How do you keep and maintain a stable and qualified workforce?" asked one expatriate general manager, citing his prime concerns for the joint venture he runs. "How can we attract and retain workers with new ideas?"
If these questions are prime concerns for a general manager, they dominate the working lives of human resources (HR) professionals. The three basic tasks of HR managers — recruitment (see Recruiting the Right People), retention, and compensation and benefits (C&B) — are as fundamental in China as anywhere. But HR managers in foreign-invested enterprises (FIEs) in China have had to devise creative ways to carry them out to remain competitive in China's tight market for local managerial talent.
Retention in particular is the lynchpin of a company's HR strategy and is crucial to building an effective workforce and a thriving business. It is vital to short- and long-term stability, efficient day-to-day functioning, and the achievement of long-term goals such as localization — the replacement of expatriates with local Chinese managers.
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