Money Moves

All-round training paves way for long-term success

by Ada Poon

Gordon Tsui
deputy general manager
Hantec Investment Holdings Limited
Photo: Johnson Poon

In today's business environment, soft skills are essential in driving the long-term success of a business. Hantec Investment Holdings Limited's firm belief in this is demonstrated in the emphasis in its management trainee (MT) programme.

Gordon Tsui, deputy general manager, Hantec Investment Holdings Limited, started the MT programme in 2004 in collaboration with the head of the human resources department, as part of the company's corporate citizenship efforts during the post-SARS period when the unemployment rate was high. "Hantec is a learning and caring enterprise, and knowledge sharing and talent building are highly valued," Dr Tsui says. "With strong support from senior management, the programme continues to develop high quality talent."

To secure one of only 10 vacancies this year candidates for the MT programme need to go through several rounds of selection, including a written test, a group interview and an individual interview. The programme is open for graduates from any discipline and the main criteria, according to Dr Tsui, is enthusiasm and passion about financial services.

MTs are oriented by the head of each department to learn about the entire organisation and then placed in two to three departments within two years, according to their interests and strengths. By shifting between roles and job natures, they can gain varied experience and identify the area that can best realise their potential.

A highlight of the MT programme is an overseas trip. Trainees visit branch offices, educational institutions, banks, partners, government departments, stock exchanges and other financial organisations to broaden their horizons and exposure to a diverse range of knowledge. Following visits to Taiwan and Beijing in the previous two years, the programme has extended its reach to New Zealand and Switzerland in 2007. "The trip brings invaluable experience to the team," Dr Tsui says. "Not only can they acquire better understanding about the financial business and operations in overseas markets, they can take the opportunity to network with people and learn about how people from other cultures interact with one another in a business context."

It is these kinds of soft skills that the programme aims at developing. Internal discussion sessions and mentorship meetings are regularly arranged for trainees to share their ideas and feelings. Trainees also have to produce an annual booklet by blending the efforts of every individual trainee across the different departments. This provides a platform to utilise their professional knowledge, as well as teamwork, creativity, collaboration and presentation skills. Upon completion of the programme a trainee can move from being an officer to a senior officer and may further develop to the managerial level, depending on performance and capabilities.

Dr Tsui says over 80 per cent of participants in the MT programme are still with the company, one factor leading Hantec to declare it a success. He encourages graduates with a passion for the financial services industry to apply and to demonstrate their dedication and determination. "Don't be afraid to go through challenges and hardships, as the dividends will be paid over the long haul," he concludes.

Taken from Career Times 20 July 2007, p. A2
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