Urban Group, the largest property management company in Hong Kong, has 3,500 employees to serve its 150,000 clients in the residential and commercial buildings as well as shopping arcades. A member of New World Group, the company was established in 1981 and is dedicated to providing high-quality estate and facility management services. When the company set its goal to be the premier property management company in China by 2007, it developed and implemented a number of plans and initiatives to work towards this goal. The company first developed an integrated management model, a UPM [understanding project management] model that contains three areas focusing on people, process and performance. 'It is an integration of Malcolm Baldrige's TQM [total quality management] model and Balanced Score Card concepts together, with our SmartUrban System,' says Francis Chiu, director - corporate services, Urban Group. The core drivers of the UPM model are visionary leadership, six-star standards, exceeding customers' expectations, asset management, continuous improvement, a green lifestyle, and community care. 'Through the implementation, we wish to realise our vision to become the premier facility management group in Asia, gain an edge over our competitors by winning brand loyalty, and be able to differentiate, lead and be highly visible in the market,' says Mr Chiu. The company believes people are its key asset. 'We believe that people are our brand, so we need to restructure and cultivate the change among the mind-set of each individual staff.' The company had to convince its staff of this, mainly the security guards known as 'Urban warriors'. 'This is a change of their identity and mind-set. They are not only security guards, but they do carry out a very important task; they are the warriors who protect the physical property and assets of our clients. 'We pay salary to our staff, which the staff shall view as an investment from the company. The customers will then pay for their work and services,' he says. To ensure the human resources practice is more business-oriented, the company adopted a marketing and financial management approach. Delivery of the programme for mind-set change has been kept simple and fun so as to ensure it can be absorbed by the diverse calibre and educational standards of both operational and management staff. 'We have over 200 job categories, so we need to keep everything short and simple for easy memory.' All these values, objectives, and core drivers were then communicated to all levels of employees. 'We have organised a full-day training for all the staff to understand and familiarise the programme. 'Through a total of 13 'TQM Commitment Day' training days, the staff were more able to share the same strategic mind-set as the top management when formulating plans to retain existing businesses as well as soliciting new businesses,' says Mr Chiu. Besides dedicated training, the company has introduced a self-appraisal approach for staff to devise a manpower plan and succession scheme. 'Once a year, all the staff are required to update their resumes; that is, to present any improvements in their skills, knowledge, qualification and experience.' The company also conducts 360-degree performance measurements for all its staff. Urban Group came in fifth place amongst the 10 finalists this year, receiving its first Best Employers Award in Hong Kong.