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Organisational Overview

Discuss about the HR Practices and Employee Engagement levels of HSBC bank. 

The most important assets of an organisation are its people or the workforce (Ardichvil, 2015). Goal achievement of an organisation is dependent on the skill and effectiveness of the workforce (Bal, et al., 2013). As the workforce is an important feature of the organisation it is very important to enhance their performance. Employee engagement is a tool through which workforce performance can be enhanced (Albrecht, et al., 2015).The aim of this study is to understand the employee engagement and other HR practices for Hong Kong and Shanghai (HSBC) PLC. In addition to assessing the HR practices and employee engagement at HSBC this study will also recommend certain initiatives to HSBC which will enable it to enhance its employee engagement.

HSBC is a British multinational financial and banking company with a large scale operation around the globe (HSBC, 2017). It is present in 70 countries around the world and is a reputed brand name. It has more than 3 Lakh employees worldwide and has a multidivisional structure (HSBC, 2016)  It has branches in all major cities of Australia. HSBC was set by HSBC holding corporation in 1863 and it set up its first branches in Hong Kong and Shanghai. In 1991 the bank was reincorporate in its present form. The bank is listed on London and Hong Kong stock exchange (Kynaston, 2015). Profits of HSBC were US$18 Billion in 2015 (HSBC, 2016).  The vision of the company is to become the best in retail banking and wealth management and it aims to become the best through well trained and focused workforce (HSBC, 2017). In view of HSBC’s top management, employee orientation is the key to success in financial services delivery.

Financial sector is dependent on customer trust and long lasting relationship. HSBC hopes to manage this through effectiveness of workforce (Kynaston, 2015). HSBC delivers service experience; therefore, it is aware of the importance that people hold in service delivery. HSBC has an HR strategy to create a skilled and trained workforce who can deliver the financial service in an effective and efficient manner (HSBC, 2017). Therefore, the firm is open to different ideas from its workforce. The firm has a drive for training and development of the workforce and focuses on skill endowment (Gakovic & Yardley, 2007). For the purpose of recruitment, the firm hires from business schools, recruitment advertising and various other recruitment means (HSBC, 2017). The firm has strict recruitment policies in place so that it gets skilled and motivated workforce. Another strategy is to promote good performance so that the firm can get the best results (HSBC, 2017). Therefore, HSBC uses various strategies to get the best and committed workforce,

HR Strategy of HSBC

HSBC provides financial services (HSBC, 2017). Therefore, it emphasises on workforce training so that the financial services can be delivered as per customer demand (Kynaston, 2015). To manage its staff, HSBC has a well-designed human resource department which manages employee recruitment, selection, performance appraisal training and motivation (HSBC, 2016). Recruitment and selection drive is done with a viewpoint of hiring the most capable people so that customers can be properly satisfied by the service delivery.

HSBC encourages its employees to generate new ideas so that they feel like a part of the organisation and are motivated to contribute to it (Boon & Kalshoven, 2014).  Financial sector in which HSBC exists is highly dynamic and subject to changes. Fluctuations in business activities can change the sales outflow drastically (HSBC, 2016). HSBC provides transferability skills, change management, risk management, analytical skills, decision making skills, and financial products training to its employees to manage sales in the period of business fluctuations (Kynaston, 2015). It focuses on employee motivation to generate sustained objective achievement by the organisational workforce.

HSBC also has in place various motivational measures like performance linked rewards and bonuses so that, employees stay motivated to give their best (HSBC, 2016). Employees are given constructive feedback for improvement based on the performance appraisal. They are also motivated to enhance their learning so that they perform better in the next period (HSBC, 2016). Therefore, HSBC is focused on employee learning and believes that employees create the final output for the customer; therefore, they should be skilled and well-endowed in knowledge.

Employee engagement is an approach to human resource management which aims at making the employee enthusiastic about his work (Bridger, 2014). It aims at creating happy employees so that they get fully absorbed in their work. Happiness about work makes the employees more engaged in their work (Boon & Kalshoven, 2014).  Employee engagement enhances the trust of the employee in the organisation and improves the commitment level of the employees (Boon & Kalshoven, 2014). Trust, commitment, integrity and two way communication between organisation and the employee is the main ingredient of employee engagement (Boon & Kalshoven, 2014). Commitment level of employees is enhanced through training on a continuous basis.

At HSBC employees are encouraged to work in teams so that they are able to work in a cooperative and happy atmosphere (HSBC, 2014). Employees are also encouraged to indulge in dialogue and discussion to generated new ideas. The policy of promotion, transfer and increment is transparent and is based on performance appraisal (HSBC, 2014). This enhances the trust of the employee in the organisation. Employees are encouraged to give their views and participate in strategic decisions. This makes them feel involved in the organisation (Byrne, 2014). Therefore, HR policies of HSBC inspire trust and commitment.

HR Practices at HSBC

HSBC’s HR policy focuses on following driving factors or elements of employee engagement

Involvement- Involvement means making the employees feel that they are a part of the organisation. Involvement can lead to happy employees and can increase commitment level of employees (Macey, 2011). HSBC increases employee involvement by involving them in strategic decision making process and encouraging then to generate ideas (HSBC, 2017). HSBC believes that employee engagement enhances employee creativity and hence it is a part of the core values of HSBC.

Trust and respect- Trust and respect for each other and all stakeholders leads to improvement of work atmosphere (Shuck, et al., 2013). At HSBC employees are encouraged to talk with respect and work in cooperation with each other (Kynaston, 2015). Additionally, the policies of promotion and transfer are based on performance which inculcates trust (Gakovic & Yardley, 2007). Trust also encourages the employees to become more committed and in turn more engaged in the organisation.

Empowerment- Empowerment is the process of giving key strategic roles to employees and making them responsible for certain work areas (Employee benefits , 2013). This can make employees happy and involved because they will feel that organisation trusts them with key issues. This increases employee engagement and makes the employees more committed (Byrne, 2014). HSBC gives key roles to its managers including both authority and responsibility. Therefore, the firms improves involvement and commitment levels through empowerment

Hence, through an enhancement of commitment level and involvement employee engagement is enhanced in organisations like HSBC

HSBC makes its employees engaged in the organisation and improves commitment levels through transparency in policies and training (HSBC, 2016). The firm can further improve the employee engagement by undertaking the following activities.


Rationale of Choice

Proposed Action with Reason

Expected Impact

Encouraging employees to work in a variety of roles to make them fully aware of various organisational functions

·         This will increase sense of belongingness

·         They will feel organisation cares for them as the organisation wants to give them multifaceted roles

·         Will improve involvement and employee engagement

·         Capability assessment of each employee  which will help in assessment of role suitability

·         Based on capabilities periodic role shuffling to be done

·         Feedback to be generated regarding happiness and involvement of employees in each role so that employees can further improve

·         Improvement in work confidence of employees

·         Improvement in involvement, trust and commitment levels.

Keeping value based team contests like rewards for employees showing most enthusiasm, commitment or creativity

·         Improvement in values will improve the work culture

·         Healthy work culture will make the employees more engaged

·         Setting up of monthly contest and explaining the requirements to teams members so that contests can be organised properly

·         Rewarding winning member

·         This will bring drive and energy in the team to win and show commitment levels

·         Will motivate employees to give their best and be more engaged

Declaring names of employees why have shown best performance and celebrating company achievements with employees

·         This will increase employee happiness and sense of belongingness

·         Monthly choosing best employee based on performance so that the activity can be made time bound

·         Organising events to celebrate company achievements

·         Employees will feel happy, inculcate sense of loyalty to the firm and will become more committed.

Table1 Source: Made by Author (2017) Adapted from (Maylett & Warner, 2014)

Through these initiatives HSBC can further improve employee engagement in the organisation.


Employee engagement is the process of making the employees feels involved and committed to their work. The aim of employee engagement is that employees should not just feel that they work for an organisation but they should also feel they belong to it. Through employee engagement firms like HSBC try to make employees more committed by enhancing their enthusiasm and happiness levels.


Albrecht, S. et al., (2015) Employee engagement, human resource management practices and competitive advantage: An integrated approach. Journal of Organizational Effectiveness: People and Performance, 2(1), pp. 7-35.

Ardichvil, A. A., (2015) Human Resource Development. London: Routledge.

Bal, P., Kooij, D. & De Jong, S., (2013) How do developmental and accommodative HRM enhance employee engagement and commitment? The role of psychological contract and SOC strategies. Journal of Management Studies, 50(4), pp. 545-572.

Boon, C. & Kalshoven, K., (2014) How High?Commitment HRM Relates to Engagement and Commitment: The Moderating Role of Task Proficiency. Human Resource Management, 53(1), pp. 403-420.

Bridger, E., (2014) Employee Engagement. London: Kogan Page Publishers.

Byrne, Z. S., (2014) Understanding Employee Engagement: Theory, Research, and Practice. New York: Routledge.

Employee benefits , (2013) HSBC implements new all employee benefits strategy. Employee Benefits Magezine, 29 July.

Gakovic, A. & Yardley, K., (2007) Global Talent Management at HSBC. Organization Development Journal;, 25(2), pp. 201-205.

HSBC, (2014) Employee Handbook. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 25 April 2014].

HSBC, (2016) Annual Report and Accounts 2016. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 25 April 2016].

HSBC, (2017) About Us. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 8 August 2017].

HSBC, (2017) career development. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 1st July 2014].

Kynaston, D., (2015) The Lion Wakes: A Modern History of HSBC. Stockingford: Profile Books.

Macey, W. H., (2011) Employee Engagement: Tools for Analysis, Practice, and Competitive Advantage. NBew Jersey: John Wiley & Sons.

Maylett, T. & Warner, P., (2014) MAGIC: Five Keys to Unlock the Power of Employee Engagement. Austin: Greenleaf Book Group.

Shuck, B., Ghosh, R., Zigarmi, D. & Nimon, K., (2013) The jingle jangle of employee engagement: Further exploration of the emerging construct and implications for workplace learning and performance. Human Resource Development Review, 12(1), pp. 11-35.

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