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SCMP-CP’s Employer Branding Conference delivers the goods

With a full day of talks, best-practice sharing and networking, it was a gruelling but ultimately rewarding session for the almost 200 attendees at the first Employer Branding Conference jointly organised by the South China Morning Post and Classified Post, and solely sponsored by the Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC).

To promote learning and reflection, the morning session was packed with talent-related ideas from top speakers, while the afternoon focused on case studies and a panel discussion featuring blue-chip employers.

"You have to live and breathe your brand to be successful, which in our case is 'racing for charity'. We use our target audience and the community to gauge brand effectivity," HKJC director for HR and sustainability Mimi Cunningham said at the panel session, echoing the branding principles shared by the other speakers.

"We are not just a not-for-profit organisation, we are also a social enterprise... We support projects that make sense, and also promote community development and growth."

Cunningham pointed out that HKJC is the largest community contributor in Hong Kong, donating HK$1.95 billion to charities in 2012-2013 and reaching about 75 per cent of the city's population. It has nearly 20,000 part-timers - 75 per cent of its workforce.

"We nurture emotional bonding with the company," she said. "Through our Rising Star programme, we inculcate our corporate values, so we produce not just HKJC staff but also citizens who will be good for Hong Kong."

MTR Corporation HR director Morris Cheung said they treat their employees as brand ambassadors. "Through our 'Listening and Responding' programme, we empower our staff," he said.

Hong Kong Disneyland Resort vice-president for HR Christine Wong cited their 'Career Lattice' scheme allowing staff to explore internal career options. "If the child is happy, the family is happy."

Finally, Hang Seng Bank head of HR Louise Lam said their HR initiatives included mentoring and coaching, career counselling, on-the-job training, job rotation, workshops, bonding and caring, and volunteering.