The challenges of Headhunting in the Non-Profit sector in China

COVID19 and technology are some of the various phenomenons that have had an immense impact on China’s nonprofit sector. The majority of nonprofit revenue is derived from charitable donations and government contracts. As countries should take pride in their successful nonprofit sectors, on the other hand, there are many challenges when it comes to headhunting within this sector, these can be considered as:

1) The talent pool

It is always a struggle for headhunting companies to find talent who actively support the cause the non profit organisations in China are putting forward and not simply the logistics of an enterprise. It is equally as hard for the organizations to find the right leader for their image and their message they are looking to portray. The talent pool in China for non profit organisations is small due to this and as a consequence often headhunting companies can be stuck with a small number of choices. These headhunting firms in China must therefore put time and immense research into the candidates in order to recognise them as someone who is an advocate for the cause. Some actions that can be taken are:

  • Internal analysis

Headhunting companies in China need to look into the internal  structure of a company to see what is going wrong and what works best. Once the headhunter sees what strategy a successful Nonprofit executive has used, they should look into trying to find the candidate who fits this profile.

  • Roles and responsibilities

Headhunting companies need to hash out the role piece by piece. In order to find the right executive who will fit the role the headhunter must explain exactly what the role entails and what responsibilities they must fulfil. Nonprofit organisations in China as well as the rest of the world cannot only be about a traditional management strategy  as the responsibilities of a Non-profit organisation are not compatible with most executive roles’ responsibilities.

  • Research media fields

In a common strategy, it is important to look into the image and media reputation of the company your headhunting company is looking into. Whether this be linkedin, on their ‘about” page or their activity and posts, press releases and what their “more information” sector talks about on their website page.

2. The brand of the company

The reputation of a company in China in this generation is very much based on their media image. Non-profit organisations do not always invest as much into this, they wish to put across their message and not as much about the executives and team members who are part of the business structure.

Headhunting companies in China have therefore got a bigger challenge to research into the image of the company involved. Therefore, the headhunter must look towards the members of the company, look into past executives, research not only into just the finances and projections of traditional companies but also a deeper research into what kind of executive can keep the honourable intentions of the nonprofit side of things with the management style of someone who strives for a successful organisation.

Jeff Ballow writes in Philanthropy News Digest: “This can include everything from salary (which can be a challenge for some nonprofits), mission (typically not a challenge), employee benefits package, professional development opportunities, and/or work-life balance.”

3. Turnover

Turnover in China is one of the most expensive and difficult challenges that NGOs confront. Nonprofits have a 19% yearly staff turnover rate, which is nearly twice that of the private sector.

During a turnover, often companies will loose personnel who are talented, rooting for your cause and experienced within the field. As members leave, therefore these potions must be filled. Just as previously seen, Non-profit organisations in China can perhaps struggle finding executives as fast as other companies. Headhunting companies are under the pressure as the more time, the more costly in financial terms as well as the pressure put on others who need to pick up the work in the time being. This can lead to increased levels of dissatisfaction and burnout.

Headhunting companies need to consider:

  • Poor salary and benefits
  • Lack of upward mobility
  • Employees being overworked
  • Mental health issues

The difference between being an executive in nonprofits and those in the private sector in China is the attractiveness of the opportunity to make a difference and this is something Headhunting companies should sell to candidates. There is also a focus on culture and employee well-being which is trending among nonprofits.

Upward mobility is a strong motivator in the workplace. Mobility is also important when dealing with Nonprofit because previous members of the team have more experience and will have a deeper understanding of the message and the goals. Headhunting companies who also offer organizational consulting and other services that work within the pre-existing structure of your company  can help promote this mobility.

4. Digitalization

Just as many other firms, non profit organisations are also moving towards concentrating a lot of their work online. Technology in China also affects headhunting as there are more and more headhunting companies online. Yet, as non profit organisations often surround a better cause and an extensive background story it is harder to get the message across to candidates through a screen.

Nonprofits must embrace change by rethinking their prior strategy and practices.The positions themselves may change as technology takes over many of the functions that were previously performed by humans. When operating remotely and working online, headhunters must really thrive to put across the culture and humanity of the company or candidate

5. International hiring

Because of the complexities of labor regulations in China and  across the world, international hiring and employment compliance are difficult. Contracts, employment categorization (and avoiding misclassification), compensation, and benefits must all be navigated. Failure to do so may result in serious consequences down the line, such as penalties, operational shutdowns, and loss of reputation.

Therefore, you need a headhunting company that can maintain this integrity as well as engaging in deep research into these laws and regulations around the world.

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