Sharmini Wainwright is managing director of Michael Page & Page Personnel Hong Kong. With over 13 years’ experience with PageGroup, she oversees specialist recruitment across finance, financial services, sales & marketing, legal and more.
Moving offers opportunity
Due to rising rents, our company is splitting offices. Everyone is jockeying to stay in Central instead of moving to Kowloon Bay. I’m afraid many of my underlings who are Gen Y may look for a job elsewhere as they prefer Hong Kong Island. How can I entice them to stay? The new location is really not a bad one and is in a very up-and-coming neighbourhood.
Rising property costs have many victims. It sounds like you fear your team may be next. Moving office locations can sometimes be slightly more dramatic and emotional for employees than the leadership team think. At times, Gen Y individuals are not as adaptable and flexible as one would expect.
Working on Hong Kong Island can be more attractive as it’s the epicentre of the corporate world in the city and has greater access to restaurants and entertainment options.
The risk is that the highest level of turnover will be at the entry level in your team, as those with a medium-term perspective – your team members who feel they have the opportunity to progress their career – are likely to stay with the company and be part of the journey.
We have seen companies that move to Kowloon Bay often find they have a much larger and more attractive office space than they would have had on the Island. This fact then spreads through word-of-mouth and the initial negativity employees had becomes a massive positive from an employer and brand perspective.
However, it is also healthy for you to assume you’ll have some attrition, as every office move does. This gives you the opportunity to identify new staff who want to work with the organisation.
I’ve also seen some good practices implemented by organisations undergoing a move, such as offering transport options and a fun campaign leading up to it that encourages everyone to get involved and understand the benefits of relocating. Others offer a small retention bonus to reward individuals who stay six to nine months after the office move.
It may encourage reluctant employees to try the new arrangement.