I just came back from a couple of days in one of my favorite Asian cities: Hong Kong. I love the hustle and bustle, the high rises, the crowded streets, the mid-level escalators, the cosmopolitan outlook and of course the majestic Hong Kong Island itself.
One thing that is clear when you are there is that Hong Kong is always in a hurry. Everything has to happen fast and happen quick. Whether it is moving from one place to another, trying to close a deal, making money or moving up the corporate ladder, Hong Kong is capitalism in overdrive.
Engaging talent in such a situation requires a very different approach. There is opportunity to make big money if you work your butt off and create value. You might say that this is not much different other countries / cities. These factors apply to other markets as well, but globally, elements such as work/life balance, development opportunities and relationships, are as, or even more, important. This certainly works well for the finance industry which Hong Kong is famous for. What I am not sure of is how this works for the service focused industries; retail, hospitality businesses etc. How do you instill a service focused mindset in which employees genuinely want to care for their customers? In their advertising, Cathay Pacific claim that they have accomplished that, but having flown with them a couple of times over the last few months, I have not met those employees that fit such a description.
In contrast, the service industry in Thailand is legendary for its “service with a smile.” I personally experienced this as I was spending a couple of relaxing days at a Phuket resort directly after my Hong Kong trip. An interesting thought is how different country cultures impact employee behaviors to excel in different industries. Are there specific industries that fit better with different cultures?
Let me know what you think.
– Paul Keijzer