Auxiliary Medical Service (AMS)
In 1996, AMS formulated a VMV statement to provide a clear sense of direction and corporate identity for the volunteers and staff of AMS. A HRM Plan was developed to help better achieve the departmental vision and mission. The strategic analysis revealed that the key strategic issue facing AMS was a lack of overall retention strategy and the problem in keeping the young and active volunteers. To address this issue, a series of HRM initiatives were drawn up. Amongst the HRM initiatives, the programme on volunteer recruitment which was linked to volunteer retention was implemented as the driver programme.
The programme included the introduction of Trait Test in the selection process to evaluate the applicant's ability and to help select volunteers with the desired competencies. As a result, the newly recruited volunteers would have the essential skills, knowledge, ability and attitude to fulfil their future duties.
On volunteer retention, AMS implemented a range of motivational programmes which cater for specific needs of various groups of volunteers and promote job satisfaction. The programmes included the following activities -
(a) Professional Segment
Volunteers of professional segment were seconded to the operational units for emergency services in addition to the duties assigned by the Hospital Wing. The secondment would provide them with challenges and would maximize their involvement in the operational duties.
(b) Young Segment
This group of volunteers liked to have more opportunities to serve the community and learn new skills. Various interest classes were organized to equip them with more skills to perform duties and serve the community better.
(c) Old Segment
More informal gatherings were arranged so that members could build up stronger friendship which was treasured most by this group of volunteers.
(d) Compensation Segment
Members were motivated by the allowances they could collect for their service. A "Duty" system was established to provide more opportunities for them to perform extra duty and earn more allowances. The fairness of the system was endorsed by ICAC.
Having gone through the vigorous selection process, new recruits now have a lot of pride in becoming an AMS volunteer. It is reflected by a close to 100% attendance of the induction training as opposed to a less than 70% prior to the implementation of the HRM Plan. Furthermore, after completing the induction training, the volunteers are required to attend 110 hours of training per year. More than 60% of the members have met such requirement, almost 20% higher than the figure before the implementation.
As for Volunteer Retention, the annual wastage has dropped by 30%.
Hong Kong Police Force (HKPF)
In 1989, HKPF adopted the Institute of Employment Studies (IES) techniques in human resource planning. The techniques led to the formulation of systems that are now used to examine and address those issues that affect the changing DEMAND and SUPPLY for human resources. In 1994 it was realized that such techniques needed to be well supported by comprehensive Human Resource Information System (HRIS) and this led to the development of the Personal Information Communal System (PICS) in 1997. PICS now provides an extensive database on both the JOBS and PEOPLE and includes modules on turnover of staff, training management, career management and establishment.
Any proposed changes in organisational structure, expected losses through turnover of staff and changes in appointment terms of staff, required the HKPF to produce forecasts in the 'supply flows' of manpower throughout the organisation. The outflow of staff due to wastage, internal promotion flows to fill vacancies and intake flows from recruitment were all examined in detail some 18 months ahead. This has allowed the Force to consider 'what if' scenarios up to 3 years ahead. IES analysis was based on pulling together detailed data on turnover rates, including data on the reasons why staff left the service that were collected through 'EXIT' questionnaires. Using these 'hard' and 'soft' statistical data, both internal and external underlying forces that affected turnover were better understood. Examining trends in induction leavers, in-service premature leavers and scheduled leavers allowed for improved scenarios to be built around various scenarios of High, Low and Normal wastage and annual organisational changes. The effects of current and future recruitment and retention policies were examined to provide a guide to projected turnover, intakes and promotion vacancies in the years ahead.
In addition, Supply planning allowed internal flows and succession of staff to different ranks to be examined. The Force has steadily developed computerized records that outlined the examination, education and training achievements on staff and for Inspectorate officers, their preferred area of work and type of work posting choices were captured. Filling post vacancies, implementing job rotation and formulating staff development plans were supported by shortlisting exercises that searched against staff choices, providing staff lists and biographies. The introduction of the PICS on almost 2,000 terminals Force-wide has provided the opportunity to further improve the quality of data available to front-line commanders when examining supply planning issues.
To cope with the need for a strategic view of human resources with improved classification of the establishment, an improved classification methodology in PICS has been developed. It involved posts categorized by rank/grade, geographical location, contribution against the operational or support programmes and sub-programmes of activities as well as the career stream into which the posts fit. The analysis of deployment across operational, operational professional support and support functions was combined with workload, population and financial data putting strategic information on deployment in the hands of front-line commanders. Commanders and Force management can therefore have up-to-date information on the deployment and re-deployment of human resources to meet their ongoing operational priorities.
Supply planning has provided the Force with the capability to examine 'what if' scenarios and determine expected outcomes from any changes in Force policy or the external economic environment and labour market. Improved information has had a positive impact on the formulation and adjustment of recruitment and retention strategies that ensured a properly resourced and stable police forces.
Demand planning capabilities have been greatly improved by the computerization of establishment and up-to-date monitoring of changes in deployment of human resources across the organisation.
Decision making on rationalization and re-deployment of resources has been well supported by the systems developed in the past few years.
Social Welfare Department (SWD)
Very often the department has to convene 3 to 4 selection boards simultaneously for a number of days to interview a huge numbers of applicants. The use of more than one selection board implies a possible problem of inconsistency in selection standards. Although pre-interview briefing to Board Chairmen and members and informal discussion among Board Chairmen outside interview room have always existed to try to work out a common marking standard, the agreed results of the discussion, i.e. some general criteria, are subject to interpretation.
An improvement initiative, "the Chairman Board", was implemented in 1997 to serve as a venue for the setting of a levelled marking standard. The proposal was put on trial in a large-scale Social Security Assistant recruitment exercise.
The "Chairman Board" comprised all the chairmen of the individual boards, who chaired the Board by turn for the first one or two days of the exercise. The "Chairman Board" served as a venue for discussion among board chairmen on the interpretation and application of recruitment requirements, selection criteria, marking standard and interviewing approach. Exchange of views was highly encouraged and the Board Secretary assumed the role of a facilitator. Given two whole days of experience with some 40 real candidates, it became a lot easier for the chairmen to set the common benchmark when they went back to their own boards.
The Board Chairmen all considered the arrangement highly effective and useful. They treasured very much the chance to discuss among themselves and were more confident in marking candidates' performance knowing that they were applying a fair and consistent marking standard.
Statistical review indicated that the number of candidates recommended from each board as well as the distribution of marks was close to a random sample with no significant statistical deviations.
The "Chairmen Board" improvement initiative is now a standing practice for all large-scale recruitment exercises in the SWD.
Urban Services Department (USD)
In January 1999, CSB promulgated the new arrangements for employment of non-civil service contract (NCSC) staff. The employment of NCSC staff was a novel concept in Human Resource administration in the civil service. In view of the authority for appointment of temporary staff being decentralized to some 35 user sections, the then USD decided to develop a set of internal guidelines with the objectives of -
Consultation with the user sections was conducted to identify their existing practices in employing temporary staff and their concerns/expectations towards the new arrangements. A User Manual and supplementary guidelines have been subsequently drawn up for general compliance by the user sections. Before introduction of the User Manual and supplementary guidelines, briefing sessions were organized for all Executive Officers in the department dealing with appointment and HR functions to familiarize them with the philosophy and new work procedures for systematic and consistent implementation in their respective offices.
To facilitate scrutiny of salary proposals by user sections for employment of NCSC staff, salary data were gathered from recruitment advertisements in major local newspapers, the Labour Department, Census and Statistics Department, personnel agencies, pay trend surveys by the Hong Kong Institute of Human Resources Management and employers of specific trade, to form a data base for easy reference. The remuneration packages for NCSC staff were flexibly determined having regard to the employment market and recruitment situation. The qualification and experience requirements of NCSC staff ranks were also flexibly determined to meet the specific operational needs of user sections.
User sections had a better understanding of the new arrangements and their roles in actual implementation. Both consistency and stringency were achieved. Staff costs for employment of NCSC staff were reduced by the average of 40% as compared with the NAMS value of equivalent civil service ranks, and the recruitment lead time was shortened by one-third of the original schedule.