This was a recent post on the China Solved Weblog which discusses ways in which foreign companies in China can more easily retain their top employees and managers, without necessarily giving them raises.
Managers that have good retention rates for key people are much more concerned about their team’s development and responsibility level than about their compensation. Younger workers and first-time managers are particularly keen to find and hold on to opportunities that let them develop their careers and grow into jobs. Chinese managers and workers consider growth and learning opportunities to be key reasons to stay at a job.
Do you delegate? Do you know how your key people feel about their jobs and their own skill levels? International managers in China need to be more proactive about staff development and career coaching than they would be back home. Just because your Chinese staff isn’t asking about careers doesn’t mean that they don’t have questions.
I’ve noticed 3 commonalities among managers who succeed in holding on to teams:
Senior managers at companies with strong Chinese teams are big on delegation and giving new responsibilities to key staff. This is a major driver for Chinese managers, and can well determine whether or not they accept that new offer from your competitor. Senior managers need to understand how imporant the responsibility issue is, and make sure that their organization has formal and informal systems in place for giving young managers more opportunities. WARNING: Your view on how much you delegate – and how systematically – tends to vary widely from the view of you delagatees, so try to gauge their reactions carefully.
Training & Development
Constant development reinforced with formal training programs is another effective team-builder. Here is where those Management Development and Mentoring programs come into play, if you were considering one. A big part of this is job design, so work with your people to make sure they understand how their performance now shapes their career. Review basic notions of the ‘career ladder’ and discuss potential promotions.
Smaller teams and young organizations seem to be the best learning environments
Young managers appreciate lots of time and feedback from top managers – and clearly this is easier to pull off in a small shop where you have fewer than 20 people. Beyond that, it gets tough. But senior people need to understand that local staff and teams need to be managed a bit more closely than their western counterparts. It’s easy to miss the personal elements of management when you are going full speed in other areas of business, but good team-building skills will benefit your organization for the long-term.
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