New and refreshing experiences can invigorate the mind and stimulate innovative thinking. Realising this, a growing number of companies are adopting a new approach, taking staff away from the office to encourage more effective brainstorming and team building sessions.
Wilson Shao, head of commercial and business development, Ngong Ping 360 Limited, affirms the new business opportunities for this employee development approach.
"Hong Kong has world class convention and exhibition facilities, and Ngong Ping 360 is presenting a new venue for such out-of-office meetings and social gatherings," he says.
With reference to Hong Kong's MICE (meeting, incentive, convention and exhibition) initiatives, which aim to make the city a preferred venue, Mr Shao recognises Ngong Ping's potential for a diverse range of corporate functions.
"Blessed with natural panoramic views, the tourist attraction hosts a comprehensive range of peripheral facilities. It is our objective to further fulfil our corporate social responsibility by contributing not only to the development of Hong Kong tourism but also that of the corporate world," he explains.
In light of this, the company is launching a new line of service —a corporate training and activity programme called "GET360", in partnership with training expert Vital Employee Service Consultancy.
Suen Lap-man, a Vital management consultant, remarks on the initiative: "It's a brand new concept. The natural environment of Ngong Ping enables visitors to relax and reflect on life, and this is key to self-discovery, priority realignment and career development."
The GET360 initiative adopts a holistic approach to staff development and advocates both physical and psychological well-being. Apart from a wide range of themed packages and workshops, training programmes are also tailored for specific needs.
A typical training schedule may include team building, stress management, emotional quotients management, Enneagrams, as well as workshops on creativity and interpersonal relationships.
"It effectively drives companies and employees to stay upbeat during stressful periods," says Mr Suen.
In contrast to traditional staff training methods, GET360 is not confined to workshops in air-conditioned classroom settings. Activities may include fishing net weaving and team building under the sun or making salted eggs with villagers.
"We often find out more about ourselves and others in novel environments and adventure experiences. Such knowledge benefits not only employees on a personal front, but also the companies as staff morale and quality are enhanced," notes Mr Suen.
Mr Shao supports the plan to leverage on the rich natural resources of Lantau Island. "Short excursions to Tai O and other attractions on the island provide refreshing travel experiences at relatively low cost. We should not be chained to one spot for staff development, so our programme venue extends beyond Ngong Ping to nearby destinations of natural and cultural interest." Moreover, it helps to invigorate the local tourism industry and create a win-win situation for Lantau residents.
To prepare for this new endeavour, Ngong Ping Village is now equipped with modern communication devices. "We have an office which provides business communication services, such as fax and internet access. Although participants are spending time on an outlying island, they can still enjoy the conveniences of modern communication," Mr Shao remarks, noting that a guest service team has been trained to assist participants.
Aside from this, the village is well prepared for corporate meetings and gatherings. For instance, Ngong Ping Garden Restaurant is a spacious 8,500-square-foot site with room for 380 guests, an ideal venue for many of the programme's activities. Mr Shao says: "The restaurant provides quality catering service and meeting essentials like projectors. Its space can be flexibly partitioned into smaller rooms for small group discussion."
With so much to offer, the GET360 initiative is expected to create interest in the corporate world.
"Leaving behind the hustle and bustle of the city, Ngong Ping 360 provides a unique experience for companies looking for a different environment with the right atmosphere to inspire and rejuvenate employees before they go back to their familiar environment," Mr Shao concludes.