Package of incentives helps big developer retain staff

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 13 December, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 13 December, 2007, 12:00am

Implementing successful human resources strategies is never easy, particularly when a company is large and has many employees.

China State Construction International Holdings, one of the finalists in the large enterprise category of the HKIHRM/SCMP People Management Awards 2007, is responsible for 90 million sqft of reclaimed land, 11 hospitals and enough residential accommodation to house one in every 16 people in Hong Kong.

Despite the company's size and the extent of its building works since being established in 1979, it has not been immune to the challenges facing all construction companies in the region.

The management of the company realised that the way to approach these challenges was to improve the way it managed human resources. The solution was the implementation of a Site Contracting Responsibilities System (SCRS), which has been fully in place since 2001.

The system looks at all aspects of the firm's projects, from start to finish, setting precise targets on profit, accident rate and environmental impact, while closely monitoring progress and awarding bonuses, which depend on the performance of the project and of each individual. As projects can take up to three years, these bonuses are given half way through a project as well as at the end, as a way of ensuring staff are motivated.

The company paid out HK$1million in one instance. 'Yes this is an additional cost, but our profit margin has also improved [as a result of our SCRS], so the company wins, the employee wins and the client wins,' said Weymond Lam Hong-wai, deputy general manager of human resources.

The company's human resources department has to ensure that the SCRS system is fair and fully accepted by its staff.

The firm has tried to address potential concerns that the system exerts too much control by encouraging open communication and by publicising successful examples of the SCRS at work in company newsletters so that staff will begin to believe in the system. They have also welcomed individual meetings to win over staff who remained sceptical.

The scheme is explained to new recruits as part of their orientation programme and clearly spelled out to all on-site staff so that everyone knows what is expected of them.

Eva Leung Yuk-ling, assistant general manager of human resources, said the project had been successful in every way.

'Our staff feel more motivated, not just by the bonuses, but because of the way that problems are now tackled. We have enhanced the profitability of sites, enabling us to [challenge] our competitors.'

She said the company's brand image had improved, accident rates were down and management standards had improved.


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