Can RPO Help Ease Chinese and Japanese Employees’ “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction” Woes?

What can employers in China and Japan learn from those in Denmark, Norway and Canada? Seems quite a bit, according to the results of staffing and recruiting provider Randstad’s new global Workmonitor survey released earlier this month. The online survey, administered by a third-party among minimum 400 full-time employees per country, found that only six percent of Chinese employees and seven percent of Japanese employees are “very satisfied” with their current employer, compared to more than 35 percent for those in Denmark, Norway and Canada. (FYI – The “very satisfied” levels for U.K., Australia and the U.S. were 20 percent, 24 percent and 31 percent, respectively.)

While Asia Pacific has been slower than other world regions to embrace HRO, NelsonHall research forecasts the Asia Pacific region to have the highest growth rate of HRO adoption over the next five years. Given the sobering results from the Randstad survey, China- and Japan-based employers may be well served by considering recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) services sooner than later, especially when the contracts include talent management, employee development and retention solution components. Although RPO itself is not an end-all solution to improving employee satisfaction, if it includes the aforementioned services, it will go a long way toward helping to improve it!

We’ve already seen some evidence of RPO activity in China including the Talent2/VivaKi China contract signed in November 2009, and the April 2009-announced partnership between Kenexa and R&J Management Consultants, which resulted in the creation of Shanghai Kenexa. And a variety of other RPO providers, including Manpower, Hays, Futurestep, Adecco, Hudson and Alexander Mann, are stepping up their delivery capabilities and reach into the Asia Pacific market.

My advice to RPO providers servicing (or considering doing so) the Asia Pacific region, especially China and Japan: present your local market knowledge and delivery capabilities, not only in recruiting but also in retention-related activities such as expanded on-boarding processes with linkage to learning, reaching out to new hires at periodic intervals, conducting regular employee satisfaction surveys, conducting exit interviews to find out why people are leaving and then feeding those results with recommendations to senior leaders for action, etc.

My advice to China- and Japan-based employers: with the delicate state of your workforces’ satisfaction levels, robust on-boarding, performance management, talent management, employee development and other retention solutions are very important – as they are for employers around the world. It could be highly advantageous to leverage the expertise of an RPO provider to support you in these areas.

Gary Bragar, Lead HRO Analyst, NelsonHall

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2 Comments on “Can RPO Help Ease Chinese and Japanese Employees’ “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction” Woes?”


  1. Interesting! Through WorkTrends, our annual study of employee opinion throughout the world, we found that Japan was low in terms of employee engagement, but employees working in China actually had the second highest employee engagement at 67%, right below India at 71%. If we look at just those that ‘strongly agree’ with the employee engagement items that make up our Employee Engagement Index, China is #9 at 19%. Given our survey of 1000 workers in China, I’d second your recommendation to focus on talent management in China – despite our higher results, the growth economy in China also means plenty of opportunity. Not only will efficiently managing recruiting be critical, but keeping trained employees and ensuring a stabilized workforce will support organizational strength through rapid change.

  2. gbragar Says:

    Brenda, thanks very much for your valued insight on the markets in Japan and China. Regards, Gary


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