17 November 2019
Employees need to be recognized for their contribution in ways that go beyond just an attractive salary. Photo: Bloomberg
Employees need to be recognized for their contribution in ways that go beyond just an attractive salary. Photo: Bloomberg

Attract and retain top performers

Hong Kong is the most competitive economy in the Asia-Pacific and the second in the world next to the United States, according to a recent IMD study.

As the gateway to China, and supported by world-class infrastructure and business efficiency, Hong Kong welcomes an increasing number of international, regional and local companies to establish their Asia base in the city.

Indeed, in Hong Kong’s highly competitive world of work, employers are challenged to attract and retain top performers, and maintain a strong leadership pipeline to achieve sustainable growth.

As such, employers need to keep their high performers engaged and maintain high levels of employee satisfaction.

Why employee satisfaction is important

Most employees go to work each day expecting and wanting to be productive. They need to be recognized for their contribution – in ways that go beyond just an attractive salary.

They want to work with managers who enable them to do their best. This is supported by Randstad Award 2015 research which found that poor leadership is a top factor which leads employees to look for a new job, and strong leadership is often a reason why they stay.

Organizations that are successful in retaining talent have leaders who are passionate about the importance of their people. They involve employees in their organizational strategies, inspire outstanding performance and deliver the most compelling employment experience.

Every organization is unique and has its own set of challenges. However, there are common core attributes that play an important role in attracting and retaining top talent.

Provide advancement opportunities

Randstad Award 2015 research found that career progression opportunities are a top factor for half of Hong Kong employees when choosing an employer.

It is not surprising then that top performers care much about their career and development opportunities.

They need to know they can start at entry level and move upwards, with the right career planning and appraisal systems in place.

Employers need to provide a clear roadmap for employees so they can visualize how they will climb up the corporate ladder as they continue to deliver quality work.

To help them get there, employers need to provide opportunities to fast-track high performers.

Develop programs for these employees to learn, perform and get feedback – sponsor them to attend industry conferences; provide on-the-job opportunities for them to lead projects and develop their leadership skills; assign an experienced mentor for each of them to soak up personal experiences and brush up their skill sets.

Offer a vibrant learning environment

Top performers strive for excellence. They want to work in an environment where they are exposed to new knowledge and can grow on the job.

Employers need to ensure their employees are constantly challenged. Assign new projects to employees and encourage innovative thinking, such as tasking them to identify a new business target and providing resources for them to pursue it.

Call for project evaluation meetings regularly to discuss how the team can work better together.

Similarly, allow the organization to learn by asking for feedback through regular employee surveys.

Conducting exit interviews with each departing employee will help the organization understand why people leave and enable employers to use this information to build effective retention strategies.

Encourage leadership

Invest in identifying and developing future leaders. Assign employees to lead project teams, commit time to regroup with them regularly and provide constructive feedback.

Not only will they appreciate the learning opportunities, they will also be committed to perform well on these tasks.

These top-performing leaders will contribute to the ongoing and future success of an organization as they grow alongside the company. These “homegrown” employees are also less likely to leave their organization as they have developed an emotional connection to the company.

Improving employee satisfaction and retention does not need to be an expensive exercise. Career growth, respect, appreciation, constructive feedback and being able to influence how work gets done are all powerful tools to retain and attract high-performing talent.

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Director, Randstad Hong Kong