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HR lunch on MRIC's Talent Report

On 21 May 2015, the ECCT's Human Resources committee hosted a lunch on the topic "How online technology affects HR recruiting and are we making the best use of such channels?" with guest speakers Christine Raynaud, CEO, MRI China Group (MRIC) and Jeffrey Tzuoo, Human Resources Head, North Asia, Chemours.

In her presentation Christine Raynaud introduced the key findings from MRIC's 2015 Talent Report, now in its fifth edition. The report, based on the responses of over 4,600 professionals and managers working across the Greater China region (including 550 from Taiwan) and Singapore, offers clear insights into the critical factors driving a positive candidate experience.

The top reasons for professionals and managers in Taiwan to move to another firm and role have remained mostly unchanged for the past two years.

Increased compensation or commission remains the top reason for professionals and managers in Taiwan to move to another firm and role, the same result as in 2014 and 2013. The second most important reason is "Opportunity to increase responsibility or challenges". No. 3 is a "clearer career path". No. 4 is "better leadership / strategic direction" and rounding out the top five is a "better work/life balance". Raynaud said that many Taiwanese are returning from overseas to get a better work-life balance, although the fact that it is No. 5 show that other factors still trump this.

The same top two reasons were shared with professionals and managers in China, Singapore and Hong Kong. While there were a few differences in the order of top reasons for moving among the different countries, they all shared the same top five reasons.
On the question of what qualities make a good employer, all four regions chose "High integrity leadership". The second most important quality in Taiwan and China was "clear vision and business direction" while in Singapore it was "strong capable leadership" (which was No. 4 in Taiwan) and Hong Kongers ranked "Culture of trust and respect for employees" second (No. 3 in Taiwan). Notably, good compensation and benefits was only ranked as No. 5 in Taiwan, compared to No. 3 for Singaporeans and No. 4 for Hong Kongers. Chinese employees ranked "Strong corporate values matching own beliefs" as No. 3 and did not consider compensation and benefits in the top five.

Judging by the numbers, Taiwanese employees are becoming more restless. 62% of Taiwanese respondents are actively looking to relocate from their current offices to a different city, region or country (up from 54% in 2014). As to where they would like to move to, results are similar to the past few years although Raynaud noted that China had lost some of its shine, especially for Hong Kongers. Shanghai was still the most popular destination (the top choice of 64% of respondents but down from 73% in 2014), followed by Singapore (62%), North America (54%), Hong Kong (48%) and Europe (45%). Raynaud noted a rising interest in Europe this year compared to other regions.

As for the top reasons for relocating to another country from Taiwan, "job promotion" was the No. 1 reason for Taiwanese, followed by "international exposure", "better quality of life", "healthier environment" and "centre of excellence for my industry, business of profession". However, probably owing to pollution, those wanting to leave China cited "healthier environment" as the third most important reason, while those wanting to leave Hong Kong cited "better quality of life" as the second most important reason.

According to the report, 92% of respondents in all regions had been approached in the past 12 months about a job opportunity and 44% of them had applied for a new job. Most of the respondents (87% of respondents in Taiwan) reported some frustration during the candidate experience. Given the frustration during the process an average of 39% would not apply to the same company again and only 45% of them would recommend that their friends apply for a job at the same company. These statistics applied to both successful and unsuccessful job applicants, implying that it was not just a case of sour grapes that resulted in bad reviews of the process.

As to the top complaints about the recruitment process, when dealing directly with the company, the No. 1 complaint was the overall waiting time. No. 2 was the lack of information about the salary range and No. 3 the lack of information about the application status. Long waiting times was a frequent complaint while many complained about a lack of clarity as to how many interviews would be conducted and how long they could expect to wait to receive an answer. Given the frequent complaint of lack of information about a salary range, Raynaud suggested that it was rather counter-productive for employers to spend so much time with candidates if the candidates are going to reject an offer based on compensation. It would be better to provide a salary range at the outset. When applying via an agency, the top complaint was limited knowledge of the agency concerning the position and company.

Corporate websites remain the top source of information about a company or position across all regions while Taiwanese tend to use search engines and recruitment agency websites more than their peers in other regions. 51% of Taiwan respondents use social media as the primary sourcing channel. 77% of Taiwanese rate Linkedin as the most useful media.

Raynaud concluded that the candidate experience matters and companies and agencies need to improve their processes including the information provided and the way they communicate with candidates. Recruiting directly or via an agency both have pitfalls and both need to compensate for their weaknesses. When using online channels, firms need to go beyond job posting as a way to communicate about the company. Finally, no matter how good the online platform, the human touch is essential.

In his presentation, Jeffrey Tzuoo, talked about job satisfaction, particularly the expectations of job satisfaction versus the reality and how they compare for various types of jobs and level of management. Tzuoo has conducted extensive research on what makes employees happy. According to Tzuoo, happy employees will do their jobs better and go above and beyond the call the duty. Based on his research, Tzuoo said that over a short period of 12 months, there is very little difference between the performances of happy and unhappy employees. However, over a period of 3-5 years, there could be a 50% difference in performance.

He lamented the fact that most corporations are too focused on the short term and therefore do not make enough of an effort to take care of their employees and make them happy in their jobs. Drawing on lessons from his research and some inspiring leaders, Tzuoo concluded that people are happiest when they are helping others, the best people to employ are warm-hearted people of compassion and integrity. Competency and skills can be taught. According to Tzuoo, everyone has talent of some kind and the most likely reason for incompetence is that people are in the wrong position. Finally, people will happily work for any company if they feel their leadership truly cares for and respects them, regardless of her particular skills or experience. In conclusion, the way to attract and retain the best people, (the formula for success in HR) is to shift from focusing just on achieving results to taking care of people, respecting them, understanding their needs, motivating them and helping them to achieve their true potential.