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Challenges to HR that are unique to Hong Kong
HR professionals in Hong Kong are facing a number of critical and unique challenges, some of which are making talent acquisition and retention a particularly daunting task. Firstly, the younger generation is living under a protective environment in Hong Kong, and this new generation of workforce has a different set of values, sees building a long-term career of less importance, and tends to change jobs frequently.
Next, is Hong Kong’s aging population and insufficient supply of talents and experienced labour. Baby Boomers are exiting the workforce in droves, and the number of people aged 65-plus is projected to be more than double in the next two decades. This situation is evidenced by Hong Kong’s low unemployment rate and the Census and Statistics Department predicting the labour supply to continue to decline.
Given this combination of factors, HR professionals in Hong Kong may not be able to keep up with the fast-moving job market and fill the talent gaps quickly enough to satisfy their ongoing and rapidly-changing business needs. And this is where BDO and its award-winning services come in – a suite of blended business solutions.
“We are perceived as an innovative leader in our industry. We don’t blindly provide resourcing solutions, but instead, adopt a consultative approach to understand and meet specific client needs,” says Portia Tang, Director and Head of Professional Resources Solutions & Client Services at BDO.
BDO adopts a consultative approach, which usually starts with a comprehensive “Current State Assessment”, or sometimes referred as “full body check” with the aim to identify the root cause(s) of the issues that clients are facing. It is then followed by a “prescription”, which can be a single or blended business solution, be it professional secondment (to bridge resource and talent gaps), outsourcing, recruitment, automation, digitalisation, process re-engineering, etc. or a combination of them – all of which are tailored for clients based on their situation.
Referring back to the topic of HR professional’s unique challenges on recruiting and retaining talents in Hong Kong, BDO, as a fore-runner and innovative leader, introduced the concept of an “elevated level” of the gig economy in Hong Kong. Its success today was because of its foresight and determination to stay ahead of the curve by embracing the gig economy. In addition to the traditionally capable professionals and candidates, BDO also engages a highly capable sector of the workforce: White-collar working mothers, early retirees, and those taking a career break, as consultants to be deployed onto client’s projects and temporary resourcing needs.
An increasing number of hiring companies are utilising a hybrid-hiring model on top of the traditional permanent hires, i.e., engaging consultants with relevant experience, skills and expertise for on a secondment or project basis to compliment the skills and knowledge of existing team and fill temporary resourcing gaps.
“We do not blindly help clients to recruit when there could be a better possible solution. We dive into the fundamental needs of our clients,” says Portia Tang, setting the tone for BDO’s consultative approach and blended business solutions.
In addition, blended business solutions may involve multiple stakeholders and phases of deployments. As such, having a responsive and responsible central point of coordination is vital. BDO’s dedicated and award-winning client services team (“CSD”) acts as a primary point of contact for clients. CSD leverages on its professionals’ multi-disciplinary knowledge and BDO’s wide-reaching regional/global supports to service its clients as a “one-stop-shop” business partner via a “central control and local delivery” project management model. BDO designates a client service executive to each key client account who stays on top of client enquiries and issues, responsible for a smooth communication, as well as on-time service deliveries by different parties involved.
“Taking the clients’ needs to our heart” has been BDO’s motto, and it is such dedication that allowed BDO to be awarded as the Gold Award Winners for Best Client Service at the Asia Recruitment Award (ARA) 2019 and Best New Recruitment Solution Provider at the HR Vendors of the Year Award (VOTY) 2018.
HR and Technology
“Many HR professionals have a certain level of resistance to technology, not because they are incapable, but because they do not want to change, don’t see its urgency, or have yet to experience the value and power of technology,” says Portia Tang. It is not only insightful but a shot across the bow for HR professionals.
HR practitioners face considerable challenges in a fast-changing environment with the likes of artificial intelligence (AI) and data analytics becoming increasingly important. AI, if not already here, is coming. And HR is not ready.
A global study by Harris Insights, in collaboration with IBM, found that while more than 80% of employees in the US and UK believe having AI skills would give them a competitive advantage, 42% don’t believe their HR departments can execute it.
BDO is also seeing the hiring of candidates with IT background and/or high technological proficiency as a key trend in the market. In order to manage the rising in client demands, they have built an IT-savvy consultant pool with the aim to help clients steer the course on how technology can be integrated into a business and propelling it to greater success.
Finally, BDO provides courtesy of its new technology platform under development, anticipate to be released in 2020. This single online platform aims to enhance the service delivery of its Professional Resources Solutions team, facilitating on consultant recruitment, client inquiries, as well as providing clients with more transparency and timely information on the status of engagements and consultants.