Date
26 May 2017
Derek Lai says Deloitte has hired a professional speed-dating company to organize social gatherings for staff. Photos: HKEJ, internet
Derek Lai says Deloitte has hired a professional speed-dating company to organize social gatherings for staff. Photos: HKEJ, internet

Could speed dating work as a staff retention tool?

If you hear your staff complain about never-ending work hours, you can make them feel like they never left home or came to the office at all.

Accounting firm Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu took things even further — it introduced speed dating and made sure its employees have a social life.

Regional managing partner Derek Lai says Deloitte has hired a professional speed-dating company to organize social gatherings for staff.

The purpose is to enlarge the employees’ social circle by inviting other professionals such as lawyers, bankers and engineers.

It might sound a bit odd that one of the big four auditors is offering an extra incentive to recruit, and more importantly to retain, talent. It should have no problem doing both.

Then again, the accounting industry is notorious for long hours, sometimes 12 hours for a new hire in the first two years.

Deloitte typically hires 300 to 400 fresh graduates each year. Last year, it paid new employees HK$13,000 (US$1,677) a month.

A few hundred staff who are single could create a social problem but a few singles are probably not a work issue. 

After all, if one is single, he or she tends to put more working hours into work.

But as the saying goes, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy — and Deloitte does not want that.

Deloitte reportedly has been holding staff parties for years in places such as Guangzhou and Shenzhen.

And now, it has gone into speed dating which has quickly spread into Hong Kong.

It’s not uncommon for Chinese firms to arrange this dating gimmick. Companies even offer free meals and living quarters for staff.

In Singapore, the government encourages dating among university graduates and offer them incentives to get married early and have children in order to increase its shrinking population growth.

Because of its culture of long working hours, Hong Kong offers a niche for dating companies.

Like many Asian society, Hong Kong has a growing population of single women, defined as unmarried females in their forties.

But Hong Kong is unlikely to see the speed dating business take off.

Hongkongers, who value freedom of choice, would prefer not to mix their personal and professional lives.

Speed dating is a fad but work-life balance is a real social and family issue.

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BK/JP/RA

EJ Insight writer

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