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How IBM revamped its traditional workplace in Hong Kong for a new, agile way of working
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How IBM revamped its traditional workplace in Hong Kong for a new, agile way of working


This article is brought to you by IBM

Comprising the elements of flexibility, collaboration, inclusion, sustainability and technology, the new IBM Hong Kong office aims to provide the best experience for ‘IBMers’.

With a focus on helping clients leverage the power of hybrid cloud and artificial intelligence (AI), boasting a highly skilled and engaged workforce is key to IBM’s success. This is why the globally integrated enterprise is committed to attracting and retaining the best talent in the industry worldwide, and creating an excellent workplace experience for all employees, who it calls ‘IBMers’.

“There are several factors that influence employee experience,” explains Jing Hong, HR Leader, IBM Hong Kong. “Work-life balance offered by the company, and the technologies used every day to manage work responsibilities, but also the physical workplace. When employees have a great experience, they are more engaged which directly leads to better results.”

To understand employees’ needs, the company started by conducting an employee engagement survey, which revealed that flexible work options as well as having a space for socialising and networking were the top two priorities for IBMers. Aligned with the feedback, IBM decided to adopt a new, agile way of working and transform its 25-year-old traditional Hong Kong office to better convey the brand values, and ultimately a culture to support IBM’s growth.

Under its workplace transformation project, the new office design no longer focuses on individual tasks, but on employees' behaviours, in order to support and enhance business performance as well as 'the whole person'. This resulted in an open workplace that embraces the neighbourhood concept and breaks boundaries between different units and functions through flexible space and removable building interiors. Empowered by IoT technologies, the new design also supports blended attendance to serve different collaborative activities in both face-to-face and virtual formats, encourages communication and collaboration, and eventually contributes to forming the ‘One IBM Team’.

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Evidently, employee participation is essential in building a workplace that caters to different needs. To ensure thorough and timely communication, IBM set up a team of ‘Change Champions’ to facilitate conversations and feedback collection through town hall meetings, workshops, post-occupancy surveys, and yearly employee engagement surveys. All feedback is considered while making adjustments to the office accordingly.

By taking a human-centric approach, the new office sees various facilities to enhance employee wellbeing and promote diversity and inclusion (D&I), including 100% height adjustable and ergonomic desks, a mother's room, a medical room, relaxation/play/prayer rooms, and disabled-friendly/gender-neutral toilets.

Beyond human elements, environmental sustainability is another focus for IBM when designing the workplace. With that in mind, the new office applied smart lighting and light sensors to reduce lighting power density; installed low flow faucets to reduce water consumption; reused existing furniture; recycled collected waste from colleagues; and used low volatile organic compounds (VOC) emission materials for renovation. IBM also participates in the landlord's ‘Green Performance Pledge Programme’ to measure and jointly improve environmental performance.

“IBM’s HR priorities are grounded in the IBM vision and aligned with the IBM purpose,” affirms Hong. “We are focusing on experience & operational excellence, innovation for the business, and transforming IBM’s culture. While we deliver on this vision, we exemplify a growth mindset and entrepreneurial spirit, and consistently act as one HR team.”

While creating a great working environment, IBM will continue to recruit and select the best-qualified talents based on business needs and job-related requirements, and ensure all qualified applicants are assessed individually and equally with respect. With the launch of the ‘Early Professional Hire’ programme by IBM Greater China Group and the GCG development centre, the company aims to further bolster its leadership pipeline to prepare for future changes and opportunities.

Photos / IBM

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Follow us on Telegram and on Instagram @humanresourcesonline for all the latest HR and manpower news from around the region!

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