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Hong Kong Broadband Network An Integrated Approach To Talent Management

Solution Id Length Case Author Case Publisher
2150 2470 Words (10 Pages) Shlomo Ben-Hur, Ivy Buche IMD : IMD861
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One of the largest firms in Hong Kong, the HKBN, has reached its position by being entrepreneurial, investing in their talent, and being open towards the direction they want to grow in. With the new management buyout, the company is now looking at some major changes which are not only limited to the new management but also in the new thinking, which will permeate HKBN post buyout. There need to be some changes brought about to allow the HKBN talent to grow back to their initial competitive advantage and retain/ grow their position in the broadband industry.

Following questions are answered in this case study solution:

  1. Executive Summary

  2. Introduction

  3. The Talent Management System

  4. Post Buy-out

  5. Conclusion

Case Study Questions Answers

2. Introduction

Since the last ten years, the Hong Kong Broadband Network (also known as the HKBN) has gone on to evolve from a new entrant in the market to become the second major broadband operator in all of Hong Kong. In order to grow its market over the past few years, HKBN has invested in creating a state-of-the-art fibre optics infrastructure network, which covers over 2 million homes as well as provides them with high quality and high-speed telecommunication services. The CAPEX to sales ratio of HKBN is highest amongst all the other telecommunication operators in Hong Kong city. However, HKBN does not view them as being a high technology business. HKBN's CFO, as well as the head of talent engagement, Mr. NiQ Lai is of the view that it is the people of KHBN which are the key differentiating factor. He states that everything in a company can be copied; however, the people are the unique aspects that have allowed HKBN to be able to compete in Hong Kong’s telecommunication industry, which has been dominated by several large conglomerates. In fact, Mr. NiQ Lai is so vested in the employees at HKBN that he ensures that they are always referred to as the Talents (Takeuchi & Buche, 2014).

i. The HKBN Talent Strategy
Core Business Strategy

The core business strategy of HKBN has been business growth with a focus towards ensuring the first-mover advantage when it comes to new technologies. In order to achieve their targets, the focus has been on the HKBN’s Talent. The talent management system, which is made up of the people, has been recognized as being the chief success factor, which has made the firm the second-largest in Hong Kong. Alongside the focus on talent, another core value, which defines the company, is to be able to fulfill the desires amongst their employees of self-actualization as well as to develop the ability to grow and become everything that they are capable of becoming. These two core values have been able to provide the company with a competitive advantage, which is unique amongst all telecommunication firms. The company has ensured that it is committed in terms of uplifting the internal morale, developing the abilities and attitudes of the different employees in their environments. Mainly the company has focused on and committed to providing the best and right environment, which has helped its talent to prosper. Along with providing the right environment, the talent at HKBN has been supported and encouraged by corporate culture, access to technology, and the latest processes: all of these have been focused on and inclined towards ensuring the best possible delivery of customer services (Takeuchi & Buche, 2014).

Talent focused culture

By investing in the talent, which they have, HKBN has been able to develop one of the most effective as well as efficient sources of competitive advantage for the company. This has allowed HKBN to remain in front of the competition as well as sustain its position in the market. By making talent one of the core objectives and investing in the HKBN talent management system, the firm has been able to become trust not only worthy and engaging but also entrepreneurial and responsive to market needs. Additionally, the firm has also been able to succeed in the telecommunications market due to its focus as well as commitment to actually trusting their employees/ talents. By ensuring that the talents have the required level of decision-making authority, HKBN developed ownership and was able to inculcate a culture of alignment with the business strategy. HKBN has been massively successful simply because it has been able to encourage talent involvement as well as also provided some exceptional careers to its employees by helping them find and retain their interest-based and hence competitive positions within the firm (Li, 2018).

3. The Talent Management System

Since the strength of HKBN lies in its talent, there are some aspects that have allowed it to rise to the stage where it is a source of competitive advantage. These aspects are as below:

i. Empowerment of employees and encouraging entrepreneurship

The HKBN has implemented a decentralized structure: the company is divided into five geographical regions, which are run by appointed mini CEOs. These CEO’s are benchmarked within the company, i.e. against each other, which has led to the encouragement of healthy competition as well as discouragement of malfunctioning silos in the company. Each geographical region has its own unique targets for the revenue it needs to generate as well as the cost controls which need to be done. The talent is highly motivated to achieve both these targets since they receive a pre-set percentage of the total savings which they are able to make. This structure also enables efficient succession planning within HKBN (Lam, 2016).

ii. Rethinking risks

One of the largest risks to HKBN, based on its executives' thinking, is complacency. In order to counteract this, the HKBN removed the traditionally present budget caps. This was done to encourage talent to utilize their initiatives and take calculated risks in order to pursuit innovation in how things are done. The five mini CEO’s are told that they are to “assume the answer will be ‘yes’ unless and until the management explicitly tells them ‘no’”. The concept which has led to this thought process is that trying out ten affordable high-risk ideas that have a 20% success rate is much better than remaining safe and trying out one or two ideas (Berson & J.Avolio, 2004).

iii. Maintaining start-up cultures

One of the aspects which have been identified by Mr. Niq Lai is that while the HKBN is an old organization – founded in the year 1999 yet the environment is such that it still feels like it is a start-up. It has a very flat organizational structure, which means that all of the employees have very easy access to the top management for their support (Ries, 2017). 

iv. Offer educational opportunities

HKBN is one of the rare organizations which allows talent who do not have university degrees or want to move into a new department to earn a degree through the Next Station University program. Under this, HKBN covers 90% of the tuition fees and helps the talent by providing flexible work schedules and classroom space to attend lectures (Stachová, Papula, Stacho, & Kohnová, 2019).

v. Rounding out experience

Managers at HKBN are routinely invited to become guest managers of different departments for a time period of 6 to 12 months. This is the PowerBar Career Rotation Program – this helps managers get out of their comfort zones and learn new skills, which helps them manage HKBN from a holistic perspective (Stachová, Papula, Stacho, & Kohnová, 2019).

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