The challenges of the past year have highlighted once again the important role played by HR (human resources) professionals across the world of business.
We have seen how their expertise and dedication have helped companies in every sector continue to operate with minimal disruption by anticipating problems, implementing contingency plans, adapting where necessary, and ensuring employees are kept fully in the picture.
To acknowledge outstanding efforts in maintaining productivity – and morale - during difficult times, Classified Post is proud to organise and present the “HR Appreciation Awards 2020”.
The prime aim of the awards is to recognise companies which have done notable work, not just in demonstrating best HR practice, but also by going the extra mile.
The focus is on the three key areas: compensation and benefits; training and development; and impact as a business partner. The judging of these categories will take due account of contribution to business performance, as well as factors such as creativity and innovation, sustainability, and benefits to stakeholders.
For the specific awards, consideration will be given to things like work-life balance, wellness programmes, management trainee schemes, continuous learning, CSR initiatives and employee engagement.
This year, there will also be a special award to draw attention to the changes and arrangements different types of organisation had to make as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The winners’ stories are expected to illustrate how HR managers helped to decide on essential measures and were able to unite employees in fighting the virus. Here, the judges will look for examples of effective work-from-home arrangements and flexible working hours, as well as transport subsidies and the ready supply of protective masks and sanitisers.
Besides giving well-deserved recognition for recent actions and initiatives, the organisers hope the awards can also be a force to drive ongoing improvement. By creating a new forum to assess and compare industry practices, and enabling a broader exchange of information and ideas, there is indeed every reason to think companies can keep setting the bar higher.
“This is the first year for the awards, but there has already been an overwhelming response,” says Alex Ho, Vice President, Circulation, Recruitment and Services for SCMP Publishers, who is also one of the judges. “Overall, the entries have shown creativity and innovation plus real awareness of the need to create a pleasant employee experience. The role of HR professionals has changed over the years from supporting business operations to driving growth through effective strategies for hiring, retention and talent development. These awards are a chance to acknowledge the tremendous efforts made.”
Fellow judge Virginia Choi, Managing Consultant and Country Manager for Tamty McGill Consultants International, also notes that HR teams have had to change their range of competencies as business methods and expectations have evolved. Now, for instance, they must be familiar with concepts like “quantum leadership”, crisis management and positive thinking. And while dealing with the knock-on effects of the coronavirus in terms of health, well-being and safety, when necessary they still had to think of staff as “human capital” in the context of budgets and organisational planning.
“In other respects, the pandemic has definitely accelerated the digital transformation of HR,” says Derek Wu, Executive Vice President, Global Human Resources, for Lee Kum Kee. “With teams working remotely worldwide, it has become essential for HR professionals to incorporate technology in everything from learning and development programmes to employee engagement. The awards will show the unique role they play in driving positive change, creating both short-term value and future readiness.”
Another judge, Vicki Fan, Chief Executive of Mercer HK, emphasises that people are still the greatest asset and the backbone of any organisation.
“When HR strategies are aligned with a company’s broader goals and objectives, it improves business performance and develops a culture that nurtures innovation, flexibility and competitive advantage,” she says.
The awards will be presented to winners in March, which will be an opportunity to celebrate successes and share examples of current best practice with Hong Kong’s leading HR practitioners.