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  Developing a Pool of DigiTalents to Prepare for the Challenges Ahead


TTeddy Liu
General Manager ˇV
Corporate and Talent Development
New World Development Company Limited

Digitalisation is a global trend affecting all industries. To stay relevant with customers, reshape your business landscape, and stay ahead of market competition, it is not only about how you can create and adapt to new digital technologies, but what is also just as important is talent development. "By unveiling the DigiTalent Programme, we, as one of the Hong Kong pioneers in the industry, aim to nurture an internal pool of digital
experts who are empowered to drive the transformation for our Group to become a digitalised business corporation," says Teddy Liu, General Manager - Corporate & Talent Development at New World Development Company Limited.

Serving with the New World Group for over two decades, Teddy Liu has diversified experience in business management and corporate controllership functions. He currently manages three core teams in his various roles overseeing corporate development for planning, promoting and managing corporate change initiatives, plus talent training and development as well as internal audits. Liu holds a Certified Public Accountant designation and is a member of various professional bodies in the fields of accounting, company secretary and taxation. He also holds a Juris Doctor degree from The Chinese University of Hong Kong and an MBA degree from The University of Hong Kong.

He explains that digital technologies enable greater integration and flexibility, which allow employees to take on a greater share of responsibility and create their own work experiences. "Digital is poised to redefine the future of the human resources management function," he adds. "New talents are regarded as unique inner elements affecting overall solutions, leading to the restructuring of the traditional corporate hierarchy."

Liu points out : "DigiTalent is a platform to help enablers bring ideas to life, and accelerate transformation. Those who want to make things happen, want to be data-driven in the daily work, and work in social media, digital marketing, website and app development, or digital analytics and technology are regarded as enablers and can join our DigiTalent Programme." Many of these members come from non-IT disciplines but they are eager to develop their digital competency and skills.

Steering the Digital Transformation Journey from the Top

With the aim of transforming operations from a traditional brick-and-mortar type business to embrace todayˇ¦s click-andorder business mode, and create a higher level of awareness for urgent change, a full day forum chaired by Mr. Adrian Cheng, Executive Vice Chairman and General Manager of the New World Group, along with nearly 500 senior management personnel from all business units, was held three years ago in order to unveil a strategic digital transformation journey. In view of the insufficient number of digital talents in the market at that time, the Group determined to build their digital capacity and competency from within through the DigiTalent Programme.

Following a clear strategic direction, a cross-functional DigiTalent Steering Committee was established. "Chaired by our top management representative, the Committee comprises senior executives from human resources, corporate communications, digital marketing, and other relevant project teams," adds Liu. "Our corporate and talent development department has also played an important role in this committee to lead numerous activities based on the principles of top-down alignment, forward-looking planning and practicality."

Unveiled in 2015 with a series of monthly thematic workshops, and the formation of cross-functional digital-related taskforces and other initiatives, the Programme has been re-designed in a more structured and full-fledged format since last year. Over 100 DigiTalents, nominated from different business units or by themselves, were individually assessed by the corporate and talent development department about their respective personalities and skill levels. Accordingly, the team then designed a bespoke training programme for each of them.

Discover the Qualities of DigiTalents

"These DigiTalents came from different areas, mostly staff members who are young and at the officer level," explains Liu. "They have performed the role of champions and key contributors to create or intensify a viral effect in order to cultivate a digital culture across the entire company." He emphasises that these people must be willing to make changes, express their aspirations and possess an entrepreneurial spirit as well as be self-starters. "We look for leaders not just workers." He sums up the six qualities the next generation of DigiTalents should have. "They must be visionary, results-driven, able to lead and groom their fellow colleagues, have a strong EQ and AQ, and be able to do self-reflection as well as solve complex problems." These DigiTalents are primarily focused in three hubs - digital product development lifecycle, digital marketing optimisation and digital data analytics. This structure allows them to learn from each other and promote internal synergies. An online community has been established for them across Hong Kong and mainland offices to share business problems they faced in their daily jobs. Through the periodic Digital Digest, they also receive the latest technology information and invitations to many useful external or online workshops and seminars.

A launch event was organised to inspire these DigiTalents about new digital horizons and the innovation mindset. Different external experts and digital companies were invited to share their journeys and showcase their cutting-edge technologies, such as Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), Robotics, 3D printing, and more. To apply what they had learned, they participated in an intensive 2-day boot camp where they acquired a host of different tools and designed many new digital products from scratch.

Part of the digital-savvy millennial generation, all management trainees of the New World Group also play an important role in this Programme and are selected to take the lead on various digital projects. For instance, some of them were assigned to review all the electronic touch points of the Group while others were given the task to build and manage New World Talent, a Facebook page which has more than ten thousands followers and ran several successful recruitment campaigns.

In fact, these DigiTalents have brought about positive results for business and operational processes. A brand new user experience was created for the tenants of Eight Kwai Fong, a service apartment property of the Group, to shift the marketing focus from traditional property agencies to digital platforms, which eventually contributed to over 35% of the companyˇ¦s actual sales. Many other new initiatives have also been launched by different taskforces and self-formed project teams.

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