Adapting global brands in china 2013 — Mark Baldwin & Phill Lane, Oxus
Adapting Global Employer Brands in China 6th March 2013 Mark Baldwin & Phill Laneoneagentglobal.com
Who is Oxus China?Full service agency based in Beijing & ShanghaiFounded in 2007 – but with over 18 years in China marketLocal and Western foundersMember of the OneAgent Global Network1. We identify and engage employer brands that engage talent • Research, EVP development & strategy1. We leverage those brands in strategic communications • Creative expression and execution – design, copy, digital, events, social media1. We facilitate better candidate journeys and recruiter efficiency • Candidate relationship management platforms, metrics-based media strategies, creative applications and screening tools oneagentglobal.com
MNCs in China Why are MNCs starting to put such an emphasis on Employer Branding in China?
How MNCs treat China• Hugely important market – especially since GFC• But one size does not fit all: • China as manufacturer – made in China • China as a market – sold in China • China as innovator – made for China• Increasingly sophisticated involvement requires increasingly sophisticated approach to talent
Key drivers of EVP & EB in China“We’re doing a global EVP project, you need to help out in China” - HQ“We’ve re-done our marketing materials, you have to use these over there.” – HQI don’t understand why we’re struggling to hire and hold onto top talent. After all, we’re COMPANY X, everybody wants to work for us!” - HQ
MNCs aren’t as attractive as you think…• Career progression is limited & slow in MNCs• Major decisions are made “@ home”• The interesting work doesn’t happen in China• China is nothing more than a market for you• The GFC really rocked confidence in the West• You might make us work hard…• PS – we don’t know who you are…and nor do our parents
Microsoft China – 2007-2011The Challenge: To re-connect Microsoft with the younger generation, in ChinaIn 2007 Microsoft was struggling for recognition and understanding in key demographics, needing a tailored, strategic approach to graduate recruitment and campus relations at all levels to address declining attractiveness amongst the younger (campus and early career) talent sectors.EVP-based communications strategy focused on:• Career Growth and Opportunity• Cutting-Edge Technology (making an impact)• Open, Team-oriented Working environment (people / culture)
2007: First “new look” campaign:‘See for yourself’• A new generation “engaged”• Real people, Real stories.• Key EVP messaging deliveredwith each local “story”•Applied consistently on campuscollateral, careers website, bbsboards, and recruitment events.
Microsoft Academy of College Hires…Elite program to attract and recruit MBA Graduates from China’s top full-time MBA schools2009 – struggled to gain applications or conversions2010 – more than 60% of all applications were qualified (500+ applications)Over-offered by 50% (18 for 12 MBA roles) - acceptance rate 100%
2011-12 – “GE works” Post GFC campaign, US originated, instigated by a need to revitalise & motivate employees… …in America US need: China need: Reinvigorate flagging economy Maintain impressive growth Motivate demoralised staff Engage staff with options Focus on blue-collar roles Focus on high-tech roles Create jobs in America Create jobs in China Tell the American story Tell the China story
Local feedback so far“I must say that this core EVP Statement …Sharing a Belief, Making it Real… 18,000 people in China really feel it sums up what it feels like to work at this organisation.” Geoff Lee – Director of Communications, GE China Employer Brand Summit – Shanghai, Dec 2012
Starting with China?• Where the immediate need is• Core part of longer-term strategy• Often little local understanding or existing precedent• Established in Taiwan - starting to move the high-tech side to China• Not well-known in China• US HQ (and lead on the project)• English as the business language
Challenges for MNCs in hiring Chinese staff• Creative thinking & innovation• Decision making, taking responsibility, being proactive• Grey areas and ambiguity• Saving face & harmony• People who aren’t political• English language ability• Desired attributes can conflict fundamentally
Differences in messagesWestern messages often focus on ideas like:Empowering Individual Creative ResponsibilityAccountable Collaboration Inspiring ProactivityChinese messages converge on harmony & ‘dreams’梦想起航的地方 where dream setsoff追梦之旅，请君同行 the journey to pursue dreams awaits yourboarding我们信仰梦想 we believe indream忠于信仰，实现梦想 hold on to faith, make real(our) dreams
Two current (unanswered) questions in EB To what extent should global businesses change the message and adapt their culture to engage local talent? To what extent should global businesses enforce a culture that has worked elsewhere, using those messages to filter out the wrong people?
Mix of messages, ideas & languages Brand books: Local language Localised content Materials: Available for English-speaking managers/employees too
Daimler – Mercedes Benz• Hugely complicated talent challenges• Business structures vastly different in China - JVs• All divisions present – but not understood• Long-standing business at home, relatively new in China• Consumer brand too well-known• Developing quickly – but huge lack of experience in the market• Fixed term ex-pat contracts challenge continuity & trust• Relatively new – high reliance on Headhunters• Challenge in consistency across fragmented media channels• Few benchmarks in place
Measures of improvement – strong EVP20% increase in the pool of potential employees Corporate Executive Board McDonald’s UK “would consider applying or encourage application” rose by 41%10% - 20% less in compensation premiums Corporate Leadership Council EVP viewed as unattractive requires a 21% premium to attract candidates EVP viewed as attractive requires only an 11% premiumEmployees up to 20% more productive Hewitt Associates. Human Capital Foresight Research.Reduction in replacement costs (150% or more of salary) Strategic HR Management/EMA Staffing Metrics Study
Direct measures of improvementRatio of offers accepted - compared to competitors (Microsoft, GSK – increase from 83% - 96%)Reduction in head-hunter spend• Global pharma client reduction from 53% to 27% in 24 months following 2007 EVP launch reduced hiring costs by c. $850,000% senior roles filled locallyReferral rates• McDonald’s recommendation rate went from 51% to 86% in 12 monthsSuccessful at first sift – Consultancy increased success by 25%
Final thoughts• Speed of growth in emerging markets requires more than BAU• Multinational-Western-Global attitudes/perceptions are often misaligned• Early days to judge the impact of cultural clashes• A clear EVP gives clients consistency & structure• A tailored EVP gives them competitive advantage• The bigger the market the bigger the potential for success… …or for mistakes.
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