One company, one system is succeeding
Construction firms often have to struggle in a highly competitive sector. However, an effective management system has helped China State Construction International Holdings experience continuous growth despite strong competition.
The system also won the company the top position in the large enterprise category of the HKIHRM/SCMP People Management Awards 2007.
The Hong Kong-based company, with 3,000 employees, is one of the biggest construction companies in the region. It also has projects in Macau, the mainland, the Middle East and India.
Competition in the construction industry is intense in Hong Kong and the company felt it needed to improve its management system by introducing the Site Contracting Responsibilities System (SCRS) to further develop business.
The company introduced a responsibility system for different construction sites in 1996. There were different targets for staff to meet and rewards were given when the targets were reached. One employee was given a HK$1 million cash award.
This system evolved into SCRS in 2001 and the company invested HK$1 million to develop it.
'Most responsibility systems are result-oriented. But the [SCRS] we adopted also focuses on the process,' human resources department general manager Zhao Xiaoqi said.
'We realised if we wanted to achieve our targets we needed to put more focus on management.'
By setting precise targets from the start to the completion of each project, and on different aspects such as profit, accident rate and environmental impact, the company closely monitors the process and awards bonuses based on a site's progress and the performance of individuals.
Bonuses are awarded throughout the projects. The use of the system brings significant economic benefits to the company and staff are more motivated.
'From the results of the completed sites, the system successfully carries out the expected effect and drastically boosts profits for the sites,' he said.
The company undertakes reviews every three months to improve the system. 'Based on each assessment we will come up with suggestions to further improve management at construction sites,' he said.
The company organised a series of promotions through the intranet and meetings when the system was launched to win support from staff.
'Staff had concerns about the system in the beginning, especially the site managers. However, once they understood that the company was determined to make the system work, they supported [it],' Mr Zhao said.
The income of staff is directly linked to the profit of construction sites and the overall business of the company, thus the system has created a win-win situation for the company and its employees.
'The company has profited from the higher quality of management and staff income has risen,' Mr Zhao said.
A staff satisfaction survey showed that employees thought the management system helped them understand the direction and development of the company, he said.
There are various channels for staff to voice their feelings and thoughts to encourage open communication.
'We encourage employees to share their ideas on improving management. There is a committee that studies and analyses suggestions. We reward staff financially if suggestions are workable.'
The company is becoming more international and is running training courses to enhance staff language and management skills, and widen their vision.
China State Construction International Holdings transformed its management system, linking staff performance to their income, to better compete and achieve sustainability
Most responsibility systems are just result-oriented, but SCRS also focuses on processes
SCRS has boosted profits for the company and the income of its employees, creating a win-win situation for all
The management system helped staff understand the direction and development of the company
The Hong Kong-based company is becoming more international and is arranging training and language programmes to help widen the vision of employees