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Post-1980s
Published on Friday, 08 Oct 2010
Angela Lee
Head of human resources, Hong Kong Trade Development Council
Elina Lam Yuet-wan
General manager – human resources, NWS Holdings

Angela Lee
Head of human resources, Hong Kong Trade Development Council

Challenges

Our executive trainee programme takes on young people every year, which means we have been hiring members of the post-1980s generation. They will be a valuable asset for the council and we help them understand our working culture, while providing learning opportunities so they can contribute fully. Something very noticeable is their sensitivity to a fast-changing environment, which can make a big impact on our conventional ways of thinking. As they develop in their roles, younger staff can help change the mindset of older colleagues through regular interaction, keeping everyone in tune and up-to-date. While post-1980s employees may not readily accept established practices, their presence definitely keeps us abreast of the latest developments.  

Policies

Executive trainees in this group go through a structured three-year career development programme. The HR team helps each trainee identify individual strengths and weaknesses, personal goals and values. More importantly, a senior member of staff acts as a mentor for each trainee. This allows them to have candid conversations and get advice and practical guidance. Such personal relationships can be of great benefit for trainees in understanding the council and acquiring alternative perspectives.  

Feedback

We hold regular coaching sessions and, apart from giving trainees constructive feedback on their performance, we listen and encourage them to share their views. The intention is that, if they have doubts or worries, the council will back them up and provide clear direction. In the past three years, we have recruited 21 outstanding trainees who have a real passion to serve Hong Kong.


Elina Lam Yuet-wan
General manager – human resources, NWS Holdings

Challenges

Generally, we find that members of the post-1980s generation are smart and resourceful. They prefer close communication and coaching rather than authoritative orders or a disciplinarian approach. Also, they want the chance to show their talent, place a premium on transparency in the workplace, and expect to be valued. Their creativity, energy and tech-savvy culture may challenge the traditional style of management. Yet, it is an irreversible fact for all employers that, as more post-1980s people join the workforce, change is inevitable.  

Policies

To create an energetic and fun office culture, we have introduced experiential training programmes. Since 2008, these have included Outward Bound courses and "Team Building through Cooking". At different times, staff face unfamiliar physical and mental challenges, such as rope climbing and kayaking, and learn the importance teamwork. Overnight camps provide opportunities to discuss problems. This advances staff relations and creates a stronger sense of belonging, thus improving mutual trust and respect within the organisation, which results in higher efficiency and better morale.  

Feedback

Figures show that our average turnover rate  for new joiners was remarkably low last year at 1.96 per cent. This compares favourably with the market turnover rate which, according to the Hong Kong Institute of Human Resource Management, was 12.26 per cent. We put this down to effective HR strategies for which the company has won recognition, and industry awards for best HR practices and people management.