Even amid the multiple challenges of the past few months, there has been time to step back and reflect. That has allowed the leaders of organisations in every sector to reevaluate plans and strategies.
And, more specifically, it has been a reminder of how vital a role HR professionals play in ensuring that essential operations and day-to-day management continue to function effectively in times of change or crisis.
To recognise that contribution and how it has helped to support the wider Hong Kong economy during the coronavirus pandemic, Classified Post is organising the “HR Appreciation Awards 2020”.
The aim of the event is to draw deserved attention to the efforts and actions of companies which have shown the way in terms of best HR practice and demonstrated invention or ingenuity in sidestepping problems, finding solutions, and generally keeping everything on target.
The awards are focusing on three main categories: compensation and benefits, training and development; and impact as a business partner. In assessing candidates and picking winners, the judges will consider factors relevant to all-round company performance, as well as steps taken to promote creativity and sustainability or providing other obvious benefits for stakeholders, clients or staff.
There is also a special award for initiatives taken to combat the effects of Covid-19. Here, the judges will be looking for instances of HR managers coordinating effective work-from-home arrangements, spreading the message about hygiene, and helping frontline teams cope with changing circumstances. One hoped-for outcome is that the stories told can also serve as examples and inspiration for other companies in the months ahead, thereby setting new standards and having a far-reaching impact.
One of the judges, Alex Ho, the Vice President of Circulation, Recruitment and Services for SCMP Publishers, notes that the number of nominations received has far exceeded initial expectations.
“That is exciting to see,” Ho says. “The awards are a chance to acknowledge the tremendous efforts made by so many professionals during a difficult year. But they will also show how the role of HR is changing and that it now requires innovation, awareness, and the ability to drive effective strategies.”
Felix Yip, Associate Director (Consultancy Service) at the Centre for Human Resources Strategy and Development at Hong Kong Baptist University’s School of Business, echoes that sentiment. He adds too that HR practitioners have a key part in making sure organisations remain competitive in an ever more intense business environment.
“They motivate employees to perform and develop, while also knowing how to balance the needs of long-term sustainability and short-term survival,” Yip says. “As business partners and talent managers, they provide valuable services and advice, helping to build a stronger employer brand, enhanced competencies, and more engaged teams.”
Fellow judge Mak Mei-yee, President of the Hong Kong Small and Medium Enterprises Association, notes that the last year has really highlighted the wide variety of tasks HR professionals now perform. Each of these has a direct impact on individuals and, through them, on the success of an organisation, however that may be measured.
“By looking after the most valuable business asset - people - HR departments make a difference and affect outcomes,” Mak says. “In effectively managing human capital, they must look at the big picture to contribute to the system, planned effort to build a stable, dynamic workforce.”
For Eliza Ng, Chief People and Culture Officer for the Hong Kong Productivity Council, the awards are a great opportunity to acknowledge the importance of these diverse responsibilities and look to the future.
“HR can enable business growth by developing standards, repeatable systems, processes and capabilities that make it faster and easier for a company to enter new markets and integrate acquisitions,” Ng says. “There is also room to develop new staffing models for a modern workforce that requires offshore talent, contingent workers, and global mobility. HR professionals can pave the way for strategic growth through forward-thinking decisions relating to recruitment, compensation, talent management, training, and employee experience.”
All awards will be presented to winners in March.