Tag Archives: Robert Parkinson

China Dream Sours for Foreign Companies (Chinese version)

最近,北京当局对外国企业进行严厉审查的事件频频发生,对此,英国《金融时报》8月9号发表评论文章称,在中国的新领导人习近平宣称的“中国梦”之后不久,对于一些国际最强大的公司来说,很快就变成了噩梦。 文章说,习近平在今年3月继任主席之后发表的讲话暗示,为与中国经济实力相匹配,将采取更加自信的方法,于是,政府调查和媒体报道都开始针对外国投资者,这正在变成国家公务的一种常见特征。 中共的官员称,这只是解决不正之风的更广泛的努力,但是一些外国企业的主管们抱怨,在新的中共领导班子下,外国公司遭遇了特别严厉的审查。 文章举例说,当发改委针对六家外国奶粉公司以反竞争定价政策罚款一亿一千万美元时,那些猜疑在本周被实施了。其中,六家中有五家是世界知名的跨国企业,包括美国美赞臣、达能集团的多美滋和新西兰的恒天然集团。 文章评论说,这是中国2008年制定的反垄断法的第14条首次被这样高姿态的实施。这条法律禁止公司对其产品制定最低零售价。而这一罚款决定仅仅发生在中共警方调查英国制药巨头葛兰素史克,指控其职员行贿的几周之后。 文章说,所有这些外企都不敢挑战中国当局,葛兰素史克甚至称他们的职员可能违反了中共的法律。其他在中国的投资者不得不抵挡中国官媒的媒体的宣传运动,这些宣传运动包括指责他们犯了象质量控制缺陷和客户服务差这样的“小点的罪行”。 比如,4月1号,苹果公司的首席执行官库克(Tim Cook)高调的在中国因“误解”而道歉,并强调苹果公司对中国的“巨大尊重”。中共官媒曾指控苹果公司“贪婪”和“无比傲慢”的行为。   由于国营的中央电视台(CCTV)三月份高调进行的调查报告,称大众车的变速箱有问题,导致大众在中国召回38万辆车。 曾在中国工作过的分析师 史蒂芬-冰(Steven Bing)说:“作为中共的官员,调查国有企业是困难的。所以,如果你想要整顿体制,杀鸡儆猴的话,就把外企做为目标。”但是,中共官员否认有联合起来针 对外国投资者的举措。周四(8月8号),发改委否认调查奶粉市场的定价政策是因为反外国人的偏见所致。 一些观察者相信,北京反对外企的行动仅仅是更大范围政府运动的一部分。上海奥睿律师事务所(Orrick)的竞争律师卡洛克辩论说:“我认为反外国人偏见并不像有些人想的那么严重。在实施反垄断法的背后往往有其它动机。” 其中最主要的就是,中共当局决心平息公众对高物价的不满,特别是铺天盖地的宣传运动就是为了在每个中国公民的思想中培养习的“梦”与每个人都相 关的观念。正如人力中介公司、罗迈国家商务咨询(RMG Selection)的帕金森(Robert Parkinson)所说:“对于年轻职员来说,北京的生活成本已经到了疯狂的地步。” 奥睿律师事务所的反垄断法专家洛基尔(Ms Lockyer)女士认为,当局会利用反垄断法作出更多行动,她说:“之前,《反垄断法》都是关于合并法和合并申请的,但是,去年开始就有迹象表明还有别的事情会发生。特别是发改委增加了人力,这是它要开始摩拳擦掌的信号。” 新三才记者李莲编译报道

HR in a (Gradually) Rebounding Economy – RMG HR column on Business Tianjin

2012 was a year of wait and see, considerable moments of economic ‘breath-holding’. Finally, it seems that we have a consistent stream of positive economic signs: Growth in industrial output, growth in the Shanghai composite and an increase in the rates of both replacement recruitment and new hires.
However, as I return from my Christmas vacation, and am encouraged by the good news being reported, I’m mindful of both the situation in early 2012, and 2009, and it seems appropriate to remind ourselves that sound HR practice for tough times is often sound HR practice in good (or improving) times too.
If we cast our mind back to early 2012, there were regular stories about redundancies and restructuring in some of the less-well hedged sectors, including banking/finance and technology. According to the statistics from Bloomberg News, the total number of layoffs published by multi national enterprises all over the world was reported to be 94,369 over a period of 40 days starting from 10 January in 2012. This was 26,561 more layoffs than were reported in the same period in 2011. This affected a variety of fields ranging from finance to IT, to cosmetics and even the food industry. China for a long time was thought to be a ‘redundancy immune’ area, but this conception has changed. In October, 2012, Motorola announced that they were reducing their workforce by 4,000 all over the world, retaining only 3 research centers, which are in Los Angeles, Chicago and Beijing. This leaves 500 highly educated employees in the Nanjing Motorola Research Center facing the prospect of redundancy. Chinese companies such as Li-Ning and Vancl reported similar cuts being made to their work force. This places a great deal of responsibility on HR departments in the upcoming year. In 2013 HR departments must be prepared to balance areas of their business which are growing, with areas of the business where cost-control pressures are highest.
Supporting departments are usually the first place the senior management of a company looks at when cuttings costs. There is a logical reason for this when looking at the short term. Support staff members do not directly generate revenue for a company. Meanwhile, human capital in a company is generally the first or second largest expense, in some industries representing 45% of the average gross expenses. And unlike fixed capital, labour expenses are not directly attached to a loan obligation so a reduction in the work force immediately impacts the company’s income statement. There are also reasons that reducing labour costs may not seem as attractive when taking a long term analysis. US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke points out that capitalist production goes through four part cyclicality; it must go through a depression, a period of increasing activity, a period of prosperity, followed by an overproduction crisis and stagnation. The world had experienced 7-8 of these economic cycles since World War II. Therefore, we should consider the changing of economic environments when coping with economic downturns. This is why we must face a period of slower economic growth efficiently and take appropriate measures and implement proper strategies.
Here are the some solutions which RMG has provided to its customers that can save considerable costs without causing redundancies:
• Reorganise working time. Strategic adjustments to working time during special periods may be enough to help the company meet its goals. For example, some companies’ workforces accept having their working time adjusted from 8 hours/day to shift work of 4, 5 or 6 hours, or they change the working time from 5 days/week to 4 days/week. There are various kinds of working time reorganising patterns like this that some employees actually welcome. This is also a good example of a solution which might be appropriate during good times as well as bad.
  • Reorganise working time by training. Under this circumstance, shortening the working time is encourages employees to carry out training in their spare time rather than forcing employees to have days off. This leads to greater long term efficiency from the employees while saving the company money in the short term.
  • Red reorganisation. Fixing wages for a certain time and eliminating redundant workers is one solution. Whilst reducing redundant workers the company should still pay special attention to key employees who add the highest value. Steps should be taken so that they do not leave the company because a competitor is offering a higher salary.
  • Human Resource contracting/Human Resource recruiting company. This is different from the former point. In this case, the companies have the flexibility to re-employ staff on a more flexible basis- although of course at a premium on their monthly salary. This might be the solution if the company does not expect various productions every day from their employees, because the human resource agencies help to take risk for them.
  • Telecommuting. Telecommuting is one of the ways human resources departments can outsource expensive labour. It is not widely utilised because of some hidden faults. If it is lacking proper infrastructure and controls, the company may find itself losing productivity. This can require special human resource supervision and if the company is not properly setup to handle these challenges, the additional time and expenses associated with telecommuting may not prove worthwhile. 
  • One year sabbatical. When using this method, the company promises the employee to take a year off of work with the understanding that their position will be waiting for them when they return. For certain employees this may prove to be very attractive as it would allow them time to travel, start a family, or care for a sick relative. For the company, they can reduce their labour costs in the short term without losing their talent long term.
The reason why the HR department is unique is that their management is related to various aspects of the enterprises. All of these activities should improve efficiency, resist downsizing when possible, and maintain growth potential whilst waiting for the economy to rebound.
Short-term activities aim at reducing internal and external costs and it takes up to 3 months to see full results. Short-term activities will be realised by identifying personal costs savings potential, analysing and optimising development and training costs and the optimising HR service provider cost.
Medium-term activities aim at streamlining processes, infrastructure and optimising internal sources. They tend to takes 6 months in total and many includes:
1. Process and organisational optimisation of HR. Focus on the utilisation of individual positions within the HR department and on individual processes in terms of their efficiency. Propose or optimise indicators (KPIs) to measure the performance of individual HR processes and principles of the motivation system applicable to HR employees;
2.HR information system optimisation.
3. Optimisation of total rewards and review of the employee performance management system.
4. Increasing sales team efficiency. Improve the efficiency of your sales teams by optimising the sales process and organisational structure of the sales network, and by optimising the sales people’s remuneration and training system covering the sales area.
5. Outplacement. If the redundancy is inevitable, use outplacement programs and help employees to cope with their difficult situation. By doing so, you will promote the positive image of your company to other employees and strengthen their confidence in the company.
Long-term transformation activities aim at increasing efficiency and modernising the corporate strategy. These usually take about 1 year and mainly includes:
1.Key workforce segments management and motivation: Identify employees with high potential at all organisational levels and key employees whose skills are hard or very expensive to replace. Focus on these particular groups of employees and find out what motivates them to deliver high performance services and stay with your company. Adjust motivation programs for these key employees.
2. HR Strategy: Review or design a new HR strategy in cooperation with other managers, which will reflect your business needs and be aligned with long-term corporate objectives. Analyse your HR processes and propose their redesign as to make HR activities more efficient and devote saved time to projects.
3. Leadership development: Keep or restructure your budgets for development activities. Review your training and development system so as to develop those skills of employees which are really needed by the company. Introduce the system of differentiated development; focus on individual development activities such as mentoring and coaching for selected employees who are good prospects for the company in the long term.
4.Talent management and workforce planning: Ensure that the key employees stay with the company. Identify the demographical situation of the company. Are there any qualified staff members who may retire in the near future? Consider up front possible departures of your employees and their potential replacements. Identify successors internally or start looking around on the labour market well ahead of time. At the same time, use your time to develop your current employees who will help you, together with new hires, to lead the company out of the crisis and increase its chances of fast growth in the coming period.
5. Corporate culture: Strengthen internal communication to make it implicit within the corporate culture. Organise regular meetings with employees and inform them of the company’s latest results and development, build a strong corporate culture and keep them as key ‘links’ between employees and the company and as an important retention factor.
It should also be kept in mind that slower economic times are also opportunities. Many competitors choose to sleep in tough times, meaning that client-acquisition is actually opportune. Tougher economic times are chances to get the enterprise (big or small) in good order, and to cut the fat, so that as better times return, as they seem to be in 2013, the business is leaner and more nimble, and therefore better able to capitalise on a returning market.
by Robert Parkinson
Link to the article: http://businesstianjin.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=5933:hr-hr-in-a-gradually-rebounding-economy&catid=182:2013-february&Itemid=100

Recruitment Sorted Easily – RMG HR column on Business Tianjin

The end of every Spring Festival is often the busiest period for corporate recruitment units. Following the deepening of “localisation” to be consistent with Chinese traditions, many companies will begin their recruitment plan for the New Year after the official end of Chinese New Year. At the same time, since year-end rewards tend to be issued around the Spring Festival period, a portion of employees would also choose to leave their positions after the festival; thus causing greater recruitment needs. Recruitment difficulties and employment difficulties have become the biggest nightmare for HR professionals. The recruitment process appears to be increasingly inefficient, especially in the internet era whereby advertisers are increasingly unable to cope with the bombardment of CVs in their inboxes.
Online recruitment has already become the preferred way for job seekers and recruiters, the reason being that the process is very simple. Employers simply post a job online and within just 2-3 days there will be over a thousand applicants; create a resume, a few minutes later, one is open to over a hundred positions. It feels as if online recruitment is too efficient compared to any other job search/recruitment channels, for instance, job fairs. According to an online survey in 2009, there is an average daily count of over 10 million people job searching online. Every job seeker will submit at least 100 CVs before finding satisfactory employment. However, what is the direct consequence of this? According to research conducted by ChinaHR in 2012 for recruitment enterprises, 78% of positions require over a month’s time to hire suitable talents, whilst 20% of positions require more than half a year to find suitable talents. For job seekers, 4% of them have to spend over one month to find ideal work, of which, 23% of job seekers actually spend more than half a year looking for employment.
Recruitment was originally the highlight of HR, but its inefficiency has led it to become HR’s nightmare. Whenever a new position is encountered, ultimately recruiters will complain that the number of indiscriminate applicants is too high. Arranged interviews are very likely left unattended; applicants with signed offers may be nowhere to be found, leading to very few candidates successfully recruited in the end. In fact, besides some of the candidates’ own issues, for instance, blind submissions to raise their hit rates, and a lack of integrity, the enterprise and its HR department has more or less also contributed to this situation.
1. Enterprises now pay more attention to attracting talent. The market awareness of modern enterprises is stronger; they will take advantage of every opportunity to shape a positive corporate image in order to be in contact with more talent. Unclear job descriptions are also a reason contributing to this phenomena. Ambiguous positions easily misguide job seekers to believe “I am also suitable for this position”, leading to an avalanche of useless resumes flying in.
2. HR channels are inaccurate or too broad. For example, many enterprises choose traditional online recruitment platforms with massive amounts of information to undergo recruitment in the hope to bring in extensive talents. However, at the same time, vast amounts of web information bring heavy workload for recruiters. If recruiters were to filter out suitable candidates from the tens and thousands pieces of job seeker information, it would require a substantial amount of time.
3. Partial loss of potential talents in the recruitment process due to the enterprise itself or its HR department. Behind the success of one’s recruitment process lies onerous interview work. Recruitment is a 2-way choice, HR is not only a “gate-keeping” job but it is also necessary to get people that the enterprise needs to select the firm; an important role, which HR departments play in the overall process. The cause of the problem seems to be complicated, but in actual fact, only a few small minor changes are required to save a lot of time. At the same time, avoiding time-wasting and the embarrassment due to a loss of “face” when HR arranges a meeting for the candidate with head of departments and no one attends.
Lay out recruitment needs clearly with accurate job descriptions.
To achieve this, two aspects should be included. Internally, HR is required to properly manage the communication between departments, making employment needs of departments clear, explicit and complete; this is the cornerstone of all recruitment. Another aspect is to write genuinely precise external job descriptions. This is the first stage in which the candidate comes into contact with the company. For instance, be sure to include aspects such as work experience, working life qualifications and so on, require the use of detailed figures to describe; write less vague abilities, such as: strong leadership abilities, strong communication skills, strong organisational skills, good English skills etc. But remember that these attributes cannot be measured, so therefore anyone can consider themselves to satisfy these requirements. Instead, questions such as “How many individuals worked within the team you led?”, “what types of projects have you led?”
Recruitment channel segments.
Recruiting enterprises must first select the correct recruitment website. If the characteristics of the enterprise’s industry are clear, and the professionalism of the intended position is high, then professional recruitment websites must be considered first. Resume submissions received by these websites are not necessarily as high as comprehensive recruitment websites. However, talents and positions available are on a vertical plane, accurate and efficient, which not only eliminates the troubles of filtering the vast amounts of CVs, but also allows appropriate professionals to be recruited immediately.
Selection of third party co-operation.
In many cases, despite HR departments using various suppliers, there are no significant improvements in the speed of recruitment. Only through the correct selection of headhunting company, and its team of consultants, will the expected outcome come to fruitation. An outstanding headhunting partner is not only a good helper during your talent search, but also provides effective assistance and enterprise development in employer branding, formulation of talent strategy, market analysis, as well as many aspects of future development strategies. Consultants can establish good relationships with candidates within a given industry, be familiar with the characteristics of the particular industry, and have confidence whilst interviewing candidates.
To attract and retain talents in the recruitment process.
Candidates are likely to become companies’ potential clients; this is because they only applied for positions if they want someting from the company. So in the recruitment process, HR should place themselves more in the candidates’ shoes. No one is perfect, and therefore the basic principle is to not let the candidates face embarrassment and lose their self-esteem during the interview.
The fine culture of the company and its professional qualities should be reflected during the first call to the candidate. In the exchange process, besides fully understanding the necessary qualities of the interviewer, showcasing the positive energy of the company, such as honour, employee activities, management style, further enhances the talents’ interest in the company. Those who go in to be interviewed are all individuals possessing interest in the enterprise, thus deserve the respect and gratitude from the firm. After the results of the interviews are determined, the candidates should be responded to politely, especially to those of which unsuccessful. At the same time, a corporate talent pool should be established, whereby the information of these unsuccessful applicants should also be inputted into a database. This is because enterprises need different talent at different stages of development; requirements of talent also differ on different levels. Therefore, entering their information into an enterprises’ talent pool reserves, is preparation for the long-run.
Establish a distinctive employer brand.
The distinctive establishment of an employer brand refers to recognition and understanding of the corporate culture, the products and services provided by the company and the talents the firm needs and so on in the first instance whereby the job seeker sees the employer’s name. If you are a company which encourages high returns, then do not let the market feel that your work here is relaxed, because some people really like tense rhythm and these are the people you need. As for those who hope for more freedom in their lives, they will also have their suitable employers. Applications from these people will not result in too many positive outcomes for your company. Of course, this is a long-term process. The popular microblogs are good publicity channels. Since March last year, RMG Selection publicised its company via Sina Weibo and Renren, committed to creating a “fair, pleasant, hardworking, harmonious” employer image. In the recent 10 months of hard work, there are already more than 30 candidates (including official and internships) who have actively sought employment through this route. Further publicity through some promotional videos, print ads, media coverage, can strengthen the employer brand to become the most advantageous and most effective recruiting tool.
Simply speaking, as long as work is a little more meticulous, and a little more is done every day, then HR can save vast amounts of time from the indiscriminating applicants. Recruitment in hi-tech systems engineering, and recruiters are more than just CV filterers, you can also become “technical experts”.
By Robert Parkinson
Link to the article: http://businesstianjin.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=6017%3Ahr-recruitment-sorted-easily&catid=183%3A2013-march&Itemid=100

Robert Parkinson – RMG CEO on China Radio International

CEO & Founder of RMG Selection, Robert Parkinson’s live interview on China Radio International (CRI) English. The interview focuses on the Chinese employment market landscape from the result of China Talent-flow Survey.

CRI

Listen to the interview at

Youku: http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XNTMyMzAxMTAw.html

YouTube: http://youtu.be/SOYbUWEeZ10

RMG Selection releases China Talent-flow Survey Report

RMG Selection has reported the result of China Talent-flow Survey in March 2013, on talent flow rate, its characteristics, and the function of headhunters and recruiters in 2012. RMG Selection is an Asian focused specialist recruitment and executive headhunting firm with over 200 regular clients, and network partners in 27 countries all over the world.  RMG China Talent-flow Survey was carried out in January and February 2013 and collected over 2000 samples. The survey combined the actual situations in China and cover different region, enterprise type, working experience, education background and gender etc. The result shows that China employment market is still very active, and the phenomena of “job hopping” is becoming more and more popular active. The characteristic is more obvious in different groups; the barriers between different regions are becoming lower, and at the same time, headhunter has become an even more important part of the power behind ‘talent flow’.

report AD - Copy Key Findings from the survey Market Landscape
  • The employment market is still active, last year over 30% of people even changed jobs.
  • The percentage of job-hoppers from private enterprises is 39%; that of state-owned enterprises is only 25%.
  • The highest percentage of job-hoppers is those grouped in the monthly salary of 10000&40000RMB.
  • Both men and women are active on a similar level.
Headhunter Role
  • Nearly 60% of people are more willing to change jobs via headhunters.
  • Nearly 80% of middle and high income earners choose headhunters.
  • Headhunters are “killing” into state-owned enterprises.
  • More than half of people believe headhunters are more professional on phone than direct contacts from companies’ own employees.
  • The bigger the company, the more trust they have in the headhunters.
  • MBAs are most favored by headhunters; the difference with PhD. is not big.
  • Online CV submission results: PhD holders are less popular than undergraduates
Flowing Appreciation
  • 80% of people needed to job hop to get a salary increase of 20% or higher.
  • The expectation of salary increase is slightly higher for men than women for job-hopping.
  • The 30-40 years old age group, are even more eager to obtain a substantial salary increase.
  • The higher salary people have, the smaller impact of annual bonus to job changing.
Cross-domain Flowing
  • 70% of people are willing to work in other cities.
  • Half of people who are over 50 do not mind working in any cities.
  • The higher the salary, the more difficult it is to change working city.
  • Males are more willing to adapt to different areas.
Headhunter, a word which is a little strange for people a decade ago, has now become strong power in the process of talent flow. 57% employees hope to change job through headhunters; 50.26% employees are placed successfully by the headhunter; besides, 52.22% employees have the thought that the calls from headhunters are more professional. All these have demonstrated the increasing acknowledgement and understanding towards the headhunters. More companies have acknowledged the concept of “recruiting by headhunters”, 28% employees in state owned enterprise have the experience of changing job successfully through the headhunters. On the other hand, we find that the headhunting companies in China are varied in quality, only a small part of them have professional work procedure and genuine career guidance and training toward candidates. ‘Although the business development is becoming more and more mature, how to select professional partners will be a big challenge for most employers and job seekers in the future.’, said Robert Parkinson, Founder & CEO of RMG Selection. Download Talent Flow Survey 2013 (TFS 2013) at https://www.rmgselection.com/index.php/2012-12-07-06-20-23/tfs-download Contact us at beijing@rmgselection.com or Call +86 10 5896 2288 for the details of the report.

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