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Fight for the right sort of talent

By Zheng Yangpeng  (China Daily)

14:40, April 23, 2013

As a human resources manager, when is the last time you talked to the leader of your company's sales department?

Chong Ng, Greater China managing director of talent recruitment solutions provider FutureStep, is often disappointed with the answer he receives.

One of the techniques his company uses is to set up a one-day workshop and make sure all the client company's business leaders - all its China-based CEOs, board of directors and senior HR leaders - are in the workshop.

Ng then asks them about their business strategy for the year, and the talents they need to implement it. His team will make sure they work together to come up with strategy for the year ahead.

"You'll be surprised how often this does not happen (in their own boardroom)," Ng said.

"Most often, a sales manager picks up the phone, calls the HR manager and says, 'I want to fill the position immediately, or we want to find a sales manager immediately'."

FutureStep calls this a "reactive" recruitment approach, one that leads to employers failing in the increasingly competitive talent market.

"China's talent market, especially in the high end, is becoming more and more competitive," Ng said. "Employees now have a lot of options. They can work for big US multinationals, big European multinationals or big Chinese companies. How can your company stand out in the market?"

According to Ng, to be strategic, employers have to have a very good workforce plan. Every business plan - from opening a research and development center to increasing sales by 20 percent - should be followed by a workforce plan. As business plans change, the workforce plan should also be flexible and change accordingly.

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