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Counting on a winning HR team

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ICBC International knows a thing or two about building a successful HR team. At the recent HR Distinction Awards, the company was an award winner in the HR Rising Team of the Year and a nominated finalist in Excellence in HR Strategic Planning.

The Hong Kong-based Chinese financial institution puts this recognition down to two things: versatility and professionalism.

ICBCI’s HR team consists of local employees in Hong Kong as well as employees with a background from Mainland China. A versatile and harmonious workplace environment is maintained so the team can achieve maximum efficiency to comply with requirements both from head office and the local Hong Kong market.

Then there’s professionalism. ICBCI actively recruits the best talent across all HR fields to ensure that every function within HR is able to achieve the highest standard of professionalism.

The team operates with a vigorous performance management process, and has a healthy influx of new talent on a regular basis to facilitate competition and growth within the team.

The company also strives to ensure knowledge development within the team. A regular weekly meeting is held to provide an update on financial markets and other relevant news in the HR industry, so the whole team can consistently improve its knowledge in both the financial industry and HR field.

Team members are also encouraged to attend seminars and roundtables, or even pursue education degrees which can help with their growth in the HR industry. The company provides education reimbursement accordingly.

Acquiring the right people for the job

Talent acquisition is an area in which ICBCI has excelled. The company formulates recruitment strategies in accordance with the latest market trends to achieve maximum efficiency – such as expanding when the financial markets are blooming. Emphasis is also placed on campus recruitment, with a structured graduate programme to groom internal talent to become the future leaders of the company.

Another key area of success is performance management. ICBCI has a set of well-established departmental performance reviews and a staff performance review system for an unbiased evaluation of the contribution of each department and each employee each year. The performance management results are incorporated into the year-end promotion and compensation review process to achieve maximum efficiency in the internal resource allocation.

It’s all in the planning

To plan HR initiatives strategically, it’s essential to conduct market and industry research to learn about the best practices. ICBCI conducts various analyses on internal talent structure so that resources can be distributed wisely and effectively.

The company recently conducted a title structure review to align with best market practices. Extensive market research was undertaken on the title structures of foreign top-tier investment banks and Chinese investment banks in Hong Kong to formulate a set of feasible title structures that matches the requirements of the company. This review helped ICBCI to attract and retain talent by providing a clear career path for its employees.

ICBCI is a niche financial specialist with around 500 employees, and with a particular goal to instil values and beliefs across its global workforce.

As a subsidiary of ICBC Group – one of the largest banks in the world – ICBCI promotes an embracing and diverse corporate culture where employees from different backgrounds are encouraged to join the family and contribute to the cause. ICBCI also promotes a co-operative and win-win culture to foster collaboration with internal stakeholders as well as with external parties. A great deal of emphasis is placed on professionalism and commitment to bring out the best potential in its employees.

Building a strong corporate culture is an ongoing process. ICBCI is currently working on promoting internal mobility to backfill some of the internal openings.

As employees typically work in the same company over a relatively long time frame, he or she may develop some needs to switch to a different role to further their career development. ICBCI is currently implementing a mechanism to fulfil the needs of its employees and create an opportunity for them to fully explore their potential.

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