Human Resources in China: Structure your Needs and Plan for Growth

I’ve just read a very good post at All Roads Lead to China. The article is entitled “Managing a good team in China requires process. Not luck”, and I fully subscribe it. I think Richard Brubaker’s recommendations are universal and apply not just to China but everywhere else in the world.

 As an overall strategy, he tries to answer the following questions:
1. Where are the critical gaps in the organization
2. What skills & talents are required
3. What is the Job Description – and articulate the need in a way that will attract right people
4. How will I ensure I retain them

 From a practical perspective he takes you through some steps to help you build a good hiring strategy (some of them also to help retain your current staff). These steps cover your “homework” before you get out there and start looking for new employees:
1. Have and org chart. Know what people are doing or supposed to be doing
2. Write clear Job Descriptions for all positions. It will help hires and managers equally
3. Ensure your organizational structure allows for professional growth (if not your staff will soon grow demotivated )
4. Share your org charts with your current employees to input their views and insights in your decisions
5. Plan for unexpected growth/ Have a growth strategy in place. Where are the bottle necks?

I would probably add the following comments (insights coming from my interview to German Torrado, who has set up & managed HHRR award winning companies. You can read the complete article here):
6. Invest on the tools that will allow you to identify the right candidates (Do not base your recruitment decision on intuition! There are good tests that will help you make a more rational decision)
7. Define personality profiles required for every position.

I recommend you to read the full article from All Roads Lead to China here

 What do you think?


  1. All of these is correct in the base… but then the employee gets another offer for 100rmb x month more and moves away, or from a firm closer to his/her living area and moves away, or from a better-knonw company and moves away! Chinse labour market is so inestable and not matter what you do in my experience most of the team will be renewed every two years.

  2. You are absolutely right. High employee turnover is one of the key issues in the Chinese labour market.
    AmCham Shanghai publishes each year their China Business Report after surveying a few hundred of its members. Human Resources constraints (difficulty finding, hiring & retaining) has been the top business challenge for the companies interviewed since 2006.
    In today’s article, the post I mention deals more with structuring your HR needs… it obviously does not guarantees in itself that you will be able to retain the people you hire

  3. I strongly suggest that you add a note on the character of the individual you are seeking to place. I make this the primary consideration as it is very hard to find the person with the right character (attitude, ethics, diligence, etc..) .

    Also, you can keep good workers. Workers do not usually leave excellent leadership for a little extra pay and not even for significant extra pay. Up the leadership ability based on character and the turnover problems will go down a lot.

    Workers know that changing jobs often makes their resume a mess. They also fear that the next place will be the same or worse. Study after study has shown that workers accept work based on compensation and they usually leave because of their bad direct supervisor. That is clearly the same in China in my experience. Leadership is the trump card in the battle to retain and even motivate workers. While sending managers to leadership training may help, the problem is usually a little deeper.

    However, high turnover is not inevitable in China. It clearly can be defeated.