There are no “one size fits all” solutions to the problems of finding, retaining, and developing talent, but businesses facing similar setbacks tend to come up with similar strategies. These are 5 common ways in which international companies are solving HR challenges in China.
1. Re-think your candidate profile
Multinationals have traditionally had a clear idea of which positions they want to fill with expats, and which ones they need local talent for. Increasingly, the nationality of candidates is not specified by employers and recruiters from the outset, largely because the pool of Chinese professionals with international experience has expanded. Identifying cases where traditional assumptions no longer apply is an easy way of broadening your pool of potential candidates.
2. Build a talent pipeline
Searching for talent is becoming an ongoing and proactive effort rather than a reactive action when there’s a vacancy to be filled. Measures such as maintaining a strong industry network and investing in employer branding can help you build a pipeline of potential candidates. In industries where scarce or highly specialised skills are needed, our clients engage Fiducia’s Talent Mapping service to identify and start building relationships with candidates they might one day need.
3. De-centralise decision-making
Foreign companies are increasingly losing top talent to Chinese businesses: One disadvantage leaders face at foreign enterprises is that strategic decisions are made at headquarters, so their authority and ownership is limited. Shifting more decision-making power to your China subsidiary is an effective way of increasing motivation and retention among senior executives.
4. Get creative with compensation
China’s economy is cooling, yet living costs keep soaring – especially in big cities. In this context, it’s difficult for companies to give their employees the salary increases they expect. Domestic top employers are implementing ingenious and more cost-effective ways of showing their employees that they understand their concerns. Alibaba, Tencent, and Xiaomi, for instance, are helping employees to purchase apartments by offering subsidies or interest-free loans.
5. Invest in upskilling
Developing employees has always been a priority for HR departments, but the resources and effort spent in it often take second place to hiring new talent. China’s fierce and costly talent wars are driving foreign companies to shift gears and realize that investing in retention and upskilling pays off. We’re witnessing this change first-hand, through the growing demand for Assessment Centres that help clients identify and then develop high-potential talents.
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