HK Companies Falling Behind on Employee Strategies

Hong Kong companies are falling behind their counterparts in Asia’s fast-growing economies in adopting employee strategies to distinguish themselves and demonstrate why they are a great place to work, thereby increasing the risk of reduced employee engagement and poorer business performance, according to a survey conducted by professional services company Towers Watson.

The survey shows that companies with a strategic approach to what it calls their Employee Value Proposition (EVP) and Total Rewardsface fewer challenges attracting and retaining key employees. As well, they are seven times more likely to have employees that are highly engaged and three times as likely to see financial performance significantly above their peers.

Fast-growing Asia Pacific markets are progressive and investing more effort in defining and delivering on EVP. Close to half (46%) of organisations surveyed have a formally articulated EVP, whereas in Hong Kong, a developed market, only 38% of organization did.

In Hong Kong, only 33% of the organisations say that their EVP is clearly aligned with what the company stands for in the marketplace, compared to 44% for fast-growing Asia Pacific markets. However, only 7% of the organizations in Hong Kong agree that their EVP is clearly different or stands out from other organizations with whom they compete for talent, compared to 28% in fast-growing markets. This might be explained by Hong Kong companies not being able to segment their EVPs. Figures do point to this conclusion as only 15% of organisations in Hong Kong have customised EVPs compared to 26% in fast-growing markets. Segmenting EVP means having different value proposition and total rewards programs for different segments of the employee population to tailor to the unique needs and preferences of employees.

A company’s Employee Value Proposition is a critical factor in hiring, retaining and getting the most out of staff – it articulates how an employer is unique, offers a great workplace, and why it attracts and retains great people. This would include a sound Total Rewards strategy covering good management, training, career advancement, good reputation, and good rewards package within the business sector. It includes a strong brand. As the name suggests, rewards comprises fixed, variable and nonmonetary elements, including salary, bonuses, pension, benefits and annual leave.

“The notion of having a formal employee value proposition is still relatively new for many organisations in Asia Pacific, including in Hong Kong and interestingly we find organisations in fast-growing markets are more likely than those in developed markets to have a clear EVP in place,” said Jeffrey Tang, Director of Talent & Rewards at Towers Watson Hong Kong. “The challenging talent markets in these fast-growing economies are a possible reason cause for their early adoption.”

The study also emphasizes that communication is an important but often neglected component of a strong EVP and Total Rewards strategy. Companies need to articulate the EVP clearly so that it is well understood by employees. The design and strategy of Total Rewards need to be explained to employees so that they can appreciate the full value of what the company is intending to provide.

The study surveyed 1,605 companies worldwide on their workforce management and employee rewards practices, including 796 companies from Asia Pacific – 289 from developed markets and 507 from fast-growing markets.

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