2019 Sustainability Report

Thriving people for a thriving organisation

“We believe we need to invest in our people assets just like any other asset class. We have our own in-house training business called Ethos International. We have invested in state of the art training facilities at One Taikoo Place and at the Lantau Leadership Centre.”

Ron Mathison
Staff Director

Why is training and development important to an organisation like Swire Pacific?

RM: We believe we need to invest in our people assets just like any other asset class. We have our own in-house training business called Ethos International. We have invested in state of the art training facilities at One Taikoo Place and at the Lantau Leadership Centre. In addition to in-house training, we send our business leaders to attend specially tailored courses at INSEAD business school and Stanford University.

Ron Mathison

Beyond simply providing training, what is Swire Pacific doing to develop its people and prepare the managers of the future?

RM: In addition to training, we provide our management with coaching, mentoring, career development centres, 360-degree feedback, psychometric evaluation and on-the-job learning. One of the key features of our approach to developing our people is the use of job rotations across different functions, businesses and geographies. We offer a broad range of career development options which helps to nurture talent, making us a more attractive employer.

Why is training and development material to us?

There is an expectation that businesses will contribute to employment, skills and technical capacity in the markets where they operate. Today’s socially conscious employees want purposeful, rewarding careers that contribute social, economic and environmental value. Creating meaningful employment is one of the most significant ways that a business contributes to the livelihoods of individuals and communities.

Engaging and inspiring our workforce boosts productivity and increases our appeal to those who seek purposeful careers. An agile and well trained workforce can respond to changes in the business environment and increased competition.

We need to attract and retain talented people. We aim to provide training to enable our employees to realise their full potential. By enhancing the skills of our people, we support them in achieving their career goals while meeting our business needs. Personal development and training enables our employees to be accountable to our standards, principles and policies.

Training and education

We develop our people by on-the-job learning, mentoring, coaching, classroom training and online learning. In 2019, the average number of hours of training per employee was 47, a 15.4% increase from the previous year. This does not include informal and on-the-job learning, where much of our employee training happens.

Chart data Tabular data
Compare multiple years

Average hours of training per employee (2019)

Remarks: Cathay Dragon's cabin crew and cockpit staff have a different employee categorisation system and do not fall into the employee categories developed by Swire Pacific. They were therefore not included as part of this disclosure for 2019.

Average hours of training per employee (2019)

Swire Properties Cathay Pacific Group HAECO Group Swire Coca-Cola Swire Pacific Offshore HUD Group Trading & Indistrial Swire Pacific (Head Office) Total
Total Average 28 70 56 30 70 9 23 9 47

The 2019 increase largely reflects a 30% increase in training hours at Cathay Pacific. There were 20% more induction training classes for cabin crew and more leadership training for general office staff and management. The increase also reflects the inclusion of an additional category of training for the first time.

Swire Leadership Centre

Swire Leadership Centre

The Swire Leadership Centre on Lantau Island, Hong Kong, is a residential training and development facility for Swire staff development programmes. It is available for use by all of our operating companies. Managed by Swire Hotels, it has three lecture rooms, a canteen and 26 individual guestrooms.

A number of eco-friendly features have been integrated into the building design, including rainwater harvesting and grey-water recycling systems, as well as photovoltaic panels to generate electricity. Display panels around the Centre have drawn on the Group’s rich archives to tell the story of the development of Swire’s businesses over two centuries.

Thriving people for a thriving organisation

We invest heavily in the development and management of our talented people. Induction training covers our business, our strategy, our products and services and our approach to sustainable development.

Examples of some of the training and leadership development programmes include:

  • Swire Properties’ two year Achieving Excellence programme helps managers to develop their careers and to understand Swire Properties’ commitment to sustainable development. There are workshops on leadership development, presentation skills, strategic thinking, fostering teamwork and performance management. Participants meet senior executives on a one-to-one basis.
  • Swire Properties’ DISC (dominance, influence, steadiness, conscientiousness) one-day workshops help employees to improve their communication skills and to understand others and how to influence them positively. There were 15 DISC workshops in 2019, attended by more than 300 employees and accounting for more than 2,500 training hours.
  • Cathay Pacific’s Serve to Lead programme puts leaders in customer service roles for one to two days. It helps them to understand the challenges faced by front line employees.
  • Swire Coca-Cola Taiwan has a leadership development programme. The programme leverages six core competencies from the talent review process as the basis for a 360° evaluation, which is used to identify participants’ development needs and establish relevant development plans. There are evaluations, class training and external coaching. 90% of participants saw an improvement in their review performance because of the programme.
  • Swire Pacific Offshore’s annual leadership programmes, for their operational and team leaders, deal with building networks across organisations, securing support for projects, coaching skills and how to negotiate with vendors. In order to reduce food waste and improve standards of service delivery and quality, cook trainers visit Swire Pacific Offshore's vessels to instruct the fleet’s cooks. The cook trainers organise professional upskilling courses to increase competence levels in order to provide better quality meals to our employees and our clients.
  • The supervisory training programme at Hong Kong Airport Services helps to develop teamwork, communications, motivational and time management skills. Management concepts are taught using games, exercises and group discussions. Around 200 supervisors have participated.
  • Cathay Pacific Catering Services has a four-level leadership programme to suit talent with different levels of experience and those at different stages of their career. To help drive an innovation culture there are courses on big data, design thinking, change awareness and change management. There were 150 participants in the 2019 programme.

A number of our operating companies have also developed their online learning capabilities as a means of increasing their staff’s accessibility to their learning and development programmes, this includes:

  • Swire Properties’ Taikoo Hui micro college offers online courses designed to enhance the professional skills and personal and management capabilities of its employees in Guangzhou. They have access to information and learning materials in a regularly updated e-library.
  • Swire Properties’ e-learning training platform for employees in Mainland China provides more than 1,000 training modules accessible via personal computers and mobile phones.
  • Cathay Pacific’s learning academy gives employees the confidence, knowledge and skills necessary to create the best possible customer experience. There is e-learning, classroom and on the job training available.
  • In 2019, Swire Pacific Offshore implemented Percipio, a convenient eLearning portal, to enable employees to drive their own learning, with a plethora of programmes at their fingertips.
Swire Properties - Keeping up with the latest trends

Swire Properties – Keeping up with the latest trends

In 2019, Swire Properties held six workshops for their marketing teams dealing principally with digital marketing trends, social media and data analysis. There were 195 participants with internal speakers and contributions from external experts. Topics covered included search engine optimisation, programmatic advertising, data analytics, optimising digital strategy with Google Analytics, what’s on in social media and digital trends in Mainland China.

Building for the future

Many of our businesses have their own apprenticeships, traineeships and internship programmes.

Swire Properties has multi-year training programmes in building surveying, engineering and general management. Swire Hotels’ 18-month, international, Operations Management Trainee Programme deals with hotel operations in Hong Kong, Mainland China and Miami, USA.

In 2019, Swire Properties improved its trainee on-boarding programme by making it more user centric. Previous trainees suggested how the programme could be altered to facilitate a smoother transition from university to work. Other recommendations that were adopted include the use of a story telling approach and changes to job shadowing. A trainee shadowing guidance booklet was produced to improve understanding, by trainees and host departments, of their respective roles.

Cathay Pacific Group also offers a range of programmes to build employee competencies and develop careers. Cathay Pacific Catering Services runs a nine-month aviation catering programme for young people. Below are other Cathay Pacific training programmes:

Career choices

Graduate Engineer
A two-year development programme for graduate engineers. Participants receive classroom training and on the job experience across different sections. Eight-week internships are offered twice a year.

Cadet Pilot
A sponsored, world-class, 55-week programme at a specialised facility in Australia, aimed at training and qualifying participants as commercial pilots.

Cabin Crew
Safety and service induction training for cabin crew, followed by a three-year contract.

Customer Services Officer
A 12-month programme designed to equip customer service officers with the skills to work at Hong Kong International Airport and look after customers at check-in, boarding and disembarkation.

IT Graduate Trainee
A two-year programme designed to teach IT graduate trainees technical disciplines.

Operational Leaders
A five-year programme for future leaders, providing different job experiences within the Cathay Pacific Group.

The Swire Summer Internship Programme gives exceptional penultimate year students, who want to join the Swire Management Trainee Programme, the opportunity to gain experience of working at Swire. High performing interns are fast tracked through the management trainee application process.

Following a comprehensive induction into the Swire Group, interns work for seven weeks in an operating company in Hong Kong or Mainland China. They are given opportunities to lead and implement business related projects. They learn about what we do and our values.

“Prior to starting my career as a group staff management trainee, I had a wonderful experience as a Swire summer intern. The experience not only strengthened my belief that Swire was the right place for me, but it also helped me transition into the management trainee programme.” Kira Li, current management trainee and former summer intern.

Managing for the future

Our in-house leadership development company, Ethos International, designs and delivers learning and development programmes for Swire Group management staff. High potential managers are enrolled in business management and executive programmes at INSEAD and Stanford University. Ethos International’s training programmes emphasise sustainability and develop a strong corporate culture and leadership style that is consistent with our values.

Every year, we recruit high-calibre graduates for a long-term career. Over the next 15 years, graduates are coached, mentored and guided, and the next steps of their careers are planned. Sustainable development and the business opportunities it creates is integrated into this training.

There are specific human resources and finance streams within our leadership programme. Future human resources and finance leaders are given different roles in their fields as their careers develop. They benefit from targeted training and development opportunities.

In 2019, there were 74 programmes, with 1,102 places on them, and 246 days of training (including at INSEAD).

Swire leadership programmes

Within the management trainee programme, there are sub-programmes for group staff and house staff. Both offer the same, highly competitive, compensation and benefits package. Broad experience in different commercial, operational and customer focused roles, and exposure to the skills required to be a business leader, is provided. House staff get experience in all our businesses. Group staff get experience principally in Hong Kong and Mainland China.

“The Group Staff Programme, with early responsibilities, mentoring and training, through workshops and business schools, provides just the required practice, guidance and inspiration for me to discover what type of leader I am, what type of leader I want to be and how I can get there.” Lance Kwong, operational leader, who joined the programme in 2009

After three years, participants typically move to management roles. After eight years, they can become heads of functions. They continue to change roles during their careers. Each new role is intended to sharpen and improve participants’ leadership skills and understanding of how to run a business.

Michelle Lim

“Early exposure to the frontline and senior leadership is a prominent feature of the Leadership Programme. It has really helped shape my understanding of our operations as well as what it takes to be a business leader. ... I thoroughly enjoy the access to various management styles, projects and colleagues as a Management Trainee - there's always something new to learn!” Michelle Lim, individual contributor, who joined the programme in 2017.

As well as practical experience, participants receive functional and leadership training, internally from Ethos International and externally from INSEAD and Stanford University.

Health and safety

Safety is a fundamental responsibility