Meeting the challenges of Human Resources Management in China back to publications

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The Flanders-China Chamber of Commerce (FCCC) has published a brochure on “Meeting the Challenges of Human Resources Management in China”. Investing in China has virtually become a necessity for keeping ahead of the competition on a global scale. While expanding into China entails numerous difficulties, as attested by the many management books on working there, maybe one of the most problematic aspects of investing in China is the management of human resources (HR).


Whether newcomers opt to set up a small representative office or launch a huge manufacturing plant, the key element that will decide success or failure is the resulting entity’s human capital, i.e. the (Chinese) employees who will be running the respective operation on the ground. Experienced expatriate managers can certainly provide guidance and leadership, but it is the Chinese staff and managers – ranging from the security guard at the gate to the general manager in the Board room – who will determine the success of your Chinese adventure. With a population of 1.34 billion, China does not exactly lack willing hands and brains, but this sheer abundance of people makes it no easier to find the right recruits for your office or plant. At a time when more and more foreign investors opt to set up wholly-owned foreign enterprises, the job of attracting talented employees falls – at least initially – to the foreign investor.


So once staff have been drafted in, how can you keep them happy, or indeed retain them at all? To get rich is glorious, said Deng Xiaoping, so every Chinese man and woman aspires to earn a higher income and lead a better life, at least in material terms. Younger people in particular are not content to earn the same salary year after year, so job hopping is quite a ‘popular’ phenomenon. If a competitor of yours offers an employee of yours a few hundred yuan more per month, how can you prevent them from leaving? Most Chinese are quite happy to work for a foreign company, though that alone will not keep them happy. They want to climb up the career ladder and therefore require constant training. Education does not stop at graduation. So training can be an important way of keeping your employees motivated.


Efficiently tackling HR challenges will mark a huge step forward down the road to success and profits. Benefiting from the experiences of others can guide you along. “Meeting the Challenges of Human Resources Management in China” will provide the help you need. It covers all the major HR issues: attracting talented employees, managing salary expectations, keeping employees motivated, offering them training, and retaining them in the company. For the purposes of this overview, we interviewed managers and human resources directors from Ahlers, Barco, Bekaert, Competence@, De Wolf & Partners, DND Consulting China, Hudson, InterChina Consulting, Recticel, Umicore and Vyncke, as well as the Chairman of the Human Resources Forum of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China (EUCCC).