Emphasis on meetings of the minds

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 24 July, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 24 July, 2004, 12:00am

A COMPANY CAN pay as much lip service as it wants to policies such as maximising its employees' potential, but such policies cannot work unless communication channels between managers and workers are open.

That is why Pfizer Hong Kong places so much value on its staff meetings which, according to human resources director Polly Cho, are more than an opportunity for making official announcements or discussing sales figures and targets.

Every week all staff gather in the sales room - 80 per cent are in sales and marketing - and regular updates are conducted on company news and market developments.

'We give them a lot of updated information so they get the feeling: 'I belong to this company. I know what is happening',' she said.

Country manager Stephen Leung said it was just as important to let employees have their say. Apart from regular meetings within divisions, he holds the CM Cafe - a regular informal meeting with four to five employees.

'There is no agenda. They bring up whatever they want to discuss, and I take notes then share their ideas, suggestions, whatever, with my directors.'

Ms Cho also holds 'sister Polly breakfasts'. 'I do it for new colleagues. We have breakfast where I follow up on whether they think they are fitting in well, what kinds of issues they have, interpersonal or whatever.'

Human resources also conducts an internal survey every year, followed by focus-group discussions. The research is used to 'dig more into what our colleagues are thinking, especially in terms of how Pfizer can improve', Ms Cho said. 'There are a lot of channels for their feedback and we always encourage them to speak up.'