IT / Telecom

Awarded employer responsive to staff aspirations

by Aldric Chau

Mimi Choy, director
talent management
Hong Kong Broadband Network Ltd
City Telecom (HK) Limited
Photo: Courtesy of CTI

Leader in telecommunications answers the call for enhanced retention strategies

Today's employment market is firmly in jobseekers' favour and companies are having to work especially hard to maintain a talented workforce.

City Telecom (HK) Limited (CTI), a market leader in the telecommunications industry, is keeping its staff happy by providing them with a simulating and rewarding environment, plus the implementation of some employee-oriented talent management policies.

Mimi Choy, director of talent management at CTI as well as its wholly-owned subsidiary Hong Kong Broadband Network Ltd, believes that prior to formulating retention policies, a company must identify the various reasons why employees would decide to resign. "At CTI we have found the pursuit of new experiences is the major reason," she says. "Since the majority of our employees are young and energetic, we completely understand their aspirations — they are still deciding what they want to do with their life."

Fortunately, a large number of these people later return to the company and then stay on to develop long and fruitful careers. "We see this as extremely positive," Ms Choy says. "Not only do we get a talented person back on our team but we are able to benefit from the experience he or she gained elsewhere. Moreover, it shows that our talent management policies and total work environment are more desirable than other companies."

Innovative policies

CTI aims to continuously enhance its talent management policies. For instance, it was among the first companies in Hong Kong to adopt the five-day workweek policy, and remains today one of the few employers who provide paternity leave as a standard staff benefit. It also follows a smart casual dress code to help employees feel relaxed and comfortable while working. "Providing attention and care for our employees and keeping them happy is the basic rationale behind all our retention policies," Ms Choy says. "This has also led us to set up the staff engagement department."

Established two years ago, the staff engagement department comprises three distinctive divisions: talent management, learning & development, as well as administration. As an entity, it focuses on providing all-round services to CTI employees. "We want to provide more than just a job," Ms Choy explains. "Our staff take the initiative and have the ultimate say in creating a career and so receive many opportunities for personal and professional growth. For example, we organise a regular reading day where we conduct group study projects on business practices and leadership experience."

Other in-house training programmes include technical skills workshops and classroom training sessions for soft skills like language and effective presentation. There are also on-the-job training initiatives such as a "Your voice, our action" programme which provides opportunities for IT professionals to try something new and gain a more comprehensive understanding of the company's operation. "This programme was implemented as a result of our research into why employees had left in the past. The opportunities to move around within the company give aspirants a chance to find their niche," Ms Choy says.

The company also encourages and financially supports staff who take part in further education programmes offered by external institutions. Currently, a number of the company's employees are taking EMBA programmes through local universities. The company also organises onsite visits to world-class IT companies such as IBM and Oracle. To offer staff greater industry exposure, various exchange programmes are also in place. Staff participating in such programmes have the opportunities to learn about and observe the operations of partner companies like The Hong Kong Jockey Club.

Moving on

Jessie Chan, director of IT and business support systems
Hong Kong Broadband Network Ltd
Photo: Johnson Poon
Jessie Chan, director of IT and business support systems at Hong Kong Broadband Network Ltd says that the job rotation opportunities alone have helped keep a number of top notch talents with the company. "Recently we had an engineer rotate into the marketing department and he is extremely satisfied in his new position. Moreover, we have received positive feedback about his early achievements," Ms Chan adds.

Seeking hard numbers to back up anecdotal evidence such as this, CTI has developed key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure employee performance and subsequently the effectiveness of the company's policies. The KPIs vary across departments to keep them relevant to job duties, responsibilities and expectations.

Reflecting the outstanding effort the company has put in to keeping its employees happy on the job, CTI was winner for "Best Retention Strategies" at the Hong Kong HR Awards 2007 and a finalist in the "best talent management" category.

"We believe our policies are second to none and it is gratifying to receive accolades such as these which support our view," Ms Choy says. "More satisfying, however, is the positive feedback we obtain from our employees and the opportunity to work together in a great team."


Taken from Career Times 18 April 2008
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