Talent scouts must find, and also keep
Updated: 2013-04-26 09:04
By Chen Yingqun and Hu Haiyan (China Daily)
Jiang says cultural differences between China and other countries, including differences in leadership, working environment and working values, are often major reasons why Chinese companies are unable to retain overseas talent.
"In the West, leaders are more likely to listen, but in China, they are used to giving orders. While communicating, Chinese people are not as direct as Westerners."
Mi of the Beijing Institute of Architectural Design recalls that he was confused the first time he worked with foreign designers, as they would not accept temporary arrangement tasks or work at weekends.
"So we need to offer training to help them acclimatize to the local situation," Liu says.
Claire Yang, managing director of consultancy firm Accenture China, says that unlike international companies, Chinese companies have a less well-organized internal structure and less standardized managing systems.
In many Western companies, employers and employees' rights and obligations are specifically stated, and performance appraisal systems are sound, she says. However, many Chinese companies lack such systems, which leaves overseas recruits feeling uncomfortable.
Yang says Chinese managers need to learn to be more tolerant. They should also adopt a more effective performance inspection and drive mechanism and go for more tailored professional training to retain talent and help them develop a career, she says.
Liang Xinghui, vice-chairman of Hay Group, says many companies have developed strategies to retain international talent for three to five years or even seven to eight years. One effective way is to attract international talent in groups.
"One talent with different cultural values and styles will feel uncomfortable with the local team and is less likely to influence them. But a group of foreigners can create a more familiar environment and have more impact on local employees," he says.
Apart from these, there are also some problems that may affect overseas recruitment, such as a lack of a network for talent, visa issues and pollution in big cities.
Liu Zhenguo, head of HR for the Beijing Institute of Architectural Design, says the institute started to recruit Chinese returnees from overseas in 1982, and it relies on personal connections abroad.
"There are some foreign talents who don't have a long-term work plan and just want to come to China for a short time. But getting a visa for such people often takes more time than expected and we often have to forego such opportunities," Liu says. The same applies to hiring interns.
Wang Huiyao, the international talent expert, says China is still short of highly skilled people from overseas, and one way for it to fill the gap is to adjust immigration laws and regulations. At the end of last year, the country had granted permanent residency to just 6,000 people, whereas the United States grants 140,000 green cards every year, he says.
Chen Xin contributed to this story.
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(China Daily 04/26/2013 page4)