The old-school human resources approach puts a lot emphasis on things like staff attendance, punctuality and sick leave counts, but new-generation personnel experts know very well the physical presence of an employee in the office means little.
More importantly, if employers want workers to give their best to the firm, they have to go an extra mile to win their hearts.
When do staff truly focus on their work?
“The answer is after they have settled their personal matters,” Ivy Lau, director of talent engagement and corporate social investment at Hong Kong Broadband Network, told Hong Kong Economic Journal Monthly.
“In reality, employees put life before work. And life includes things like health, spending time with family and hobbies. Only when a staff member is fulfilled in these aspects will they have enough motivation and passion to do a good job.”
To achieve that, Hong Kong Broadband Network adopts a rather flexible approach. The firm allows workers to take “family care” leave on important family days, such as a child’s graduation ceremony or the wife’s birthday.
For those who feel burned out and dying for a long vacation, the firm allows two to 13 months of no-pay leave.
The company also adopts contingency measures when necessary.
“During the 2014 World Cup, lots of people stayed up late for the game. We thought, if our staff were going to yawn all the time in the office, why not let them have flexible hours, that way they could watch their favorite matches but still have enough energy to work,” Lau said.
When Hong Kong saw one of its coldest days in January, Lau thought of the difficulty of getting up early for work in such freezing temperatures.
She proposed a temporary work from home arrangement.
Quick response to the needs of staff, putting more trust in them and giving them more room – that pretty much sums up Lau’s approach.
“Modern-day human resources management often means the less rules the better. Your staff are not robots, they are humans, and humans don’t like too many constraints,” she said.
“Be more proactive. HR should take the initiative to understand the company’s financial budgeting and marketing strategies, and plan forward in terms of training and recruitment.
“Let them feel respected, appreciated and trusted, that is the way to the staff’s heart.”
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