Esther Cheung Head of human resources, Greater China/Southeast Asia, Zurich Insurance Group (Hong Kong)
Awarding employees for long service is a gesture of recognition. It also promotes the sense of self-esteem and represents appreciation from the company. For us, it is one of the retention strategies that builds a sense of belonging among staff. We also find that spending time with long-service employees can help to engage new joiners since they see the commitment of others to the organisation.
In practical terms, if employees serve longer in a company, it creates stability and reduces overall recruitment costs. Such staff can obviously pass on invaluable knowledge and experience to younger colleagues, and play a significant part in fostering team spirit and training new recruits. They are also good at promoting the concept of company loyalty and, as such, are very important to us.
Recognition is given for every five years of service, with a gold medal presented to the most senior staff at the company's annual dinner. Long-serving employees are also invited to a special lunch with the chief executive as a further way of acknowledging their contribution and, we hope, building morale and a sense of community within the whole organisation.
Feedback and results
We find that long-service employees are proud to receive their awards, and the management team fully supports the policy and the way it is handled. The presentation of awards has become a central part of our annual dinner and, in general, has a positive effect in promoting staff motivation and morale.
June Ng Group director of human resources, Shangri-La Hotel and Resorts
Shangri-La Hotels and Resort holds the strong belief that "great hotels are made by great employees, not by crystal chandeliers or expensive carpets". The group translates this belief to a firm commitment to employee development.
It is important to reward long-service staff because of their commitment and loyalty towards the company and to our guests. Their level of engagement and alignment to the goals of the group help ensure that we deliver the products and services we promise our guests.
The annual leave entitlement of our employees increases with their length of service. We also recognise our long-serving colleagues through the provident fund and retirement plan, as the vesting scale goes up in accordance to the years of service.
We also recognise long-serving employees through service award certificates and pins. Recently, we published an advertisement: "It's our people who make the difference". It's a recognition from the group's chairman praising 614 staff for their more than 15 years of service. This advertisement was also printed as posters and a copy was given to each of them.
Feedback and results
Responses have been encouraging. In our annual staff survey, the feedback shows that our employees rank us higher than the Towers Perrin Global High Performing Companies norm in the areas of company image, employer brand and external customer focus. Our core values are being strengthened through a stable workforce. More than 30 per cent of our workforce in Hong Kong has been with the company for 15 years or more.