ORGANISATIONS IN HONG KONG SAR MUST ADAPT THEIR PEOPLE STRATEGY POST COVID-19
While organisations in Hong Kong continue to brave against the hurdles presented by COVID-19, successful containment efforts have resulted in most businesses operating at full capacity. But while professionals are back at work, it is vital that organisations understand that their expectations and perceptions of organisations have been transformed by the COVID-19 crisis. In order to attract and retain the very best talent in the new era of work, businesses must adapt their approach to attracting, engaging and motivating professionals, says the CEO of recruiting experts, Hays.
Potential and existing employees will now expect different things from organisations, and this shift will require businesses to change their existing people strategies. Hays CEO, Alistair Cox, states that while it doesn’t necessarily mean a complete overhaul of current strategies, the way in which companies’ look to attract professionals will need to be altered in a number of fundamental ways.
Alistair provides examples of how the talent attraction and retention landscape has changed due to the crisis. For instance, and their . The availability and a many existing roles have evolved, with entirely new ones being created. Lastly, i who were previously considering changing jobs may have decided to stay with their current employer for the foreseeable future instead.
Alistair shared some of the of the trends that have been bubbling away in the background for quite some time, however, as he says, “The coronavirus pandemic, and the monumental changes that have come with it, have spurred the acceleration of these trends. So, if you haven’t given them much thought or focus before, now is the time to focus your attention.”
A company’s purpose is their reason for being and even before the pandemic there was a growing need for brands to define, articulate and embed their purpose into their business to attract and retain the best talent.
Alistair explains, “Even before the crisis, we were seeing a marked shift in professionals feeling increasingly compelled to join purpose-driven organisations that were aligned to their personal values. After all, while there was a lot of good in the world before the pandemic, there was still a lot that needed to be fixed, and, increasingly, we as humans felt personally accountable to play our part in the solution. This inclination has only got stronger over the past few months.”
The crisis has caused people to re-evaluate what really matters to them and as a result Alistair urges organisations to consider whether their purpose needs to shift in light of the crisis, including realigning their brand messages, and clearly demonstrating how they live their values both internally and externally.
Alistair advises, “A strong, clearly articulated, ‘lived’ organisational purpose will help ensure the best people choose your organisation, not another. It can also bring your newly hybrid teams together and form a ‘rallying cry’, reinforcing a feeling of togetherness that will be so crucial in engaging and retaining talent in the next era of work.”
The culture of an organisation is its personality, it’s what makes it different from others. It’s what attracts talent and makes people want to stay with businesses. However, Alistair says company culture is fragile and requires employees to keep it alive.
Many organisations will have put culture at the centre of their COVID-19 strategy, Alistair offers this example, “I firmly believe that it’s been our strong Hays culture, which we’ve built over many years, that has helped to get us through this. It’s given us a “North Star” to guide our actions in a fast-changing and uncharted world. It’s been at the core of how we have taken decisions, asking ourselves whether those decisions fit our values of who we are. It’s given freedom to our people around the world to act and react as circumstances change so much and so rapidly.”
There will be key elements of a company’s culture that may now need to be accentuated, especially as many organisations move into a hybrid way of working. This will include d
Many professionals will be worried about their jobs post-crisis, which has the potential to negatively impact their health and work. Alistair says businesses must make sure their employees see a secure future with their organisation.
Alistair advises, “Where possible, don’t neglect or put any pre-crisis promotion plans on hold. Revamp your traditional performance metrics and what ‘good looks like’ in a post-COVID world. Be transparent about your strategic plans for the future and make it clear how each person fits into the bigger picture. Give your people the freedom and autonomy to craft their roles and pursue their passions. Over time, all of this will build confidence in you as an employer.”
Lockdown and the need to work remotely has shown organisations and business leaders that their employees are capable of working from home. Alistair says that he expects to see a permanent shift to more remote working where physically possible, providing professionals with the freedom to work from wherever they want to. However, there is extensive research that shows humans often operate better when together in a physical community.
Alistair says, “The trick for smart employers then is to navigate a fine balance between these two extremes and find the right way for the business and its productivity, with the needs of each individual employee. If you’re not prepared to - or can’t offer that balance - then you will be on the backfoot from a talent attraction and retention point of view, post-pandemic. Important too, is the need to provide resources and equipment for your people to be able to work healthily and productively remotely, so this is another piece of the puzzle that needs considering.”
Organisations must also consider that some of the traditional employee benefits they offered prior to the pandemic may not be possible to deliver anymore, and others just won’t be seen as valuable. A prime example of this is business travel, as the frequency in the new world is likely to decrease considerably. Financial incentives may not be possible in the same way either, as businesses manage their cost base.
Alistair offers this advice, “Think about the types of benefits that are possible to deliver, and will resonate in the next era of work. As we work our way through this crisis, we have started to see this movement happen already, with some businesses , providing access to mental health and wellbeing apps. It’s likely this trend of revamping existing employee benefits packages will continue as organisations battle to attract and retain talent in the next era of work. As individuals reassess what’s important in their lives, business class travel, company car schemes and money might start to play a subservient role to wellbeing, freedom and accountability to run our own lives, or opportunities to learn and better ourselves.”
The pandemic has accelerated the digitalisation of the workplace as everything has been done remotely. Alistair says that within Hays, that has included interviewing candidates, accepting job offers and onboarding new employees into clients. This trend is only expected to increase as we enter a new hybrid working world.
Alistair says, “This presents some challenges to you as an employer, as you strive to attract the best talent to help you navigate an uncertain world. But these challenges can be overcome with some careful thought and planning.”
Alistair says businesses must consider h
Alistair closes by saying that just as professionals have been transformed by the pandemic, so must the approach of businesses in order to continuing to attract and retain the very best talent. “They might be the same physical people, but they now need something different to before, and do you know what that is? And can you give them it? After all, your organisation is nothing without its people, and no earth-shattering crisis will ever change that fact.”
This content was originally published as a LinkedIn Influencer blog.
About Hays Hong Kong SAR
Hays Specialist Recruitment Hong Kong is the one of the leading specialist recruitment companies in Hong Kong SAR in recruiting qualified, professional and skilled people across a wide range of industries and professions.
Hays has been in Hong Kong SAR for over a decade and boasts a track record of success and growth. We operate across the private and public sector, dealing in permanent, temporary and contracting positions in the following specialisms: Accountancy & Finance, Banking & Financial Services, Construction, Digital Technology, Engineering, Finance Technology, Human Resources, Information Technology, Insurance, Legal, Life Sciences, Marketing & Digital, Office Professionals, Property, Procurement, Supply Chain and Sales. Hays Hong Kong SAR has been awarded the “Best Workplace for Women™” and one of the ‘Best Workplaces™ in Greater China 2019’ by Great Place to Work®.
Hays plc (the "Group") is a leading global professional recruiting group. The Group is the expert at recruiting qualified, professional and skilled people worldwide, being the market leader in the UK and Asia Pacific and one of the market leaders in Continental Europe and Latin America. The Group operates across the private and public sectors, dealing in permanent positions, contract roles and temporary assignments. As at 31 December 2019 the Group employed 11,600 staff operating from 266 offices in 33 countries across 20 specialisms. For the year ended 30 June 2019:
- the Group reported net fees of £1,129.7 million and operating profit (pre-exceptional items) of £248.8 million;
- the Group placed around 81,000 candidates into permanent jobs and around 254,000 people into temporary assignments;
- 18% of Group net fees were generated in Australia & New Zealand, 27% in Germany, 23% in United Kingdom & Ireland and 32% in Rest of World (RoW);
- the temporary placement business represented 57% of net fees and the permanent placement business represented 43% of net fees;
- Hays operates in the following countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Chile, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UAE, the UK and the USA