McDonald's (ranked ninth in the survey) and American Express (ranked 10th) strive to be leading brands and be recognised among Hong Kong's best employers. Susanna Li Man-ha, vice-president of human resources and training for McDonald's, said the recognition had a special meaning because of previous controversies about the company's pay policy. She said the introduction of improved staff management measures two years ago had clearly made a difference. 'We are committed to our staff and we want the public to see and feel this,' Ms Li said. 'This means we have to be doing the right things internally first to impress our internal clients, before they reflect this in their service to the public.' She said the pay of crew employees was now 16 per cent higher than in 2004. The company had also improved other benefits and was organising more family orientated activities for full-time and part-time staff. 'But above all, we ensure that there is frank dialogue between the management and our staff to get them engaged,' Ms Li said. American Express also sees staff engagement as vital to maintaining service standards. Koh Yat-chung, general manager for Hong Kong, said this meant keeping staff fully informed about all aspects of the organisation and inspiring them to go the extra mile when dealing with customers. 'Open communication at all levels is crucial. Our staff are in a better position to provide a superior service if they know what we are doing in the company,' Mr Koh said. Functional forums are arranged for the 770 staff in Hong Kong. A strong corporate culture made it possible to keep average staff turnover well below the industry average of 15 per cent. 'We believe we have to give employees some common values to look up to as part of our commitment to a long-term relationship with them,' Mr Koh said.