Food: The new competitive benefit for employers in Hong Kong

By Brian Lo | Tuesday, 06 Aug 2019

 Finding the right talent and expertise is a major struggle for employers in Hong Kong. Last year, ManpowerGroup’s annual survey on talent shortages revealed that over three-quarters of Hong Kong employers (76%) find it difficult to fill jobs; and what’s more, 92% report that when compared to the previous year, the challenge of attracting talent has either stayed the same or become worse.

Of course, as any employer will tell you, hiring the right person is only half the battle. There’s also the challenge of keeping talented employees satisfied at work, which can be especially tough in a market like Hong Kong which is home to some of the longest working hours in the world. Indeed, one survey found that more than six in 10 employees in Hong Kong are unhappy at work, with nearly half saying they intended to change jobs in the next 12 months. And while the top reason for wanting to quit was money, the second most pressing drive to change roles was ‘environment and culture.’

If employers in Hong Kong hope to keep their people happy, they need new strategies that will have a real impact on environment, culture and employee happiness at work — and food is an essential part of that offering.  

There is a significant body of evidence that people prefer going to work when they know something delicious will be waiting there for them. One survey of over 1,000 professionals found that when they are offered food as a workplace perk, 54% of employees are more likely to stay with the company and 70% are more likely to recommend it as a great place to work. This will be no surprise to anyone who has spent a long day at the office — there’s nothing like a healthy, well-timed snack to help your body and mind power on and get the job done.  

But today, with practically every workplace offering a basic snack selection of chips, soda and chocolate bars, there is a real opportunity for businesses to differentiate themselves by providing more sophisticated and expansive food-based benefits at work. After all, the highly valuable segment of millennial talent have been called the “foodie generation obsessed with photographing their meals, in constant search of more daring flavours, and eager to be an active member of their surrounding culinary culture.

So sure, that fruit basket is great. But what about finding a corporate food service partner that could not only bring in bananas twice per week, but also offer access to a world of diverse and adventurous culinary choices? Hungry employees should have the opportunity to eat restaurant-quality food anytime, anywhere; and to choose the flavours and nutritional values that best meet their individual dietary needs.

The right food service partner is a truly competitive benefit for companies to attract and retain talent; especially when employees are able to make one-click meal payments with their set budget allowance and erase the time and hassle of traditional workplace meal expensing. Deliveroo for Business, for example, is heralding the end of wasted time and energy on saving and submitting a stack of receipts at the end of each month. Less administrative grunt work means employees can focus on the work they were hired to do — and enjoy a delicious meal while they’re doing it.

More convenient corporate food delivery and payment options in the office can even contribute to team-building, as eating great food together has been shown to make a measurable impact on motivation, morale and feelings of connectedness. In fact, a study from Cornell highlighted the benefits of eating with colleagues, with results showing that employees who eat meals together achieve a significantly better performance at work than those who choose to eat alone.

Thanks to technology and dining coming together in new ways, there are now myriad opportunities to leverage food as a workplace benefit to keep people happy. Whether it’s an after-hours dinner for one, an internal lunch for 40 colleagues or a three-day convention with hundreds of guests, having the right food service partner ready means employees can enjoy good food with less stress, and employers can take advantage of a key tool for maintaining a happy and stable workforce of talented people.  

Brian Lo

General Manager of Deliveroo Hong Kong

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