A research team of the University of Lucerne, under the lead of Dr. Lea Rutishauser and in cooperation with Georg Fischer AG, investigated how a multinational organization can develop its global talent management approach under consideration of local cultural specificities in China.
Executive summary of the research project
(Please find the full report here: Talent Management Framework – Evidence-based Guidelines for Swiss Companies Operating in China )
The aim of this framework is to challenge and inspire existing talent management in Swiss companies operating in China by:
– Giving an overview on the complexity of talent management;
– Exploring the cultural influence of China on talent management;
– Presenting guidelines on what to consider when doing talent management in China.
The content of this framework is based on interviews with 10 Swiss companies and an online survey with Georg Fischer AG, a Swiss company from the machine-, electrical- and metal industry (MEM) industry, which also has local production sites in China. Furthermore, relevant existing scientific literature completes the framework.
– To specifically address Chinese aspects in talent management, a well-structured HR department allows a cultural interface. For example, a Chinese talent manager who is familiar with both the Western and Asian perspectives can help integrate them both.
– The conditions for talent management in China and in Switzerland differ. External factors, such as the labor market situation or political decisions, influence the talent management strategy and should be considered in the planning phase.
– Generically formulated identification criteria are interpreted differently in the Chinese culture. Therefore, a specific description rather than generic terms is pivotal.
– Global identification criteria, such as mobility, need to be specified for China.
– From a Western perspective, an objective evaluation of performance and potential are pivotal, whereas in China, the focus is on maintaining harmony and mutual benefits among the guanxi network. Consequently, the importance of personal relationships, networks, and mobility constraints must be considered when identifying talents.
– To evaluate an organization’s talent management, key performance indicators (KPIs) that are specifically interesting for talent management in China must be developed and applied.
– Cultural specificities, such as mianzi, lead to sensitive situations when discussing employee performance, potential, and talent status, which is why careful communication in China is pivotal.
– Due to cultural concepts, removing talent nominations has significant impact in China and thus must be kept to a minimum.