How Executive Search firms can help companies do remote onboarding in China

Before the pandemic, more than one-third of companies lacked a structured onboarding process (remote or not). According to Gallup’s report “Creating an Exceptional Onboarding Journey for New Employees”, new employees need around 12 months to reach their full performance potential. Although the average onboarding program lasts 90 days.

According to a survey by Workable, HR respondents reported onboarding or training as the biggest hiring challenge during the pandemic. Nowadays some companies need to do this process remotely and, when doing an onboarding process of a foreign executive in China, this process can be extra difficult.

As unlikely as it might have seemed some years ago, the possibility of a remote executive onboarding process is now a reality.

In China, this will become a common situation due to:

  • the recent lockdowns
  • the decrease of foreign talent
  • the tendency of remote work and the new work relationship

So, what is now left for companies in China is to adapt and seek help from professionals like executive search firms to make this process as effective as possible.

Recommendations of an executive search firm to perform an effective executive onboarding process remote in China are:

Guaranteeing that the candidate we choose is the right cultural fit for the company in China, especially in a foreign country, so it is recommended to find an executive search firm specialized in the Chinese market to help you in the process. This will make it easier in the future for the candidate to adapt.

The company needs to prioritize communication skills when choosing the candidate because effective communication is key to making things work when working remotely. This is especially relevant and important in management positions. As an executive search firm specialized in China, we can help you detect these abilities through a psychometric test.

Before the boarding, the responsible for the onboarding plan should have a series of meeting-calls with the new employee to review the key relationships within the role and clarify the expectations from both parties during the first period. It is also healthy for all the important topics that will be approached so both parties can be prepared. In China, this process is often automatized through very sophisticated software but, as an executive search partner of many companies with a presence in China, we strongly recommend doing this preparation with a person.

In China as in every other country, one of the most important parts of the onboarding is the picking-up process, where you get familiarized with the company culture and see how things are done. This process usually happens while interacting or during informal meetings. So, between meetings, it is recommended to gradually introduce everyone.

From our experience as an executive search partner, we strongly recommend having a complete profile of the executive’s character and, as far as possible, to provide the onboardee with the profile of the closest people he/she will be working with. This will make things easier because it is harder to know people when working remotely. This is added to the fact that there might exist a cultural difference between the ones working in China and the new executive.

We are Zavala Civitas Executive Search. We have walked alongside our clients supporting them in matters ranging from Executive Search to broader Organizational Consulting. We are ready to be your talented and Organizational partner in China & East Asia. We are ready to tackle new challenges and risks with your firm.

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