Diversity more important than ever in attracting talent in changing tech landscape, say industry leaders
The company mission needs to be owned not only by executives but shared by employees across all levels
Written by Iris Deng for South China Morning Post
Photo caption: South China Morning Post CEO Gary Liu said the primary thing is having a culture that allows employees to feel they have ownership over the company. Photo: SCMP / Nora Tam
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A diverse and inclusive culture that creates a meaningful purpose across the organisation is key for companies to succeed in the changing business landscape where they need to attract millennial talent, industry leaders said at a tech conference on Tuesday.
“The primary thing that matters is having a culture that allows employees to feel they have ownership over the company,” said Gary Liu, chief executive of the South China Morning Post.
The mission of a company needs to be owned not only by the executives but shared by employees across all levels of the organisation on a daily basis, especially if the company wants to attract and retain talent, Liu said.
The technology industry and business in general are facing this new reality as they compete for a younger generation of talent to innovate in the changing market home and abroad. This sense of belonging is particularly relevant today as the new generation of talent searches for a career with a good purpose rather than just job security, the Rise speakers said.
Younger talent is looking for the upside rather than focusing on security, said Janice Lee, managing director of PCCW Media Group. “It is really a generational difference in how they look at their career.”
The purpose of a business is “the single most important thing about running an organisation”, especially for the next generation and millennials, Albert Wong, chief executive of Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP), said on the same panel. “They can work with you; they can leave tomorrow and work with somebody else, but they will stick with you because you have a good purpose,” he said.
Wong said that gender diversity at HKSTP, which has more female than male employees, was achieved naturally by hiring people with the right capabilities for the position, rather than by imposing a fixed requirement for gender.
“I don’t think we could do diversity just for [the sake of] diversity,” Wong said. “You need to just get the purpose [sorted] out and hire the right people.”
Liu also pointed out that diversity is not just about gender. “There’s no specific singular category of diversity that is important, and general diversity of thought is really crucial for the next stage and for innovation, and for pretty much all of our businesses,” Liu said.
Lee stressed the importance of cultural diversity for companies wanting to expand outside their home countries. Managers need to recognise that talent and their needs are different in each market, and come up with different remuneration structures.
“It is about recognising what different people bring to the table,” she said.