The Greater China Talent Management Summit organized by A-Performers.com has entered its 8th year. The Summit, in the theme of Leadership in Diversity, was successfully held at Hotel ICON on 10 September, 2013.
The Summit attracted more than 200 human resources practitionersand senior executives to attend, where 9 prominent guest speakers who are all esteemed leaders, academics and human resources professionals from best-practice organizations were invited to share their unique insights and suggestions on various hot topics of talent management, leadership and diversity.
The Value of a Diverse Workforce
The morning session kicked off with the morning keynote address on Talent Management in a Globalized World: The Value of a Diverse Workforce delivered by Dr. York Yat-Ngok Chow, Chairperson of Equal Opportunities Commission.
In a globalized world, we have to be very sensitive to the change of the environment and prepare for it. Every organization has its own mission and vision. I think its very important to see how your direction copes with the change of the environment. Modern management is all about coping with the change of the environment, Dr. Chow said.
Dr. Chow believed that being able to develop a diverse workforce is the key to organizational success. To attract and retain diverse talent, organizations need to ensure that there is an inclusive policy in the workplace and that the chairman and board of directors should hold an inclusive attitude towards their people. Secondly, we need to have a favorable environment where people of different nationality, background, gender can work together in harmony and are appreciated for their contribution.
Take Risk and Innovate
After Dr. Chows inspiring speech, our strategic speaker Professor Howard Pong-Yuen Lam, Associate Director, EMBA Program of The Chinese University of Hong Kong, who is also Former General Manager, Olympics Consumer Marketing of Coca-Cola China shared his ideas on how to collaborate with innovative people to enhance organizational competitiveness.
As Prof. Lam pointed out, many organizations failed to enhance competitiveness because they are too concerned for success. According to a survey, 95% of newly launched products fail. Only 5% of products create success. Usually people look at the outcome rather than the way decisions are made. A successful organization should always encourage its people to take risk and go for innovation regardless of success or failure. In fact, there is never guaranteed success in the business world. Thats why sometimes its difficult to recruit people to innovate if you only reward success. Its important that organizations have teams of people who are willing to take risks, break rules and come with new things.
Break the Glass Ceiling
The next speaker on the stage was Mrs. Carmen Lam, Chief Executive Officer of PrinCorp Wealth Advisors (Asia) Limited. As an experienced leader and HR professional, Mrs. Lam pointed out that gender parity is a very important topic in diversity that we should look into. And there can be good results if we can balance the gender mix in the workforce.
She said, Traditionally leadership roles are often taken by males. Although in recent years we can see the trend of women rising in the workplace, there still exists the so-called glass ceiling that prevents women from getting ahead in business.
Mrs. Lam shared the findings of a research that having a gender balanced workforce is absolutely good for the long-term development of an organization as it is proved that a gender balanced workforce helps organizations to create an edge in organizational performance and stock price. I think its time for organizations to break this glass ceiling and foster a supportive environment in which women are provided with equal opportunities.
Diversity, Diversity, Diversity
After the morning break, Mr. Chris Frost, Managing Director of SHL Hong Kong gave an inspiring speech on diversity, with a focus on leadership potential and gender perspective.
The search for leaders is going to be a big challenge. What is probably demanding is a shift in the culture. People are looking for a more constructive environment where recognition for performance is clear, said Mr. Frost.
He added, Companies will be far better served rather focusing on diversity as a subject heading. Its really about understanding the differences, the ones that make a fundamental difference in the way your business is operating. How it answers some of those challenges around whether you have the talent in your business to be the leader of tomorrow.
Genuinely Inspire Talent
The last speaker of the morning session was Mr. Richard Hatter, General Manager of Hotel ICON and Adjunct Associate Professor, School of Hotel and Tourism Management of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University.
Hotel ICON is the worlds first fully integrated teaching and research hotel. Mr. Hatter shared the hotels approach to nurture young talent with the audience. He said, Last year, we launched our Elite Management Program (EMP) where the best six interns are enrolled to received a series of training including short-term internships to be the leaders of tomorrow. Many think that Gen Yers want freedom and independence. In fact, they want a lot of supervision, guidance and mentoring. I think the key to motivate young talents is to treat them like a peer and let them feel they are respected in the workplace.
HR Thoughts Leaders Forum
The afternoon session began with the HR Thoughts Leaders Forum: Maximize Our Value in Diversity with Dr. Christine Lai, Regional People Director, Asia Pacific of Pearson Education Asia and Mr. David Wong, Former Deputy Chief Executive of Bank of China, Hong Kong as the forum speakers.
Mr. Wong explained the three main reasons for the growing importance of managing diversity, Its because of demographic changes in terms of the shift of labor force. Another reason is globalization, which results in a more globallized workforce with talents that are internationally mobile. How you manage diversity in the workforce in different locations/offices around the world is a key issue. Thirdly, its because of customer need. Who are your customers? Where are they located? How you serve customer diversity is also important.
Dr. Lai shared her views, When we talk about diversity, it is important to cater for the needs of individuals at certain time and at certain stages of life, regardless of age, gender or everything. When you dont have that kind of mentality, you are at risk of losing talents. As Peter Drucker said, we should create the future by now. Diversity is a way of life. Management must become the instrument through which cultural diversity can be made to serve the common purpose of mankind.
After the refreshment break, Mr. Baniel Cheung, Executive Director, of Integral Consultancy Limited and Adjunct Assistant Professor, School of Business of The University of Hong Kong talked about Combining Eastern and Western Cultures to Build a Competitive Diverse Workforce.
Over the years, Ive done a lot of research. Ive been the consultant for many international firms and found that there are so many areas that create the cross cultural management issues. I think its important for us to look at both the Eastern and Western culture and see what we can do to combine the best of the two for a more strategic approach to manage diversity. Training is often a good way to change peoples mindset towards cultural difference. Having both Eastern and Western elements in training fosters mutual respect and appreciation between talents from different cultural backgrounds, he said.
Diversity in Employees Eyes
The last speaker of the Summit was Mr. JB Aloy, Senior Vice President - Employee Research of Ipsos Loyalty, who shared his insight into workplace diversity in Hong Kong from the employees perceptive.
He shared the findings of the RED study on employee attitudes and motivation at work: From the findings we see awareness of workplace diversity is relatively high among Hong Kong firms but inclusiveness indicators are lagging behind in Hong Kong with one in five employees saying that they dont really feel they are a part of their company. I think managers should first endorse diversity and inclusiveness in order to develop a workplace of diversity and inclusion.
A Note of Thanks
A-Perfomers.com as the organizer of the Greater China Talent Management Summit would like to take this opportunity to thank all the honorable speakers, partners, sponsors, exhibitors, advertisers, facilitators and delegates from Hong Kong and overseas, who have made the summit a successful and memorable one. See you next year!