Hong Kong has an insatiable appetite for talent, and with our economy enjoying practically full employment, finding skills has become something of a challenge for many businesses. Mercer helps companies to attract, develop and retain staff by connecting HR strategy to the bottom line.
The company employs more than 20,000 staff all over the world, and specializes in human resources consulting and relative services. “Mercer provides a great variety of services, but our four areas of focus are talent, health, retirement and investment,” explained Sue Reekie, Managing Director and Market Development Leader for Mercer Hong Kong.
Clients generally have different requirements, so her staff tailor make programmes to suit their individual requirements and offer advice on helping staff grow their skills and experience. For example, it might suggest one of its clients organize a workshop to raise the quality and productivity of staff.
“Our consultants love data!” said Reekie. “Our consultants read through and analyse the data given by clients, then provide appropriate solutions.”
The biggest challenge for Hong Kong companies is managing the “employment cycle” – meaning a company employs the right person but loses them quickly and so has to go through the recruitment process again.
“For example, a 20-year-old woman might not be looking for the same things from her job as a 50-year-old. Different generations in the workforce are looking for different things. They have different aspirations and needs, and as such respond differently to various incentives. That is when Mercer looks at various solutions for the company, because they need to get to the root of any problem.”
Reekie said the battle for talent in Hong Kong is much keener than in other cities, which partly explains why some companies are reluctant to invest in training, as the chances of staff moving to another company are high. However, employers need to understand that different generations have different expectations and demands. Fresh graduates may simply want to get a little work experience in various companies, while senior staff may be looking for a stable job or a good remuneration package.
Planning for the future
Retirement services are a core element of Mercer’s services. As the population is aging, Reekie said it is essential that companies offer an attractive scheme to attract more talent to work and stay with the company.
In many countries legislation drives the retirement agenda – but this is less the case in Hong Kong. However, employers can promote their retirement benefits to employees and there is an opportunity in the market to offer retirement solutions that offer greater flexibility to members.
With its global view, Mercer can see what best HR practices are effective in various countries and introduce them to other regions. For example, in Hong Kong and the rest of Asia, many companies are expanding very rapidly, requiring them to move employees through leadership positions much more quickly. Mercer is working with its clients to provide tailored leadership development support for the challenges this brings.
The younger generation is also pushing this trend, as they are eager to get promoted. “This is where Mercer can offer sound advice to companies on innovative approaches to engaging their best young staff,” she said.
In Asia, Mercer organizes “Tiger” and “Dragon” training programmes, which involves rotating young executives’ locations and duties so that they can grow into well-rounded executives. Reekie is a classic example of the value of varied international experience, as she was posted to Hong Kong in 2012 to manage Mercer’s operation here, after working for many years with clients in Europe, North America and the Asia-Pacific region.
“Having such international exposure is a definite advantage for me, which also increases the competitiveness of Mercer. And of course, we like to practise what we preach,” she said.
Company: Mercer (Hong Kong) Ltd
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