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Communication Style in China

An effective communication system within an organization is extremely important for

management decision makers, especially in joint ventures or multinational enterprises. By
keeping an open line communication, managers can work on reducing the labour turnover rate.
Such a system requires cultural awareness, language abilities and an understanding of the work
values and employee.

The Chinese business system is normally classified as having a high power distance, meaning
there is a strong hierarchical structure. Employees wait for top-down flow of information from
their supervisors, and end up frustrated and confused when there is a lack of it. In contrast,
Western managers anticipate the employees input and decision-making skills, with project
design and completion left to the worker.

The concept of saving face is extremely important when it comes to communication, as it is a

double-edged sword. Chinese workers always try to save their own face and also prevent others
from losing face. This means that criticism or feedback must be given in a methods befitting the
culture and local work values.

Managerial Style in China

With the increase of foreign direct investment (FDI) into China, the number of expatriate
managers has also rapidly growth. This has meant that new managerial styles have sprung up,
some not in line with the local traditions and work systems.

Chinese people management practices focus on control and conformity, supplemented by an

ideological appeal to the virtues of work (Child, 1994). This indicates that managers are likely to
cope with constraints and conflict through certain modes of behaviour, which include building
relationships for exchanging informal favours and maintaining harmony. Chinese managers tend
to spend more time in contact with their subordinates and superiors, preferring informal
communication methods, with a heavy reliance on the cultivation of personal relationships.

Hence, utilising Western retention strategies in the traditional Chinese work culture is not as
straightforward as thought. Concern for career aspirations and fair treatment are not the only
factors in a system that requires a lot of personal commitment between superiors and
subordinates to ensure loyalty.

Retaining Valuable Talent

Numerous strategies are being tried by organizations to promote retention in China, as employee
turnover is becoming an increasingly difficult issue to handle. Some of the most used retention
methods include having a succession management program and offering training and
development opportunities. This is in line with the main reason employees give for leaving an
organization: lack of growth and development. HR professionals also give high value to linking
pay to performance and improving compensation, but such financial incentives on their own are
unlikely to be successful.

Generally, dedicated retention plans are underused, while team-building activities are overused.
Methods with high value but low usage include career-planning services, making employee
retention a corporate objective, and arranging specialised retention plans. More attention needs to
be paid to specialised services when organizations are developing strategies for retaining talent.

In recent time, a lot of energy has gone into various retention strategies, with most needs
substantial improvement. Each organization should concentrate on its unique circumstances and
the nature of its employees, prior to choosing the best path to enhance retention. In order to
formulate a strategy that will have the greatest impact, organizations need to make a
comprehensive effort to pinpoint why employees leave, why they are dissatisfied, and the degree
to which discontent is most likely to precipitate turnover.

Retention Strategies
How best to retain staff is the significant question for many organizations these days. The
straightforward answer is to provide employees with a better deal than they perceive they could
get by working for alternative employers.

The most efficient retention strategy for retention is raising pay levels to reduce staff turnover
rate (Torrington et. al., 2005). Employers who offer the most attractive reward packages have

lower attrition rates than those who pay poorly. Hence, many organizations use pay rate as their
prime weapon in retaining staff.

Pay is not usually having an effect when other factors are pushing an individual towards quitting.
Raising pay levels may result in greater job satisfaction, but it will not deter unhappy employees
from leaving. Thus, pay is more a hygiene factor than a motivator, which means that it can be a
cause of dissatisfaction at work, but not of positive job satisfaction. People may be motivated to
leave an employer who is perceived as paying badly, but once they are satisfied with their pay
additional increases have little effect.

Another important retention methods is called managing expectations (Torrington et. al., 2005).
It suggests that employers benefit from ensuring that potential employees gain a realistic job
preview before they take up a job offer. The purpose is to make sure that new staff enter an
organization with their eyes wide open and do not find that the job fails to meet their
expectations, which might be a cause of dissatisfaction, and hence of high staff turnover during
the early months of employment. In other words, it is important not to mislead candidates about
the nature of the work that they will be doing.

Furthermore, the effective and timely induction process is often credited with the reduction of
turnover early in the employment relationship (Torrington et. al., 2005). Induction has a number
of distinct purposes, all of which are concerned with preparing new employees to work as
effectively as possible and as soon as is possible in their new jobs. It helps new starters to adjust
emotionally to the new workplace. Also, induction provides a forum in which basic information
about the organization can be transmitted.

Another problem with why people leave their jobs is due to family or personal reasons. In the
past few years, HR practices have looked upon offering flexi-time systems to employees,
especially pregnant women, as a useful retention tool.

Lastly, training and development is described as an interesting approach to improving retention

(Torrington et. al., 2005). There are two widely different perspectives on the link between
training interventions and employee turnover. One is the argument that training opportunities
enhance commitment to an employer on the part of the individual employees making them less
likely to leave voluntarily than they would if no training were offered. The alternative view holds
that training makes people more enjoyable and hence more likely to leave in order to develop
their careers elsewhere. The view is thus put that money spent on training is money wasted

because it ultimately benefits other employers (Torrington et. al., 2005). The most expensive
types of training intervention involve long-term courses of study such as an MBA, CIPD or
accountancy qualification. In financing such courses, employers are sending a very clear signal
to the employees concerned that their contribution is valued and that they can look forward to
substantial career advancement if they opt to stay. The fact that leaving will also mean an end to
the funding for the course provides a more direct incentive to remain with the sponsoring
employer (Torrington et. al., 2005).

All in all, specific programmes which lead to improved retention include flexible benefits, better
induction, and the effective management of expectations, family-friendly initiatives and training

4: Conclusions and Recommendations

The increased pace of change and competition level in the world currently has required
organizations to rethink the importance that people hold within the overall context of the
institution, especially with technologies, processes and products becoming easy to replicate.
Innovations and relationships hold the key to creating an organization that can respond to the
changing demands of the market; this has ended up carving away the traditional sense of loyalty
once evidenced throughout the workplace.

Labour turnover rates are on the up across the developed West and emerging nation of China.
The costs of such turnover are not only associated with the recruitment process that must be
completed, but also with the reduced customer satisfaction, lower productivity, and the loss of an
organizations knowledge and intellectual capital. Thus, the problem of employee retention has
an impact far beyond the domain of management and supervisors. On the whole, it affects the
performance of the organization this is ever more reason for the establishment to keep good
employees as they form a critical competitive weapon.

Voluntary retrenchment by employees comes from a wide variety of reasons, requiring a

companys retention plan to be based on analysis of these matters. The utilisation of exit

interviews and attitude surveys provide helpful tools in determining the factors behind labour
turnover in an organization. However, to develop an effective approach for retaining staff, it is
the job of HR professionals to address the turnover reasoning from each of the management

An open culture within the organization fosters trust and encourages learning among the workers
with a sense of fun included to keep the mindset relaxed. The value that management of an
organization can give to its employees will in effect allow for the creation of stronger level of
respect for the activities and vision maintained by the establishment.

It is important for the company to ensure that open lines of communication are created with the
objective of listening to employees and addressing their concerns whether in relation to work
or of a more personal nature. The more management involves employees in the decision-making
process, especially those that affect them, the more the chances of satisfaction being reached
within the workforce due to the free sharing of information.

Managers should understand the needs and objectives of their subordinates and then draw out the
corresponding motivational strategies which can be used to ensure that a fit is reached between
their needs and the organizations requirements. Offering praise on accomplishments and other
activities designed to motivate staff will help in creating a harmonious and positive environment
that will give the worker more reason to feel as a member of a large team, rather than simply a
wage earner.

An employees perspective at an organization is shaped by the present leadership; if ineffective,

it can turn out to be the largest single factor for driving labour turnover. This calls for particular
attention to be given in terms of selection and training of the line managers, as they represent the
top-level management in front of the workers.

Retaining top employees starts from the initial recruitment and selection process. This lays great
importance on the procedures being designed to match an individuals capacities to the demands
of work that they are required to perform.

Reward should be considered as one of the most powerful motivators in encouraging people to
stay. This includes fair compensation and appropriate and consistent recognition for outstanding

The assessment of China presents a serious human resources challenge, especially for the foreign
corporations intending to enter the local market. In order for managers to address problems,
retention plans need to be created that address each of the management areas like culture,
motivation, communication, managerial style and key HR practice areas: recruitment and
selection, reward and performance appraisal, training and development.

In reference to the question under discussion in this paper, the following are recommendations to
deal with the problem of labour retention:

Selection of People

Candidates should fit the job, the organization, and the leader. This allows for a reduction in the
probability of employee dissatisfaction after being hired. Furthermore, it is important to evaluate
a candidates skill level, as well as the expectations that they hold from the organization and their
role in it.

Improvement of Leadership Skills

Workers relate much better with management that is effective in terms of understanding them
and having the skills to lead. It is important that conflicts and differences are handled in a
professional manner instead of becoming issues of a personal nature.

Examination of Retention

Using a third-party for exit interviews allows an organization to uncover employee

dissatisfaction that is not in personnel records or apparent to observers. Management should
institute processes that allow for regular follow-ups with current employees, using various tools
that will help in understanding how the workforce is coping with the prevalent conditions.

Underestimating Employees

Among employee turnover, that of key managers is counted among an organizations most
expensive and disruptive situations. It is quite common for high level managers and top

performing individuals to be poached by other organizations. This makes it a special focus for
organizations to ensure that they always retain such staff, keeping in mind the market trends and

Using Effective Methods

While a wide range of retention methods are available, frequency of use doesnt always dictate
true value. Having more targeted retention objectives and programs, including career planning
services, allows for a dynamic approach to the matter. At the same time, organizations must take
steps to re-evaluate their investments by understanding steps that are less costly.


Organizations should focus most of their resources on employees primary retention drivers,
including opportunities for development and advancement. It is not compensation that is primary
to an employee remaining with an organization. Hence, establishments should understand the
importance of maintaining pace with market caps, but also focus on the other intricate benefits
that can have an in-depth effect on the satisfaction of an employee with their workplace.

Focusing Retention Strategies

Organizations need to understand employees expectations and issues. The right retention
strategy is the one that best fits each organizations circumstances and the nature of its
employees. Any imbalance between the demand for modern workers in China and the available
supply has created unprecedented pressure to find and keep employees. Organizations should
undertake strategies that are in line with the situation they are facing, instead of adopting a
generic approach to each matter.

For foreign managers, there is the requirement to establish cross-cultural awareness, especially as
the Chinese business system embodies a lot of the traditional aspects in its working activities.
Managers should be positive with their motivational communication, and use appraisals as a
form of feedback in the positive light. The use of criticism as a method of improvement should
be avoided.

There should be respect given to the Chinese method of communication and networking as
interpersonal relations play a huge part in not only the Chinese working culture, but also the
general daily life. Ensuring that appropriate training and career opportunities are available will
provide individuals to feel as an important member of the organization, and treat the enterprise as
family. This provision of long-term stability is the key facet that Chinese workers look for, as
part of their tradition and culture.

While the recent generation becoming involved in the workplace appears to hold more modern
values, it is still pertinent for organizations to maintain a level of professionalism and establish a
culture that is an embodiment of the more accepted norms within the society and working