Money Moves

The leadership that makes all the difference

by Isabella Lee

Florence Ng, vice president
human resources and general administration
New York Life Insurance Worldwide Ltd
Photo: Lewis Wong
A corporate culture that focuses on training and developing staff competence is a prerequisite for organisations wanting to attract the best talent and achieve top results in business.

In view of this, New York Life Insurance Worldwide Ltd (New York Life Hong Kong) has adopted a number of initiatives and programmes on people development and makes this a competitive advantage of both the company and the employees.

"Our management team stresses the importance of outstanding talent and leadership development as one of our strategic principles," says Florence Ng, vice president, human resources and general administration, New York Life Insurance Worldwide Ltd. "Our team fits well into the New York Life learning culture, which creates a win-win situation for everyone. For this reason, we're able to move forward towards our business goals while our employees grow in terms of skills, knowledge and professionalism."

In particular, the company's all-encompassing approach to staff training and development ensures that policies are in place to cater for the varying needs of staff at different levels. For instance, its first-rate "LEAD" programme, launched in September 2009, targets outstanding talent in a major move to foster leadership and management skills.

Based on individual participants' development needs and career aspirations, the inaugural programme, which lasts 18 months, immerses 20 employees in a series of ongoing training, coaching, mentoring and sharing sessions.

A number of tools under the "LEAD" programme have been designed to enhance specific skills. Management skills, for example, are polished at tailor-made workshops.

LEAD participants are also given the opportunity to obtain insight into how different divisions operate through meticulously formulated "action-learning projects", during which staff members from different departments work together to achieve a common goal.

"We believe that people benefit a great deal from the guidance and advice of more experienced colleagues. We therefore assign senior executives to mentor and coach the LEAD participants. Our CEO also plays an active role in the programme, regularly attending lunch meetings to communicate with them and exchange ideas," adds Ms Ng.

New York Life Hong Kong also has a Strategy Alignment Programme aimed at enhancing middle managers' strategic thinking skills. The programme cultivates a sense of achievement by directly involving them in formulating company strategies.

The company's efforts have paid dividends. It was recently presented a "Manpower Developer 1st" award by the Employees Retraining Board. The accolade is intended to inculcate a culture of manpower development, raise awareness of the importance of life-long and on-the-job learning and recognise outstanding employers in the area of people development.

"The recognition has served as great encouragement for all our staff, the management team and the company," says Ms Ng. "The award belongs to everyone that has contributed to New York Life Hong Kong's learning culture and we will continue to nurture people who aspire to developing a career with us."

Taken from Career Times 18 June 2010, A4
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