Best Companies to Work For in Greater China 2015: Awards reveal the power of best practice |
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Best Companies to Work For in Greater China 2015: Awards reveal the power of best practice

Published on Thursday, 17 Dec 2015
Award winners, organisers and event partners congregate on stage and give a thumbs up for success during the awards ceremony, held for the first time in Hong Kong. (Photo: Heson Kam)
Excitement builds during pre-awards networking as guests share drinks and take photos. (Photo: Chungy Wong)
Jose Bezanilla, CEO, Great Place to Work in Greater China. (Photo: Chungy Wong)
Denzel Xin, research analyst, Great Place to Work in Greater China. (Photo: Chungy Wong)

For the first time since its inception, the Great Place to Work in Greater China (GPTW) Conference and Awards Ceremony was hosted in Hong Kong this year, honouring those that made the 2015 list of Best Companies to Work For in Greater China.

Following a welcoming address by Secretary for Labour and Welfare Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, Jose Bezanilla, CEO of Great Place to Work in Greater China, urged businesses to find inspiration in the achievements of the winners.

“This event aims to illustrate the power of best practice,” Bezanilla told those gathered at Tsim Sha Tsui’s Hyatt Regency Hotel on December 3. “We are helping managers and people to see that a great workplace, and a great job, are possible and attainable and, nowadays, they are a must.”

Drawn from a range of industries in mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, 27 organisations were represented at the event.

“The awards ceremony brings together an array of companies, and the idea is to celebrate how they are engaging and aligning their employees, and creating a work environment and a workplace that is a joy for them to work in,” Bezanilla told his audience.

“They are ambitiously building world-class workplaces and they are doing it while taking care of their people – which is the most important thing.”

The process used by GPTW to identify companies with the best workplace practices has been honed over the years, drawing on the organisation’s knowledge and experience as a global human capital consulting, research and training firm that operates in 53 countries.

“Engagement has become one of the key indicators of the quality of company culture,” Bezanilla said. “Plenty of consultancy firms have been paying more and more attention to the concept as they address today’s challenging and dynamic business environment.”

Every year, GPTW invites companies in Greater China with more than 50 employees to take part in its assessment study. To be considered for a place on the Best Companies to Work For list, those participating need to reach a defined score on GPTW’s “Trust Index Survey” and “Culture Audit”.

“For the culture audit, the HR department of each company was asked to complete a questionnaire, answering questions about their policy and practice in nine areas,” explained Denzel Xin, research analyst at Great Place to Work in Greater China. 

This year, companies from 10 different industries completed the evaluation process, an exercise that involved a total of 200,000 employees. Xin said that participating companies ranged in size from SMEs to multinationals, and each had specific concerns regarding the process. 

“Big companies worry that their survey score will compare unfavourably to SMEs because communication-wise it is relatively hard to reach all their staff and there is a hierarchy between management and employees. On the contrary, SMEs are afraid that they cannot compete with big companies because they don’t have enough money and resources to build up comprehensive practices. 

“However, our findings suggest the trust level and workplace environment don’t relate to size.”

Commenting on the assessment procedure, Bezanilla said that the only standardised process to examine a company’s workplace environment is to directly ask for an employee’s “workplace experience”, as well as to collect information on how they evaluate the company’s policies and management processes.

Every year, GPTW compares the key performance indicators (KPIs) in Greater China with those of companies in the rest of the world. Bezanilla noted that this year the figures were again very encouraging. “The KPIs of companies in this region show we are learning quickly and catching up.”

In Xin’s review of some of the key indicators of HR performance in his 2015 statistical work, he looked at companies’ voluntary turnover rate. He explained that four industries were chosen for examination based on having a big enough sample size to generate solid data. Those were traditional services (hotel, courier and restaurant), professional services (finance, e-commerce, marketing and consulting), manufacturing, and IT, software and internet.

The difference in retention rates was stark, with Best Companies losing far fewer employees than the industry average. For IT, software and internet businesses, the industry average for voluntary turnover rate was 16 per cent, while for Best Companies it was just 6.3 per cent. 

“This means two things,” Xin explained. “First, the Best Companies will save a lot of money on hiring, onboarding and training their staff. Second, retaining staff improves the chemistry in the company and raises the morale of the team, all of which will be reflected in business performance.”

The evening’s awards ceremony followed a day-long conference that focused on ways to enhance the workplace experience for employees. It featured presentations and input from Best Companies in other global territories, such as Cisco and Plantronics, as well as a panel discussion, interactive team-building exercise and networking luncheon.

Previous Great Place to Work in Greater China events had been staged in Shanghai in the three preceding years. For this inaugural hosting in Hong Kong, the Shanghai Foreign Service Company was the strategic partner, while the South China Morning Post and Classified Post were co-organisers. 

At the end of his address, Bezanilla said that GPTW planned to add a Hong Kong list to its global Best Companies to Work For roster in 2016.

“This is one way to measure Hong Kong’s performance in the region. We want Hong Kong – with its talent and its levels of productivity and innovation – to be recognised as a great place to work. This recognition will resonate at a global level and will bring great benefits to all stakeholders, employees and customers, and to society in general.”

He urged companies to join the dawn of the “Great Place to Work era”.  “We are building a better society that’s our mission and we strongly believe in it. By doing this we are changing, one-by-one, the lives of each of your employees in their workplace.” 

Winners List
Autodesk Software (China)
Cadence Design Systems
DHL Express* 
EMC China
H&M China
HDS China
Herbalife (China) Health Products 
Hilton Worldwide
Hyatt Hotels & Resorts 
Kantar Worldpanel
Kiabi International Supply Services
Mercedes-Benz Financial Services (China)
Monsanto (China)
National Instruments (China HK Taiwan)
NetApp Greater China
Nu Skin
Pirelli Tyre
Roche Diagnostics (Shanghai)
SAP Labs China
SapientNitro China
Uniqlo China
W. L. Gore & Associates

* DHL Express’s official name in Hong Kong is DHL Express Hong Kong and in mainland China is DHL-Sinotrans International Air Courier.
**Mars includes all segments and brands, which are Mars Chocolate, Wrigley, Petcare and Royal Canin.

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