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Tailor-made training essential
Published on Friday, 04 Mar 2011
Mimi TAm, Director, HR and sustainability, Hong Kong Jockey Club

With close to 26,000 full- and part-time staff, the Hong Kong Jockey Club is one of the city's largest employers and regards training and development as a priority. The variety of roles at its two racecourses, three clubhouses, four telebet centres, and 100-plus off-course betting branches make it essential to have tailor-made training programmes to suit the needs of staff from different backgrounds.

They all need to acquire technical skills and an understanding of the club's business, and learn to provide quality services and an exciting experience for customers.

Objectives

We believe talent development is critical to enhance Hong Kong's position as a leader in the racing world, as well as contribute to charity and good causes in the community. Training should help people work together towards the broader organisational goals, while adding to their job satisfaction and sense of being valued.

Future growth depends on nurturing talent and developing new skills, so we are equally committed to providing training for staff and accept that, as a responsible corporate citizen in Hong Kong, we can enhance the quality of the workforce.

Policies

The club has a "wholesome human resources strategy" focusing on five key elements. These are job-related skills, physical and emotional well-being, team spirit, enterprises communication and social responsibility. The aim is to provide holistic staff development, using taught programmes and e-learning courses. Scholarships are also available to help employees pursue further studies.

We have implemented an award-winning initiative - "racing ahead, powered by you". It gives staff a fuller understanding of the culture of racing and reinforces the skills needed to "connect" with race-goers and fans. The programme is built on practical sessions, online simulations of race meetings and an online racing game to make learning realistic and interesting. In-house professionals devise everything, drawing on expertise from the racing, betting, information technology and human resources departments, as well as from employees themselves.

 Results and feedback

We have a mechanism to gauge views from different departments and individual employees on the effectiveness of programmes. Using that feedback, we review and refine in order to improve as necessary and cater to particular needs.

A clear sign of success is when staff come up with ideas to enhance their own knowledge of racing and pass that on to the racing public. Our broadcasting department has developed a "trendy idiom card set" and the cash-bet department established a dedicated on-course team to answer questions from customers. Club members are more satisfied with racecourse services, resulting in a near 20 per cent increase in their attendance.