Hiring Managers: Read This

I don't like to poach too many articles for my blog but the one below is a must-read for any hiring managers who want to know how to succeed in China. It touches on two ponts that must be made very clear to hiring managers in China: 1. Hire great candidates when you have the chance. James Rice does and he has been in this market for 16 years. I do not know James but I am going to back his decision making ability in this market. If you do not have the head count, get it. If you need a bigger budget, get it. China is extremely competitive, if you are not you should not be surprised at what you get. 2. Your employees want training, your employees are going to leave in two years. Everything in China is a negotiation - trade training for retention, use pay-back periods, defer training opportunities to meet retention and succession plans (you do have these and they are written and you have shared them with your managers, right?) Shift your retention focus to increase the typical retention by one year. You will save money, lower turnover, and your company will make more money. I talk to too many HR managers who bemoan their turnover but refuse to focus on the fact that they move every two years. Keep it real. Go fpr realistic goals and if all of your people are claimng that they are leaving because of training opportunities, give them some options.
Hiring Top Talent in China Takes a Boss Who Likes to Coach By Carol Hymowitz From The Wall Street Journal Online Any company that wants to succeed in China -- and the list grows longer every day -- needs to understand what matters even more than an understanding of distribution networks and good relationships with government officials: executives on the ground who truly enjoy coaching their employees.
Whether they work in Beijing, Shanghai or Guangzhou, executives at multinationals who stay behind closed doors and rarely offer performance feedback or advice are bound to fail. That's because the local hires they need to run their offices and plants will be seeking out bosses who will help them advance their careers. With China's economy growing so rapidly, multinationals and private and state-run Chinese companies are competing fiercely for talent. Young, educated Chinese from top schools with a few years of work experience often have their pick of entry and midlevel jobs in sales, marketing, finance, government relations and manufacturing. They can also command much higher salaries now than they could a few years ago, though they're still paid far less than expats. Money, though, isn't necessarily their top priority when weighing offers. In a recent study of several dozen Chinese managers it was found that "money is a less important reason to change jobs than the potential to grow and have a close working relationship with an immediate boss." James Rice, a Tyson Foods vice president and the company's general manager in China, understands this sentiment and has made mentoring part of his job. A 16-year veteran in China, he previously worked for Dannon and Kimberly Clark. One of his current sales managers first worked for him as a secretary at Dannon and, with Mr. Rice's coaching, advanced to management. He quit Dannon when Mr. Rice moved to Tyson last May. "I didn't want to poach [from Dannon] but he was going to take another job anyway, so I asked him to work for me again," says Mr. Rice. A few weeks ago, he recruited a young manager with an MBA degree from the University of North Carolina by promising training and promotion. The manager was weighing another offer from a multinational, and Mr. Rice didn't have a specific opening for him. But he was determined not to lose the chance to hire him. "He's very smart and speaks perfect English, and we're growing by more than 20% a year so it makes sense to hire ahead," says Mr. Rice, who plans to expand Tyson's China-based operations through acquisitions. "I pitched him very heavily on what I'd do to work with him and help him grow his career. I told him that for the next 12 months, he'll be my assistant, going with me wherever I go -- and then he'll get a line position," Mr. Rice says. Stella Hou, who manages the compensation measurement practice for Hewitt Associates in China, is often a personal counselor as well as a career coach to her 30 employees. In the U.S. and Europe, "managers don't feel they should trespass into employees' personal lives, but Chinese employees often expect their bosses to do that," she says. She spent hours listening to an employee vent anger and grief when her marriage fell apart. Young recruits, many of them products of China's one-child policy, also often require coaching on how to gain independence from their parents. Mr. Rice has had to tell some prospective employees that their parents aren't welcome to sit in on job interviews. And when an intern in Ms. Hou's office talked constantly about how much his mother takes care of him, co-workers began counting the number of times he invoked his mother's name and then subtly suggested he change that habit. "He'd say, 'my Mommy bought me this shirt,' or 'my mommy made me this meal,' " says Ms. Hou. "One day he brought her up 25 times." She prefers hiring employees whose parents live in provinces far from Shanghai or who went to boarding school at young ages. "They've been less pampered" than only children who have had their parents' and grandparents' undivided attention, she says. For their part, Chinese employees, especially those in their 20s and 30s, don't want to stay in any one job for more than a few years. They are looking for training and frequent promotions, and they're willing to job hop to advance. Among the companies that has benefited is Beijing-based Sohu.com, one of China's main Internet portals. Founded eight years ago, Sohu.com, which now has 1,400 employees, has wooed hundreds of upwardly mobile young Chinese from multinationals. Andy Zhao, a group leader in human resources at the company, formerly worked at McDonald's, where he advanced from trainee to store manager over a six-year period. But then he quit, because his boss, he says, "was too vague" about his chances for future promotions. He says he likes Sohu.com's innovative culture and his "caring bosses," who encourage him to "make fast changes every day." But he adds that how long he stays there will depend on "whether I can keep growing and changing."