Tuesday, February 18, 2014

How to retain Chinese employees?

In China, it is not unusual to quit a job after just a few month. It doesn't matter!
Employees know that they can learn new skils and take away with them some company material, customer files...
In France you should stay several years in one company else this could raise questions. You be seen as someone unstable, not reliable. A Chinese recruiter won't ask these kind of questions.
And looking for a job in China is different. It is more about your personnal network. A Chinese employee who quits his job does so because he has some plan in mind, or because his work has been criticized and he would rather leave before getting fired.

A frequent turn-over is harmful for a company. Therefore it is important to retain employees.

Here are a few tracks to win employee loyalty:

Chinese employees look at their income. It is advisable to pay a little more that competition if you want to avoid resignations one day to the next.
Many companies in China pay their employees late the 5th of the 6th of the month! Employee won't leave till he receives his salary!
Money is not only salary but also bonus and presents. These rewards are offered to boast employees in their work or to celebrate Chinese festivals. You should know Chinese culture!

Chinese culture
Chinese culture is like a religion.
You should know this culture and follow it to create employees (and customers) loyalty. Chinese culture is huge. Here are a few example:
Chinese food is very important for Chinese employees.
It is a key factor for employee satisfaction! A Chinese employee will not like eating lunch or diner late. He also will feel frustrated if there is too little food, choice or if the food is not tasty... This could even be a cause of defection!
Taking a nap is part of Chinese people way of life.
A friend of mine works as a manager for a German multinational company. He told me that Chinese employee complained that they had only one hour at lunch time and didn't have enough time to take a nap! The Germany company policy is the same all over the world and so that employees can go back home after 5pm. Maybe it would have been wiser to give Chinese employees 2hours or 1h30 at lunch time and make them leave the company later?

One company conditions Chinese employee loyalty!
In China face matters. Employees are proud to work for a big company.
For instance, young Chinese people work at Mac Donald, KFC. They are proud of this. A few years ago they would work there for free!
Multinationationals rewards their employees with a company travel abroad! Chinese employee are proud. They talk everywhere about their travel in a foreign country...
A company puts forward the wealth and the status of its Ceo, his villas, his private expensive cars collection... Chinese employees are proud of their Ceo.

Rules and bonus, malus management
In China there are rules that no one respects.
For a law to be respected, you a maximum penalty, else no one fears it.
For instance a few years ago many Chinese people would drive drunk, a fine didn't scare them at all. Today if you drive drunk in China you will have a heavy fine, reeducation (similar to jail), lose your driving licence and possibly your job... Very few Chinese people drive drunk.
The same goes for a company. Many companies follow a bonus, malus rules management. If you don't obey some rules you will be paid less! If you obey the rules, you could be rewarded.
It is like in the army.

Build a group culture to retain employees
Man is a social animal. We live in group.
In China, the group is stronger than in many other places. You build a strong group.
For instance a company can reward the group rather than the individual employee. The goal is to have employees attach themselves to each other. When a employee feels part of the group, he won't resign. And he will talk to his workmates first.

Mind the well-being of employees
Following a Chinese paternalism, company takes care of the well-being of its employees. Remember once I explained how Chinese people life was organized around the state owned company...
It  is important to organize activities for employees.
It can be games, activites, some dance, a company song, going to the restaurant, to the KTV...
It also means entering the employees private life, coming for a employee wedding, offering a present for the birth of his son... In China the border between public and private life is thin.

Chinese employees like to compete
Chinese employees like to compare themselves with each other. It can be positive to have employee compete.
Some Chinese companies will use one employee as a success model for others to follow. Other employees want to imitate him. And even this model employee could be the company Ceo! The company should keep alive a dream that all is possible, that anyone can evolve in his job as long as he works hard!

When a employee works hard, he has little time to think about his condition.
He doesn't compare his salary. He won't look for job opportunities elsewhere.

Respect Chinese festivals and traditions
Festivals are very important in China. They are part of the culture. It is like a religion in China!
For instance, Chinese employees appreciate receiving presents, money from their employer for new year and having free time to see their family...
New year is a important time. During Chinese new year, employees might resign... They have time to discuss with their family about their working condition and look for some other job.

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