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How mainland Chinese companies can up their recruitment game
The demand for top talent has, undoubtedly, increased in mainland China, due in part to the rapid expansion of domestic companies. Last year, the total brand value of the companies featured in the Brandz Top 100 Most Valuable Chinese Brands Index was reported to be $464.2 billion, a rise of 59 percent since the ranking launched in 2011.
From the employee perspective, Chinese companies have developed powerful employer brands that position them as desirable places to work. They are typically fast-growing enterprises and, unlike their foreign counterparts, may be quite free from restrictions set at corporate headquarters based overseas. Domestic businesses are also perceived to be more involved in decision-making processes and have stronger ownership of their success.
In fact, the 2016 Michael Page Greater China Employee Intentions Report showed that 80 percent of those surveyed would consider joining a Chinese employer brand. Many employees have also expressed interest in working for domestic start-ups that show potential in going public as the financial rewards may be significant.
But it can still be a challenge for companies to secure top employees in areas of high demand, considering the talent gaps in the mainland Chinese market. Employers perhaps need to be mindful of the undercurrents that shape their hiring processes and strategies.
Shortening the hiring cycle
One factor that damages recruiting outcomes, per our observations, is a painful and drawn-out hiring process.
Often, many domestic firms drag out the hiring cycle for 2-3 months, thinking that they should hire the “perfect” candidate — the ideal employee who has every single desired quality and skillset (and perhaps more). But by the time these companies finally decide on a candidate (still not the “perfect” one in many of the situations), he or she may have accepted another offer or be turned off by the firm’s slow decision-making processes.
Rather than hire the perfect fit, firms should instead look at finding the best fit and then invest time and effort to train this person to become the perfect candidate. A position that is left vacant for too long may impact productivity and in the long run, revenue and growth.
Retaining star employees
Providing employees with training opportunities is a gap that mainland Chinese companies currently face. In the chase for growth, firms often take on an owner-centric approach, controlling matters from the top instead of coaching, training and giving feedback to employees, which may affect employee retention in the long run.
The good news is that we are seeing this mindset evolve as more local business owners have either worked or studied overseas. Slowly but surely, they are blending the best of both worlds, importing the best Western management practices with the Chinese drive for responsiveness, flexibility and speed.