, via instant chat and webcam, and to upload and submit their CVs for various job listings. George McFerran, Managing Director,

Asia Pacific, eFinancialCareers remarked, “To position Shanghai as the largest global financial centre in Asia by 2020, the city will need to attract talent from outside mainland China. Hong Kong finance professionals, with both a strong skill set and an understanding of the local market, are well-positioned to take advantage of those opportunities.”

HR events

What’s coming up in the world of HR






18-20 Sep 2012 (Tue-Thu)

Growing Edge Limited

Facilitating Groups in Asia— Hong Kong

Hong Kong

Please visit our Event Calendar on HR Magazine website.

18 Sep 2012 (Tue)

Institute of Executive Coaching and Leadership

Free Introduction to Coaching and Leadership, Hong Kong

Hong Kong

Please visit our Event Calendar on HR Magazine website.

20 Sep 2012 (Thu)

WealthAsia Group

The Woman Extraordinaire Forum 2012

Hong Kong

Tel: (852) 2297 3066 Please visit our Event Calendar on HR Magazine website.

8 Oct 2012 (Mon)

Crown Leadership International Group

Employment Law & HR Management Masterclass


Tel: (65) 6633 5318 Please visit our Event Calendar on HR Magazine website.

16-17 Oct 2012 (Tue-Wed)

Crown Leadership International Group

Employee Engagement Asia Masterclassa


Tel: (65) 6633 5318 Please visit our Event Calendar on HR Magazine website.

18 Oct 2012 (Thu) 08:30-16:30

HR Magazine

HR Magazine Conference— HR Recruitment and Outsourcing Strategies ● Successful recruitment strategies ● Business process outsourcing ● Recruitment outsourcing ● IT outsourcing

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

Fees: FREE admission for all individual and corporate subscribers to HR Magazine Half day HKD 800 Whole day HKD 1,200

The Annual China Shared Services & Outsourcing Week & SSON Excellence Awards


23-25 Oct 2012 (Tue-Thu)


Full details at: Tel: (65) 9722 9388 Email: Web: For fee details visit: aspx?id=707560

29 Oct 2012 (Mon)

Institute of Executive Coaching and Leadership

Organisational Coaching Level OneTraining, Hong Kong


Fee: HKD 18,000 Please visit our Event Calendar on HR Magazine website.

30 Oct 2012 (Tue)

Leadership Architect® 101: competency modeling

Korn/Ferry International

To be confirmed

Fee: HKD 16,000 Details to be confirmed, please contact:

23 Nov 2012 (Fri)

Certificate in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

CBT Australia—hosted by Psych Central and Pathways Limtied

Hong Kong

Tel: (852) 9220 5081 PsychCentral / (852) 9474 7581 Pathways Limited

CBT in Action— Applications in the Workplace

CBT Australia—hosted by Psych Central and Pathways Limtied

Hong Kong Institute of Human Resource Management

32nd HKIHRM Annual Conference & Exhibition

Crown Leadership International Group

Employment Law & HR Management Masterclass

27 Nov 2012 (Tue)

27 Nov 2012 (Tue)

3 Dec 2012 (Mon)

Fees: HKD 14,630—Early Bird or Bring a Friend discount until 10 Sep 2012. HKD 15,400—after 10th Sep2012. Please visit our Event Calendar on HR Magazine website. Hong Kong

Tel: (852) 9220 5081 PsychCentral / (852) 9474 7581 Pathways Limited Fees: HKD 14,630—Early Bird or Bring a Friend discount until 10 Sep 2012. HKD 15,400—after 10th Sep2012. Please visit our Event Calendar on HR Magazine website.

Hong Kong

Tel: (852) 2881 5113 Email: Fee: Early bird before 19 Oct 2012, Two-day Full Programme: HKD 6,000 (member) / HKD 7,400 (non-member) One-day Full Programme: HKD 3,200 (member) / HKD 4,000 (non-member)


Tel: (65) 6633 5318 Email: Please visit our Event Calendar on HR Magazine website.

Autumn 2012


HR news




The number of top graduates PwC will soon hire from mainland


China and HK in its 2012/13 Graduate Recruitment campaign. With campus recruitment talks underway throughout September and October, Nora Wu, PwC Asia Pacific Human Capital Leader, explained the organisation will employ graduates from a variety of educational backgrounds and not necessarily those with accounting majors. PwC hopes this move will ensure a pool of talented people with diversity in thinking to help nurture a work environment for building a positive culture for learning.


The percentage of Hong Kong employees who feel a romantic



The percentage

of employers that report they need

relationship with a colleague would be problematic. Despite not

The percentage of Hong Kong-

a break from their

worrying about office romances, 44% did think it would have an

based workers who are not

boss more than

impact on their performance at work.

fully engaged in their work.

from the work itself.

Source: Randstad Workmonitor Report for Q2 2012.

60% LGBT workers who admit


they are not open with their

The percentage of Hong

colleagues—with clients, 74%,

Kong-based finance

with HR department, 71%.

professionals considering

The percentage of Hong Kong

Source: Towers Watsons Global

Source: Citrix.

Workforce Study.


The percentage of employees who confess to sneaking out of the office for a nap-break. Source: Citrix.

conditions and long hours

The number of professionals,



from 19 countries, who

Kong workers ‘very much’

accept their first job offer

or ‘somewhat willing’ to

while searching for a new

work alongside openly LGBT

The number of Hong Kong finance

position—this equates to


professionals willing to consider a

35.1% of respondents who

a change of industry since Source: Community Business LGBT Climate study 2011-12.

<2 in 10

move to mainland China in 2012.

large bonuses have been scrapped and stressful

Source: eFinancialCareers 2012 Movement Survey.

Source: efinancial Careers.

80% 16

HR Magazine


The percentage of Hong

took part in the survey. Source: Robert Walters

Source: Community Business

Global Web Poll.

LGBT Climate study 2011-12.

The percentage of Hong Kong workers who believe that companies should take proactive steps to ensure LGBT employees are treated fairly in the workplace, although only 12% believe it is their responsibility to promote inclusiveness in society, the Government bears the brunt of this—59%. Source: Community Business LGBT Climate study 2011-12.

HR moves

Gaurav D. Garg joins Mercer

Gaurav D. Garg will join Mercer on 12 September as Region Leader, Growth Markets—incorporating businesses in Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America. In this newly created position Garg will serve as a member of Mercer Executive Committee and report to their President and CEO, Julio A. Portalatin. Portalatin said, “Gaurav has a wellestablished track record of setting up and running successful business operations in Asia and the Middle East, as well as managing global distribution…His strong entrepreneurial skills and deep understanding of the dynamics of growth markets will be invaluable to driving profitable revenue expansion…and maximising our opportunities in the growth markets.” Garg brings 26 years of international experience to his role at Mercer. From 2004 to 2007, Mr. Garg was based in New York with American International Underwriters (AIU), where he had P&L and underwriting responsibility for six regions—Europe, CE/CIS, Mediterranean, Middle East & Asia Pacific, China and Australasia—and was responsible for global distribution of personal insurance lines of business. He was also responsible for start-up business operations in a number of countries in Asia and the Middle East, in addition to experience working in three BRIC countries: India, Russia and China. He was instrumental in launching Tata AIG in 2000, following which he took

on a regional role in 2002 overseeing the Middle East and South Asia, before moving to the global business line role in New York in 2004. He became the CEO and Managing Director of the AIG Insurance Joint Venture in India with the Tata Group in 2007. He began his career in 1986 at National Insurance Co. Ltd., where he managed diverse portfolios ranging from retail insurance to insuring large engineering projects. Garg holds a Bachelors degree in Commerce and a Masters degree in Business Administration, and is an alumnus of the Wharton Advanced Management Program. He is also a Fellow of the Insurance Institute of India and a Member of the Chartered Insurance Institute, UK.

Community Business Board Director steps down Christine Loh Kung-wai has stepped down as a Founding Board Director of Community Business after ten years, following her appointment as Undersecretary for the Environment under CY Leung’s new government. The non-profit organisation is best known for its advocacy of greater workplace diversity and inclusion in Asia and its flagship ENGAGE programme, which creates a bridge between businesses and disadvantaged youth groups. Kishore Sakhrani, Chair of the Board of Directors and also Founding Board Director said, “Christine will be missed but we know that what she will continue to do is push for a better Hong Kong. Ultimately, we are all working towards the same thing.”

FleishmanHillard appoints new Senior VP

Fleishman-Hillard International Communications has appointed Sally Woo as Senior Vice President, Head of Talent Development for Asia Pacific. Based in Hong Kong, Woo holds more than 15 years of human resources experience. Lynne Anne Davis, Fleishman-Hillard President for Asia Pacific commented, “We are delighted to have Sally on board to lead a top-quality team of talent development professionals across the region, dedicated to driving peoplefocused strategies and career support programmes. Our business is fuelled by great talent, and we continue to invest heavily in attracting and retaining the best in our industry across Asia Pacific.”

Autumn 2012


Cover story


HR Magazine

Cover story

Stephen M R Covey on HR

When you trust each other s#**# happens!

But not what you’re thinking…“When you trust each other speed happens.” This was one of the key messages sent out by businessman and best-selling author, Stephen M R Covey, during his brief stopover in Hong Kong. Covey shares how trust can make organisations more profitable, people more promotable and relationships more energised. No sooner had Covey jumped off his plane from his Utah hometown in the United States, than HR Magazine jumped on him in his executive hideaway on the top floor of the Conrad Hotel. In this issue’s cover story we share Covey’s insight into what HR can do to inculcate greater trust in the workplace and how leveraging this can help them not only maximise profits, but also their own chances of career advancement.

Trust and HR

Covey personally led the strategy that propelled his late father’s book, Dr Stephen R Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People to one of the two most influential business books of the 20th Century. Author of The Speed of Trust, Covey is now challenging the assumption that trust is merely a soft, social virtue— instead looking at how HR can use it as a hard-edged, economic driver to be taken seriously at the board table. He advocates that nothing is as fast as the speed of trust and that the ability to establish, grow, extend and restore trust with all stakeholders is the critical leadership competency of the new global economy.

Leadership to build trust

Covey jumped straight in and explained that it’s very much ‘how’ HR do things as much as it is ‘what’ they actually do that is key to success. To be an effective leader, he stressed the importance of not cutting corners just to get results, but also in making sure that trust is not diminished. He commented, “Real leadership is getting results in a way that inspires trust. In other words, how you do what you do makes all the difference.” Covey noted that leaders need to listen to their people, demonstrate respect for what they hear and empower their people to engage them. He explained that, in order to achieve this, HR must take three basic steps:

• Declaring intent

With any new strategy, Covey explained the importance of HR firstly declaring their intent to staff so they could more easily identify what the goals were and so help speed up the process of acceptance and roll-out. He said, “Be very deliberated about extending trust to staff—start off by declaring intent…To get this ‘intent’ through to staff, you need to build a ‘smart trust’ rather than just blind trust—one based on clear intentions and clear expectations.”

• Guidelines

HR must then clarify expectations around the desired results—explaining what they actually want to happen within given guidelines and the confines of available resources.

• Accountability

HR must also build a process of accountability and explain to staff how they will know how well they’re actually doing—and let them know what the consequences are. Covey said, “Within this context you must extend trust…and this trust is reciprocal, when you give it people receive it and they return it.” He added, “One reason why employees don’t trust management in many organisations is because management doesn’t trust the employees and the employees reciprocate the distrust straight back.”

Autumn 2012


Cover story

Stephen M R Covery on HR

Covey pointed to overwhelming data that shows that nothing engages people so much as when they know they are being trusted by their employers. For things to work effectively, Covey explained the importance of credibility; he said, “At the root of the belief in trust is a belief in credibility—in the importance of acting with both character and competence.”

Economics of trust

In a half-day seminar in Hong Kong, given the day after his interview with HR Magazine, Covey talked at length about the importance of balancing heart with head and making the smart decision to extend trust to others; i.e. creating harmony between our propensity to trust and our analysis to do so. Covey’s central idea revolves around the ‘economics of trust’ which he defines as the time and money through distrust. He suggested that by extending trust to others, organisations can move faster, save money and flourish. He said, “Trust inspires people to perform, it’s reciprocated, and it ultimately leads to greater prosperity, energy, and joy.” He explained, “Smart trust is judgement. It’s a competency and a process that minimises risk while maximising possibilities, enabling us to extend trust in a low-trust world. It’s the harmonising of heart and head.” Pointing out the cost


HR Magazine

involved in missed opportunities through lack of trust, he added, “To trust is to take a risk, not to trust is to take a risk…but not trusting is often the greater risk.” Covey pointed out that those in HR who get this delicate balancing act right and are able to broker smart trust are assured of positively influencing business. Alluding to what he termed the ‘Trust Dividend’ he explained that trust always speeds up processes and lowers the costs involved. In contrast, a lack of trust brings a host of negative impacts, which he termed the ‘Trust Tax’ and these include: employee disengagement, excessive turnover, unproductive meetings, excessive policies and procedures, time theft, employee fraud and dishonesty.

Counterfeit behaviour

Trust most often breaks down in companies due to what Covey termed ‘counterfeit behaviour’, when people spin, twist and manipulate the truth. He explained, “The counterfeit is when people ‘technically tell the truth’ but they leave the wrong impression…When you have hidden agendas, hidden objectives and hidden motives that destroy trust.” So HR must avoid over-promising and underdelivering, in order to retain trust in the organisation. The better that leaders can model this behaviour, the faster that trust will be facilitated throughout the entire organisation.

Covey, in his seminar, talked more on what HR and managers could do to restore trust when they had lost the trust of others. He believes the way to do this is to make and keep commitments, to ‘say and do’, to declare your intent and deliver it. In short, he advised those who were in trustfree zones to behave their way out of the problem they had behaved themselves into.

Bilingual HR

For a realistic seat at the board table, in addition to knowing their own language— that of people and talent engagement— Covey advised that HR must learn the language of the CEO. He said, “Learn finance, and learn how to compellingly connect HR language with the CEO’s language, so they can be the bridge to help the CEO see the connection between the people and culture side and the economic side. These are not two different worlds; it’s really the same world with two different sides to it.” In order to make this a reality, Covey advised HR, “They’ve got to build their own credibility and be seen as a person of great character and competence—and not just in the world of HR—but also in understanding how HR connects to the things that matter most to the CEO.” To make this ‘bridge’ a reality, HR must think about the business from various angles and highlight to the CEO connections between HR and the business objectives. Covey stressed: show how the people side connects to

Cover story

azine. , HR Mag

er t, Publish


innovation; show how the people connect in terms of collaboration and partnering; show how the connection between building high-trust relationships with customers, partners and staff will help grow the business; show how nothing is as fast or as profitable as the speed of trust. He explained, “HR needs to be the bridge to show that these two languages are really one language expressed in different ways…The key to achieving this is to get into the CEO’s head…And I think it is the HR leader’s responsibility to be this bridge.” HR leaders—key responsibilities 1. Understand the language of the CEO—finance, profit, growth 2. Focus on own credibility 3. Help the CEO to understand the people and culture side of things

Becoming a better HR leader

Covey summarised with three key pieces of advice to HR leaders. Firstly, he asked them to look into the mirror and ask two questions: do I trust myself and do I give to others a person they can trust? He explained, “The more that the HR leader is a model of this behaviour, the better and the faster they can grow the trust, and also they can have greater influence by far.” Secondly, he recommended, “Make the creation of trust an explicit objective. There are a lot of important duties for HR but if you can also focus on building a high-trust culture and making that deliberate and explicit, this is a huge thing.”

hts y highlig M R Cover

righ Paul Arkw in HR to st u tr of portance

the im

Thirdly, Covey advised HR to demonstrate through their behaviour how trust is really a function of credibility and behaviour in order to inculcate this throughout the whole organisation. HR behaviours that inculcate trust • • • • • • • • • • • •

Talking straight Demonstrating respect Creating transparency Righting wrongs Showing loyalty Delivering results Continuously improving Confronting reality Clarifying expectations Practicing accountability Listening first Extending trust

“Someone needs to go first—that’s what leaders do. I think the HR leader can go first and lead out. When they do that, their own credibility will soar, also their influence will soar, and people will respond to trusted leadership and will reciprocate.” He summarised, “HR leaders can be the catalyst, I’m a huge advocate for HR leaders—they are in a unique role of being bilingual—speaking the language of business and people & culture and they can connect those two. They’re not only at the table, but they’re an engine at the table that drives the connection between these two disparate worlds.”


Stephen M R Covey # Harvard MBA, joined Covey Leadership Center as a client developer, later National Sales Manager and then President & CEO. # Under Covey’s direction, company grew rapidly achieving Inc. 500 status—almost doubled revenue to over $110 million and increased profits 12-fold. # Company valued at USD2.4 million when Covey was named CEO, within three years grew shareholder value to USD160 million in a merger he orchestrated with then Franklin Quest to form FranklinCovey—the largest leadership development company in the world. # Covey currently serves as Advisory Board Chairman of the Human Performance Institute. # Covey lives with his wife and five children in the shadows of the Rocky Mountains—which he says is one of the things that makes him happiest in his life.

Autumn 2012


HR features

An gr


irds a

d n


Angry Birds has enthralled youths and adults alike providing a multiage platform where grandparents and grandchildren can challenge each other. Rovio; creative team behind the Angry Birds global phenomenon, and TCC; the retail team marketing the concept, recently announced a collaboration on a customer loyalty reward initiative for Hong Kong’s Wellcome supermarket chain. Similar programmes will also soon be launched in China, with its residents becoming increasingly cash rich and time poor—resulting in fewer grocery shop visits with hauls of greater value. We took the opportunity to interview Henri Holm—Senior VP, Rovio Asia and Simon Hall—Regional Business Development Director, TCC Asia to find out how their organisations search through Hong Kong’s talent pool to fill their more creative positions and, once found, how they make sure that creative spark doesn’t go out.

Hong Kong talent crush

Hong Kong’s public education system has a rather undesirable reputation for producing a conveyor belt-type batch of educated carbon copies; hardworking—no doubt—however put through years of punishing tests, exams and interviews


HR Magazine

HR features

to give the ‘right’ answer—book smart but not idea rich. Despite having its headquarters in Amsterdam, TCC houses five times as many staff members here in Hong Kong. “Its proximity to China, where our sourcing and design chain functions take place, in addition to its large talent pool, make Hong Kong the obvious choice to place our 120 creative talents,” said Hall. He further explained that when interviewing candidates for creative positions, the HR Department is given a difficult task: look for people with enquiring minds. He added, “Often, due to the rigidity of the education system here, candidates with a diversity of education and those who have been educated outside of Hong Kong have an advantage. Having said that, some that are locally educated are right for the job; they just have the right mindset.”

Ticking the creative box

Spotting creativity is no easy task. Asking candidates straight-out is not the way to go. Instead, the TCC HR department uses a variety of methods to explore the openness of the candidates’ minds. “Perhaps by posing a scenario and seeing what

solution they come up with. Alternatively, asking them to draw a picture, ‘How do you see Hong Kong in 5 years’ time?’” explained Hall. These off-centre questions are not designed to separate the wrong answers from the right answers, rather to see to what extent their imagination and opinions guide them. At Rovio, the hiring process is made all the more difficult by the ever-changing challenges they face themselves. In the online world, things move in seconds, minutes and hours. In the offline world, things move at a decidedly slower pace; hours, days and weeks. Candidates that can keep up and help them stay up to date are just the type they look for.

Creative space

To foster creativity it is vital to create and maintain an environment free from unnecessary barriers, “If you restrict the collaboration, team-building and comfort of your talents—you’ll restrict the creativity of the ideas,” warned Hall. Rovio takes a similar approach; employees are

encouraged to carry out their meetings standing up or in the corridor. The head office, located in Finland, is fully decked out with Angry Birds merchandise and images, to avoid a stuffy office feel. What is important for them, according to Holm, is that every team—whether it be creative, logistics, marketing or sales— has everything it needs to come up with ideas, develop those ideas and make great changes without obstacles. Holm opined, “Making a programme successful is putting the right people together.”

Getting everyone on the same page

“Creativity isn’t just about drawing, making characters, using colours, it’s also about—how do you foster that diverse group to collaborate and see and deliver the same goals?” shared Holm. Rovio’s approximately 400-strong workforce consists of people from 30 different nationalities so diversity is one of their great strengths. Team relations must be fostered to allow the free flow of ideas and passion for these ideas in order to achieve the company objectives, and this structure matters. All employees at all levels in all departments within Rovio are made aware of the company goal: to reach 1 billion fans. With over 500 million downloads and counting; and people playing Angry Birds globally for 200 million minutes each day—they seem to be hitting the mark.

HR features

Poor HR governance hinders Asian companies going global By Dr Gavin Watkins, Director, Client Development Group, Towers Watson Asia Pacific

In April, Indian IT multinational Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) announced it had crossed USD10 billion in annual revenues with double-digit profit growth fuelled by game-changing technologies like cloud computing. TCS said it had undertaken the largest ever hiring effort in the firm’s history by adding almost 40,000 new staff. In all, TCS has over 238,000 consultants in 42 countries. TCS is not alone among Asian companies with an expansive business and a global presence. Asian multinationals have long been growing their businesses outside their headquarter country. The last decade, in particular, has seen a significant rise in Asian companies globalising and the global ambition is not pursued by just the large, well-established organisations but by companies of all sizes.

HR goes global

As they globalise, Asian MNCs have begun to evolve their HR functions to manage global companies. Asian MNCs have understood the strategic role of HR in a global company. In fact, some Asian MNCs have demonstrated more strategic use of their HR than developed country MNCs. In these companies, HR is often at the top table, playing an active part in expansion activities, brought in early in M&A discussions, involved in assessing HR legislative requirements, planning attraction of needed talent and deciding the nature of compensation and benefits. These companies have fared much better in the global marketplace than their peers. Having said that, there are still major gaps in the development of sophisticated HR, talent management and global HR governance systems in Asian MNCs—components critical for Asian MNCs to manage their globalisation effectively. The Towers Watson 2012 Asian MNC Study, surveying more than 100 Asian MNCs, gives insights into the globalisation strategies of Asian MNCs: firms headquartered in an Asian country and with operations in at least one more country outside its home or headquarter country. The study found that although successful in expanding their businesses beyond the home country, these Asian MNCs nonetheless faced some critical challenges, the key being effective global HR governance or oversight.


HR Magazine

HR challenges

Asian MNCs participating in the study said that in managing their global business they face challenges such as the clear definition of roles and authority of different stakeholders, incentivising local leadership to work towards common organisational goals, as well as achieving synergies and efficiency in their global operations through aligned processes and common technology platforms. Many of these challenges can be effectively addressed through appropriate governance philosophies and frameworks.

Taking the lead in HR

Effective HR governance involves appropriately guiding and managing key stakeholders, driving operational efficiency and aligning people, assets and liabilities to business objectives. Given the fast pace and extent of the globalisation of Asian MNCs, developing sophisticated HR talent management and compensation and benefits governance systems is key for effective management of their globalisation process. Asian MNCs realise that their governance processes are not the most effective or efficient; more than half of the respondents feel that the global governance process in their firms need improvement.

HR features Weak governance of C&B

A particular concern is that the benefits and compensation governance structures of Asian MNCs are weak. A high percentage of the Asian MNCs surveyed said their compensation and benefits programmes are controlled centrally at HQ level. The lack of employee compensation and benefits governance in Asian MNCs can pose risks and prevent profitable growth. For example, 64% of the respondents do not fully understand their employee benefits liabilities outside their headquarter country and 51% have no established method of monitoring their compensation arrangements in foreign locations. It is essential that global companies maintain a balance between central and decentralised HR programmes with an effective global governance framework in place to oversee and monitor costs, risks and liabilities. Asian MNCs must understand that benefits management is a specialised skill and strategic oversight of finance is important to manage the substantial financial risks posed by employee benefits. One-fifth of Asian MNCs with operations in North America and/ or Western Europe do not involve the finance function in benefits management. Another 22% involved finance only to a slight extent. Asian MNCs would do well to learn from the experience of many US multinationals, many of which suffered substantial losses in the recent financial crisis due to the sudden increase in employee benefit service costs. Little global consistency was found in rewards components such as benefits, compensation, sales compensation and training & development. A global company needs to function like a borderless organisation in the development, implementation and administration of all HR programmes. The low level of consistency in the programmes of Asian MNCs could create problems. For example, there have been instances in Asian MNCs where the compensation of certain internationally mobile executives has been greater than the CEO’s compensation. No doubt, such situations can lead to conflict of interest or reward principles that are detrimental to the organisation.

Underestimating cultural challenges

Another important challenge faced by Asian MNCs relates to the complex issue of cultural understanding and assimilation. Cultural understanding includes the general understanding of the local culture, ability to manage the brand perception, getting buy-in from key local customers, managing a culturally diverse workforce, overcoming language barriers, etc. The study suggests that Asian MNCs underestimate the cultural challenges, thinking that it is easy to manage cultural differences. They tend to impose a certain management style to help them deal with difficult staff issues but that does not necessarily lead to a successful organisation. It usually only helps satisfy home country guidelines which are often incongruent with local cultures. Globalising Asian MNCs have to deal with understanding different cultures, ways of interacting, management styles, and issues around control. Often, there are real concerns about whether HQ should impose its management style in other countries. The question then becomes one of organisational culture versus national cultures of entities established or acquired overseas and the balance thereof. As Asian MNCs pursue globalisation and rapidly enter new markets, the challenge of cultural understanding becomes bigger. The ones that get it right will be those who are open to learning, comfortable with some level of uncertainty and understand the importance of addressing critical culture issues early.

Competitors for HR talent

Given the current global economic situation, with Europe to a large extent still in crisis mode and the US in the doldrums, Asia will be an important growth engine. Asian powerhouses will not miss the opportunity to realise their global ambitions. They will continue to take advantage of strong currencies and conditions in developed markets to acquire organisations at substantially discounted prices as well as continue to compete in with developed market MNCs for market share in Asia. Asian MNCs will also increasingly compete with developed market MNCs for talent and market share in all markets—not only within Asia but also in the developed markets of Europe and North America. Developed market MNCs will need to watch out for the Asian MNCs. When the Asian MNCs succeed in addressing current gaps in their HR systems and governance structures, they will be formidable competitors.

Autumn 2012


HR features

Global nomads ...bring HR headaches

The percentage of employees who move from country to country on multiple assignments and long-term expatriates has dramatically increased in recent years, creating HR headaches aplenty. The wave of ‘global nomads’ has created something of a headache for employers when it comes to providing expatriate benefits. Multinational companies do, however, continue to view provision of expatriate benefits as a priority. Mercer’s 2011/2012 Benefits Survey for Expatriates and Internationally Mobile Employees of 119,000 expatriates found that 85% have specific procedures in place to monitor the success of expatriate benefit programmes. Employers are eager to ensure that their expat benefits programmes not only support business and HR strategies but also meet their assignees’ needs.

Global leadership

The need to develop global leadership talent and the growth of new business ventures abroad has prompted a rise in global mobility. The number of global nomads has risen from 6% to 10% of the expatriate population of survey respondents, while the percentage of short-term expatriates has fallen from 17% to 11%. Long-term expatriates, as a percentage of the total assignee population, increased from 21% to 40% between the 2008/09 and 2011/12 surveys. Phil Stanley, Mercer’s Asia Pacific Global Mobility COE Leader for Information Product Solutions, said, “Seasoned professionals who can bring solid international experience and a depth of knowledge across a number of operating environments are vital to companies looking to create or expand new ventures abroad. Multinationals are


HR Magazine

expecting their talent pool to have varied geographical experience as a prerequisite to climbing the top rungs of the career ladder.”

Retirement policies

The most common retirement approach for all internationally mobile employees is to maintain cover in home country plans, based on the assumption that assignees are more likely to retire in their home countries. 63% of traditional and long-term expatriates are maintained in their home country retirement plans. One solution is to establish an international retirement plan, providing a single solution across assignments and the potential for a common scheme design. The survey results show that only 12% of companies have established international retirement plans to ensure continuity of benefits.

Medical benefits

Virtually all respondents, 98%, currently provide private medical insurance for their globally mobile workforce compared to only 57% in 2005. Medical benefits and the quality and standards of medical healthcare vary significantly from country to country, so the main challenge for companies is to provide expatriates with an equitable system of healthcare whilst managing costs.

HR features

Recipe for global improvement Power, functionality and user experience are the three main ingredients of any successful talent management hotpot. Lumesse has recently launched ETWeb version 11 as a response to an HR industry focused on driving maximum benefits and achieving data completeness on an increased scale. Talent management software used by 2,000 companies in over 70 countries—including China Merchant Bank, GlaxoSmithKline China, Merck, PSA Peugeot Citroen, British Airways and Carlsberg—will lead the way for e-recruitment and learning management technology. An organisation adopting this software enhances its HR’s ability to effectively engage in talent management procedures, and this adoption is becoming increasingly

critical for businesses looking to talent management as a way to drive global improvement in competitive performance. The new user experience in ETWeb v11 has been designed to make it easier for both regular and occasional users to gain maximum benefit from the application without lengthy training, and its multi-lingual interface will allow HR to achieve this in over 30 languages. Francis Chan, Country Manager— Hong Kong, Lumesse commented, “The power of the new version ETWeb 11 will bring a great impact to the local talent management solutions market, and raise the level of competition, via an intuitive interface that can be easily adopted, complemented by sophisticated analytic capabilities available to HR and business leaders.”

Improved navigation, reporting, searching and responsiveness will all help to drive better data quality, user productivity and satisfaction. In particular, a new, configurable, interactive ‘Talent Profile’ will help staff visualise their own information and objectives, and improve internal networking. Meanwhile, an interactive organisation view will help managers be more productive and effective in daily tasks with detailed, configurable information views on areas such as potential, development, retention risk, bench strength, compensation, and performance. The increased scalability of version 11 will make it easier to support tens or hundreds of thousands of connected employees. Organisations will also benefit from lower cost-ofownership from a reduced infrastructure requirement and greater compatibility.

Autumn 2012


HR features

Don’t believe the English grades Graduate talent scores flawed

Despite good academic results, Hong Kong graduates may still not be equipped with the necessary English skills for today’s increasingly international business world. This according to the latest study conducted by the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

The findings of the study, carried out by Dr Arthur McNeill, Director, Language Centre, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, are significant in very broad terms. It seems that organisations cannot rely on exam results as a measure of English language proficiency and the education system cannot use shortcuts to produce results with any meaning. HR professionals should be wary of depending solely on IELTS or academic test results when recruiting staff for positions which require thorough use of the English language. Moreover, they should perhaps look to develop testing systems appropriate to the job in question or make better use of other available benchmarking tools such as the BULATS assessment for workplace English. At a forum delivered jointly by the British Council and the Federation for Continuing Education in Tertiary Institutions (FCE), Michelle Li, Deputy Secretary for Education, cited Transnational Education (TNE) as an important component in Hong Kong’s tertiary education sector. TNE involves the delivery of education in a different learning location to the awarding institution, complementing the Government’s vision to develop Hong Kong as a regional education hub, and preparing students for the international business and services arena. McNeill continued by pointing to the medium of instruction as fundamental to education programmes in partnering universities and offering insight into the


HR Magazine

reality of TNE when programmes are delivered in the English language. When lecturers were questioned about standards of English shown, they commented that despite students possessing strong qualifications in English, meanings were not easily grasped within the context of the lecture theatre. Previous to this study, it had been assumed that Hong Kong students were strong on the receptive skills of listening and reading and slightly weaker in the productive skills of speaking and writing. McNeill’s findings, however, showed that they struggled to decipher inferences necessary for understanding and concluded that the outcome-based learning common to Hong Kong was indicative only of the ability to pass exams and was not sufficient for real-world demands. According to McNeill, the time it takes to become proficient in a second language has been underestimated. IELTS, the nine-band assessment system developed by Cambridge ESOL, has traditionally been used as a measurement of standards in English language with universities both in Hong Kong and overseas requiring scores of between band six and band seven for entrance. IELTS providers generally considered 200 hours to be the required amount of study to reach each consecutive band. However, the six-level Common European framework has, for a long time, acknowledged that the transition from C1 to C2—the highest level—needed significantly more hours than preceding levels and

applied linguists are reaching the conclusion that the 1,200 hours to proficiency estimate is a gross under-exaggeration. McNeill focused in particular on the amount of vocabulary needed to become an advanced user of English and had conducted some telling research during his previous role at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He calculated that a native English speaker has learned 2,000-3,000 words by the time he or she leaves primary school. In secondary school this number continues to grow by about 300 a year, culminating in a vocabulary of about 20,000 words. His department set about testing those entering the Chinese University of Hong Kong and discovered that most knew only between 2,000 and 3,000 words. As a result of these findings, the government has now pushed for a curriculum that includes English vocabulary provision of up to 5,000 words before entrance to university. One recommendation was ‘overseas immersion’ in tertiary education programmes delivered in English. This has proved hugely beneficial when compared with an equivalent number of hours studying in a student’s own country, even if only for one semester. Universities offering TNE programmes are addressing the issues by including more English credits within their curriculum, with particular emphasis on vocabulary. Any courses preparing students for the world of commerce and industry should theoretically do the same and HR managers should take steps to test their potential employees’ skills in written and spoken English.

HR features

Family culture played as trump card by Marriott China in war for hotel talent

Marriott International is working to rapidly expand its workforce to keep pace with its growth in China where it currently manages 60 hotels. This is expected to increase to 100 properties by 2014. Its regional human resource executives project that they will need to recruit 12,000 to 15,000 staff in China this year. “In a burgeoning hospitality market such as China, there is a talent war among all hotel players. At Marriott, we are confident that we have the upper hand in attracting and retaining quality people to work with us because of our family culture. Any good human resources initiatives can be easily replicated, but not a great human resources culture.” said Jim Pilarski, Chief Human Resources Officer, Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa, Marriott International. Pilarski quoted the company’s motto, created by its founder J. Williard Marriott, to show how they have created their family culture: ‘Take good care of the associates and they’ll take good care of the customers and they’ll return again and again’. Due to strong family values held in China, the hotel group feels that their culture will align itself well with local society.

Sourcing & developing talent

Marriott International is taking steps to recruit and retain the kind of talent they need in China by establishing links with colleges and universities. In 2011, it recruited 162 graduates and 1,352 interns from its network of 70 participating colleges over China. In addition, managers and directors from the hotel group conduct guest lectures in four colleges as well as providing internship training and scholarships. Top graduates have the opportunity to work in Marriott hotels in China. The group has also developed a 24-month ‘Voyage Program’ in China; a programme for management trainees hired from management universities and institutes with a view to develop them extensively in their areas of discipline and eventually place them in managerial positions within one of the group’s hotels. Split into three phases: Embark, Experience and Evolve, the programme is designed to take a trainee through all the fundamentals, from cross-department training to the basics of finance and

guest satisfaction exercises to leadership skills. Participants are encouraged to take advantage of the support network of a hotel “buddy”, the General Manager, Director of Human Resources, Training Manager, Area Discipline Heads and their own fellow graduates.

Career prospects

Before 2008, all general managers of Marriott hotels in China were expatriates. In 2012, 15% of its hotels’ general managers were local Chinese. Marriott International’s goal is to double this percentage by the end of 2013, with a PRC general manager development programme now in place to achieve this objective. According to Sandra Ngan, Area Director, Human Resources, North China Marriott International, more than 300 Marriott hotels’ managers in China were awarded lateral or upward promotion in 2011, of which 25% came from nonmanagement ranks. The company also strives to have at least 50% homegrown managers at every newly opened hotel in China so as to uphold the corporate culture and standards.

Autumn 2012


HR features

HR hard sell Why HR needs to hard sell the C-suite to ensure management buy-in, engaged workforces & business profitability

NiQ Lai, Head of Talent Engagement and CFO, Hong Kong Broadband Network (HKBN).

Mention financial issues to most in HR and you’ll usually get a yawn, or at best slightly disconcerted raised eyebrows. Why do so many in HR feel so uncomfortable talking about the bottom line? What is it that so often creates disparity between HR and the C-suite? Most of the time it comes down to language: the C-suite likes to speak ‘numbers’, while HR likes to speak ‘talent and culture’. Bridging this language gap has now become essential for HR leaders wishing to champion successful businesses. Very few have had the vision, or courage, to take this bull by the horns—NiQ Lai, Head of Talent Engagement and CFO, Hong Kong Broadband Network (HKBN) is one of the few. HR Magazine caught up with Lai to get his no-nonsense advice on what it really takes for HR to break the mould; engaging their Talents (he states that HKBN does not have any ‘staff’), customers and the CEO; while driving profitability through the roof.


HR Magazine

Hard sell essential

Lai was candid in airing the views felt, but rarely voiced, by many in HR, “At most HR conferences, the HR Director complains about not being able to convince the tightass CFO/CEO to sign off on the budget for innovative HR initiatives. I believe that this is because those HR Directors are ineffective in ‘hard selling’ the financial benefits of investing in HR to the CFO/ CEO.” He added, “Unless there is a direct long-term linkage between innovative HR initiatives and financial performance—the funding for extra HR activities will stop.”

Long-term investment in Talent—great for business

HKBN spends millions of dollars each year investing in its Talents, which Lai vehemently believes is a solid investment. He said, “Such investments contribute to our long-term financial success, otherwise we would not continue with these extravagant events.” One such example was the HKD2 million they

invested developing Talent on a recent trip to Cambodia to experience the extremes of being rich and poor, reported on in HR Magazine summer issue. Such annual trips go far beyond CSR and teambuilding efforts, and are an ideal opportunity to invest in the long-term development of Talent within the organisation. HR must hard sell the benefits of these trips to the CEO/CFO: HKD2 million might seem a lot, but compared to the profits that Talents can generate based on ‘ah-ha’ moments they have on trips, this ‘cost’ quickly pales into insignificance. Lai pointed out that in the business world there are huge opportunities for companies that are willing to take a longterm view. This arises because so many companies look to make short-term return on equity (ROE), but very few are willing to make long-term investments in ROE. He explained, “When we look at 12-month investments—there is huge competition; when we look at 3 – 5 year investments— there is far less competition; and when we

HR features

look at 5 – 10 year investments—there is barely any competition.” He also challenged the mindset of many organisations of trying to ‘lock down’ MBA education sponsorship. For example, by imposing contractual lockups to stop Talents leaving after the company had invested so much in them. He noted that, in any event, two-thirds of MBA graduates changed jobs after their MBA anyway. Lai explained, “We think differently—we think about how we can enrich Talents’ career prospects after their MBA, and how we can justify the higher pay that comes from being better equipped. There is no point in upgrading a Talent unless we can leverage their enhanced skillset and mindset afterwards, and compensate them accordingly. That is, we keep our best Talents by giving them the room to grow in helping us to grow.” He noted that any gain the company makes from harvesting shorter-term investments made in the past year could be quite easily copied by competitors. This might be as simple as putting staff on a full day Microsoft Excel course,

which many companies can do. By contrast, long-term investments, such as putting 35 non-university graduates through a four-year degree programme— as with their Next Station University programme—are much harder for competitors to copy. The whole company chips in with this programme, stepping up with flexible work schedules and backing-up each other’s on-the-job requirements. HKBN does not hesitate to ‘over invest’ and potentially lose money on specific groups of Talents as long as they inspire the rest of their 3,000 Talents to achieve amazing things. Lai added, “Watching our colleagues embrace their 2nd chance in life to achieve a university degree certainly inspires us collectively”.

HR…your flexible friend

Another example of HKBN moving away from traditional work practices is the fact that they are moving away from fixed working hours of 9.00am – 6.00pm towards a flexi-time system allowing Talents to work any 9-hour period between 8.30am – 6.30pm. Lai

explained the obvious benefits of the proposed scheme, “For some people, this flexibility empowers them to be better parents by giving them the option to drop their children at school every day and still arrive in the office on time for a 9.30am start. This is a huge ‘hard sell’ benefit—making it easier for the company to attract much better quality Talents on the same budget as our competitors who don’t offer flexi-time.”

The hard sell

Talent engagement is all very well, and when companies do novel things it is sure to help with staff engagement, but how can HR really convince the CEO that such activities will help drive the business success? Lai advised, “I think a little bit of ‘hard sell’ is necessary. Unless the HR Director can properly ‘hard sell’ such ideas to the CFO/CEO, these initiatives will never be given a chance.” Lai explained that there was no short cut for HR to become bilingual, “They need to get an MBA or sit the CFA. When in Rome, do as the Romans do—you need to be able to speak the local language.

Aug 2012 – Picture of 63 Co-owners, just before the free flow drinks on 30 Aug.

Autumn 2012


HR features

Don’t expect the CFO/CEO to speak HR.” He advised, “The best way for a HR Director to talk to the C-suite is for the HR Director to become a part of the C-suite. For a HR Director to join the C-suite, they will need be able to hard sell ‘numbers’ rather than softer ‘human factors’, as this is the language of the C-suite.” Lai also believes that ‘non-finance people’ need MBAs much more than ‘finance people’ do. He said, “This is why we have invested so much on our MBA programmes in the past five years such that today, 75% of our top managers have or are in the process of gaining a post grad degree—mainly MBAs. Lai added, “As a company, we invest more in CSR and our Talents than most companies, because we think it is good for business. In short, we invest in our Talents, we don’t donate to them. If we want to invest in CSR just for the stake of CSR, we should make personal donations instead.”

Getting management buy-in HKBN has never been backwards in moving forwards, and now is no

exception. Lai is passionate about maximising the organisation’s Legal Unfair Competitive Advantage (LUCA) through pioneering innovative—and frequently controversial—HR projects. After de-listing for the stock exchange and becoming a private company in May 2012, Lai has been instrumental in rolling out a revolutionary HR concept to get management buy-in…literally. He explained, “On our management buy-in, the thing I am most proud of is not getting the C-suite to become Co-owners—as this is somewhat expected—rather it is getting the more junior managers to invest 1 – 2 years of their salary. In our case, we have 63 managers who accepted our invitation to become Co-owners, with total investment of around HKD165 million for a 14% management stake in our company. Our youngest Co-owners are in their early 20s.” HR Magazine spoke with one such Co-owner and it was clear that even after only three months with the organisation, they had absolute trust in the rest of the management team and the company itself. Lai concurred, “This is an amazing vote of

confidence in ourselves as a team and also a very distinct indication of commitment. To us, having a junior manager on say HKD30K — 40K per month committing 1 – 2 years’ salary is a far greater indication of commitment than a C-suite executive putting in a similar multiple of salary.” Lai asserts that passionate people want to join good companies and do their bit to help contribute to the greatness. He said, “How else would we convince 63 of our executives to co-invest typically 1 – 2 years’ salary into our own future?”


Lai defined ‘luck’ as ‘being ready when opportunity arises’. As such his organisation invests a huge amount to make sure they get their Talents ‘ready’, which he asserted is why HKBN tends to be more ‘lucky’. When the management buyout opportunity came about, Talents within the organisation were better prepared than average for three key reasons: 1. managers were already business literate—so able to make a more informed decisions with regards to the viability of business plans and whether or not they personally wanted to invest in them; 2. many Talents already possessed savings and excess funds from previous City Telecom gains—so they could afford to double down into HKBN; and 3. HKBN had grown a track record of treating good Talents well—the 95% that they don’t fire each year—helping create trust for staff to invest in an unlisted entity.

Invest in Talent not hardware

Lai concluded, “Why are companies willing to invest in hardware but not people? Between 2000 and 2006, we lost money for seven years investing in our fibre network before we turned free cash flow positive in 2007. Since then, we have become by far the most profitable—with the highest ROE—carrier in the telecom industry. We continued to invest in our fibre network, despite growing accumulated losses, because we had a vision that fibre would be the future. We look at investing in our Talents in exactly the same way.”


HR Magazine

HR features

As much of Hong Kong struggled back to work following one of the most serious typhoons since 1999, commuters were forced to contend with travel problems caused by fallen trees, landslips and downed power lines, resulting in serious business disruption and lost productivity for local businesses. Yet, for some Hong Kong workers and their employers, the levels of business disruption may have been much less serious. Research carried out by Regus has revealed that 35% of Hong Kong workers are free to work from locations other than their company’s main offices, giving them a way to avoid the travel disruption experiences on Hong Kong’s road and rail networks and at the airport. The research further showed that, if more local businesses were to adopt flexible working practices, enabling employees to spend less time traveling to work, 56% of employees would devote at least some of the time they gained to working harder, benefiting their company. Hans Leijten, Vice President, Regus—East

Asia commented, “The less time workers lose to commuting, the more productive they are likely to be. That means that local businesses could have avoided a good deal of the business disruption we’ve seen following recent typhoons.” A London Business school study has found that time spent at the office is not all of equal value leadership suitability and traits such as dedication and responsibility are subconsciously assigned to co-workers and subordinates based on the amount and quality of their visability around the workplace—get ahead by sending emails and making regular phone updates, whether in or out of the office, it will show that you’re going the extra mile for your job.

The balancing act

Happy employees with a good worklife balance achieve more at work, driving their companies’ success. These were the words of Victor Tsao, General Manager, Greater China, Citrix after his company was named the world’s 16th

most valuable enterprise IT company in a ranking released by Business Insider. The company was also recently included in the Top 25 Companies for Work-Life Balance—an annual index compiled by Glassdoor from anonymous employee reports on their employers. This year 385,000 reports were submitted. In common with an increasing number of other employers, Citrix has recognised that employees also have priorities unrelated to work, such as parenting responsibilities. Tsao added, “Given the right tools, [employees] can be just as productive when they’re not at work as when they are, so why shouldn’t we support them in that—particularly when flexible working also benefits us as an employer?” During Typhoon Vicente which battered Hong Kong in July 2012, Tsao explained that although staff who were forced to stay at home to remain safe, no loss of productivity or business continuity was experienced. He added, “We’ve found that flexible working really benefits everyone, and our employees appreciate the extra freedom too.”

Avoiding typhoon shutdown The recent travel chaos and lost productivity wreaked by recent typhoons has highlighted value of enabling employees to work flexibly.

Autumn 2012


HR features

HR counts HR beyond the balance sheet

Due to inefficient performance measurement and a lack of proper KPIs, HR in some organisations is struggling to motivate its talent. We spoke to CPA Australia to find out what they do differently to help avoid these issues and what advice they have for HR leaders elsewhere.

Ivan Au, Deputy Chairperson, Continuing Professional Development Committee, CPA Australia, Greater China.

Long gone are the images of grey accountants diligently beavering away next to their abacuses—today’s Certified Practising Accountants are well versed in communication skills and loaded with leadership acumen to enhance potential across different business streams.


HR Magazine

Representing almost 140,000 members in 114 countries, CPA Australia has become one of the world’s largest professional accounting bodies. The organisation’s CPA Program comprises education and practical work experience to equip accounting and finance professionals with all the technical, business, personal

HR features

effectiveness and leadership skills they need to deliver better results. According to Ivan Au, Deputy Chairperson, Continuing Professional Development Committee, CPA Australia—Greater China, CPA Australia places importance on education and training to support their members’ professional development, recognition and standing. Over 100 CPD events take place each year covering technical, technological and soft skills delivered through seminars, workshops and an annual congress.

The Naked CEO

Alex Malley, CEO, CPA Australia views a qualification in accounting as a firm foundation for any career in any sector. He engineered and featured in an online reality television meets social media series entitled ‘The Naked CEO’ to help students learn from successful leaders as part of CPA Australia’s ongoing commitment to grooming the strategic business leaders of future. In this, he offered an insight into his own leadership style and decision making process and revealed those of other successful business leaders such as Melbourne restaurateur and 2005 Chef of the Year Geoff Lindsay. Another online interview series—evo tv’s The Bottom Line—repeats the formula as Alex interviews some of the best-known and most influential personalities from politicians to entrepreneurs about both the commercial and the philanthropic aspects of their personal achievements. As well as traditional accountancy jobs, CPAs qualified through this route are primed to step into roles as diverse as investment banker, tax agent, procurement director, strategist, sales and marketing specialist, CFO or CEO. Au remarked, “Younger members in their 20s and 30s often go into junior or middle management positions. They may join private, listed, not-for-profit or government organisations.”

of modern accountancy practices. Commercially savvy and instilled with social responsibility, CPAs of today handle all aspects of the business­—social, environmental, governance and finance. CPA Australia’s own strategy includes a sustainability agenda embedded within it. For example, CPA Australia has taken an active interest in integrated reporting which encompasses traditional financial reporting with reporting on environmental, social and governance factors in an integrated format. The integrated reporting model commits to having reporting better reflect the information needed by management to run the business, while rebalancing performance metrics away from an undue reliance on short-term financial performance. In this respect, accountants have a key role to play to help merge understanding of economic value with environmental and social value.

Finance knocking on HR‘s door

As boundaries in roles and responsibilities blur, will tensions between HR and finance lessen? According to Au the relationship has always been a strong one but will be strengthened going forward. “HR must maximise effectiveness and efficiencies where finance needs to measure performance,” expressed Au. He encouraged HR to recognise and leverage the strengths of each generation as befits the business, fostering the correct conditions to inspire creativity and maximise potential for the uptake of progressive technology. “HR needs to set effective KPIs to help motivate talent,” he advised. The greatest challenge, in his opinion, will be to eliminate mundane tasks and re-create more stimulating roles to help retain key talent as well as to promote effectiveness; a critical factor in building the business landscape of tomorrow.

HR needs to set effective KPIs to help motivate talent.

Integrated accounting

‘Integrity, excellence and innovative thinking’ are the priorities set to shape and direct the future of the profession; the reason for CPA Australia’s creation over 125 years ago. By publishing a set of ‘integrated’—financial and nonfinancial—accounts, CPA Australia and those trained within it are at the forefront

Autumn 2012


HR features

To outsource...

or not to outsource? Questions HR should ask to determine if outsourcing really is the best way forward in managing contingent workforce contract and payrolls

A growing number of organisations are using contingent workforces to provide greater flexibility, reduce overall staffing costs and help bring on-board talent with specific skill sets for shorter-term projects. As a result—according to Meeta Bedi, Subject Matter Expert, Zylog Systems Canada—many of these organisations may be unwittingly exposing themselves to risks associated with constantly changing government regulations and tax laws.


HR Magazine

Dramatic rise in contingent workforces

The 2011 Contingent Buyer Survey, published by, predicted that 22% of the workforce within energy and chemical industries would be contingent within two years. This dramatic 13% increase in contingent use over this period makes outsourcing contract management to staffing firms an increasingly more attractive option for employers.

Myopic HR strategies pose legal threats

Bedi contends that some companies in Canada have taken a rather shortsighted move by simply declaring certain, or all, employees as ‘independent contractors’ and thus exempt them from the employer’s workers’ compensation requirements. In this way employers can leverage the fact that by hiring ‘independent contractors’ rather than

HR features

‘employees’, they can save on workers’ compensation insurance as well as state and federal taxes. However, companies engaging in this practice run the risk of incurring considerable tax fines, other penalties and a serious gap in insurance coverage if their ‘independent contractors’ are later determined to actually fit an ‘employee’ definition. So the question employers must ask is: are we aware of the number of laws that we could unknowingly break— placing the company at risk—in the interest of saving money?

Staffing services

There has been an increased demand for staffing services and the need for industry players to address the risks, laws and benefits of outsourcing. Over the years, there has been an explosion of interest in recruitment process outsourcing (RPO), managed services, payrolling and independent contractor compliance services. Based on the survey results, Bedi asserts that many companies are already planning significant expansion of contingent use and argues that outsourcing may be the safest way forward. Staffing companies can lower administrative costs, increase operational efficiency and reduce tax risks to companies using a contingent workforce. Furthermore, staffing companies can offer services to corporations who are finding it increasingly costly and cumbersome to manage the on-boarding process and records management, contracts with consultants, payroll and accounting functions associated with contractors that they engage to supplement their permanent staff. But how does HR make the strategic decision to outsource contract and payroll systems?

To outsource or not to outsource? That is the question

When using a contingent workforce, Bedi advises HR to ask numerous critical questions in order to help establish whether outsourcing really would be the best way forward.

Key questions for HR to ask about outsourcing • Do you have up-to-date electronic copies of employment agreements, background checks, profiles in one single, secure, privacy protected, hosted environment with Disaster Recovery Capabilities? • Are you managing your temporary/ contract workforce with the same amount of diligence and detail that you have for your permanent, fulltime employees? • Is the contractor required to follow INSTRUCTIONS? • Does the firm provide training and training documents to accomplish the work? • Does the firm provide HR related training or documents to contractors? • Does the firm provide the library of documents required when onboarding a new contractor? • Is the contractor REGULARLY employed at the firm? • Is there an ongoing work relationship? • Is the contractor paid based on time rather than by project? • How long is the firm utilising the same consultant for a project? • Is the contractor REIMBURSED for his/her expenses? • Does the firm furnish the tools and/ or materials? • Does the firm have the right to DISCHARGE the contractor without incurring a legal liability for nonperformance under the contract? • Does the worker have the right to TERMINATE the relationship without incurring a legal liability for non-performance under the contract? • Does the firm follow correct termination policies when contracts are coming to an end or ending early? • Does the firm deduct pension and/or insurance premiums when employing Sole Proprietors and Temporary Workers?

Employers may be exposed to risks that they are not aware of. If the answer to any of the questions above is yes, the firm may be deemed as an employer. If any of the answers are no, the firm may be at risk of being non-compliant.

What is outsourcing?

Outsourcing can mean joining forces with another company, rather than an individual service provider. For companies using a contingent workforce, outsourcing can be the bridge between the company and the contractor and therefore, can eliminate payroll tax risks of employing independent contractors, protect companies from co-employment issues and the improper engagement of independent contractors and provide the necessary systems, infrastructure, policies, processes and procedures for the effective management of engagement, accounting and payroll functions for the independent contractor base. This includes all governmental compliance requirements associated with the use of sole-proprietors, partnerships, incorporated entities, temporary workers, garnishee administration and consent judgments. Outsourcing allows companies to leverage the fact that their partner company has already invested the resources necessary to acquire new technology and train workers in its use. Investing in new technology can be a risky proposition for businesses today. Rather than putting up its own funds, it may make more sense for a business to use outsourcing to ensure that the technology and governmental compliance requirements available to them are always up to date and relevant to their needs. One example of this might be management and payrolling services offered via third-party-developed social media. Such sites can also assist HR in providing additional access to insurance plans, timesheets, expense reports, reference materials and group discounts, throughout the contractor lifecycle.

Autumn 2012


HR features

Talent development in the Civil Service

With more civil servants retire each year in Hong Kong, the HKSAR Government has its hands increasingly full ensuring incumbents are professionally trained so they can continue to fill the leadership pipeline.

Growing challenge

There will be on average around 5,000 civil servants retiring each year from the service in the coming years. In the past five years the annual average has been around 3,800 retirees, but this is set to jump by nearly 40% to around 5,200 annually in the five-year period ending 2015/16. And the troubles don’t stop there: looking ten years down the talent pipeline, the Government anticipates the number of retirees to continue to rise to around 6,900 annually by 2020/21. With this in mind, over the next few years, the CSTDI’s role is becoming even more critical as they assist departments government-wide in developing their future leaders. We spoke with Janice Tam, Senior Training Officer of CSTDI, CSB to see what the SAR Government is doing to ensure its keeps its leadership pipeline flowing in this challenging time.

and skills for the discharge of their responsibilities, and get them prepared for higher responsibilities. Practical training comprises case studies, discussions, mock media ‘ambush’ interviews and role plays in the leadership programmes. External

On-going development

Post-course, feedback is sought from participants who are encouraged to give suggestions for continuous programme improvement. Through a robust performance appraisal system, supervisors also continue to keep track of participants’ performance and long-term development needs. Tam explained, “Talent development is a long-term process where participation in individual leadership programmes is only a part, but not the end, of the learning process.” She added, “The CSTDI organises a range of training and development activities, including local and overseas executive programmes, staff exchange programmes and job attachments, to support civil servants’ development throughout their career.”

Transforming professionals into leaders

As the central learning institute for Hong Kong’s Civil Service, the Civil Service Training and Development Institute, Civil Service Bureau (CSTDI, CSB) has the unenviable task of ensuring that civil servants at various levels are properly trained—empowering them to provide a quality service to the public. Janice Tam, Senior Training Officer of CSTDI, CSB pointed out that a holistic approach is adopted for developing people. At the core there is a series of leadership programmes designed for the four brackets of employees—junior managers, middle managers, senior managers and directorates, in support of succession planning. The leadership programmes enable the managers to acquire the necessary knowledge


HR Magazine

stakeholders are also invited to interact with participants, from media representatives to legislative councillors to civic activists. In addition, the programmes bring together participants from a plethora of disciplines to share their own experiences and expertise. Cross-departmental collaboration and networking is very much a key element of the training plan—helping expand the horizons of tomorrow’s department leaders.

Challenges ahead

Janice Tam, Senior Training Officer, Civil Service Training and Development Institute.

Training and development is instrumental to the grooming of talent for succession. Tam explained that in the Government, promotion—which is from within—is not automatically granted simply as a ‘reward’ following years of loyal service. Rather, each person’s effort, commitment, competence and experience are all carefully considered whenever vacancies occur.

I did it my way… ...China, making

HR features

its own waves in HR

While many are quick to criticise China as a nation of copycats, recent research shows they may be leading the way with innovative HR practices tailored for the PRC talent pool. China’s rapid business expansion has astounded professionals the world over. Often heavily criticised for ‘copying’ ideas by default, recent research indicates the PRC’s HR teams are doing a lot more than simply following the recruitment pack. From career development to the use of social media in hiring—China is very much doing things its own way. The annual Global Assessment Trends Report, published by SHL examined the ways in which HR professionals in China implement assessments within their organisations. Based on data from 88 HR professionals—including staffing managers, HR leaders and HR generalists—from a range of industries headquartered in China, the latest report has shown that when it comes to recruitment and talent assessments, China is certainly creating its own waves in the ocean that is HR.

How China’s HR processes stack up globally

1. Challenges in recruiting and retention • more than half of HR professionals from Chinese companies believe they will be recruiting for more open roles in 2012 compared to 39% globally; and • 80% of HR professionals in China believe they will see increased challenges in 2012 compared to 64% globally.

2. Focus on training, but not formal career development • 63% of Chinese respondents indicated having a formal process for training, while just under half of global respondents indicated having formal training programmes solely; and • only 17% of Chinese respondents indicated offering opt-in formal career development programmes compared to 24% globally.

5. Desire to be mobile • in China, 35% of respondents indicated that candidates are requesting mobile access when taking assessments, versus 19% globally; and • likewise, only 22% of global respondents indicated that recruiters and hiring managers desire mobile access, while in China over 40% indicated such requests are being made.

3. Fewer assessments for promotion and leadership development • fewer Chinese companies reported using assessments for the following HR areas as compared to global respondents: external hiring—China, 54% vs. Global, 71%; internal hiring—China, 49% vs. Global, 62%; and leadership development—China, 17% vs. Global, 45%.

6. Social media—gathering vs sharing data • fewer HR professionals in China reported using social media, such as having career pages on social media sites as recruiting tools, than the global average; and • more Chinese respondents indicated allowing recruiters and hiring managers to review social media data compared to the global sample.

4. China’s top hiring tools and tests • more than 90% of HR professionals from Chinese-based companies reported using résumés, structured interviews, skills/knowledge tests and/or cognitive ability/general problem solving tests in their hiring processes.

Autumn 2012


HR features

HSBC ‘Ideal Employer’ for local students Uncertainty in the global economy and negative developments among major players in the banking and finance sector may have turned tomorrow’s job seekers off pursuing a career in this field, but HSBC still shines through as the Number One ideal employer among business students, according to new research conducted among 2,500 university students in Hong Kong. Despite the region’s stronghold as a financial hub in Asia, a whopping 80% of the employers in the sector were deemed less attractive in 2012 than in 2011, reveals the latest UNIVERSUM annual IDEAL Employer Survey. However, HSBC managed to retain its attractiveness and top the list of 100 IDEAL Employers in

Hong Kong for the second year running, closely followed by HKSAR Government. The survey suggests these results are largely due to positive remuneration and advancement opportunities along with employer reputation and image qualities, ranked as the most important attributes of an ideal employer by those who took part in the study. Margaret Cheng, Head of Human Resources, Hong Kong and Global Businesses Asia Pacific at HSBC said, “As competition to employ the next generation of top talent intensifies across Asia, it is critical for companies to continually invest in their employer brand in order to remain relevant, progressive and attractive in the eyes of tomorrow’s workforce.”

18 October 2012 HR Recruitment and Outsourcing Strategies • • •

Find out what’s new in the world of recruitment—learn innovative recruitment strategies that help attract the world’s best talent. What works and what doesn’t—industry leaders share best-practices in recruitment and help you avoid potential minefields. In-house, out-house or both? To outsource or not to outsource, that is the question—attend and we’ll give you the answer.

HR Recruitment and Outsourcing Strategies

HR professionals from across the region share advice from their organisations on: ● Successful recruitment strategies ● Business process outsourcing ● Recruitment outsourcing ● IT outsourcing


HR Magazine

One such industry that has managed to boost its appeal among local business students is the auditing and accounting sector, which, since falling in popularity in 2009, has made a rosy comeback with the Big Four players rising to the Top 15 in the ranking of 100 companies. Interestingly, the study also revealed a discrepancy between what male and female students consider the most important career goal. While more female respondents claimed they pride a ‘work/life balance’, ‘desire to feel socially responsible through their work’ and the ‘opportunity to build an international career’ above all else, their male counterparts gave greater priority to ‘becoming a leader or people manager’ as well as a ‘technical or functional expert’.

HR features

HR certification proves experience, knowledge and value Earning credentials in HR is the best way to show that one has the expertise, experience and real-world knowledge needed in the profession. Today, more than 120,000 HR professionals in 80 countries proudly display the ‘letters’ they have earned from the HR Certification Institute to show that they understand and implement best practices in HR. The Institute offers the Professional in Human Resources (PHR®), Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR®) and Global Professional in Human Resources (GPHR®), as well as California certifications. For HR professionals, earning certification from the Institute gives them confidence and a sense of accomplishment. They also feel that it shows others that they are innovative, more engaged in work and dedicated to their chosen fields.

Employee engagement

In addition to high levels of engagement by certified HR professionals, companies that utilise HR professionals with industry credentials are better equipped to ensure their employees are engaged, satisfied and productive, according to the Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE). Making a company a ‘great place to work’ can be an elusive target for many employers, but studies have shown a direct link between high employee satisfaction and increased productivity, retention, customer loyalty and company profitability. Employers can ensure satisfaction among their workers by hiring certified HR professionals well versed in industry practices related to strategic management, workforce planning, development and training, and other

HR-related operations. Certified HR professionals can use their expertise to help companies develop and execute HR systems and strategies that keep employees happy, productive and loyal.

In addition, the survey found: •

96% of employers feel that an HR certified candidate applying for a job would have an advantage over a non-HR certified candidate.

69% of employers state that an HR certified person being considered as an independent consultant for an HR department would have a ‘very significant’ advantage over a non-certified individual.

Employer satisfaction & benefits

In a 2010 survey of more than 1,500 employers, the Institute found that 97% of respondents believe it is important for employees in their HR departments to be professionally certified. The survey also showed that HR certification positively impacts an organisation’s reputation as an employer and demonstrates that it takes HR seriously.

Visit for more information.

The profession is enhanced by people who have demonstrated mastery of the bodies of knowledge, who commit themselves to the periodic affirmation of their knowledge through recertification and who comport themselves with the confidence that successful certification inspires. Gardiner Hempel Jr. CPA, GPHR, HR Certification Institute Board Chair.

Certification provides an immediate connection between me and others who hold it. In many instances, I find that other certified professionals are knowledgeable outside of their specific industry. Hosetta Coleman, SPHR , Senior Vice President and Director of HR for Fifth Third Bank.

Autumn 2012


HR features

A word to the wise: plan Succession planning is starting to receive the recognition it deserves, but many in HR still do not have a comprehensive strategy to insure against sudden vacancies If any proof was needed as to the importance of replacement plans to company image and investor confidence, look no further than Steve Jobs’ resignation as CEO at Apple Inc. which resulted in a USD10 billion drop in company stock value. It is becoming increasingly clear that investors want to put their money with the businesses that are actively preparing themselves for the unexpected and employees need to know that the time and effort they are investing may be rewarded, rather than fearing that they will be pipped to the post by a hotshot newbie. That is not to say that external hiring should be off the agenda, as indeed there are pros and cons to each approach, but rather that employers should look at their workforce and see the opportunity to develop them towards the roles that they need. Bó Lè Associates asserts that there are four key reasons why establishing a succession plan adds value to your business. Why make succession planning a priority?

1. Stability

Having a backup plan will reassure both employees and executive management. Employees will know that, in the long-term, leadership changes are likely to be stable and will not affect their livelihood. Staff are more likely to stay with a company if they believe that their position is secure.

2. Company loyalty

A succession plan signifies that a business is holding its employees’ interests first by considering internal candidates for promotions, rather than searching externally. Employees’ career


HR Magazine

development is seen to be taken seriously which will make them more inclined to stay with the company. Transparency is critical and Pierre Zhuang, CEO, Bó Lè advised, “Managers should make a HiPo list so that employees know that the company wants to help them to grow and move up at the right time.”

to help enhance the company’s growth and stability. HR should know all the potential they have and the needs they may have and encourage staff to ask themselves the question: ‘Who can succeed me?’ If HR is aware that no one suitable can be identified internally it can be prepared by starting an external search.”

3. Confidence

A. Delegate responsibility

Planning for future replacements of key executives will increase morale as it assures employees that executive management are aware of and planning for the future of the company and that they will not be left without any direction.

4. Increased company valuation

In addition to the balance sheet, investors also speculate on a business’s long-term development when choosing to purchase equity or debt in a firm. A succession plan would clearly indicate efforts by management to secure the future of the business. This would lead to increased valuation for the company as it shows that executive has contingency arrangements in place for the future. How should HR implement a succession plan? Succession planning cannot be successful if it is left to executive management to perform and maintain with no support. Rather its implementation should stretch down the managerial line, spreading the responsibility for decisions and innovation. For those having difficulty succession planning for executive level roles, Zhuang added, “Change the mindset. Succession planning is not only on the CEO agenda, the whole company’s support must be behind it

By distributing the ability to make decisions throughout the organisation, a company can better assess its current talent by evaluating which team members are capable and talented decision makers. It will also help to create a pyramid structure, strengthening the foundations to support the tip.

B. Create a chain of succession

There should, ideally, always be one person directly below a managerial position capable of stepping into their superior’s shoes when necessary or timely. Not only is this attractive to employees, who can see a clear career development path, but also to employers who will benefit from the well-prepared talent chain.

C. Share responsibility

By spreading responsibility and authority down through the company, seniorlevel management successors would no longer require such extensive managerial experience and such a wealth of expertise thereby increasing the pool of potential candidates. This structure makes succession planning within a company a much simpler undertaking, and offers both stability and long-term development for the business, the employees and the investor.

HR features

Employer branding, candidate experience As competition for talent increases, organisations often overlook the importance of candidate experience and its ability to act as a tool for employer branding. A positive candidate experience is crucial in attracting top talent—and it’s not all about Facebook pages or company website design, candidates are now more savvy in measuring HR’s performance during face-to-face meetings. To encourage organisations to take notice of the impact candidate experience has on employer branding and monitor their candidate experience metrics, Lumesse has been researching candidate experience and recruitment to help organisations develop practical ways to improve overall recruitment processes for finding the right talent, and hence the birth of The Business Impact of New Talent Acquisition E-Recruitment Awards & Symposium—now in its third year, the main objective of the event this year was to facilitate organisations in understanding discrepancies between the expectations of young job candidates and current recruitment practices.

Candidate experience survey

Fifty top Hong Kong organisations participated in the research, “Candidate Experience in Asia Pacific—New Talent Recruitment Market Analysis”, with the aim to find out the most effective steps organisations can take for an effective recruitment approach, and examine preferences of young job seekers and hiring practices of HR recruiters. Mr Francis Chan, General Manager— Hong Kong, Lumesse explained the importance of highlighting the connection between candidate experience and employer branding. Chan said, “92% of employers believe that a good employer brand attracts talent, whilst 89% of talent gives weight to the employer’s image.”

70% of these candidates said they are not likely to apply for a job if the company website is poorly designed.

Candidate expectation •

98% of candidates expect job search and online application

84% of candidates visit the company website to know more about the job information and the employer

Recruitment marketing matters

Chan expressed, “What’s interesting is that 70% of these candidates said they are not likely to apply for a job if the company website is poorly designed.” Given the statistics, organisations must be proactive in recruitment marketing, which needs to be done properly to attract the right candidates. Chan advised, “Besides a well written job ad, the company website also needs to be well-designed to make sure candidates have a good online or social media experience that encourages them to apply for the job.”

Treat candidates as customers

After visiting the organisation’s website and deciding to apply for a position, it is during the physical interaction of the interview that many candidates are put off continuing with the organisation as the standard of HR’s interpersonal capability has not left the candidate with a good impression.

Chan’s hot tip

“Employer branding is not just about the design of your Facebook page or company website, but the way you treat and communicate with your candidates, which will enable you to attract more suitable and engaged talent.”

Autumn 2012


HR features

Going global

international talent search As more local organisations continue to set their sights on ‘going global’, the demand for international talent continues to accelerate across Hong Kong and China. But times are changing and the traditional role of the expatriate is evolving. HR Magazine caught up with James Mendes, Managing Director, Futurestep Asia for his take on what HR professionals can do to ensure they appoint the right people from the right places and what the future holds for the globe-trotting expat. Despite the volatile nature of regional economies, businesses across Hong Kong and China are continuing to source foreign talent in order to gain diversification and better alignment of talent to support their global growth. But whilst demand for strong international resource is still high across the region, it is becoming more apparent that the conventional role of the expatriate resource is changing with time, posing several further considerations for HR seeking such talent.

Succession planning

Mendes explained, “Go back five years or so and an expatriate would come into an organisation, spend three or four years in their role, move on and then the company would bring another expatriate in to replace them. Now, what is happening is that when there is someone who is appointed as an expat, they are actually assigned with


HR Magazine

succession planning and developing their own successor. So, we are not only seeing a shift in the role of the expatriate, but also in the sourcing strategy that organisations are adopting and sticking to.” Unsurprisingly, the shift in the role of expats has resulted in a shorter

James Mendes, Managing Director, Futurestep Asia

turnaround of talent within businesses across the region. However, what can organisations do to ensure that they are sourcing the right talent in the first place?

Assessing key skills critical The way firms assess, recruit and induct people into talent management

is essential, according to Mendes, and it is vital for HR to know what skills they are looking for. In the case of businesses across China, India and Asia, he claimed that dealing with ambiguity and learning agility are the two biggest competency gaps that exist and these remain the top factors that determine a candidate’s future success within the organisation. He explained, “For firms looking to bring in fresh international talent these qualities should be at the core of assessments, above more traditional aspects such as verbal and numerical reasoning. If you can measure these and find them at interview stage then you know you have discovered a premium skills set.” Mendes suggested that such skills can be assessed through several methods: a combination of case study role-play exercises and understanding the environment that people have been working within, as well as their peer and boss relationships and how they have gone about making decisions in the past.

Attracting talent

Knowing what skills to look for is one thing, but what can organisations do to ensure they attract the best foreign talent from overseas? “From a sourcing strategy, many organisations are moving more into web 2.0 social media platforms, and integrating the employer brand and the corporate brand because that messaging all pars into the candidate attractiveness,” said Mendes.

HR features

He added, “We are seeing many organisations trying to get leverage out of tools like LinkedIn and Facebook. They all have benefits: they are incredibly fast, provide real-time information, are selfmanaged, can be updated very quickly and are globally accessible. However, these tools also pose several key challenges for businesses looking to recruit. LinkedIn, for example, can be a fantastic tool to support the recruitment process, but the challenge firms have is validating the information and career experience that it provides.” Mendes also highlighted the issue of retaining the networks and information that recruiters accumulate once they leave the organisation, “I would recommend that if companies are going to use this tool, they make sure their recruiters are set up with a recruiter professional license to ensure that the network stays with the company as well as follows that employee. Simple things like that can be put in place and can be very effective.

A lot of people ask me if I believe LinkedIn is the death of the recruitment industry but I actually think no, it can be a really fantastic tool if used in an integrated and effective way and there will always be a role for it within the industry.” The ability to control messaging and maintain consistency of messaging on social media are other challenges facing companies during their recruitment drive, according to Mendes. What sounds simple in theory can be surprisingly difficult to achieve in practice. All messaging should be aligned to the organisation as a whole and this will be a big job for recruiters and HR professionals across Asia in the future.

Disconnect between Board and HR

Whatever advice and strategies organisations choose to take moving into the second half of 2012, Mendes maintains that one thing remains certain: firms should be focused on aligning their HR strategy with their business strategy.

“The biggest mistake that I see in HR is the lack of workforce planning and this highlights the disconnect between the Board and the HR department.” It is absolutely critical that organisations think in advance and plan ahead to ensure their business objectives can be realistically achieved and that they have the resources to do this. He added, “If you don’t have workforce planning in advance you’re immediately in a reactive mode. It’s so important that companies have a clear evaluation of the talent that already exists within the organisation and can identify the skills gaps that need to be fulfilled in order to achieve the future needs of the organisation.” Mendes concluded that the most important thing for HR and CEOs alike to remember is that they can’t expect things to change overnight and should understand that it takes time to go from where they stand today and where they hope to be tomorrow.

Autumn 2012


HR training

D T& in ce n le el xc E r fo d ar w A 2 1 0 2 HKMA Take home tips from finallists CLP Power Hong Kong Ltd. Do

ory g e t a c g inin a r T s l l i k S

give ers and those who have more to • Energise both high perform to deliver skills training vative and user-friendly tools • Deploy a common set of inno and trainers ining surveys for both trainees • Undertake pre-and post-tra some employees with inevitable resistance from • Have a strategy for dealing skills • Focus on both hard and soft


be ing analysis—problems must eral information from your train • Extract only positive or gen identified and addressed! and s within training programmes business vision and objective • Communicate the overall l objectives measure these against individua lity, to and measure in terms of qua such as ‘performance’ equate • Detail exactly what goals production or profit quantifiers

Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals Ltd.

DHL Express (HK) Ltd. Do

• Motivate people through ownership of the brand and of their role • Measure employee satisfaction as well as that of the customer


• Make it easy to take part—think online and classroom formats, time provision and support • Make use of technology to deliver your programme • Automate administrative functions • Give encouragement

• Provide simple too ls to assist with on-th e-spot details staff may need


• Use unsuitable or old-fashioned trainin g aids

• Be overwhelmed by time constraints or seemingly unreachable skills acquisition goals


• Emphasise the seriousness too much, this gives participants too much pressure

• See it as a one-off exercise

t Shanghai Feng Cheng Property Managemen Co. Ltd. Do • Share the company culture ng to assess their • Approach staff members after traini satisfaction level • Make changes measurable


t be overcome through • Think that cultural differences canno


HR Magazine

b ey Clu k c o J g ng Kon tric The Ho er-cen custom t n e t con ideas ourse Do pen to your c rences o ke n diffe t and • Ma eratio sparen n a r t e c gen e a r B b m • ee cognis nge • Re to cha n e op e B • tent consis • Be ared Don’treactive—be preupgh o hr • Be nges t sh cha • Ru

y r o g e t a ment c


ng & Development Civil Service Traini ice Bureau Institute, Civil Serv Do th the this way issues wi

mpany The Dow Chemical Co HR training Do zones out of their comfort s Take your employee support e tyl r-s Provide mento —internal/external ack db fee of nty Seek ple ustry are doing, ‘cross-ind Look at what others ’ exposure/inspiration tential po ip rsh • Identify leade

• • • •

le—in • Be approachab dealt with mmunicated and co course can be promptly and get the courses on budget • Keep training ney most for your mo ssion plan cce su • Prepare your holder input ke sta l na • Invite exter


ter team work, nts do a Ronaldo! Fos • Let the participa akness and er assessment of we self-analysis and pe strengths ning the ess goals when desig • Forget your busin


just a technicality ff development is • Think that sta her s quantitatively, rat • Assess progres qualitatively

course by the s get overly stressed • Let your employee ment steps ge na ma ess str d an te exercise(s)—promo

tion Company Ltd. Hip Hing Construc Do • • • •

Assign coaches re than one area l expertise in mo Develop technica each area of work st expectations in Benchmark again every critical task on s ance indicator Know key perform


— s are good enough internal standard ur yo me n be su ca As s • ogramme market so that pr check against the n reconciled ly—develop huma technical skills on th wi d fie tis sa • Be all-round skills


to bolster g and novel ways • Find interestin learning within service elements • Incorporate t agemen performance man size ts through bitese illsk en th • Streng ca — lendars, in the workplace reinforcements s paign website posters and cam


ary budget • Use unnecess anges in mindiate results or ch ed m • Expect im too will be on-going and so set—training is n result generatio

ciety for the The Hong Kong So Do • • • • •

and Network Hong Kong Broadb Do course d in mind, cater

e en • Begin with th outcomes to your desired s ion at ific spec contribution from llaboration and • Encourage co ttom up course teams—bo


ur staff pectations of yo • Have low ex

Ltd. MTR Corporation Do pport • • • •

su Encourage peer rs your stakeholde m fro Seek input Innovate Make it fun


t ion for the effor ow your appreciat • Forget to sh ts an cip rt of the parti made on the pa gths and the current stren to as t an • Be ignor staff e and potential of your ogramme—defin e-size-fits-all pr on a t ou ll Ro • target audience design for your


y situations Train the trainer ntext of every-da learning in the co ial nt y rie pe log ex ino Provide of common term through the use re ltu cu lop ve De e for your outcom Set a clear target lopment ve de d an s support Offer continuou

rticipants the part of the pa e effort made on th for ion iat ec ow your appr of your staff • Forget to sh hs and potential et audience e current strengt th to as sign for your targ t de an d or an e fin de • Be ign e— m m ogra e-size-fits-all pr • Roll out a on


Autumn 2012


HR community

HR can successfully bring the right talent aboard but they must then learn to captain their ship and make for plain sailing. At July’s HR conference speakers revealed how to do just that.

HR professionals, together with representatives from senior management, revealed the techniques for HR to lead in the creation of organisational strategy for future growth and profitability. In order to drive change they revealed that HR must leave their comfort zone and mingle with the big boys. This time round the sessions included a panel discussion where speakers revealed how to really work closely with their company’s C-suite.

Stuart Hedley Managing Director, SHL HK

Topic: Talent Measurement—HR’s proven formula for bottom line success Hedley alluded to the tough economic clime still afflicting the international business world, “Through these difficulties, companies are fighting to maximise what they have, recruitment is being frozen, development cut; if you’re not delivering a clear ROI to the organisation you will struggle.” Hedley firmly believes that HR is a hard discipline—to do it well you need to use hard data to make your business decisions, compare your company against others in the sector, gauge the quality of graduate talent you are attracting and identify high potential individuals within your ranks.


HR Magazine

He acknowledged, “People are critical to success—or rather—the right people.” Identifying, attracting and retaining talent is still the name of the game, although the dynamics may have changed with the constant threat of brain drain by Chinese multinationals tempting talent away with promise of better pay and benefits. In this case, Hedley advised that HR should not become despondent. By looking at new talent pools in new ways you can find a higher calibre of talent. Identifying HiPo staff and candidates and engaging them will pay dividends. Hedley also advised against blind career progression—a proven set of criteria can be used to identify succession potential including project execution, decision-making and analytical skills. He warned, “Current performance does not mean that the quality of the work provided in the next role up is guaranteed. Confusing performance and potential can have a damaging effect on a company.” Start with the end in mind; map your company needs and your future company needs. Get to know your current workforce strengths then work with stakeholders to form an idea of what skill gaps will need to be addressed, how and when.

Cassady Winston Senior Director, HR Asia, AECOM

Topic: Human resources and business transformation Every dollar spent in HR should be focused on the company’s five-year plan. Winston elaborated, “I’m tempted to say that there’s no such thing as a standalone HR strategy— it’s always a component of the overall company strategy, and as HR professionals we need to be reminded of that.” With business transformations and large-scale changes providing organisations with numerous challenges over the past few years, it’s imperative that HR and C-Suite heads share a clear vision of where they want the business to be in 2015, 2020 and beyond. The big question for the HR department is, ‘Does the company currently have the resources to make this vision a reality?’ The answer, quite often, is no. Whilst a business may be flourishing and achieving its targets now, this may not be the case five or ten years down the line. The time to invest is now. People, processes, policies and systems are at the heart of any successful organisation and implementing large-scale changes within these core areas should not be reactionary, but rather part of the

HR community HR Conference

Morning session

Stuart Hedley

Managing Director, SHL Hong Kong


Afternoon session

Cassady Winston


Panel Discussion


Ada Lee


Senior Director HR Asia, AECOM

Manager (Training & Development), Hip Hing Construction Co. Ltd.

Simon Bradberry

Teddy Liu

General Manager,Corporate and Talent Development, New World Development Limited


Managing Director APAC, Resource Solutions


NiQ Lai

Head of Talent Engagement and CFO, Hong Kong Broadband Network Ltd.

Angie Smith

Head of Organisation Development, Asia Pacific, BT Global Services

Taffany Leung

William Yeung

CEO, Hong Kong Broadband Network Ltd.


Business Management Trainee, Asia Pacific, BT Global Services

Autumn 2012


HR community HR Conference

ranked second from last, though there are signs that they are increasing. Bradberry suggested, “There’s a lot of pressure to focus on social media when recruiting, but it isn’t necessarily the most successful route.”

Angie Smith Head of Organisation Development, Asia Pacific, BT Global Services Topic: Strategic HR insights from BT Global Services

overall change management strategy. Aligning the HR plan with the company’s vision may seem like common sense, however convincing the C-Suite to make long-term investments is easier said than done, particularly during periods of success—the ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ mentality. This can prove to be a real tension point between executive leadership and HR, Winston confessed. The solution? Remind them constantly of that vision—the three-year plan, the fiveyear plan, the ten-year plan. Be concise, stay steady and keep it simple. Above all, ensure that you are both looking in the same direction at the same target. That way, you can rest assured in the knowledge that whilst you may not be ‘in bed’ with the C-Suite, you are certainly ‘holding hands’.

Simon Bradberry Managing Director APAC, Resource Solutions

Topic: ’20 Questions Survey’—Asia recruitment trends and analysis 2012 Resource Solutions recently conducted their ‘20 Questions Survey’ of the Asia Pacific region, of which 97% of the 380 respondents were HR professionals. Bradberry stated, “One thing was absolutely crystal clear; improving the quality of candidates attracted was the number one priority across the board.” This was demonstrated by 68% ranking it as their first or second priority. Surprisingly,


HR Magazine

cost savings ranked only fifth overall. The survey showed that Hong Kong had decreased new temporary contracts by 12% from last year with permanent contracts dropping by 15%. Figures showed that temporary and permanent contracts for Malaysia had increased by 21% and 33% respectively. He said, “It is quite significant that Malaysia is actively recruiting the most, while Hong Kong is having the toughest time, but overall, there is increased recruitment activity in the region.” During recruiting, a majority said that they do not use HR technology, and those that do, do not rate it highly. Bradberry deduced, “There is clearly room for improvement in the technology and when we repeat this survey, we will expect to see a rise in use and satisfaction as HR technology catches up with social technology.” It was revealed that 68% feel the quality of current recruitment management information is only satisfactory, or worse, he surmised, “Absolutely an opportunity to do much better there.” Recruiters were also asked if they had access to MI that measured recruitment agency successes—61% of HR recruitment managers said ‘no’. Finally, over half said they track the source of the candidate by asking during the interview, and the most successful sourcing channels are the long-standing traditions of referrals, job boards, headhunting and the press. Social media websites were

Attracting, retaining and developing new talent to support growth and achieve the company’s vision was at the core of Smith’s overview of BT’s HR strategy over the past year. She shared, “People are our key asset and at the heart of what we do within our organisation. It’s critical that we have the right people in the right positions within the company to deliver our customers’ needs.” She likened this to a high performance sports team, “We’re all striving towards the same goal, but what is it that makes a team win? Is it the training they undergo, the coach that leads them or their own desire to win? More importantly—how can we translate these sporting analogies into such a diverse and complex business as ours?” The answer, for BT, comes in the form of four key levers: the right people, the right work, the right processes and the right engagement. This, she assured, is not HR driven, but rather business driven. This was confirmed by Taffany Leung, a recent graduate currently completing her second rotation within the company in HR. She highlighted one key initiative which neatly bridges the ‘gap’ between the company’s HR department and the C-Suite goals. In this the senior leadership team were requested to identify the three core challenges facing the business and the talent pool form teams to develop and suggest practical solutions. The aim, Leung explained, was to align HR and business strategy. Whilst this gave the C-Suite the opportunity to identify their potential successors, the talent pool had the opportunity to tackle real business needs, gain recognition & engage with their peers.

HR community HR Conference

Ada Lee Manager, Training and Development, Hip Hing Construction Co. Ltd. Teddy Liu General Manager, Corporate and Talent Development, New World Development Co. Ltd. Topic: How Hip Hing and New World HR develop captains and their crew to captain the ship Lee advised to think of your business strategising as a ship; your people as its crew which is led by competent captains. As captains, it is your responsibility to think not only of the final destination of the ship, but also of the weather you may encounter, the route you will take and the customs you will be subject to upon your arrival. All these things will affect whether or not you will be able to make it. With a large number of projects underway over Hong Kong, Hip Hing found itself in need of talents at all levels. Fortunately, over the last two years a number of dedicated talent development programmes have been running to identify high potential graduates and strong management contenders. In addition to this, the firm has been providing internship programmes to allow students to spend their summer putting theory into practice, hopefully leaving them with a mind to pursue a career with Hip Hing in the future. Lee acknowledged that the industry is not perceived as sexy. For this reason, recruitment and retention strategies and benefits packages must

identify and satisfy the particular wants and needs of construction industry professionals. With a recent change in top management, Hip Hing Construction’s mother company New World is enthusiastic about embracing innovation, championing management training and welcoming new thinkers into its ranks. Liu revealed that 90% of the top management team is made up of new faces; brought in from other sectors to shake up the dynamic. Liu summed up the new ‘New World’ core values with the term UNITI: ‘U’–You, ‘N’—‘New World’, ‘I’— Innovation, ‘T’—Trust, ‘I’—Improvement. It is this concept of progress and harmony spanned across the group’s many member companies that he credits with its success. He continued, “People talk of ‘training and development’, but at New World we say ‘training for development’ as without the latter the former is of no use. We develop staff at all levels—though they may not all become leaders in the future they will all benefit from the learning experience.” Hi-Pos are identified early on and their performance and growth over their career is tracked, ensuring that they do not slip through the net.

NiQ Lai Head of Talent Engagement and CFO William Yeung CEO, Hong Kong Broadband Network Ltd. Topic: Getting management buy-in— literally—with 1–2 years of salary!

HKBN shared their novel and overwhelmingly successful management buy-in to their management buyout. This process saw 63 managers collectively invest HKD 165m. Many advancing 1-2 years’ salaries. Lai drew an analogy with dragon boat racing, where results are dependent upon the synchronised efforts of all, not the prevailing dominance of few. In stark contrast to the panel’s revelations of subliminal politics and dispersed agendas the common drive at HKBN was the search for LUCA—Legal Unfair Competitive Advantage. Lai and Yeung had mapped out a five-year plan of target destination, opportunities and risks. The result of this united sense of entrepreneurial sink or swim? HKBN now generates a 17.5% return on equity, which is three times more profitable than the incumbent Hong Kong broadband provider. From his unique vantage point of both Head of Talent Engagement and CFO, Lai maintained that HKBN is a ‘people’ company. More money is spent on Talent—which he insists is represented with a capital T—than technology, or indeed any aspect of the business. People are not assets, he proclaimed, but individuals who need to be nurtured as such, even when instilled with a common corporate objective. Empowerment prevails at all levels in HKBN. HKBN Talents at all levels are quizzed, “How can we help you double your income?” True leadership entails delegation of responsibility rather than duty in an organisation with no place for micro-management. But what of those who do not rise to the challenge? The lowest performing 5% of costs are fired from the company allowing investment in the top 95% of people. The company, Lai elaborated, is not for everyone. HKBN provides ‘Life Learning’, even offering experiential trips with no discernible immediate benefit to the bottom line. Lai rationalised, “Sometimes we do things because it’s the right thing to do rather than for specific ROI.” He explained that a workhard play-hard philosophy attracts people who are passionate about all that life has to offer. He declared, “Smart managers—not computers—should run a business.”

Autumn 2012


HR community HR Conference

Panel Discussion

Topic: How to get in bed with the C-Suite From left to right: Paul Arkwright–Publisher, HR Magazine, NiQ Lai–Hong Kong Broadband Ltd., Cassady Winston–AECOM, Stuart Hedley–SHL Hong Kong Ltd., David Barr–Resource Solutions, Angie Smith–BT Global Services, Teddy Liu–New World Development Co.Ltd., The hot and sweaty topic made for lively discussion. Moderated by Paul Arkwright, HR Magazine, panellists shared the secrets to strengthening the relationship with the all-important C-suite. Love and hate Whilst preserving an inherent passion for HR, panellists divulged their pet hates about the function. Winston pointed to the misrepresentation of HR as operating in isolation, a sentiment echoed by Bradberry who encouraged resourcing to have a louder voice. Smith expressed frustration at the rivalry between financial concerns and beneficial intangibles, whilst Liu commented that from his perspective HR is guilty of being too rigid. Hedley was controversial in questioning whether HR added any value,


HR Magazine

reasoning that HR does not currently appreciate the challenges faced by the C-Suite and urging professionals in the field to talk about a business-wide, rather than an HR-focused agenda. Language of love HR professionals have often climbed the corporate rungs with limited exposure to wider business issues and the language of the boardroom can therefore seem alien. HR is mission critical, commented Liu, which means that practitioners need to possess substantial business acumen. Otherwise, communication will break down and incompatibility ensue. Lai revealed that executives at HKBN hold MBAs or similar post-graduate qualifications and are put through CFA exams to ensure business literacy. In vino veritas Winston shared that his six years’ experience in Hong Kong has repeatedly demonstrated the need to distinguish power from influence. “HR needs to determine who the real players are,” he asserted. Job titles should not be taken at face value, truths are more likely to be revealed—and decisions made—in relaxed environments such as the bar rather than the boardroom.

My place or yours? To successfully succession plan for future growth HR can no longer work alone. Historically, the HR team has sat in a specially designated area behind a seemingly locked door. Winston had earlier suggested that HR should take the time to get to know the business inside out to be better able to address its needs and Lui added that HR could be assigned initiatives that align with overall business objectives. Only by removing the physical and functional boundaries can HR become closer to the people that matter and take its rightful place as a strategic player.

3 little words

Each panellist offered three words of advice for strengthening the HR–C-Suite relationship: • Open-minded, proactive and young • Innovative, agile and trustworthy • Visible, accessible and proactive • Identify, align and maximise • Entrepreneur, ownership and listen • Common vision and sexy!

Want up-to-the-minute HR updates online? Like to join our next conference?

Like what you see in HR Magazine?

Subscribe today

Hong Kong, China & Macau One-year subscription packages

Simply complete this form fax back to (852) 3764 3366 or scan & email to:

Step 1. Select package

Step 2. Fill out your details

Digital HR Package ▪ 1-year access to HR online ▪ 1-year access to entire HR Magazine online archive

Professional HR Package ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪

RMB¥ 00 6 MOP$

Name Mr / Mrs / Ms


Job title . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Company name . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

80 HK$ 12,8 ,000

4 print issues of HR Magazine RMB¥ ,000 1-year access to HR online 2 MOP$ 4 HR Magazine Conferences (1 delegate) Priority access to HR Breakfast Briefings HR whitepaper and speaker PowerPoint downloads

Corporate HR Package ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪

0 HK$ 66800

Mailing Address . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .................................................................................................................. ..................................................................................................................

Tel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Fax . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Email . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


4 print issues of HR Magazine x 4 staff HK$ 33,2 ,300 RMB¥ ,300 1-year access to HR online OP$ 3 M 4 HR Magazine Conferences (4 delegates) Priority access to HR Breakfast Briefings HR whitepaper and speaker PowerPoint downloads

Enquiries Tel: (852) 2736 6339 Fax: (852) 3764 3366





101 Fourseas Building 208-212 Nathan Road Jordan, Kowloon, Hong Kong

HR community

Workplace confessional Staff may love their job–but probably not everything about it. Even working in a cubicle does not grant employees immunity from office irritations. A new survey, recently commissioned by Citrix, reveals the top reasons why employees say they need to break away from the shackles of the workplace. HR take note!

1. Colleagues from hell

Workplace bonding can be a good thing, but some rituals just make you cringe. 74% of office workers have at least one company event they secretly dislike participating in. 34% of office workers secretly dislike participating in costume contests at work, followed by 31% who secretly dislike team-building activities. Office fun isn’t gender-neutral; the numberone disliked office event for male co-workers is office baby showers, 42%; while female co-workers are split between costume contests, 33% and staff photos, 31%. Staff meet some of their best friends at the office, however some office mates can really put a damper on the day. Almost half of office workers currently say they work with a know-itall and 44% say they work with a whiner and a similar number say they work with a gossip. 8 to 10 hours with someone loudly chatting on their phone, or audibly crunching a snack, can aggravate even the calmest co-worker. But it is not the weird sounds from the cubicle next-door that make office workers frustrated: 51% believe that a constantcomplainer would be the most annoying type of person to sit next to every day at work. Offering a friendly ear is nice, however when it is an on-going occurrence you might just need some time away.


HR Magazine

2. Bosses from hell

It is not necessarily just the daily grind that de-motivates employees, 21% reported that they need a break from their boss more than from the work itself. Most staff assume that their boss would not be open to a work-from-home arrangement, and many of them are right. 50% of employees surveyed said their boss opposes remote working, while just over a third feel that their boss just tolerates it. Only 15% of employees have a boss that actively encourages them working out of the office. So HR would be welladvised to seriously consider implementing flexitime and/or remote working hours into the normal week to afford staff greater flexibility and boost engagement. While most bosses are great for guidance and motivation, sometimes boss-employee relations are not made in HR heaven. According to office workers, the worst type of boss is one who steals their ideas, 37%; followed by a boss who is a know-it-all, 33%.

Boss-breaks Employees stuck in bad-boss situations will be in definite need of a boss-break—eager to get away for a while. Of those surveyed, 3 in 10 take vacation breaks to a new level and schedule their own holidays around their boss’ to make sure they do not coincide. In this way employees ensure they are in the office while the boss is away and schedule their own holiday while their boss is present in the office. You may think this would be a junior-level employee move; however it is generally managerial and executive grades who put their hand up to pulling off this ploy, 39% of executive- and managerial-level workers vs 27% of mid- and junior-level workers.

HR community

3. Pathetic work-life balance

Remote-control staff While working remotely, more than two in five employees say they have watched TV or a movie, 35% admit to doing household chores and more than a quarter have cooked dinner. And who says working parents do not know how to have fun? Parents are more likely than non-parents to watch TV or a movie and play a video game while working away from the office.

Sometimes there just are not enough hours in the day, so many office workers carve out a little ‘me time’ by escaping the office. The number one reason employees slip out of the office in the middle of the day is to exercise: 18%. And what about those too exhausted to work out? About 12% sneak out of the office for a nap-break. The Piña Colada is propped on the arm of your beach chair and the waves are lapping at your feet. Employees are finally on vacation and everything is perfect—until that urgent work email arrives. Sadly, the overwhelming majority of office workers, 72%, say they would be more likely to respond immediately to urgent work emails than pretend they did not see it—beach vacation or not.

Un-dress code Many working from home, brag about doing it in their pyjamas. Indeed, for most people, working from home means dressing down, but only so far. Nearly half of those who have worked from home say they are most likely to wear jeans and a t-shirt when working from the couch; 25% are most likely to work in their PJs, and 7% keep it real simple—working from home in their underwear or birthday suit.

What workers would give up for a day working from home The majority of workers have never worked remotely, 64%. Of these here is what perk or pleasure they would be willing to give up in order to work from home just one day a week: • lunch breaks, 32% • alcohol, 25% • coffee, 20%

Out-there excuses

Health issues are the most common type of creative excuses given to HR when staff cannot make it into the office. Here are some of the more creative excuses heard, or used by the survey participants:

My bicycle ran out of gas

My numerologist told me not to come in I’m dieting

I drank too much Sunkist and was too tired to come in

I’m having toenail issues It’s Elvis’ birthday

Autumn 2012


HR book review

In the Path of Light with Maa by Swami Parameshwarananda

The book positions itself as ‘transitioning lessons of practical spirituality into the corporate work environment’ and includes lessons learned about becoming an empowering leader. Looking at us all as leaders at heart, the book explores how we can change our frame of reference and see ourselves, others, and situations in ways that enable us to express this natural ability. It also explores how we can inspire others to do the same; to see possibilities rather than limitations. The book encourages readers to take a look at their own perspective— and to see if it changes over time if you have the opportunity to practice this kind of leadership. It also gets leaders to ask: Would I call myself an empowering leader? What is empowerment? Do I empower myself? Do I empower others? What can I do to transform my leadership to be more empowering? It then offers advice on how leaders can shift from automatic to authentic listening. During interactions, being completely present with the person and how to determine whether thoughts are getting in the way, and, if so, deciding to let them go. The book also looks at developing trust through authenticity and expressing yourself as a leader. Finally, for the breakthrough in your leadership and the aspect you choose to transform—the book encourages readers to make a new declaration to themselves on how they see themselves, how they will act and how they will be in the future. U.S. $35.95 RELIGIONSPIRITUALITY

In the Path of Light with Maa


“There is light, and it’s right inside us. It’s around us and everywhere we look. It’s everywhere we’ve been and will be on this planet, beyond this planet, and in all creation. Everything is light. This light is here for us to realize, to remember, to activate, to embody, to radiate. ‘Enlightenment’ is all about this light, bringing the light into our brain, into our consciousness, being the light in physical form. It’s about serving the light so that all humanity realizes the truth of this One Light and comes home to it together in oneness.



“I choose to devote this chapter to the light, to awakening, to enlightenment, and whatever this means for each of us without placing too much meaning on it. As Maa has made very clear in the teachings in her book Petals of Grace and on her CD The Intellectual Understanding of Enlightenment, enlightenment is not about the words and definitions. Enlightenment is simple and natural; it’s a state of being.”


HR Magazine

Book bears all for global HR

by Peter Reilly & Tony Williams

Global HR: Challenges Facing the Function is available in hardback and kindle formats. It is written by Peter Reilly, Director of HR Research and Consultancy at the Institute for Employment Studies, and Tony Williams, Director of HR, Global Banking & Markets at the Royal Bank of Scotland Group. The increasingly globalised nature of business affects all aspects of a company’s operations and the HR function is no exception. This book looks at the issues facing HR in this global environment and explores the different ways it can respond. It examines change, especially in mergers and international acquisitions. It also explores the arguments for and against cultural convergence, and the effect this has on diversity, employer brand and the employee value proposition. A chapter on talent management considers whether operating in the global sphere changes the content of career management and work planning. The authors also ask what sorts of governance structure and service delivery model apply to the effective global HR function and bring real world examples from the world of business. Co-writer Peter Reilly asserts,“HR practitioners are responding to huge changes in the HR function. As we see the move of economic power from West to East this throws up lots of issues on the validity of trying to export a Western HR model to rest of the world.”

Where’s my safety net by Emilia Gallo

Where’s My Safety Net? Leading on the High Wire of Global Business is the latest book written by Emilia Gallo, which has proved to be a useful guide for business leaders on how to build upon their existing leadership skills and competencies. It gives practical advice and steers away from complicated jargon, making it a useful yet refreshingly straightforward read. The chapters are clearly organised so that it also doubles up as a directory on most key issues concerning global leadership.

Gallo highlights the need for readers to protect themselves in an ever-changing global environment and how leaders must strengthen employee connections between the work they are doing and the company they are working for. The book has proven extremely useful for those making the move from national to international leadership, as well as those already on an international level— in need of respite from within the storm that is global leadership.

HR moves

Autumn 2012


HR classifieds Index Business Process Outsourcing

| 58

Management Consulting

| 62

Conference & Exhibition Venues

| 58

Pest Control & Environmental Services

| 62

Education and Corporate Training

| 59

Psychological Assessment Tools

| 62

Employee Wellbeing & Insurance

| 59-60

Recruitment / Executive Search

| 62-63

HR Technology Solutions

| 60

Relocation & Logistics

| 63

Leadership Development

| 60-61

Serviced Apartment & Hotels

| 63-64

Legal / Employment Law / Tax

| 61-62

Staff Benefits

| 64

Business Process Outsourcing 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

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

Innovative Human Resources Outsourcing Partners Limited 9/F, CLI Building, 313 Hennessy Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong

Tricor is a member of The Bank of East Asia Group. Tricor Business Services offers efficient, effective and professional advisory and outsourced support services to our clients. We deliver seamless solutions to address issues in accounting & financial reporting; cash, fund and payment administration; human resources and payroll administration; business advisory; trade services; and systems solutions to ensure the adoption of best practices in your business.

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

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.

AsiaWorld-Expo Management Limited AsiaWorld-Expo, Hong Kong International Airport, Lantau, Hong Kong, China

Cliftons provides premium, purpose-built, training and event facilities and solutions, ensuring our clients’ programs are delivered seamlessly and successfully around the globe. Over the past 14 years, Cliftons has grown to provide clients with the largest network of dedicated computer and seminar training facilities across the Asia Pacific region. Encompassing over 150 state-of-the-art training and meeting rooms within 10 CBD locations in New Zealand, Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong, this footprint of proprietary venues is supplemented by a global affiliates network that allows clients to manage all of their training needs around the world with a single point of contact.

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

Tel: (852) 2135 8038

Tel: (852) 2555 8062 Fax: (852) 3003 0198

Tel: (852) 2980 1888 Fax: (852) 2861 0285

Conference & Exhibition Venues


HR Magazine

Tel: (852) 3606 8888 Fax: (852) 3606 8889

Tel: (852) 2159 9999

HR classifieds

Education and Corporate Training Bite Sized Training High impact 90 minute workshops. Staff too busy to attend full day training, looking for better ROI for your training, need training delivered in your local language, want lunchand-learn or breakfast sessions, or just need training delivered across multiple locations? Bite Sized Training is the answer! With 25 topics to choose from, covering everything from Negotiation, Delivering Presentations, Managing Gen Y, Sales and Leadership, and delivered by expert, accredited trainers, Bite Sized Training is the learning and development system of choice for leading companies across the Asia Pacific. Visit or email info@ for more information.

Bite Sized Training Suite 1001 - 1002, Mass Mutual Tower, 38 Gloucester Road, Wanchai, 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.

Tel: 800 903 210 Fax: (852) 2816 7150

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

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

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

Tel: (852) 2526 6516 / 2774 8500 Fax: (852) 2365 1000

Tel: (852) 3602 3090 Fax: (852) 3602 3111 Mobile: (852) 5165 2467

Employee Wellbeing & Insurance 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 Contact person: Sireen Cheng Tel: (852) 2849 0389

Autumn 2012


HR classifieds Employee Wellbeing & Insurance 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 4406-4410, 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.

Tel: (852) 3113 1331 Fax: (852) 2915 7770

Tel: (852) 2861 0138 Fax: (852) 2861 0123

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.

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

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!

SilkRoad technology Hong Kong Tai Yip Building, Floor 10-05, 141 Thompson Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong

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

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:

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

Contact person: Eric Choi Tel: (852) 9193 8573

Leadership Development

• Team member engagement • Leadership development • Customer services

• Sales effectiveness • Process improvement and • Presentation effectiveness

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


HR Magazine

Tel: (65) 6854 6000 Fax: (65) 6854 6001

Tel: (852) 2845 0218 Fax: (852) 2583 9629

HR classifieds

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

Contact person: Mrs Stephanie Herd Tel: (852) 2302 0283 Fax: (852) 2302 0006

Legal / Employment Law / Tax

Contact person: Andreas Lauffs and Jennifer Van Dale Tel: (852) 2846 1888

Autumn 2012


HR classifieds Management Consulting Excel Global Consulting is a leading business consultancy specializing in the enhancement of business performance through a unique approach to people management. Our goal is to deliver you the knowledge and resources to improve business productivity by creating better employee engagement within your organization using customized human capital management solutions. With our support you’ll gain a committed, more innovative and highly motivated workforce primed to lead your business towards greater efficiency and productivity. With Excel Global your employees will gain greater job satisfaction in a solution-oriented work environment where engagement is productive, innovative and geared to better business performance.

Excel Global Company Information Level 8, Two Exchange Square, 2 Connaught Road, Central, Hong Kong Tel: (852) 2846 1888 Fax: (852) 2297 2289

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.

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

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

Only the professional carpet cleaning and pest-control services of Truly Care, Hong Kong’s specialists in occupational, industrial, environmental and domestic hygiene can give you a clean, safe and bug-free office and home. Don’t put your staff’s health at risk!

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

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

Tel: (852) 2458 8378 Fax: (852) 2458 8487

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

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.


HR Magazine

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

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 Contact person: Adam Edwards Tel: (852) 3972 5888 Fax: (852) 3972 5897

HR classifieds

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.

Tel: (852) 2185 6300 Fax: (852) 2185 6303

Tel: (852) 2980 1166 Fax: (852) 2869 4410

Relocation & Logistics Asian Tigers, has provided international relocation and moving services to the Hong Kong market for more than 40 years. We move people internationally, regionally, and even within Hong Kong itself. Our experienced, multilingual staff enables Asian Tigers to deliver a lowstress relocation services. Perhaps you are responsible for coordinating your office move and would like to know more about “low-down-time” office relocations. Whatever your needs, wherever you are headed, Asian Tigers can help facilitate and streamline your relocation. Give us a call and find out how we can assist you.

Asian Tigers Mobility 17/F., 3 Lockhart Road Wanchai, Hong Kong

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

Tel: (852) 2528 1384 Fax: (852) 2529 7443

Tel: (852) 2636 8388

Serviced Apartments & Hotels City Loft Serviced Studio, bucking the trend of expensive staff housing, companies looking for staff housing can breathe a big sigh of relief with City Loft Serviced Studio value-for-money monthly rentals of only $7K – $15K per month. Whether your overseas trainees or project team need 1 month or 1 year, City Loft’s flexible rentals are perfect for teams arriving and departing Hong Kong throughout the year. Once your staff arrives at the airport, leave it with us to help them move into their small comfortable flats that are never more than 3-5 minutes from a MTR station on Hong Kong Island.

Four Seasons Place, the epitome of luxury and elegance, Four Seasons Place creates a relaxed and homey living environment amidst the surrounding opulence. With 519 serviced suites designed by internationally renowned designers, guests can choose from a range of stylish accommodations from studios and 1/2/3-bedroom suites to penthouses that open up to spectacular views of Victoria Harbour. It also features a rooftop heated pool & Jacuzzi, sky lounge, gymnasium, sauna and multi-purpose function room to meet business and recreational needs. Heralding a comfortable, hassle-free living experience, all guests are pampered with personalized hotel services from VIP airport pick-up to 24-hour multi-lingual concierge services.

City Loft Serviced Studio Unit 801, 8/f Cheung’s Building, No. 1-3 Wing Lok Street, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong Tel: (852) 2881 7979 Fax: (852) 3196 8628

Four Seasons Place 8 Finance Street, Central, Hong Kong Tel: (852) 3196 8228 Fax: (852) 3196 8628

Autumn 2012


HR classifieds Serviced Apartments & Hotels

at the ICC megalopolis

The HarbourView Place, The HarbourView Place is part of the Kowloon Station development, located at a key harbour crossing point. Located atop the MTR and Airport Express Link at Kowloon Station. The junction of major rail lines, 3 minutes to Central, 20 minutes to the Airport, a mere 30 minutes to Shenzhen and 60 minutes to Guangzhou. It is a place for the best view of Hong Kong and Kowloon and is an icon property at Harbour Gateway. Located next to International Commerce Centre (ICC), the fourth tallest building in the world, The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong and W Hong Kong. Guest could enjoy a premium luxury living with the large shopping mall Elements and Hong Kong’s highest indoor observation deck Sky100.

The HarbourView Place 1 Austin Road West, Kowloon, Hong Kong

Vega Suites, is the first stylish suite hotel in Kowloon east. Located atop the MTR Tseung Kwan O Station, Island East and Kowloon East only 3 MTR stations away. The integrated complex becomes a new landmark creating a comfortable, relaxing and home like living space for guests. The all-encompassing landmark development comprising two international hotels & the luxury residence The Wings. Situated directly above the trendy PopCorn mall, connected to one million square feet of shopping, dining, leisure and entertainment. There is a lustrous selection of units - ranging from Studio, 1-Bedroom, 2-Bedroom to 3-Bedroom with flexible staying term.

Vega Suites 3 Tong Tak Street, Tseung Kwan O, Hong Kong

As the most comprehensive and strategically focused employee benefits specialist, Mybenefits provides international companies with a onestop solution to achieving employee benefit objectives and has quickly become the preferred partner of Human Resource professionals in Asia.

Mybenefits 14/F, Grand Millennium Plaza 181 Queen’s Road Central Hong Kong

100% proven track record at helping companies: Reduce employee benefit costs, Reduce HR workload, Increase employee satisfaction

Contact person: Pauline Williams Tel: (852) 2891 8915

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.

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

Tel: (852) 3718 8000 Fax: (852) 3718 8008

Tel: (852) 3963 7888 Fax: (852) 3963 7889

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.

Tel: 800 905 486 Fax: 800 968 822

Contact person: Sam Lau Tel: (852) 2536 9010 Fax: (852) 2536 9008

We’re now taking bookings for our 2012 HR Service Providers Listings Your company logo and key services displayed in full colour here and online. Also distribute your message to over 23,000 HR Directors and CEOs via EDM and insertions in HR Magazine. Now with regional distribution to Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Macau & Singapore. Contact Kollin Baskoro, Tel: (852) 2736 6362, Fax: (852) 2736 6369, E-mail:


HR Magazine

Asian Tigers moves families to and from all comers of the world. Our experts will help ease you through your next international relocation. Let our knowledge work for you.

(852) 2528 1384

Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.