Opinion: Are companies prepared for the Chinese New Year walk out?

Emma Dale, co-founder and managing director of specialist PR recruitment consultancy Prospect, lists handy tips to ensure the best agency talent doesn't walk away after the holidays

Emma Dale
Emma Dale

We are approaching Chinese New Year in Asia, which tends to mean employees get their end of year bonus, bank it and resign. Having recruited in Asia for over six years, I feel that employers just expect the resignation letters to appear on their desks as that’s just a part of the Asian market culture and talent churn.

However there are a number of simple strategies that employers can work on throughout the year to make sure they retain talent and stop their employees from walking as soon as they bank their bonus.

1) Split the bonus payment

Don't follow the norm of awarding bonuses solely around CNY. Divide the payment of bonuses over the year so that there isn’t the temptation for employees to wait to get a single large payment before moving on. Why reward your best staff with a large payment, to then see them walk?

2) Regular performance reviews throughout the year

Holding regular reviews throughout the year to establish employee engagement and staff happiness should prevent any nasty resignation surprises. It is imperative for employers to understand how their employees feel about their roles and the company as a whole, and to give honest and regular feedback.

3) Are your staff overworked and heading for burn out?

It is very tempting for employers to try and get the most out of their best staff by pushing them too hard and making them work long hours. It is also an easy way to make them quit. Furthermore, research shows that working over 50 hours a week does not increase productivity - it just increases exhaustion and unhappiness.

4) Reward your good staff

Give your employees a better reason to stay. If they are good, have worked hard and excelled in their roles, give them a pay rise and/or promotion! They shouldn’t have to ask for it.

5) Create a career path

Most employees make the decision to move on as they feel there are limited career opportunities available to them. Sometimes they presume they can’t get any further and leave without even having the conversation with their manager. While this is not ideal, it is the responsibility of the employer to create clear career paths and development opportunities so employees remain engaged and committed, therefore seeing their future with the firm.

6) Loyalty & Trust

If firms create a trusting environment and allow their employees to work remotely, with autonomy, they are more likely to stay. If the employee believes in the cause and understand the company’s mission and values, they will remain loyal and are far less likely to stray.

7) Deliver on your promises

Quite often an employee can be promised a pay rise or promotion and then the goal posts change. This is the worst thing an employer can do. The employee feels let down and undervalued when this happens and can be prone to leave.

If you are worried that your employees will leave, there is still time to make things better by following the above strategies. Employers don’t need to do all of these, but even adopting just one could make a significant difference to your talent retention.

Prospect is a global talent consultancy specialising in the PR & communications industry with offices in London, Hong Kong and Singapore.

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