Building on the success of similar programmes covering Asia and Greater China, the Great Place to Work Institute announced its first cohort of “Best Companies to Work For in Hong Kong” in an awards ceremony in June, honouring eight organisations in the city that had made its first list of outstanding local employers.
The inaugural ceremony, hosted at the W Hong Kong hotel, marked the start of what will become an annual programme and opened with a welcoming address by Jose Bezanilla, CEO of Great Place to Work in Greater China.
“Our mission is to build a better society, by helping companies to become great workplaces,” Bezanilla said. “That’s our goal for Hong Kong: make it a great workplace. And we’re launching initiatives for this goal.”
“Imagine Hong Kong as a big company,” Bezanilla asked the audience. “What is happening in it? How big would the turnover be? What will happen if we measure absenteeism? And what about the infrastructure offered? Is it helping innovation?”
Bezanilla used this metaphor to demonstrate the impact that business – and the people that power it – has on the city’s success.
One of these initiatives, Bezanilla explained, is the “Hong Kong Index”, a measure of the quality of work-life balance, engagement and work environment – among other important aspects – in Hong Kong. Produced in coordination with the Classified Post, the index aims to sustain and enhance the competitive edge of Hong Kong, giving a clear indicator to the business community of how it is doing as a city, and to retain, attract and develop talent.
“If we want to make this happen in Hong Kong, we need to ride the trend of change in leadership and managing people by taking care of them, increasing the quality of life of the employees,” Bezanilla explained. “By doing so, they will take care of improving overall performance results.”
Guest of honour Matthew Cheung, Secretary for Labour and Welfare, praised the eight selected companies for their positive influence on Hong Kong’s labour and business markets.
“My heartfelt appreciation and congratulations ... go to the eight award-winning companies which have fostered an ideal workplace for their staff. ,” Cheung said. “As a good and caring employer and one of the Best Companies to Work For in Hong Kong, you not only boost the morale and productivity of your staff, but also help Hong Kong attract, nurture and retain talents. You are shining examples for others to follow.”
Cheung added that “strong external headwinds and a slow growing local economy” poses challenges for businesses operating in Hong Kong.
“In this context, employees’ hard work, level of commitment and willingness to meet company targets become crucial,” he said. “A human resource strategy designed to foster a strong sense of belonging amongst employees and building an employee-friendly workplace is bound to pay handsome dividends.”
The ceremony also gave Great Place to Work the chance to introduce its “Best Practices Partners” project, which sees it collaborating with a network of organisations that share solutions and approaches to contemporary workplace challenges.
Delivering comprehensive workplace solutions, the Best Practices Partners currently consists of Dale Carnegie, Habitat for Humanity, The School of Positive Psychology, QuuVee, Talent Plus, Tacsen, Team Building Asia and TLC.
“Think about it as a concierge of professional solutions for companies that want to know how they can do better,” said Mirley Perez, business development manager at Great Place to Work. “We have to provide innovation and quality, and that’s what we offer with the companies that are our ‘Best Practices Partners’.”
Also shown during the evening were the finalist videos in the “We Have a Great Story” video contest, which saw a number of organisations sharing the stories behind their unique company cultures.
Next up on Great Place to Work’s awards calendar in the city is the Best Companies to Work For in Greater China 2016 event, which will be held on December 8.
This article appeared in the Classified Post print edition as Lighting the way.