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Meeting CSR obligations at China Mobile Hong Kong



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Jason Zhang (pictured centre), General Manager, Human Resources, China Mobile Hong Kong, talks about CSR and how his company looks after the wellness of its employees.

Twenty-year-old telecommunications company, China Mobile Hong Kong, won awards in the Excellence in CSR Strategy and Excellence in Workplace Culture categories at HR Distinction Awards Hong Kong 2019. Jason Zhang, the company’s General Manager for Human Resources, reveals how the Hong Kong company has achieved its success.

China Mobile takes its workplace culture very seriously. Its key values are best summed up by “Trust”, “Responsibility” and “Care for You”, spelling out TRY.

There are a number of key factors that sets CMHK’s workplace culture apart. We incorporate our core values TRY into our process and every employee lives up to them. Unlike other companies, our values have a different meaning at the managerial and employee levels.

Managers have a direct influence on the employees they manage. They carry the responsibility for aligning the performance of their team with overarching organisational goals. They play a vital role in shaping the workplace culture. Therefore, the meaning of a TRY culture for them is to build trust within the team, to empower the teammates with full support and, of course, to show they care.

Employees are the lifeblood of the company. They are energetic, innovative and full of passion. We work together to explore the future. We encourage them to innovate, to think out of the box and to try. Therefore, the meaning of a TRY culture for them is to trust their teammates, to undertake more responsibility and to equip themselves for better development.

The unique TRY culture at CMHK connects us to the company, connects our lives to the company and connects our future to the company.

Why CSR?

CMHK also has a strong commitment to corporate social responsibility. As one of the leading telecommunications companies in Hong Kong, it takes its corporate social responsibilities very seriously and allocates resources accordingly.

The company is also a strong believer in aligning CSR to its corporate culture. The letter “Y” in TRY represents “Care for You”. “You” covers not only CMHK’s employees, but also its clients and the values it seeks to instil in the community. “Care for You” drives CMHK to be one of the leading companies to take responsibility to help the needy and bring out the best in others.

As a caring company, CMHK cares about the development of colleagues. A commitment to CSR has become a very persuasive factor for talent considering joining the company. To attract and retain talent – especially young talent – CMHK is also dedicated to instilling its CSR culture within the company.

CMHK’s senior management encourages CSR by supporting voluntary services through a range of activities. To boost colleagues’ engagement in voluntary services, the company recognises the efforts of volunteers by presenting them with recognition certificates.

In addition to support from the top, colleagues at all levels can engage in the services. CMHK actively encourages employees to participate in its voluntary services and contribute to our society on an ongoing basis. Simultaneously, CMHK is involved in different types of services, including food donations, ad hoc donations to charity, and direct voluntary services.

There are a number of other factors that differentiates CMHK’s CSR from its rivals. Apart from food donations, ad hoc donations to charity and direct voluntary services, the company’s volunteer team is inspired to use its unique knowledge on mobile services to serve the community. A highlight of this is a series of smartphone classes for the elderly. It narrows the generation gap and reconnects the elderly to modern society.

CMHK has also extended its volunteer services abroad. To create more distinctive experiences for our volunteers, it provides English teaching services to senior secondary students in Mainland China – specifically, Qinghai province. In this way, volunteers can have an entirely unique experience while providing an essential service in remote communities.

CMHK also employs a take-and-give approach to its philanthropy. Not limited to just “give” volunteer services, volunteers also “take” knowledge in formal training prior to the services. Relevant training is provided to volunteers to prepare for specific services – such as smartphone train-the-trainer sessions, minority ethical adaption training, and local tree species identification. This helps motivate volunteers to learn while gaining invaluable experience.

Integrating technology into daily work

A key component of CMHK’s successful recruitment process is in its use of HR tech.

In today’s modern, digital world, the use of technology is essential as it permeates many parts of our life and brings convenience to us. To be effective in the uptake of HR tech, one of the key initiatives of HR’s goals is to enhance the employee, or candidate, experience.

A well-known management competency assessment is widely used in CMHK’s recruitment process. Each candidate needs to finish the assessment. By referring to the result, HR can gain a comprehensive grasp about the candidate, which will help HR to make an informed decision.

In addition to traditional face-to-face interviews, Skype, WeChat and other modern-day communication tools are used to conduct video interviews with interviewees. In this way, HR can streamline the interview process, thereby accelerating the entire recruitment programme.

Social media channels such as Facebook, Instagram, WeChat and LinkedIn are also very much in vogue today. Prospective candidates get used to searching for information from different social networking sites.

CMHK is also stepping up efforts to increase the number of its followers on social media, thereby strengthening and enhancing the company’s branding – which in turn can attract more candidates and enable HR to put more effort into screening talent rather than screening CVs.

CMHK has adopted a number of innovative applications in its HR tech. It has launched two unique custom-made mobile apps for its employees – Workmate and the CMHK Staff App.

Workmate is a mobile app originally developed for organisation internal communications with the functions of instant messaging, multi-party voice calling and video conferencing. It also contains the essential contact information of the entire parent company and its regional subsidiaries.

The app also provides a social platform for employees to form interest groups (communities) and upload photos where people with similar interests can share and connect with each other. With Workmate, employees can work anytime and anywhere via a mobile office automation function. Consequently, it brings about convenience and eventually leads to an increase in productivity.

The CMHK Staff App is mainly used for recording employees’ attendance and promoting company events. Employees are allowed to record their attendance by using the app when they arrive at the lift lobby downstairs at the office. Employees and their supervisors can also check their attendance record at anytime and anywhere.

The app also enables employees to access the reading materials on CMHK’s corporate culture and get to know the latest news of upcoming corporate events such as a lucky draw.

These apps not only enhance the immediate interaction between employees and the company, but also strengthens the employees’ sense of belonging. In addition to the mobile apps, CMHK now has CM Online University – providing a variety of online learning materials for employees to undertake distant learning anywhere, anytime.

The employee experience is crucial

The employee experience is another crucial component of the company’s ethos. At CMHK, employee development and wellness is truly appreciated – from onboarding to employee retirement. CMHK believes the employee experience should be comprehensive: physically, mentally and spiritually.

The public can access company information and activities easily via different channels such as Campus Job Fair, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and the CMHK newsletter. For example, CMHK has created an Instagram page, “CMHK Journey”, showcasing all kinds of employee activities and development programmes such as the Youth Development Programme, and the Information & Communication Technology (ICT) Talent Programme. People can not only understand the company’s core employee development values, but can also easily grasp its culture.

Numerous caring and training programmes are arranged every year for CMHK employees, such as the employee canteen partnership with neighbouring restaurants, Christmas parties, gifts on festive days, surprise tea parties, two-and-a-half day orientation training, Excel training, Putonghua/Cantonese courses, and leadership training programmes.

In addition to the internal training offered by CMHK, employees are encouraged to take on further study to enhance their competitiveness. A study allowance is provided to employees who want to boost their professional knowledge to deal with daily operation challenges.

Employees are also encouraged to participate in company-wide projects, such as internet of things projects at the Innovation Conference, which enables employees to gain project management experience and gradually develop supervisory skills.

To recognise the hidden heroes who help support the running of CMHK’s operations smoothly, a campaign, “Recognition to supporting colleagues”, was launched. To encourage a sense of camaraderie between departments, the inter-department job rotation programme was launched. This helps to enhance work efficiency and communication. This programme was highly successful in boosting co-operation and strengthening relationships between departments – and it became a popular idea shared among employees.

CMHK is also devoted to tailoring comprehensive wellness programmes for its employees – showing care for its employees through these holistic wellness programmes. CMHK is a pioneer in implementing integrative body-mind-spirit interventions. Wellness activities such as a 24-hour counselling service, health education, exercise opportunities and voluntary activities are arranged periodically.

To sum up, we believe in internalising our unique TRY culture at CMHK to make it part of our work attitude. It is the critical driver to employee engagement and development, as well as better connections with our customers and business partners, and ultimately, our company’s business success.

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