Tag Archives: China Recruitment

Logistics & Shipping Industry: Build your Sales Team beyond the Client List

China’s Shipping & Logistics industry is hungry. Whether they are Global Top 10 or medium-sized, every carrier and freight forwarder is looking for the same talent: Excellent sales people to get ahead of competitors.

A regular used measurement for a good sales person is the ownership of direct business, summarized as a client list. This list of yearly/monthly shipments is often regarded as the “hard skill” of a sales person. The quality of this list often decides whether an offer is extended or not. But how relevant is a client list for the hiring decision?

For a sales people, an employer is a platform to develop new business. A sales person depends on the operational strength of the company. A job change would be a rational option only when the new employer provides a better platform for the candidate’s current and future business partners.

Thus, the client list is only relevant when the hiring company can provide a stronger platform (operations, customer service, shipping rates etc.) than the candidate’s current company. If not, the candidate’s clients would have little incentive to transfer. This may leave the candidate empty handed.

Rather than merely looking at the candidate’s current shipments, companies should recruit sales people fitting their own strengths and weaknesses. Companies should realize that only a small proportion of sales persons would actually be qualified for their business niches. Consequently, it becomes incrementally important to have your selling points ready to attract those truly value adding sales people.

 Ruben Van Den Boer Consultant and Logistic specialist at RMG Selection      

HR: What to Do for Employee Retention in 2013

According to the China Talent-Flow Survey Report conducted from January to March in 2013 by RMG Selection, it is shown that amongst over 2000 respondents, the proportion of job hopping reached 32% in 2012. The proportion of people who increased their demand to change their jobs in 2013 reaches up to 43%.  I have to say that the number makes me think of employee retention again, which is quite a bothersome topic to many other companies too. So what can we do to keep them?

Firstly, I have to clarify that keeping staff members does not equate to keeping everybody. A low turnover rate does not mean that the company is performing well in keeping staff members. In this regard, it can be explained by the Pareto Law  that only 20% of people create 80% the value of a company. Therefore, we should only keep those valuable employees. By improving the professional durability of the valuable and enhancing the mobility of the invaluable, a company can stay healthy and dynamic. According to research conducted by RMG Selection among over 200 long-term clients, the recommended turnover rate of the 20% core staff members is only 4%.

In general, the strategy of keeping staff members should be considered both psychologically and materially. Recently, people have been paying more attention to psychological measures. However, the material measure which plays an important role is somehow neglected. Although the incentive of salary increases merely last for less than half a year, the material strategy is still the base due to its existence and rationality instead of its quantity. In this regard, even if you pay more attention to the psychological needs of your staff members, without proper pay raises it is still difficult to ask them to stay.

Most companies have a salary raise system, but it might not be easy to decide the range. Actually, the range of pay raise reflects, to a large extent, the recognition towards the staff members in the year or in the recent period. Specific assessment and step construction can provide great satisfaction for excellent staff members. Therefore, high pay raises should be issued for the excellent employees, while the unqualified ones should not be rewarded in this case. The amount of salary increase needs to refer to the expectations of employees in job hopping.

According to the China Talent-Flow Survey Report, the pay raise expectations are listed below.

  • 34% employees expect around 20% to 30% salary increase
  • 28% employees expect around 30% to 50% salary increase
  • Only 17% employees expect 10% salary increase
Excluding the cost consumed in changing jobs, companies may offer a 30% salary increase for those who rank among the top 5% in the performance appraisal based on their own financial conditions. Following a step-decreasing trend, the 5% at the bottom should be considered to be knocked out.

Additionally, diversified material incentives- including annual bonus, training, traveling, and transportation, communication and house subsidies have become the primary choice of many companies.  It is worth mentioning that by taking some humanized steps one can get twice the result with half the effort. Take RMG Selection as an instance; more than 50% of the workforce is female. Last year, one of the female employees was hurt accidentally in a fight on the subway. The human resource department immediately suggested that any female staff members who wanted to practice self-defense should be able to learn it in a sparring club nearby. What is more, half of the cost should be borne by the company. In this case, whether the employee attended the club or not, the influence was quite positive.

As for the psychological measures, an environment where employees can grow up very fast should be created so that they would like to stay in the company willingly. In order to create such an environment, a company should make it clear to every employee about its expectations in the first place. To be specific, the employee should be clear about the expectation of the company, how to achieve the expectation, as well as what kind of results should be gained. Moreover, once employees meet the expectation, they know that they will be rewarded. In this regard, every employee will reduce the time of doing unnecessary work in such an environment and system. Employees will look forward to a bright future. Additionally, a manager should respect his or her employees by using proper language and behaviour. It is not really difficult to make it if you viewpoints are from two aspects. Firstly, encouragement towards small progress should be enhanced. Secondly, before you want to start a conversation or take actions with your employees you should think about whether your words or behaviour would discourage them. Over time, employees can feel the positive recognition from the company and the leader. Last but not the least, besides the number of conversations specified between the line manager and the employee, cross-level communication channels, especially private meetings should be added so that the communication process becomes so much easier. The human resource department should bear part of the responsibility to communicate with employees. Regular conversations  with employees should be arranged, which develops the single-line communication channel to a multi-line tridimensional system.

As this is a vast country,  more attention is paid to the cross-regional employees’ retention issue in China. Not only do more and more companies develop branch offices in different cities, but the job hopping choices of people are not limited. According to the China Talent-Flow Survey Report, over 70% of people would like to work in other cities if there are good opportunities. Among them, the proportion of males is 10% higher than that of the females. The data is actually good news for nonlocal recruitment, which is also the basis of keeping employees in different cities. Even for those aged around 31 and 40, who are often regarded as the most family-oriented people, 5% of them could work in other cities. According to our research, the reason why some talents would resign is that they hope to return to their hometown or they would like to work in cities like Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. If the human resource department is able to effectively develop the potential of current staff members, not only could the talent-loss be saved, shortage of manpower in new offices can be solved as well.

Here’s good example could learn something from:

United Technologies Corp (UTC) is one of the largest manufacturing companies all over the globe. In July 2012, the acquisition of Goodrich by UTC was finalized; Goodrich and Hamilton Sundstrand got combined to form UTC Aerospace Systems, a world leader offering integrated technologies and systems for the aerospace and defense industries with more than 40,000 employees around the world. According to Cindy, human resource manager of UTC Aerospace Systems in Tianjin, an internal recruitment net is designed and developed by the human resource department. Internal employees can apply for jobs in different cities or subsidiaries or even abroad positions inside UTC. This system meets the needs of those employees who hope to develop in other regions. The application also will not be noticed by the people who are not from the human resource department. Only when the recruitment is accepted, will the notice be sent to the line manager. In this way, the enthusiasm of the employee can be guaranteed.

Employee retention is a long-lasting and extensive issue. On the premise of the guaranteed fairness, different measures should be developed towards different classes, regions and functions by the human resource department. For instance, it is indicated in the report from RMG Selection that last year the flow rate  gap amongst different functional departments reached 30%. The highest one was government affairs (55%), while the lowest belonged to the IT industry (18%). Therefore, by improving and practicing constantly we can keep those valuable employees.

By Robert Parkinson

HR: Attract Employees from Tier-one Cities to Tier-two or Tier-three Cities

In recent years, China has been reshaping its industrial landscape and tier-two and tier-three cities are now considered as the new developing markets in China. Both State-owned enterprises and multinational companies are taking the opportunity to shift their businesses to these new markets that promise lower start-up and development costs (labor, capital, materials costs). Corporations can also take advantage of the working process of tier-two and three city officials that they seem to be easier and more supportive than tier-one cities in granting land approvals. However, tier-one cities remain the preference for many skilled workers and experts due to the better standard of living and working opportunities. Therefore, how to attract more talent from tier-one cities to work in Tier-two/three cities is a big challenge for most companies’ HR departments.

According to the China Talent-flow Survey Report published by RMG Selection, almost 70% of those surveyed have considered relocating to other cities if the job opportunity is good enough and 20% of them are willing to go to any cities including tier-two and three cities. This is obviously good news for companies in tier-two/three cities, but at the same time, it means that employers should look at employees’ concerns and expectations in relocating to different cities. Moving to a different city to work is never an easy process for anybody, especially for people from tier-one cities where the living standards are a lot higher. Considering the challenges from the perspective of employees (candidates) will help HR departments have a better understanding in order to solve problems and be able to attract talented candidates to the company. Below are some key issues and suggested solutions:

1. Future development: The very first concern that most candidates think about is future development in their career path. Most of them are working in their companies’ headquarters in Tier-one cities where they have already built up strong career networks which can be a great advantage for promotions or their future employment opportunities. While moving to a different city may mean they have to start everything over again, having a chance to foster a strong sense of the new community is not as easy.

Solution: HR departments should consider giving candidates a career plan that promises them potential opportunities to support their future development. The HR department should be able to provide candidates with an action plan with detailed steps to help employees acquire knowledge about their own ability, their career paths and opportunities. By giving them a broader view of their career goals, the company could possibly help candidates realise that relocating to a different city might be a boost for their career in the long-term. The company can also offer candidates the chance to join in social business events in their headquarter city, as well as the new city, so that employees can keep in touch with their current connections and also build up new networks in the new location. Another point that HR should mention to candidates in the first place is working in Tier-two and three cities could benefit employees in terms of career development, as an office in Dalian, Tianjin or Chengdu might be the heart of the corporation in the near future.

2. Family Concerns: This is one of the biggest issues for most employees when it comes to relocating. It is believed that the living standard and educational standards in Tier-one cities are better than those in Tier-two and three cities. The majority of employees want to let their children (family) remain in Tier-one cities in order to receive a better education. Moving to a different place to work also means being away from their wider family. It is especially hard for younger families when they already have kids (it might be easier for people who are still single). Moving away from home can be so tough for most people that they commonly feel lonely, isolated and overwhelmed. This would strongly influence their working spirit as well as their performance and productivity at work.

Solution: It is very important for HR departments to understand that employees in any organisation need motivation to keep them performing quality work. In this case, the company should not only consider general motivational strategies, but also the specific motivational appeals that focus on employees’ feelings toward the potential family concerns. It is recommended that HR department should offer employees a certain amount of transportation and cell phone allowance so that they can feel comfortable to visit and contact their family frequently. I would also recommend that the company gives employees who work in different cities an extra vacation or a trip for their family to visit them once a year. Family is a crucial factor as it is one of the basic desires that guides human behaviour and motivates our actions in general and the working efficiency in particular. Therefore, the only way to attract employees to a job that requires moving away is to facilitate and make it easier for them to communicate and feel closer to their family. This is also an easy way to be more competitive than other companies.

3. Salary: Working in tier-one cities often guarantees a higher salary than that in tier-two and three cities. Normally, for the same level in similar companies, the salary of employees in the tier-two cities takes up 70% of those who work in Tier one cites. However, that also means an employee from tier-one cities when relocate to tier-two, three cities might get a higher position. This is because different cities have different salary ranges, thus employees might hesitate in making the decision to relocate.


Solution: Most of the time, salary negotiation is a crucial process between HR department and candidates. Although it is lower in tier-two cities for the same level, HR could find excellent candidates and give them opportunities to be hired at higher levels. On one hand, the higher title is attractive; on the other, the salary budget is wider. The challenge for HR here is to find talented people with great potential. Secondly, everybody knows that the living costs in tier-two cities are lower than Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. However, no one knows the exact details of how different. It will be very helpful if the HR department prepares a detailed description of how much money people can save from the lower cost of housing, telephone, traffic, meals and even commuting time. Sometimes, even if the salary is lower than before, the employee can still save more money in tier-two cities. Thirdly, it is more than just the salary it is the whole compensation package that a company can offer for employees moving from tier-one cities to work in tier-two and three cities. As mentioned above in the family concerns, other perks vary widely upon the significance of the position. The HR department can always prepare a comparison chart of pros and cons between the two regions in order to show employees how beneficial it is to work in tier-two and three cities.

By Robert Parkinson, CEO of RMG Selection.

HR: Graduates Season Again!

The frenzy of news coverage over 6.99 million Chinese college graduates with merely 33.6% contract signing rate up to 1 May, has greatly shocked lots of people. Most blame the low figurefor the economic slowdown, as well as the increasing number of graduates. However, I think these are just superficial reasons under the general macroeconomic situation. What needs to be found out should originate from the root-cause of the dilemma, either from college graduates or recruiting companies.

Like a river fish imagining its fantastic life in the huge ocean, a fresh college graduate has so many expectations or even fantasies for his or her future career in society. When I read a piece of news about graduates looking for jobs in SOEs and public institutions, I was a bit confused. Lots of college graduates expect to, and actually only look for jobs in SOEs and government institutions for the benefits of the so called “iron rice bowl”. In this case, instead of focusing on improving one’s working ability, Chinese college students seem to find a stable job for a lifetime. Another interesting contradiction I noticed is about the salary expectation. According to an online research project, 33% of undergraduates’ salary expectation is between CNY 3,000 and CNY 3,999. Additionally, 20% of students expect CNY 4,000 to CNY 4,999. However, the average monthly salary foreign companies can afford this year is 3,412 Yuan for undergraduates, which is actually the highest compared with other types. As for public units, 2,858 Yuan is what they can pay for an undergraduate on average, which is the lowest among all types. When the dream that a college student dreams is disillusioned, what is left behind are the senses of loss and disappointment. Then why not try to lower one’s expectation in the beginning but end up with a surprise?

Remember that it always takes two to tango! College graduates bear their responsibility, while recruiting companies also have a part to play in this dilemma. I want to mention two points here: Firstly, does educational background matter? Elite universities or 211 and 985 project universities are specifically noted on the job description of quite a few companies. Though these are prestigious universities in China, they do not necessarily have all the elite and intelligent students. There are so many excellent and creative students out there. Therefore, it is time for recruiting units to re-think about the necessity of a ‘famous’ educational background. Secondly, should recruiting companies give opportunities to those who have small defects? I am sure that lots of recruiting companies have met students with hard working attitudes but with less overall intelligence. Whether or not to employ this kind of graduate becomes a real problem. To be honest, based on personal experiences, I prefer hard working ones, and I increasingly cringe when I’m told he or she is ‘very smart’. In the Chinese education system, there is indeed less emphasis on practice compared to the western education system. Therefore, recruiting companies should not expect too much from the fresh graduates in the beginning, but I know a gem with a flaw can be polished as a perfect one with enough time.

Before long, I had an interview with a fresh college graduate who wanted to get a full time offer from my company. I asked about his salary expectation. This boy came up with 5,000 Yuan. He tried to explain the reason with the cost of living in this city like housing and food. To some degree, I understand his argument. However, I barely agreed with it. When hiring a person, a recruitment company pays for what this person can do and bring for the company. I don’t really know companies that set salaries based on the costs of living in a city. When a college graduate looks for jobs, he or she needs to come with the right motivation and attitude, for that is the real value that recruiting companies are expecting.

Though people think 2013 is a tough year for college graduates, personally I think this is still a tough time for companies to recruit too. To get rid of the dilemma, reasonable assessment and a rethinking of the expectations of college students are of course necessary. But at the same time, recruiting companies also needs to make some adjustments. With my recruiting and consulting experience over the past years, I would like to give some tips about the hiring process for the recruiting companies:

Firstly, specific and clear job descriptions should be noted. The necessary requirements, such as CET level 6 and proficiency in Photoshop, should be clearly pointed out in the job description if needed.


Additionally, the job categories should be clearly defined as well. Most college undergraduates are not purely looking for internships. What they really expect is the full time offer after the internship. Therefore, the recruiting companies should tell students who are looking for full time job if they cannot offer the position. In addition, lots of recruiting companies will hold campus recruiting fairs and career talks. It is of great importance for the company to find the right recruiting staff in the jobs fair or career talk. A responsible human resource staff member should get to talk to students who are interested in the job instead of only collecting the resumes. As for the career talk, I would that recommend a working staff member of the company, especially one from that home university, should be invited together with the human resource manager. When students see someone from their university, they feel much freer to ask questions in the interaction session.  Recruitment companies have to pay attention to the online application process. Clear steps of the interviews should be informed to every applicant so that students can arrange for the interviews. Moreover, timely replies also play a vital role in this process. As the famous saying goes, ‘time kills all deals’. I think the more time a company takes, the less patience the applicant are left with. Replying to applicants on a regular basis, preferably less than a week later, should be helpful to save the right applicant from walking away. Last but not the least; I would suggest recruiting companies should arrange an on-job mentor for the fresh college graduates in the company. It is not easy for the company to find the right person. In this regard, taking care of the new comer plays an active role in making the students stable at work. New college graduates lack social experience. They really need colleagues who not only guide them at work but help them with socialising in the company as well. Adapting to the working environment quickly can effectively save college graduates from the loneliness.

As I also read news about six government policies for college graduates, I think breaking through the dilemma also requires effort from the government. If recruiting companies can pay more attention to the details in the recruiting process, they will probably get the right people they need. As for college students, expectation is in proportion to hard work. Getting down to earth is the best choice for now!

By Robert Parkinson, CEO of RMG Selection.

Doing Business the Chinese Way – Beijing Review

Nine years ago, the Amsterdam branch of my previous company asked me to come to China and develop the business here. So I got the chance to experience working and living in Beijing. Although my pre-arrival expectations were of courtyards, temples, and men in slanting straw hats I didn’t really expect a lot before I came here, and I have to say that staying here for just five days had indeed given me such a strong impression, especially of the people, and in a very short time, my mind was made up. Working across three continents in five countries, I had never seen people who were so passionate and diligent. The office hour starts at 9:00 a.m. and ends at 6:00 p.m., but I didn’t really find Chinese staff watching the clock to strike six. It was quite different from Europe where people practically queued outside the door as soon as their contract permitted.

I love working with people who are passionate at work. That was actually one of the reasons why I decided to stay. After working for my previous company for 11 years, I believed very strongly in what I had learned about the international way of doing business; but I did also feel strongly that if you don’t listen to the local market, respect the local people, and give the local ways some “face,” you’re not going to get very far. However, although I am running my own company in China, I want to make it a British and Chinese “fusion” company. With my past experiences in China, I would like to give some tips about how to do business in the Chinese way.

First, trust means a lot in China. In the UK, it’s all about the rule book. But in China, although paradoxically it is seen as a country of pointless procedures and hoops to jump through, in fact, Chinese business is actually based on very solid relationships. What I mean here is not merely the Chinese guanxi. This kind of relationship is trust based; and trust means trust. It beats the “rules” every time.

The next thing I would recommend doing is keeping in touch with your connections via modern communication methods. The Chinese are fanatical Microbloggers, and it helps breakdown barriers between the working “person” and the life and family of people you work with. I know in Chinese culture, family is quite important. So sometimes it’s good (and also interesting) to show care for them by asking about their families and life.

Additionally, our company places lots of emphasis on teamwork through combined leisure activities. Where I am from, people hang out in bars and clubs after work. However, people here prefer to go to karaoke bars, or KTV, and restaurants together. So we try to combine the approach, and for example in April, we had a Hollywood Night at a KTV. Everyone was asked to dress up as a Hollywood star. I could see that everyone enjoyed that evening. They like singing. They also like the theme party.

The last tip is about the language. Honestly, I think my biggest regret having worked and lived here a long time is not learning Chinese well. We have a weekly meeting every Monday, for instance. Although there are foreign employees in the company, I encourage everyone to speak Chinese in the meeting. Using the same language to communicate within the company can bring the relationship of colleagues much closer. Besides encouraging foreign employees to study Chinese, I also have an app on my phone so that I can study some words and phrases. Every morning when I come to the office, I try to say zao (morning) to everyone! (However I am fluent in Chinglish, which comes in very handy).

My company is now in its fourth year of operations and already has businesses in Tianjin, Shanghai and Hong Kong. Our next plan is to expand the business in the mainland of China and open an overseas office—however, it’s confidential at this stage!

Article Written by:

CEO of RMG Selection

Robert Parkinson

Read orginal article on: http://www.bjreview.com/eye/txt/2013-06/17/content_549347.htm