Economic Slowdown Is “More Opportunity Than Threat”, According to Hewitt Best Employers in China

2009-03-26 15:17 1046

Ten organizations in China named as Hewitt Best Employers

SHANGHAI, March 26 /PRNewswire-Asia/ -- Hewitt Associates, a global human resources consulting and outsourcing company, revealed the main findings in its biennial Hewitt Best Employers in China 2009 study today, and named ten organizations in China that have made it to the 2009 China “Best” list as determined by an independent judging panel in March in Shanghai.

Ms. Jenny Li, Managing Director of Hewitt Associates Greater China, said: “In times of uncertainty and change, it is crucial to have a clear sense of direction. The human capital management practices of Hewitt Best Employers in China shine a bright light on the pathway to business results. Understanding those practices helps identify the key levers for driving business performance through human capital practices. The results also show how The Best ‘pull’ those levers.”

Hewitt Best Employers demonstrate remarkable consistency on a day-to-day basis -- and when they respond to difficult times. As a result, Hewitt Best Employers continue to reap the benefits from this course through enhanced productivity and profits over time.

On a similar note, Hewitt Best Employers are better able to build cultures that increase productivity. There is a significant link between the culture of an organization and the engagement of its workforce. A positive organizational culture to which people can bring both their passion and capability leads to a motivated, performing workforce and successful execution. Also, employees are most productive when their personal values are closely aligned with their employer’s values.

Li added: “Culture has a bigger impact on organizational efficiency than most might care to think. The results point out that The Best have lower levels of ‘entropy’ than The Rest, meaning that employees in The Best consume less energy in unproductive work and are able to give more back to the organization. And this, at the end of the day, is a win-win situation for both employees and the company.”

China’s “Best” organizations

Hewitt’s Best Employers in China judging panel identified ten Hewitt Best Employers from across China.

The ten Hewitt Best Employers in China 2009 are, in ranked order:

Organization Name

1 SAS Institute, Greater China


3 McDonald’s (China) Company Limited

4 Wal-Mart (China) Investment Co., Ltd.

5 Johnson & Johnson Medical (China) Ltd.

6 AVIVA-COFCO Life Insurance Co., Ltd.


8 General Motors (China) Investment Company Limited

9 Ernst & Young

10 China Vanke Co., Ltd

While the 2009 Hewitt Best Employers in China are a mix of both foreign and local companies representing different industries and encompassing organizations of different sizes, they all have great people programs and practices in place with competent leaders to help motivate and engage employees. High Engagement levels are not limited to any one type of organization.

How these organizations are facing the economic crisis

CEOs from the Hewitt Best Employers overwhelmingly viewed the economic crisis as an opportunity rather than a threat. They said it is the right time to find and retain good talent.

Ms. Audrey Widjaja, Talent Consulting Director of Hewitt Associates Greater China, said: “Most CEOs feel that employees can work harder to achieve better results in the economic downturn and now it is the right moment for them to move ahead of their competitors. Becoming a Hewitt Best Employer has even greater meaning in the economic downturn.”

One Hewitt Best Employer CEO commented, “To tell the truth, the economic crisis has had some impact on our business. But our industry is not at the center of the crisis, and therefore we have to find the opportunities. We are persistently encouraging our employees to be more innovative at this time, and those employees who do so will be rewarded by the company -- innovation is our key weapon during the downturn.”

HR directors at Hewitt Best Employers reported to be cutting costs but the focus was in non-human capital areas such as travel and other expenses. Most organizations are trying not to have large-scale layoffs and are being creative in how they manage their human capital. Hewitt Best Employers continue to spend on learning and development considering now to be the right time to invest in the people who will help them ride through the economic crisis.

The study revealed that Hewitt Best Employers have a “laser like focus” on employee communication. During the study’s auditing process, one Hewitt Best Employer said: “During the past 2.5 weeks when the markets have gotten really bad, we have put out a message every other morning to all employees. We want to keep the communication lines with employees open. Employees respect the Head of our China business taking the time to send out a message to all employees and appreciate the transparency.”

Three major key findings

Understanding what drives employee behavior during these economically difficult times is critical to business success. This year’s study results highlight three major areas that are common among Hewitt Best Employer companies with differences compared with The Rest.

Key finding #1: Relentless execution of human capital programs

Key differences emerge between The Best and The Rest when examining the results on how programs are implemented. Hewitt Best Employers more often balance goals and targets across financial and non-financial measures, set the bar higher in terms of performance ratings, better equip managers to review performance, and review performance more frequently.

The differences between The Best and The Rest continue as the focus shifts to execution and results. Employees at The Best see more sharply differentiated pay for high performers and believe that the way their organization rewards and recognizes people helps produce the results the organization wants.

Hewitt Best Employers are better able to reach the ‘tipping point’ where the business payback on human capital programs rises dramatically.

Key finding #2: Persistent development and empowerment of managers

The Best achieve greater execution payback through ‘persistent empowerment of managers’. Hewitt Best Employer are deliberate in providing autonomy to managers in their organizations. They take a markedly different approach from The Rest in how they allocate roles and responsibilities between senior leaders and managers. They do a better job of equipping managers to perform their role, while creating self sustaining reinforcement mechanisms. They also place a high emphasis on learning and development, providing stretch assignments and mentoring and coaching.

Mr. Tim Yang, Hewitt Best Employers in China Project Head, said: “Hewitt Best Employers do more than just clarify expectations. They empower managers by defining roles “clear of obstructions” so managers can manage. They also make sure managers are given the tools, skills, and incentives to effectively manage their people and drive high performance outcomes.”

Key finding #3: Highly effective HR functions

Hewitt Best Employers are able to more effectively deliver HR services and processes with fewer resources. While CEOs at all organizations generally agree that the HR function identifies and implements HR strategies and solutions critical to meeting current business needs, CEOs at The Best are much more satisfied with the efficiency and effectiveness of their HR teams, as are employees at these organizations.

HR teams at Hewitt Best Employer companies have clear local or regional HR governance structures enabling better decision-making and enhanced accountability. There is also an increased emphasis on service delivery effectiveness through a consolidation of services and enhanced self-service capabilities.

About this Study

Hewitt researched companies in eight markets including Australia/New Zealand, China mainland, Hong Kong, India, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand.

Around 200 organizations registered to participate in the 2009 Hewitt Best Employers in China study. The study received input from more than 38,000 employees representing a workforce of over 500,000 people-making it the largest single source of employee and human capital research across China and the region.

The study was conducted in partnership with Harvard Business Review, Yahoo China, and the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China. At the regional level, the study was conducted in partnership with Dow Jones and The Wall Street Journal Asia.

For more information about the findings of Hewitt’s Best Employers in China 2009 study, please visit .

About Hewitt Associates

Hewitt Associates (NYSE: HEW) provides leading organizations around the world with expert human resources consulting and outsourcing solutions to help them anticipate and solve their most complex benefits, talent, and related financial challenges. Hewitt consults with companies to design and implement a wide range of human resources, retirement, investment management, health management, compensation, and talent management strategies. As a leading outsourcing provider, Hewitt administers health care, retirement, payroll, and other HR programs to millions of employees, their families, and retirees. With a history of exceptional client service since 1940, Hewitt has offices in 33 countries and employs approximately 23,000 associates who are helping make the world a better place to work.

For more information, please visit .

Source: Hewitt Associates
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