Most Hong Kong organisations believe they are innovators – but their staff disagree

Author: Liana Cafolla | Date: 20 Jul 2016

Mismatch in perceptions could mean workers look elsewhere if their employer doesn’t meet their expectations

A wide divergence exists between what Hong Kong employers believe they offer in terms of innovation and adaptability, and employees’ perception of the organisation.
 
“We asked employers ‘do you believe your organisation or your team encourages innovation or adaptability?’ And 88 per cent said yes,” says Siddharth Suhas, regional director of Hudson in Hong Kong and Guangzhou, which carried out research into the perceptions. But only 17 per cent of their employees agreed, and a further 24 per cent said their organisation does not encourage innovation in the workplace at all.
 
Employers think they are encouraging new ideas, but that is not how employees see it, says Suhas. With almost nine out of ten employees saying they want to work for innovative organisations, the mismatch between employers and employees could lead to staff leaving for more exciting climes.
 
“Those who take a dim view of their organisation’s capacity to innovate and adapt may look elsewhere for an employer that will provide a more stimulating environment,” says Suhas. The findings emerged from Hudson’s latest bi-annual report on Hong Kong’s work landscape, Today’s workforce demands tomorrow’s skills.
 
The report outlines five ways organisations can create an innovation-friendly workplace:
 
  1. Having a culture where new ideas are openly discussed.
  2. Providing time and space to come up with new ideas.
  3. Allowing opportunities to take risks and make mistakes.
  4. Providing learning and developing around innovative thinking.
  5. Linking innovation to performance management by developing KPIs
 
The survey of 604 organisations also showed that 84 per cent of Hong Kong professionals are looking for a new job. According to Hudson, the figure is usually around 70 per cent. The unusually high level signals that the talent market is set to become more competitive, and could indicate a high amount of dissatisfaction among employees.
 
Another significant mismatch emerged in skills development. Almost all employees say that developing their skills is important or extremely important, but only 38 per cent feel supported by their managers in improving existing skills or learning new ones.
 
Employees are increasingly taking training into their own hands by signing up for courses online and outside work hours, with 84 per cent saying that keeping their skillset competitive in the current job market is the key reason they want to learn more.
 
The report shows that the Hong Kong job markets is relatively stable, with 27 per cent of organisations planning to hire during the second half of this year and 62 per cent aiming to maintain their current headcount. Information technology and professional services firms are most likely to hire - both of these sectors are benefitting from the Hong Kong government’s efforts to promote Hong Kong as a hub for financial technology.
 
The retail and consumer sectors, on the other hand, have suffered most from the slowdown in mainland China and a fall in the number of mainland Chinese tourists visiting Hong Kong. Just 12 per cent of consumer businesses and eight per cent of retailers have hiring plans for the second half of the year.