Learning & Development Asia 2024
Matilda International Hospital re-positions HR to create a fun workplace for employees
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Matilda International Hospital re-positions HR to create a fun workplace for employees

“Matilda HR has gotten to grow more fun-DNA in our blood. We can do more for our colleagues by embracing any crazy ideas from colleagues. One of our fun-effective ways is to leverage more fun resources with fun-subject-matter idols on our staff activities,” the HR direction asserts.

This article is brought to you by Matilda International Hospital

Healthcare is acknowledged as a high-risk industry with large numbers of employees, complex technology, critical work tasks and extensive regulations. This is coupled with relentless public scrutiny and pressure to manage the unexpected well and to be resilient. All of this can take a huge toll on the healthcare practitioners’ physical, mental and social wellbeing.

Talent attraction and retention have become more challenging for the industry amidst increasingly complicated external factors and a competitive talent war.

Despite all these challenges, Matilda International Hospital, a leading healthcare service provider and world-class private hospital located in Hong Kong, has excelled in employee engagement and experience by fostering practices that make it “a fun place to work” and “a workplace with fun”.

Matilda aims to create a supportive environment in which staff are valued, appropriately rewarded, engaged, trained and developed; regularly appraised and effectively managed with the ultimate goal of recruiting and retaining high quality staff that are motivated, high performing and demonstrate a commitment to the organisation.

Viewing the staff as “the heart and soul” as well as its “superheroes”, Matilda has adopted a people-first approach in its HR strategy to uphold the ethos of the founder as being "for the benefit, care, and happiness” of its people.

To support this strategy, senior management have re-positioned HR as an engagement department, with more emphasis on supportive initiatives aiming to build a caring and fun culture which will not only help attract and retain talent, but also enrich their work life with the Hospital.

This strategy started with gathering feedback, views and suggestions from the Hospital’s colleagues and generating wish lists. HR organised the first-ever ‘Fun Series’ starting from 2023, including BBQs, green buffets, MMAs, hiking, volunteer work, ice-cream day, creative seminars and workshops with gamification, to name a few. These activities were arranged on different dates to take into account different work schedules and interests, whilst always bearing in mind that the core objective was the physical, emotional, social and mental wellbeing of the staff, in its bid to provide an employee experience like no other hospital.

Evidently, fun elements are key to different initiatives in Matilda’s HR roadmap. In addition to staff activities, HR has also made traditional training programmes, such as appraisal briefing and code of ethics for employees, into something fun and easy for both managers and general staff to facilitate their personal and professional growth and development with the Hospital.

This people-first approach is underpinned by Matilda’s five core values referred to as “Ways of Being”, which outline its culture and expected behaviours of all staff:

  • Be professional: Always do the right thing.
  • Be empathetic: Do everything we can to show we care.
  • Be innovative: Embrace new ideas. Make the future ours.
  • Be proactive: Take initiative every day.
  • Be inspirational: Be passionate about what we do.

“These principles guide our actions, energise the workplace and empower staff to make a positive difference in their work,” in the words of Linda Burgoyne, CEO, Matilda International Hospital. “Please take a moment to reflect on the impact you make on the lives of everyone who comes through our doors at Matilda and for those whose lives we have touched over the years. Everything we do matters.”

In 2023 alone, there were a total of 23 non-work wellness events, a 36% increase from 2022, a 58% increase in department heads’ involvement, and these events recorded 85% of staff surveys scored 4.8 or above out of 6. Apart from the reinforcement of the ‘work smart, play hard’ culture and work-life harmony, this wellness and learning series has also contributed to a 37% drop in sick leave and a 10% decrease in work place injuries resulting in an increased available workforce with reduced risks and liability.

In the face of the more-than-ever challenging recruitment landscape, intensified by company-specific challenges such as location and business scale, Matilda has now turned its annual HR reviews to quarterly reviews / amendments (or as frequent as it takes) to stay relevant to market developments and better align with employees’ needs.

“The HR team incorporates the ‘Matilda Ways of Being’ and ESG initiatives in our staff activities to add meaning to staff participation and contribution, while utilising every opportunity to walk our talk.” It goes on to comment on Matilda's recent success at Human Resources Online’s Employee Experience Awards: “The Employee Experience Awards offer a wonderfully comprehensive platform for us to review outcomes of what we’ve done and to explore what we can do more and better for our Matilda family.

“Together we win – the Awards belong to everyone at Matilda. When we work harmoniously together, not only do we win but our patients and communities also win.”

Photos / Matilda International Hospital

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