What are the challenges?
Having worked with many similar groups in the UK and elsewhere in Asia Pacific, we asked about the challenges they’re facing. Many of the HR challenges faced by these Chinese HR professionals (left) were very familiar. We could have been in Birmingham or Berlin rather than Beijing: how to persuade leaders of HR’s value; how to lead change; how to make the shift from traditional HR to business partnering.
But some issues were unique. How do you support a state owned business through mergers and acquisitions, particularly where the collaboration is with a Japanese business? How do you sustain competitiveness and productivity when international competitors have smaller workforces? How does HR contribute to supporting key sales functions within the business to be stronger at business development? These were fascinating challenges to work through with the group.
It was great to have a diversity of organisations represented in the group that included a long-standing Chinese state-owned motor company as well as a prominent Chinese Dairy Business, more recently established software businesses and three multi-national conglomerates from the food services , media and pharmaceutical sectors – all big recognised brands.
We were blessed on our programme in Beijing with the expert professional help of a first-class Chinese interpreter who enabled us to work seamlessly with her to deliver a programme that could meet the needs of non-English speakers from the Chinese-based organisations as well as the English-speaking HR managers in multi-nationals. This meant the three of us working really well together as a facilitation team to deliver a high-quality programme for our group.
Our experience of working with enthusiastic and highly committed individuals from some really interesting organisations has certainly given us the thirst to do more in mainland China in the future and we thank HREC for their faith in us as their trusted partner.
But what have we learnt from the experience of delivering programmes in Shanghai and Beijing that has enriched our intercultural learning ?
Well we pride ourselves at Roffey Park for our “deep dive “ into personal areas of focus and development ,recognising for example that being an effective HR business partner or leader requires a strong sense of self-awareness in order to understand the impact you have on others in the business. Yet for our Chinese HR professionals, while they may understand this, what was really key for them was the tool-kit that they would take-away from the programme in order to demonstrate added value back in the business and to enhance their thirst for knowledge. We were brought back to that often during the programme and gave them extensive experience of applying those tools to real issues which they particularly acknowledged as highly beneficial in their feedback.