Hong Kong drops out of the top 5 most expensive locations in the world

ECA International | July 02, 2020

Hong Kong is now the 6th most expensive location for expats to live, falling from 4th place last year. This was one of the findings of the latest Cost of Living survey published by ECA International, the world's leading provider of knowledge, information and software for the management and assignment of employees around the world. 

Hong Kong has dropped slightly after falling behind the Swiss cities of Basel and Bern and now sits outside of the top 5 most expensive locations.

“Despite political and social unrest over the course of 2019, coupled with the impact of Covid-19 making some people more reluctant to move to the SAR, Hong Kong has only seen a small drop in the global rankings amid the uncertainty” said Lee Quane, Regional Director, Asia at ECA International. “Although it has been overtaken by Bern and Basel, Hong Kong is still one of the most expensive places for overseas workers to live and is still more expensive than other Asian expat hubs such as Tokyo and Singapore”.

Spotlight

As HR becomes more data-driven, it’s important for human resources practitioners to look outside their internal data relating to hiring and employee performance. Our annual review of top HR and recruiting statistics includes survey data from employers and job seekers alike on the essential topics of recruiting and retention. In order to retain employees in an era of shortening job tenure, employers are turning to internal initiatives, benefits and perks to ensure they remain competitive.


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HR STRATEGY

Supporting employee’s wellbeing through the festive season

HR News | December 15, 2021

The NHS Confederation has warned that mental health problems are growing at an ‘alarming’ rate in England, with 1 in 6 adults having experienced some form of depression in summer 2021, exacerbated by the pandemic. “The festive season is meant to be a wonderful time of year; however, it can bring a lot of extra stress and worry. Many employees are balancing work pressures with family duties and add to this financial worries and fears about the new Omicron variant. This year, offering support to people over the holidays season is so important and could make a big difference to employee wellbeing and ensure your people return to work in 2022 refreshed, motivated and ready to hit the ground running.” -Mark Fosh, Divisional Director at Howden Here are Howden’s top tips to support employee wellbeing this festive season: Encourage employees to ‘switch off’ – An ‘always on’ culture has been exacerbated by the pandemic as the boundaries between home and work have blurred. Encouraging employees to switch off and take a break has never been more important. Spending time with family and friends and catching up on sleep are key ingredients for good wellbeing. Be aware of ‘Divorce Day’ -The first working Monday after the festive break has been named ‘Divorce Day’ due to family lawyers reporting higher than usual enquiries on this day. While relationship issues are personal, the impact of a divorce can be difficult for employees to manage, with prolonged periods of stress leading to depression and anxiety. Being mindful of this, employers can remind employees of support services that could help people going through relationship troubles including a divorce, such as Mental Health First Aiders and the Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) which offers mental health, financial planning and legal support. Festive money worries – The average UK family will spend an average £821.25[ii] in the run up to the festive season. Money worries can cause anxiety, stress and depression. Promoting support services such as EAPs, Citizens Advice, Step Change and the National Debt Line could help employees. Also, businesses could consider running a financial wellbeing programme in 2022, to give employees the tools and know-how to make informed financial decisions. Support employees’ mental health – Be mindful of employees who might not be coping well over the festive period. Look out for uncharacteristic behaviour such as missing deadlines, someone acting more quietly or aggressively or frequently turning up late. Ensure help and support are in place as this will help to reduce absences. Benefits such as EAPs. Virtual GPs and Mental Health First aiders can be used as a first line of defence. Also, promote mental health support available through charities such as Mind, the Samaritans and Victim Support. Signpost employees to their employee benefits – Often employees don’t know what benefits are available, so why not send out a reminder over the festive period? Use end of year communications to provide a useful summary of the benefits and support on offer and importantly, how employees can access them when they need them. Encourage health activities -A combination of lack of exercise and overdoing the festive treats can have a detrimental impact on physical wellbeing. Encourage employees to stay active over the festive break, for example by going out for daily walks. This can also help them cope with any extra pressure over the festive period. In the New Year why not set up a workplace health challenge such as walking, running or cycling? This can be a great way to get teams involved in some friendly and healthy competition, encourage better health habits and boost employees’ wellbeing. Finally, a simple thank you can go a long way – When employees are snowed under and pressure is high, it can be easy to forget the importance of saying thank you. A small but important gesture that lets people know their efforts are noticed and appreciated can really boost morale and motivation. To find out more about looking after employees’ mental health and wellbeing or request an employee benefits review, to make sure they are still fit for purpose for 2022, get in touch with Howden.

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HR PRACTICE

Tango Announces $14M Series A and Launches Workspaces for Teams

Tango | June 15, 2022

Tango, the leading Workflow Intelligence Platform that streamlines the creation of process documentation, today announced its $14 million Series A funding, bringing its total funding to $19.7M. Tiger Global Management led the round, with Slack Fund and Atlassian Ventures participating. Existing Tango investors also participated and included Wing VC, General Catalyst, GSV Ventures, Red Sea Ventures, and Outsiders Fund. In conjunction with the funding, Zach DeWitt, Partner at Wing VC, will join Tango's board of directors. Tango's Workflow Intelligence Platform provides the insights necessary to scale business operations by standardizing best practices, onboarding and training new hires more quickly, and improving employee performance. Through its Chrome Extension and Desktop Application, Tango automatically captures processes in real-time and generates instantaneous, beautiful step-by-step how-to guides that can easily be exported or embedded into learning management systems and knowledge bases. Since the launch of its Chrome Extension in September 2021, Tango quickly scaled to 100,000 users in just eight months and became Product Hunt's second most upvoted product of 2021. "Slack charted the course for bottoms-up adoption. We strongly believe great collaboration tools have undeniable product-led DNA. Tango has this in spades, and we have incredibly high conviction in the team's ability to define the category," - Jason Spinell of Slack Fund Introducing Workspaces Over 25,000 teams are currently using Tango, highlighting the need for functionality that can serve entire organizations. Tango's Workspaces, built for teams, bring powerful collaboration features, including shared folders, viewership analytics, Workflow discovery, and user permissioning. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted companies' knowledge management challenges in shifting to a virtual workforce. Today, businesses still face challenges when collaborating and accessing information across the organization. The Great Resignation has only exacerbated this, with many businesses facing higher turnover rates and more significant recruitment difficulties. Tango allows teams to capture processes in the flow of work and the new Workspaces product enables real-time access to quality process documents for all team members. With real insights into how work is getting done, organizations can standardize best practices from top performers, identify knowledge gaps, and support employees to improve their performance and career satisfaction. "We are thrilled to announce our recent funding to continue building Tango. Our mission is to improve the future of work by providing solutions businesses need for effective collaboration and knowledge sharing. In addition, we are proud to launch Workspaces, bringing organizations of all sizes the insights they need to better understand how work is performed. With the ability to see and understand how work is getting done, organizations can focus on improving employee performance, standardizing best practices, and ultimately, scaling business operations," - Ken Babcock, co-founder and CEO of Tango. Tango will use the funding to continue focusing on new internal collaboration features for both the creator and the consumer of documentation. Tango envisions a future of work where documentation mirrors the organization: a living, dynamic approach to internal knowledge. About Tango: Tango is the premier Workflow Intelligence Platform that empowers people to be their best at work. Tango is the fastest way to create step-by-step tutorials and documentation, enabling top performers and teams to auto-capture and share best practices, all in the flow of work. Tango generated Workflows captured by its Chrome Extension and Desktop app helps teams onboard new hires, train employees, and facilitate process improvement.

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HR STRATEGY

BrightPlan Unveils Strategy and New Solutions to Address Top Business and HR Challenges

BrightPlan | January 20, 2022

BrightPlan, a leader in Total Financial Wellness, today unveiled its strategy and first phase of new solutions for addressing four top challenges business and HR leaders continue to face in 2022: attracting and retaining talent, driving employee experience and engagement, supporting employees' holistic well-being and fostering a culture of diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I). BrightPlan's integrated strategy encompasses new and enhanced product capabilities including the Total Rewards Statement, financial wellness check-up and data and insights that support employer DE&I efforts. Close to two years into the pandemic, the war for talent rages on as a substantial number of workers continue to fuel the Great Resignation. In November 2021, a record number of 4.5 million Americans voluntarily quit their jobs. Lack of engagement and burnout is common: 67% of employees are disengaged at work and 85% say their well-being has declined. Inclusion is also important in this mix with 51% of employees who quit did so because they did not feel a sense of belonging. At the heart of these issues is the employee experience: talent acquisition, engagement, wellness and DE&I challenges all stem from disconnected or unhappy employee experiences that impact the way we work. "The long, anticipated future of work is now, By supporting our customers, listening closely and responding to their evolving needs, we are providing tangible solutions that enable them to address these business challenges, further establishing our commitment as a trusted partner to employers and HR leaders nationwide." -Marthin De Beer, founder and CEO of BrightPlan. BrightPlan's multi-phased strategy outlines the company's approach to solving four pressing challenges faced by businesses today: Attracting & Retaining Talent: To win in this competitive talent market, employers need to create a reputation for stellar culture and a great place to work. In the quest for hiring top talent, recruiters aren't always well-equipped to sell the value of an employer's Total Rewards offering and current employees may not fully understand the benefits that are already available to them, putting employers at a disadvantage in competing for top talent. BrightPlan's new Total Rewards Statement, is an easy-to-use tool customized by company and job candidate that explains the value of total rewards. Additionally, BrightPlan is developing more financial education courses integrated with employer benefits that are relevant to different life stages, like Investing 101 and BrightPlan Guides to getting married, buying a home and more. Employee Experience & Engagement: In our new work reality, employers need to provide their people with the services and support they need to be well, engaged and productive by bringing empathy, care and a more human experience into the workplace. This is core to the employee experience as workers increasingly demand support from their employers. For example, the employee experience is compromised when benefits are inconsistent across geographies and spread across multiple, disjointed platforms. With BrightPlan's recently announced global support for employees of US-based companies working in Canada, the U.K., Australia and New Zealand, as well as expanded services for tax planning and preparation, estate planning, student loan optimization and investing enhancements, BrightPlan's Total Financial Wellness solution helps create a more cohesive experience that addresses all aspects of employees' financial lives. Holistic Well-Being: Holistic well-being recognizes the need to care for the "whole person," including their physical, mental, financial and social well-being, but many employee wellness programs are incomplete, generic and obscured. They ignore the top cause of employee stress – finances. Nearly 65% of workers reported they were stressed about finances, leading to worsened mental and physical health. With BrightPlan's new financial wellness check-up —a series of questions to gauge employees' financial wellness—employers receive aggregated insights on the financial well-being of their employees. In addition, BrightPlan provides quarterly reports and dashboards that bring clarity into the adoption and success of employee holistic well-being initiatives. "Supporting employee holistic well-being means meeting people where they are physically, mentally and financially, BrightPlan helps us empower our associates to bring their best selves to work. We are excited they continuously listen to our feedback and develop capabilities to further support our associates in achieving their financial goals." -Lindsay Madaras, LivingWell manager at Alliance Data. Diversity, Equity & Inclusion: Fostering a culture of inclusiveness and belonging where every individual feels welcome can be challenging. There is no one-size-fits-all solution and many employer programs do not adequately address the unique needs of underrepresented groups. Financial wellness is key to DE&I since true diversity, equity and inclusivity in the workplace is about recognizing each employee's unique background and supporting them in their well-being journey. Due to the wealth gap for underrepresented groups, inclusion in the workplace should also focus on fostering a sense of financial security through equal pay, equal opportunity and access to resources such as financial wellness benefits. BrightPlan partners with HR teams to address the unique needs of different employee populations through employee resource groups (ERGs). In addition to providing quarterly engagement reports and dashboards, BrightPlan's strategy includes working with each employer to bring DE&I-specific insights into the equation, enabling HR leaders to drive customization and improved decision-making. Further, BrightPlan is adding Spanish-speaking financial advisors to make financial wellness more accessible to diverse employee populations. Amid continued accelerated change in the workplace and in employees' lives, BrightPlan's strategy is a blueprint equipped with tangible solutions for addressing key challenges faced by businesses today and provides takeaways for shaping the future of work. For more information on BrightPlan's strategy and solutions in these four areas, please visit this link. About BrightPlan BrightPlan is a leader in Total Financial Wellness. BrightPlan provides a comprehensive solution that addresses all aspects of employees' financial health at every stage of life, and empowers HR teams to enhance the employee experience and better attract, retain and engage talent. Its unique combination of digital platform and human advisors enables employers to deploy at scale while delivering personalization for employees. The company is the first financial wellness solution certified for fiduciary excellence by the Centre for Fiduciary Excellence (CEFEX).

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RECRUITMENT & RETENTION

USO Announces Strategic Relationship with EY to Expand Career Opportunities for the Military Community

EY | February 07, 2022

The United Service Organizations (USO) and Ernst & Young LLP (EY) are joining forces to support professional development within the military community. During a three-year strategic relationship, the USO and EY will create career and mentorship opportunities for service members and their spouses. "The USO and EY share a commitment to helping others become the best versions of themselves. This relationship will allow thousands of our brave troops and their spouses to plan rewarding professional lives that leverage their unique skillsets, EY representatives already sit on six USO advisory boards throughout the United States, and we are looking forward to even more cross-organization engagement in the future." -USO CEO and President J.D. Crouch II. A $1.5M donation and pro bono services from EY will support numerous USO initiatives between Jan. 2022 and Dec. 2024. These include the USO Pathfinder® Transition Program, which connects the military community to employment, education, financial readiness, and mentorship opportunities. It is a crucial resource for the 200,000-plus service members and 650,000-plus military spouses who experience a major life transition each year. The strategic relationship will also strengthen EY's hiring initiatives while raising awareness of the USO's important role in military career development. EY employees will have a chance to meaningfully engage with service members through mentorship, board positions, and storytelling. Each interaction will help bridge the military-civilian divide and give more than thanks to those in uniform. About the USO: The USO strengthens America's military service members by keeping them connected to family, home, and country, throughout their service to the nation. At hundreds of locations worldwide, we are united in our commitment to connect our service members and their families through countless acts of caring, comfort, and support. The USO is a private nonprofit organization, not a government agency. Our programs, services and entertainment tours are made possible by the American people, the support of our corporate partners, and the dedication of our volunteers and staff. To join us in this important mission and learn more about the USO, please visit USO.org or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. About EY: EY exists to build a better working world, helping create long-term value for clients, people and society and build trust in the capital markets. Enabled by data and technology, diverse EY teams in over 150 countries provide trust through assurance and help clients grow, transform and operate. Working across assurance, consulting, law, strategy, tax and transactions, EY teams ask better questions to find new answers for the complex issues facing our world today. EY refers to the global organization, and may refer to one or more, of the member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited, each of which is a separate legal entity. Ernst & Young Global Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, does not provide services to clients.

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Spotlight

As HR becomes more data-driven, it’s important for human resources practitioners to look outside their internal data relating to hiring and employee performance. Our annual review of top HR and recruiting statistics includes survey data from employers and job seekers alike on the essential topics of recruiting and retention. In order to retain employees in an era of shortening job tenure, employers are turning to internal initiatives, benefits and perks to ensure they remain competitive.

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