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Bringing out the best

Published on Friday, 22 Mar 2013
Gabriela Domicelj
Photo: K. Y. Cheng
Andy Leung (left) and Romy Serfaty.
Photo: Jonathan Wong

Aon Hewitt’s Best Employers awards to focus on consistency 

In the world of sport, participation is more important than winning. The same is true with the Aon Hewitt Best Employers 2.0 Study – Asia 2013, where employers can learn the most important lessons in becoming a “Best Employer” by simply taking part.

The study, which has been running for 11 years, is the largest in Asia in terms of database size. It assesses four themes and includes views from three sources within each organisation. Each participant receives company-specific reports on the four criteria, which can be a valuable learning exercise regardless of whether or not it is named a Best Employer.

“For organisations that don’t win, but are aspiring to become Best Employers, we’re trying to drive home the whole idea that this is a journey. Becoming a Best Employer doesn’t happen overnight,” says Gabriela Domicelj, Asia-Pacific engagement leader and Best Employers Study lead at Aon Hewitt. “It’s possible for everyone to become a Best Employer. If you’ve articulated the destination you want to head to and you’ve planned your journey effectively, then anyone can get there.”

Participation in the survey brings a range of benefits for organisations. These include finding out how employees rate the company as an employer and how the company compares to its competitors in the market. This data is particularly useful in a tight labour market as it provides indications of why employees may leave and to which companies they may move. Participants will also gain access to Aon Hewitt’s latest research insights and best practices.

The 2013 study covers nine countries: China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand. Assessment is carried out by an external judging panel made up in each country by business professionals, academia and the media.

“The difference between this study and other engagement surveys available in Asia is that it measures four dimensions,” says Romy Serfaty, Aon Hewitt’s regional marketing lead for Asia. “It measures employee engagement of course, but also leadership effectiveness, the employer’s brand and high-performance culture. It does that by looking at the employees’ opinions as well as HR and leaders’ views. Sometimes, those three data sources are not aligned, which leaves ample opportunity for improvement.”

Those chosen as Best Employers can achieve double the profit growth of other organisations and score 20 percentage points more in employee-engagement levels. Best Employers have lower employee turnover and promote a significantly higher percentage of all employees – especially managers – internally. Last year’s Best Employer, JW Marriott Hong Kong, for example, has the lowest staff turnover rate in the Marriott’s global group.

“Our intentions are to provide insights into how to create real competitive advantage through the workforce, explore what makes a workplace of choice, and identify the organisations that we think get it right. We then want to share their stories in the interests of really raising the bar on talent management practices throughout Asia-Pacific,” Domicelj says.

Andy Leung, Aon Hewitt’s talent and organisation senior consultant and Best Employers project manager for Hong Kong, says he is seeing consistent improvement in the overall engagement level of not just Best Employers, but all participating companies. “This resonates with the concept of the ‘journey’ contributing to the evolution of employee engagement in the Hong Kong market,” he says.

Classified Post is the official media partner in Hong Kong of the Aon Hewitt Best Employers awards, which will be announced in May.

Domicelj believes that the Best Employer title can greatly enhance an organisation’s brand and that a compelling employer brand is critical. She adds that to ensure their brands are viable, companies need to ensure that their employee value proposition (EVP) is clearly communicated and measurable.

“You need to actually measure that the delivery is occurring,” she says. “A lot of organisations spend a lot of money, have a big party, have great taglines and posters, launch fantastic campaigns – and then nothing happens. If they haven’t aligned their practices and their leadership behaviour with that EVP, it’s worse than never having done anything, because you’ve set expectations very high but haven’t delivered on them.”


9 April    Judging day by 5 judges from HR, business, media and the academe
9 May     Best Employers Hong Kong 2013 Awards and Learning Conference
21 June  Best Employers 2013 Conference with Michael Page in Hong Kong

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