How to retain talent

By Robert Half on 15 March 2024

In 2023, China's gross domestic product (GDP) exceeded RMB126 trillion, with a growth rate of 5.2% (1) compared to the previous year, maintaining its position as the world's largest growth engine. Meanwhile, the Chinese economy is undergoing a transformation towards high-tech and high-value-added industries, requiring a significant number of knowledge-based workers with higher education to master new technologies and knowledge. However, China's population has been declining for two consecutive years, and as the industrial structure transforms, the supply of highly skilled labor with higher education is also decreasing. According to interviews conducted by Xinhua News Agency, enterprises in various industries are facing difficulties in recruitment, especially in attracting high-skilled, versatile, and innovative talents (2). "How to retain talent?" has become the key to enhancing market competitiveness for companies. 

Moreover, the "Generation Z" - individuals aged 16 to 24 - in China has exceeded a population of 260 million. As more members of the Generation Z enter society and the workforce, the new generation of young labor force is becoming a major influence in the workplace. Generation Z was born in an era of advanced technology, communication, and high digitalization, and their expectations for work-life balance present new demands for employers when facing the challenge of talent retention, such as flexible work arrangements. Many enterprises are grappling with the dilemma of balancing corporate culture creation and attractiveness to the new generation of talents. 

So, how can employers crack the increasingly prominent talent shortage dilemma and gain an edge in the competition for talent? When it comes to the question of "How to retain talent?", consider the following areas.

1. Competitive salaries and benefits

In the fiercely competitive talent market, a competitive salary and benefits system is key to attracting and retaining top talent. In terms of salary, offering competitive salaries is essential, ensuring that the salary and benefits packages provided by the company are competitive compared to other employers in the region is crucial. In addition to competitive salaries, companies should also provide comprehensive benefits such as health insurance, endowment insurance, housing allowances, paid leave and others, all of which are important means to attract and retain talent. 

2. Positive work environment and career advancement opportunities 

Due to a lack of opportunities for growth and development, high turnover rates can occur. To retain top talent, employers need to provide opportunities for employees to enhance their skills and advance in their careers. Companies can offer employees training and development programs, including internal training, external courses and conferences, as well as access to online resources. Additionally, companies can utilize mentorship programs, matching employees with senior staff who can provide guidance and support, allowing employees to learn from experienced professionals, identify areas for improvement, and develop action plans to achieve their goals. Providing clear and transparent career development paths, goal-setting meetings, and regular performance evaluations are also important ways for companies to demonstrate commitment to employee growth and development, ultimately retaining top talent for long-term success. 

Creating a healthy work-life balance, an open communication atmosphere, and a culture that values employee recognition and appreciation are key factors in retaining employees. Companies can provide wellness programs, mental health resources, and other support services to help employees manage stress levels and maintain a balance between work and life. Regular team-building activities and social events can also help employees build strong relationships with colleagues, thereby improving collaboration, communication, and job satisfaction. Google is widely recognized as an enterprise that successfully cultivates a positive work environment. They advocate for an open, innovative, and inclusive culture, encouraging employees to voice their ideas and opinions. Google provides extensive employee benefits, including free meals, gym facilities, and flexible working hours. Employees also have the opportunity to dedicate 20% of their working time to pursue their own projects and creative endeavors, fostering an innovative culture that unleashes employees' potential and enhances their job satisfaction. 

3. Enterprise brand building 

Enterprises need to articulate their core values and positioning, instill corporate culture, and establish a good reputation and credibility through the quality of their brand's services and products, winning recognition and support from consumers and employees, and turning employees into loyal supporters and advocates of the brand. Apple Inc. is a successful brand-building enterprise, renowned for innovation, design, and user experience, establishing a strong brand image and a loyal user base. 

4. Enhance employee sense of belonging 

Employee sense of belonging refers to the sense of identification, purpose, and achievement that employees develop towards a company's entrepreneurial philosophy and management style after a period of working and learning within the enterprise. Employers can foster team cohesion through team-building activities, demonstrate care for employees' personal and professional needs, establish effective communication channels, maintain ongoing dialogue and interaction with employees, listen to their opinions and suggestions, encourage their participation in decision-making processes, and ensure that their views and contributions are valued, all of which enhance employee sense of belonging and loyalty. 

5. Flexible work arrangements 

Providing flexible work hours and remote work options is an essential method to enhance employee happiness, retain talent, and ensure the recruitment of outstanding employees. It is also a crucial step towards building a more balanced, diverse, and inclusive organization. The hybrid/flexible work model offers employees flexible work arrangements, work-life balance, and demonstrates respect, inclusivity, and trust from the employer, contributing to increased sense of belonging and happiness. For employers, it leads to reduced fixed costs, lower absenteeism and turnover rates, and higher levels of dedication and productivity. 

In this rapidly changing era, it is not just about finding and managing talent for businesses; it is equally crucial to retain talent. A stable and skilled team contributes to a company's growth and its ability to navigate market competition and challenges. Robert Half can provide the most comprehensive and professional information on employee retention strategies and solutions tailored to your specific recruitment and development needs. Contact us to help you devise an employee retention strategy to address today's and tomorrow's talent retention challenges!




(1) Annual GDP growth of 5.2% year-on-year in 2023 

(2) How to stabilize employment with efforts? -Mid-year economic research on employment

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