Pushing the limits

by Nicolette Wong

Ngong Ping 360 - Recruitment, staff training and engagement of Lantau cable car attraction
Bonnie Lau, head of human resources and corporate services
Ngong Ping 360
Photo: Edde Ngan

Competent staff are the cornerstone of Lantau cable car attraction

As one of Hong Kong's most popular tourist destinations, Ngong Ping 360 believes it crucial to provide the best possible service. This mission also features strongly in the company's recruitment strategies.

"Our aim is to encourage a culture of continuous improvement by enhancing the knowledge and competence of our team," says Bonnie Lau, head of human resources and corporate services, Ngong Ping 360.

The company determines its recruitment needs in accordance with different stages of business expansion and market development. One way to attract quality frontline staff is by maintaining close ties with the general community and initiatives such as regular recruitment activities at community centres, where on-the-spot applications are welcomed.

Recruitment advertising─both in print publications and via a range of online platforms─is an important marketing tool to raise the company's profile. Staff referrals are another important aspect. "Employees often refer their friends and family members to apply to us, because of the potential to develop long-term careers with Ngong Ping 360," Ms Lau notes.

The firm has a competency-based approach to recruitment and HR personnel carefully evaluate the key selection criteria, including the attributes and qualities needed for specific roles. Ngong Ping 360 also conducts ongoing analyses of job applications received and fine-tunes its use of recruitment channels based on their effectiveness.

Training and orientation

The company has a diverse workforce and staff is immersed in the Ngong Ping 360 culture through training, which is geared towards developing human potential in line with company growth. New staff undergo orientation that familiarises them with the company's culture, services, products and promotions. Frontline workers, for example ticketing staff, have to be knowledgeable about products, since they are vital to providing a full spectrum of guest services. Cable car operators receive comprehensive technical training and sit qualification examinations to ensure that they are up to speed with all aspects of the job.

Potential managers receive soft skills coaching on problem solving, supervisory skills and report writing. Tailored training modules cater to specific job functions, including engineering, human resources and finance. Ngong Ping 360 also collaborates with industry organisations to run seminars and external courses for staff. "We're planning to launch an extramural education subsidy for staff in the near future," Ms Lau adds.

In May, Ngong Ping 360 introduced its in-house People Development Programme, which allows department heads to nominate high potential staff for senior management training. The human resources department has been conducting thorough skills assessments and looking at areas for improvement to draw up learning projects and other tasks for next year's applicants. The next round of assessments for the next tier will begin towards the end of this year.

The extensive investment in training pays off, since teams are highly driven, Ms Lau says. The company surveys customer satisfaction on a quarterly basis, and there are also a "mystery shopper" programme and other evaluations of customer service standards. Departmental briefings and coaching help to maintain staff morale and annual appraisals also measure individual performances.

Staff engagement

It is vital that a strong sense of commitment be fostered among the fairly young workforce, Ms Lau stresses. Staff must be willing to take responsibility and want to achieve and grow with the company. An open-door policy ensures that all team members can approach their managers for discussions or support. This helps to build strong relationships between employees on all levels, she adds.

Employee engagement is a high priority. The Achieving Business Breakthrough Success Scheme awards team members who meet the business or operations targets set by their departments. The Smart Ideas Scheme encourages staff to submit their suggestions about possible workplace improvements or other issues to management. "For example, a member from the operations team wrote a computer programme to identify the location of a cabin in operation. This is greatly helpful, both in terms of operations and services," says Ms Lau.

A number of rewards are in place to recognise staff achievements. The VMV Stars programme honours staff members who exemplify the company's values of quality service, diligence and pride in their work. Prize-winners receive their awards at the annual Christmas party. Staff members are also encouraged and supported to take part in industry competitions. "Our people recognise that their company is investing in their development and they're proud to be with us," Ms Lau concludes.

High flyers

  • Team members are immersed in the Ngong Ping 360 culture
  • Staff with potential are nominated for the People Development Programme
  • The company surveys customer satisfaction on a quarterly basis
  • A number of rewards are in place to recognise staff achievements

Taken from Career Times 21 September 2012, B2

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