The Greater China Talent Management Summit
Marks Its 10th Anniversary Milestone
The annual Greater China Talent Management Summit 2015, organised for the 10th year by A-Performers.com, is highly regarded by human resources professionals across the greater China region as an effective platform for sharing insights as well as knowledge, and is considered a highly effective vehicle overall for talent management.
The Summit this year focused on the future of the workplace and the types of talents that will create the most impact in the years to come. It also explored evolving trends that are shaping tomorrow’s work culture, including entrepreneurship, technology innovation and talent mobility. All of these factors will play key roles over the coming decade.
While HR professionals nowadays must prepare to embrace the millennial generation, those who grew up during the era of social media, HR management must also recognise the fact that women are increasingly assuming leadership roles and are at the vanguard of today’s economic and social scene.
Finding the right talent for social enterprises
Several prominent speakers at the Summit shared their in-depth views about today’s changing workforce and culture. Kicking off the Summit was Florence Hui, Under Secretary for Home Affairs of the HKSAR, who spoke about "Social Enterprises: Looking for multidisciplinary talents." She said that the term social enterprises relates to a unique model along a continuum with one end, by nature, comprising charity organisations that aim to spread love, care and harmony to society, while at the other end are traditional businesses that have competition and efficiency serving as their core values. "In view of the intrinsic nature of social enterprises, workers in this sector need to have a good sense of entrepreneurship with lots of business ideas and risk taking," said Hui. "On the other hand, they should also possess deep-seated empathy and be able to understand and communicate with people in need as well as have a big heart for the good of society in general." Only those with multidisciplinary talents will be able to affect social innovation and transform society for the better.
Diversity and inclusion
In her speech "Diversity in the Global Talent Pool – Women and Leadership", Su-Mei Thompson, CEO of the Women’s Foundation, discussed the seven ‘elephants’ that business leaders and HR professionals should openly be addressing. "Many executives still think that diversity means compromising on quality, which leads to mediocrity," she said. "In fact, a diversified and competitive talent team can help get the best out of most employees." She also expressed her disappointment at the lack of female employees in some male dominated industries. "A number of corporations like IBM have already addressed the negative perceptions among many female workers towards these kinds of industries, and also touted the benefits and opportunities that women can now find in these sectors."
During the panel discussion moderated by Angela Lee, Executive Coach, Facilitator & HR Consultant of A.L Consulting, Allen Ha, Chairman of the Lantau Development Alliance and Chief Executive Officer of AsiaWorld-Expo outlined the latest Lantau developments. "With only one CBD, Hong Kong lacks the commercial space," said Ha. "To tackle this problem, we need to develop new satellite cities with Lantau definitely serving as one of the key development zones." He emphasised that the key is collaboration among government policies, business sectors and community working together. "The employment opportunities brought about by the upcoming development of Lantau Island will increase by about 300,000 over the next few years."
Another panel member, Christine Wong, Vice President of Human Resources at Hong Kong Disneyland Resort, said that their employees are called ‘cast members’ to reflect their entertainment nature. "Ensuring that all cast members remain in a happy mood is central to Disney’s HR strategy. The motto ‘Happy Me, Happy Guest’ is also a driving philosophy in our training programmes for all frontline cast members." A full range of staff training and development opportunities is also offered to fully unleash the potential of Disney staff.
Horace Chow, General Manager for Microsoft Hong Kong, discussed the various ways his company and others are engaging the millennial generation. "The world has changed," said Chow. "The information flow is not only based on hierarchy, but in new multi-dimensional ways." He highlighted the importance of creating a modern workplace. "It doesn’t mean setting up the most grand workplace but rather one designed to suit the modern world, attract the best talent and help shape the future." Chow also reminded everyone about the ability of the newer talent to collaborate, share and exchange ideas and knowledge in the workplace. It is also very important to encourage young workers to operate efficiently in today’s mobility world. "It is not only about mobile phones," he added. "We’re all mobile."
Latest trends in talent engagement
Various major trends that are affecting business operations these days was identified by Karen Cariss, CEO and Co-Founder of PageUp, who shared Chow’s viewpoints on the importance of embracing the millennial generation. "By 2020, half of the workforce will be comprised of the millennial generation," said Cariss. "It’s a trend that HR professionals can’t overlook." Moreover, she added that businesses are now operating in an environment of ‘VUCA’, which stands for volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. Under this unprecedented environment, HR roles must evolve in order to be fully prepared for new changes ahead. Moreover, technology evolution is enabling us to move faster and faster. In view of this, she stressed the importance of creating mobile-optimised sites or mobile apps for talent recruitment. "People are looking at their mobile phones 150 times a day," said she. "So we need to be there."
Eight skills displayed by Gen Yers
Dawn Shanta, Regional Human Resource Director of South and South East Asia for International SOS, highlighted how HR can prepare the workforce to ensure a suitable return on investment, and attract the right people for running sustainable and profitable businesses. To make the best use of generation Y staff, she identified eight skills they can bring to businesses, including being tech-savvy as well as open-minded. Through the use of the internet, these young workers understand international markets and are able to think globally. Growing up with strong parental support, this generation usually has high self esteem and a strong sense of security. That’s why they aren’t afraid to try new things and raise questions. Moreover, they have solid life experiences in the market place and can clearly understand customer perspectives. Applying solid online research and collaboration skills, Gen Y staff can be very good problem solvers. "HR should learn how to make the most out of these young talented workers."
Better practice of talent mobility
"Talent mobility is defined as the movement of employees domestically or across the borders to meet the strategic needs of companies," said Kay Kutt, Managing Director Asia Pacific for Asian Tigers Mobility. "It’s all about putting the right talent in the right places at the right time with the right resources." In her speech, she highlighted four talent mobility steps regarded as ‘better’ industry practices. "Step 1 is all about aligning with talent management. We have to ensure that we identify, communicate and are aligned with key stakeholders." At the pre-assignment selection step, Kutt emphasised having processes and tools in place to make better decisions about candidates. In step 3, on-assignment development with specific programmes and establishing mentors are the primary areas of focus. " "Step 4 involves post-assignment retention, which cannot be overlooked," said Kutt. "Companies should measure, leverage and share the knowledge and skills of assignees upon their return."
Zurich conducted an Employer and Employee Survey last December, interviewing 312 Hong Kong SMEs and 501 employees of these companies to understand the underlying factors that foster talent retention. "One survey question required interviewees to rank various factors that could be attributed to business success," said Elaine Chan, senior head of the medical division of Zurich’s General Insurance operations in Hong Kong. "‘Loyal employees’ was chosen as the top factor, ranked by 64% of the interviewed employers and 71% of employees." This is followed by other factors such as ‘Favourable economic conditions’, ‘Attention to customer service’, ‘Unique products’, ‘Effective marketing’ and ‘Price competitiveness’". In addition, Chan pointed out that when asked about the best ways to increase staff loyalty, 26% of employees ranked salary as the most important factor, while group medical insurance schemes came next at 20% with year-end bonus listed third at 8%.
Marieke van Raaij is the practice leader of Organisational Surveys & Insights and heads up the employee research line of operations within Towers Watson Hong Kong. She explained the importance of shaping a work environment that can engage, enable and energise employees over time. "Engagement means that employees believe in company goals and objectives and have a strong emotional connection with their companies," said Raaij. "Highly engaged staff are more willing to give that extra effort to support business success." She also pointed out that employees should be free from obstacles in order to succeed at work, with sufficient resources to achieve exceptional performance. This will enable them to meet work challenges more effectively. Moreover, staff should possess sustainable energy for work. "They should have high levels of enthusiasm and feelings of accomplishment at work, while also playing a big part in overall team effectiveness."
Exploring new inventive options
HR practitioners generally need to take a softer approach by organising exciting incentive activities in order to engage staff members, especially younger workers. Kenneth Cheng, Hong Kong representative of the Macau Government Tourist Office, suggested a wide range of options that can take place in Macau. "Looking for ways to train up courageous leaders? Try AJ Hackett at Macau Tower where people can experience bungy jumping, sky jumping, sky walking or tower climbing." For those who prefer lighter team-building exercises, he recommended Portuguese cooking classes at the Grand Coloane Resort or Thai cooking classes at the Banyan Tree Resort where staff at different levels and departments can try their hand at creating tasty dishes together. Because retreat activities are essential for relaxation, Cheng proposed a host of soul invigorating activities like taking an authentic sake tour at the Okura Hotel or joining a whisky tasting group at the Galaxy Hotel. People can also indulge in a nice spa treatment, yoga or even Tai-chi classes offered by many 5-star hotels, all highly memorable experiences.