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Electricity firm relies on people power

Published on Friday, 11 Dec 2009
(From left) Daniel Chu, Vincent To and Victor Lam have high regard for the company's development programme.
Photo: Ricky Chung

The city's largest electricity supplier, CLP Power, has established a series of people development initiatives. They are tailored to train employees through a structured and systematic approach to boost professional knowledge and technical skills in the electricity and energy industry.

The company believes that internal training is the best way to maintain a highly qualified and professional workforce.

"Many companies adopt the 'buy' strategy for maintaining their workforce, but CLP adopts the 'make' strategy for talent development," said Daniel Chu, human resources manager of the power systems business group. "Our people development initiatives help us develop a pool of young talent to meet succession requirements."

The people development initiatives established by CLP include cross-business groups or department job rotations, management seminars and training, development projects, an adviser/advisee programme, job shadowing and external exchange programmes.

"The job rotation programme helps move employees out of their comfort zone," Chu said. "When they widen their scope and broaden their network, they will realise their different abilities, thus their confidence will increase." The management seminars and training programme include the CLP Business Elite Forum launched in 2007. This forum invites large corporations to share their keys to success, which helps enhance employees' ability to work in a competitive environment.

"Employees learn how to leverage on competition and risks so that they can equip themselves with a competitive advantage," Chu said. "They are able to learn how to align different business groups, how to motivate each other and how to leverage creativity and new practices."

The Business Elite Forum covers topics such as leadership in a competitive environment, relationship management, champion mindset, Chinese and Western thought on change and value creation through alignment.

CLP has also developed a "cultivating oneself and improving business series" that helps employees align personal goals with the company's directions. It helps employees enhance their communication skills, improve personal effectiveness and financial knowledge, achieve work-life balance and business etiquette exercises that provide advice on ways to improve physical appearance and mix-and-match their clothes to provide a professional image.

Since the establishment of the initiatives, 60 experienced engineers from different departments have been chosen based on assessment tools, job performance and recommendation from managers to join the adviser/advisee programme out of which 27 have already graduated.

"The programme lasts two to three years as many of the competencies cannot be achieved overnight," Chu said. "The development is not limited to training; advisees can participate in various action-learning activities."

The adviser/advisee programme focuses on development on the seven core competencies - shared vision, strategic thinking, leadership, decisiveness, relationship management, talent development and result oriented, with SMART targets, namely specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timed.

Experienced managers are appointed to be the adviser of the programme and are responsible for tracking the advisee's programme on a half-yearly basis.

"The advisers provide a lot of options to advisees who are at a crossroads," Chu said. "The sharing of the advisers' experience is a good opportunity for advisees to further develop their knowledge and skills."

Thirty employees were chosen to join the job shadowing programme that helps colleagues understand a manager's role and daily duties through a one-day job shadowing a manager of a different department.

"Our colleagues always see their department head but never have the chance to understand their daily duties," said Vincent To, special projects engineer, people development group. "Through the one-day attachment, our colleagues were able to learn more about leadership and management skills."

Furthermore, nine employees were chosen to go to an external exchange programme to share their experience and learn about the business model of a company in a different environment. Five employees went to EnergyAustralia and four went to Gammon Construction.

"The overseas staff exchange programme helped broaden my horizons and enrich my knowledge," said Victor Lam, graduate of the people development programme and senior business process engineer, asset management, power systems business group.

Under control 

  • CLP adopts the "make" strategy for talent development and promotes staff to managerial positions rather than recruiting externally
  • The initiatives include six programmes aimed at developing management competencies and technical skills
  • The people development initiatives has completed 52 job rotations, 30 job shadowing and nine secondment to local or overseas companies


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