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HR manager's hire purpose

Published on Friday, 26 Apr 2013
Jess Cheuk
Photo: Lau Wai

Jess Cheuk Pui-shan, human resources (HR) manager at The Langham Hong Kong hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui, thrives on the challenge of producing high-quality staff. “Hospitality is a human-orientated industry. It focuses a lot on the all-round development of a human being, which I am passionate about. Hotels tend to invest heavily into enhancing staff quality, so HR departments have has a lot to achieve,” she says.

Since joining the Langham Hospitality Group (LHG) as an assistant HR manager in 2008, Cheuk has helped establish a number of effective HR systems, such as online performance appraisals. After gaining two and a half years of valuable experience at LHG, she decided she wanted to implement the systems in a hotel environment and requested to be transferred to The Langham.

Her main job duties now include recruitment, selection and retention, staff engagement, and compensation and benefits. She is also responsible for promoting the hotel’s innovative culture.

“We initiated the ‘Innovation Festival’ last year, which encourages colleagues to think of different innovative ideas. One initiative, the ‘Innovative Idea Board’, received over 180 ideas from colleagues in nine months, some of which we have since implemented in the hotel,” she says.

As an HR manager, Cheuk sees the importance of being in tune with staff needs. “We strive to create a positive, caring and fun environment in the hotel. Every job has its challenges and my main challenge is to ensure staff are well trained, developing in their careers and happy in the workplace. The hotel industry in Hong Kong is extremely competitive and our human capital is one of our greatest assets,” she says.

To show appreciation and thank colleagues for their hard work, Cheuk helped create a new initiative called “Appreciation Week”. The week features various activities including massage day, consultations with Chinese medicine practitioners, a movie night, a barbecue night, and special menus in the staff canteen. “We received a lot of positive feedback on these initiatives,” she says.

Cheuk advises those who want to join the hospitality industry to have a genuine interest in service culture and teamwork. “Being enthusiastic and proactive are also vital in providing excellent service. If you have these qualities, the hospitality industry may be your best choice,” she says.

She recalls an example of one of the hotel’s chefs taking care of a guest who was allergic to gluten. “The chef suggested a range of gluten-free dishes and even provided the guest with a list of foods to avoid. The guest was deeply touched,” Cheuk says.

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