Back to Insights

Employer Branding, Hong Kong Style

Hosted by: Manulife

The Chapman Consulting Group co-hosted an inspiring discussion with a diverse mix of Talent Acquisition leads at Manulife Financial in Hong Kong on October 30th 2014. Over 15 TA leaders attended from a variety of organisations including AIG, ANZ, Barclays, Credit Suisse, DFS, Estee Lauder, Shangri-La, Telstra, and many others. There was a lively discourse around how organisations should effectively create and manage TA strategies in Asia.

The Hong Kong Context

Clearly, Talent Acquisition strategies are vital for organisations that want to grow, achieve business targets, and generally attain success. In line with its prevalence in the Hong Kong market, two-thirds of the leaders in the room were from the banking industry, which is still struggling with reputational issues following the global financial crisis and other recent global banking scandals. The banking and financial sector in Hong Kong was particularly hard hit, which those present agreed has made it even more important for companies to emphasise a strong employer brand, and drive more effective hiring strategies.

Employer Branding — When is it Important?

In today’s highly competitive job market, employer branding has become a crucial tool for attracting and retaining key talent. It helps organisations recruit highly skilled new employees with high potential, and it enhances the loyalty of those employees by contributing to their identification with the company. It can also increase a company’s visibility in the job market, helping it to stand out from competitors that are trying to attract the same talent.

When a sector has lost its appeal due to market circumstances, employer branding becomes one of the X factors that can differentiate an organisation within that industry. Branding also becomes particularly critical when establishing a presence in a foreign market. Adam Hopkins, International Head of Recruitment at Australia’s largest telecommunications and media company, Telstra, noted that the organisation has faced this issue through expansion in Asia.

Defining your Employer Brand in Asia

The first critical step in creating an external employer brand is to firmly establish the organisation’s internal brand. Every current employee should be able to answer questions such as “Why do you want to work for ‘company X’?”, and “Why did you choose ‘company Y’?” It was agreed that organisations should prioritise employees as customers, understanding and meeting their needs. In this way, employee engagement scores should provide a snapshot of how successful the company’s internal branding really is.

According to Ben Davies, Managing Director with The Chapman Consulting Group, “The added complication is in making sure that the brand proposition rings true in all the countries and markets in which the company operates. The key to making employee branding work in Asia Pacific, is to tweak the global message very slightly towards the reality of how employees engage with the brand in each of these diverse markets.” Only by doing this, can a new prospective employee feel the authenticity of that employee brand proposition before, during, and after joining the company.


To conclude, employer branding can’t be the one saviour of a company’s sourcing strategy, but it does need to be interwoven into the various channels that an organisation uses to find and attract talent, be they direct sourcing, search firms, or internal referral programmes. Get it right, and you can inspire people to feel a true sense of engagement with the brand, even before your sourcing strategy begins.

Many thanks go to Manulife Financial for hosting this fantastic group in an inspiring and insightful discussion. We look forward to bringing this group together again in the first quarter of next year.


Keep up with the latest HR insights and updates.
Sign up

Recent Posts

Key Contributors:

Ringo Lau
Ringo Lau

Senior Director

Consulting Team
View more
Ringo Lau
Consulting Team

Ringo Lau

Senior Director

Ringo is a Senior Director with ChapmanCG based in Hong Kong. His role involves in-depth research and analysis to seek out high-calibre HR talent across the Asia Pacific region, with a particular focus on Hong Kong and North Asia. He also assists the group in the design and delivery of strategic internal projects involving process and operation development.

Before joining ChapmanCG, Ringo did several internships as a business analyst and photographer. He holds a Master’s Degree in Management and Organisational Analysis from the Warwick Business School, as well as a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing.

Outside of work, Ringo enjoys travelling, outdoor activities and photography. Prior to his move to study abroad, he was one of Hong Kong’s top competitors in athletics.

Licence Number: EA License 69316 (HK)