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Best Companies to Work For in Greater China 2016: Inspiration, innovation and integration

Published on Friday, 13 Jan 2017

Company type or industry sector matters little when it comes to creating a great place to work, as illustrated by the diversity of the 30 organisations recognised on the 2016 list of Best Companies to Work For in Greater China.

Jose Bezanilla, CEO of Great Place to Work in Greater China, says the pool of participating companies keeps on growing. “The variety of industries is getting richer and the origin of the companies, including local mainland companies, is becoming more diverse,” he explained.

For CI&T China, a digital technology agency which provides digital implementation initiatives for leading global brands, a key factor in making the list is seeing its employees as the soul of the company. According to the US independent technology and market research company Forrester, CI&T uses best practices to build highly rated apps specifically because it brings design talent to the development team.

“We aim to create the most inviting and inspiring work environment to attract and retain top talent needed to create the cutting-edge work we do for our clients,” says Felipe Rubim, Asia Pacific general manager of CI&T China.

A strong belief in the importance of talent development and innovation for driving business growth helped Cisco Greater China earn its award. Victoria Wu, general manager of human resources for Cisco Greater China, explains that talent development is a top priority for all managers and leaders at the company. “A great deal of time and energy is invested in this area,” she says.

Wu adds that the company’s culture focuses on “connecting everything, innovating everywhere and benefitting everyone”. “Our culture helps to strengthen the emotional bond with employees, which enables them to unleash their full potential,” she says.

Global hospitality group Hilton – which was included on the Best Companies to Work for in Greater China list for the second year running – has worked hard to become an employer of choice. According to Brendan Toomey, Asia Pacific vice-president of human resources, the group motivates and energises its employees to focus on doing their best in order to improve the quality of services it offers guests. This, however, is just one of the drivers that inspire the group to always reach for new heights.

“By offering great careers, great rewards and a great environment, we have been able to support our expansion in China by continuing to attract, develop and retain top talent,” Toomey says. “Our employees are fundamental to providing the world-class service for which Hilton is known.”

For semiconductor solutions provider Infineon Technologies, taking part in the awards is part of a public commitment to creating a happier, more motivated team and a better working environment, says Dr Su Hua, president of China mainland, Hongkong and Taiwan regions and managing director of China.

Su explains that the employee survey results gathered through Great Place to Work’s assessment process provide important feedback on how well the company is doing and assist its efforts in creating a great working environment. “By ensuring we provide a great place to work, we hope the achievements of individual employees can move forward hand in hand with the company,” he says.

Su adds that a concerted three-year effort focus on improving the integration of work-life balance, open communication, career growth opportunities and CSR activities have has resulted in a drop in attrition rates to about half of the market level expected for hi-tech companies. “At the end of last year, employees with more than five years’ tenure with the company accounted for about 50 per cent of headcount and employees with 10 years’ service or more accounted for about 15 per cent,” he says.

A tradition of grooming talents in-house has helped Meltwater, a developer of media monitoring software, achieve a place on the list for the last three years, says Ewan Ross, area director for Greater China.

“We focus on hiring bright, ambitious and hardworking talent, rather than looking for people who possess generic skills that they can learn on the job,” added Ross, saying the company intends to build on its gains in the region in 2017.

“All of our senior management across the globe joined Meltwater at entry level,” Ross points out. “They were promoted to where they are internally due to their exceptional performance.”

At fashion retailer H&M, Magnus Olsson, country manager at H&M Greater China, says he is proud the company was included on the list, adding to previous recognition in 2012, 2014 and 2015. He explains how focusing on internal promotion is one of the main factors in H&M’s employee value proposition and helps support the career development of its large workforce.

“At H&M, we fill almost 70 per cent of all available roles through internal promotion,” Olsson says. “There is no pre-set career path as we promote endless opportunities and a unique corporate culture.”

Last year, the company featured employees from Hong Kong, mainland China and Taiwan in its “Place of Possible” television campaign, which was conceived to illustrate how careers with H&M are flexible and full of possibilities. As part of the campaign, employees described their real-life career experiences and aspirations, aiming to inspire and attract ambitious talent to join.

Audio specialist Plantronics has its Greater China base in Suzhou, with branch offices spread across the country. Susan Hansen, vice president of sales and marketing for Asia Pacific, says the company goes the extra mile to offer initiatives to make working life manageable, engaging and rewarding.

For example, in addition to internal development programmes and educational support for degrees and job-related certifications, employees are offered complimentary membership to sports clubs and professionally led workout sessions in the company gym.

Hansen also believes that the company’s commitment to CSR activities helps strengthen employee engagement. “This award is a testament to our positive work environment of trust, transparency and respect,” she says.

At Hyatt Hotels and Resorts, Katie Carter, vice president of human resources, explains that the core purpose is to care for people so they can be their best. “Our purpose is at the centre of everything we do and caring for our colleagues so they can care for our guests is our first priority,” she says.

This is the third year in a row that Hyatt has made the list of Best Companies to Work For in Greater China and Carter is delighted that all the hard work that has gone into developing a positive culture has been recognised.

“We have created an environment built on empathetically understanding our guests, and a culture that flourishes from an extraordinary group of dedicated colleagues.”


This article appeared in the Classified Post print edition as Going above and beyond.

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