Attracting and Retaining Staff
Towngas offers careers that are both fulfilling and rewarding, due in large part to our employment practices as covered under our Employee Policy. These include family-friendly policies and competitive remuneration packages that are well above the regulatory minimum, as well as other benefits.
Benefits for full-time employees include maternity and paternity leave, medical and dental insurance, group life insurance, town gas allowances, education allowances and performance-based bonuses in Hong Kong. We also provide a maternity allowance and counselling for managing emotional issues. Subject to eligibility, the children of our staff can take advantage of an education allowance and scholarship for attending overseas exchange programmes and local universities. To help our staff balance their work and family responsibilities, we have established a variety of family friendly practices. These include flexible working hours and special provisions for taking time off for family reasons, such as marriage, compassionate and casual leave.
Our remuneration packages are periodically reviewed and adjusted according to trends in the labour market. We also conduct performance appraisal annually with agreed goal setting between employees and their supervisors, to improve performance and promote recognition of the efforts and achievements of employees.
The retirement benefits we offer include the defined contribution schemes and Mandatory Provident Fund schemes in Hong Kong. In the Chinese mainland, staff participate in social security plans organised by the relevant municipal and provincial governments.
We also collaborate with various education institutions to provide training programmes that not only create a pipeline of future workers for Towngas, but also contribute to the dissemination of gas knowledge and advancement of the gas industry.
We recognise that close communication with our employees is critical for maintaining a harmonious and productive work environment. To keep our employees engaged and informed, we provide multiple two-way communication channels.
Our employees are also guaranteed freedom of association in the workplace and may join the organisations and professional bodies of their choice. Members of associations are also allowed to participate in association activities during working hours, reflecting the high degree of freedom they enjoy at Towngas.
Although Hong Kong has no regulatory requirement with regard to collective bargaining, we consult our staff on a range of employment issues through our internal communication channels. We send a formal notice at least two to four weeks ahead of time to all employees when significant operational changes are about to be implemented. In the Chinese mainland, we comply with applicable legal obligations concerning freedom of association and collective bargaining.
While the labour unions of our project companies have not entered into any collective bargaining agreements, we continue to maintain open communication with union representatives on staff-related matters.
Training and Development
Training our people and developing their skills and competencies are essential for our long-term success as a company.
Training and development programmes, including competency and skills based courses, are organised and delivered internally through our Learning & Development function and the Towngas Training Institute (TTI) in Hong Kong. We also have five training bases in the Chinese mainland, as well as partnerships with education institutions.
Our training begins with our new joiners, who during their orientation with us become familiarised with Towngas, our corporate culture, policies and business processes. Recognising that individual employees have different learning needs, we identify and provide a wide range of training and development opportunities for our general and technical staff as well as our management colleagues.
Apart from technical and engineering subjects as well as non-technical subjects such as leadership development and interpersonal skills, we also identify emerging areas, such as innovation, digitalisation and climate change, to help staff develop new skills or refresh their knowledge. To equip potential employees with management skills and build a sustainable leadership pipeline, we offer a variety of career advancement programmes. Delivery channels include classroom training, e-learning, Virtual Reality (VR) training, frontline attachments, workshops and site visits.
We also encourage our employees to supplement their development through external courses, seminars, visits and conferences, according to identified training needs. Subsidies are provided for staff who pursue further education related to their job duties, according to the Towngas Human Resources Policy Manual.
TLC+/ YTLC+ The Towngas Leadership Competencies Acceleration Programme (TLC+) and Young TLC+ were launched in 2008 and 2017 respectively to establish an adequate supply of talents for succession planning, which in turns support the fast business growth in both Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland. During the 18-month programme, TLC+ and YTLC+ members participate in a series of training programmes, mentoring, action learning projects and company visits to accelerate their development. As of 2022, 2.5% employees in Hong Kong completed the programmes with a promotion rate of over 80% after completion of the programme.
G = i × i Programme Dedicated to driving business innovation, Towngas advocates the principle of “Growth = innovation x implementation” (G = i × i) to encourage employees to implement and apply innovative ideas in business that improve our operations, save costs or generate new revenue. A series of innovation trainings as well as other initiatives such as Innovation Funding, Towngas Awards, Superior Quality Service (SQS) Projects, Study Mission etc are provided. With 20% of employees are SQS members, we have boosted customer satisfaction and saved around HK$648 million in the past 30 years.
Diversity, Equal Opportunity and Non-discrimination
We firmly believe in promoting equal opportunities and eliminating discrimination in all aspects of our employment practices as indicated in our Anti-discrimination Policy We adhere to the anti-discrimination ordinances of all the jurisdictions where we operate, including recruitment, remuneration, compensation and benefits, promotions, transfers, training, and termination. We have absolutely no tolerance for employment discrimination on the basis of age, gender, sexual orientation, race, colour, religious or political beliefs, marital status, ethnic background or social origin.
We value diversity within our ranks and make a strong effort to attract women to our industry as well to develop and retain them. Additionally, we are proactive with respect to providing employment opportunities and support for people with disabilities and older workers.
In support of a harmonious workplace, we have established procedures and a fair and independent process for investigating complaints about discrimination, with assurance that the confidentiality of all parties will be respected.
Respect for Human Rights
Prevention of Child Labour or Forced Labour
In accordance with our adherence to human rights principles, we strictly prohibit child labour and forced labour in our operations as stipulated in the Human Rights Policy. To ensure we are legally compliant with local laws and regulations in our recruitment, we check applicants’ identity including, but not limited to, their age and eligibility for employment. We also ensure that employees are given rest days and are compensated for any overtime work, as required by local regulators. The relevant human rights policies and procedures are also readily available on our ESG website through Code of Conduct and Human Rights Policy for all employees to access anytime.
We have extended the concept of fair labour throughout our entire supply chain and require our suppliers to comply with our policies on child labour and forced labour, as stipulated in our Code of Practice for Suppliers. Child labour and forced labour are two of our critical assessment criteria when we conduct an on-site Code of Practice audit of our suppliers.
Towngas is committed to minimising potential security threats to the Company’s facilities and its employees. We have a Security Policy in place to protect employees and company assets from harm or loss. To reduce security risks, we have implemented appropriate security measures. Security surveys and audits are conducted to assess possible threats or risks to our major facilities. We also work with governments and our partners to safeguard our assets and provide our employees and contractors with a secure work environment.
While our security team does its utmost to protect our people and physical assets, it must also respect human rights in the discharge of its duties. We ensure that all security personnel are kept abreast of legislation concerning human rights and the rule of law and that they treat people in an appropriate and respectful manner. New security personnel receive training in anti-corruption and non-discrimination during their induction and are required to comply with our Code of Conduct.