Retaining talent in Laerdal Medical (Suzhou) Co., Ltd.: motivating and retaining key-employees
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- Kina 
The following is a paper on the growing difficulty of retaining key-employees in the Yangtze delta region on the east coast of China. This report presents the findings from an in-depth analysis on human resource management and retention methods. It is carried out in the spring of 2008 on behalf of Laerdal Medical (Suzhou) Co., Ltd., a Norwegian company manufacturing medical training and therapy equipment. The intention is to provide advice for Laerdal Medical (Suzhou) co., Ltd on how to best retain key-employees. Laerdal Medical (Suzhou) Co., Ltd is a production facility fully owned by the Norwegian company Laerdal Medical AS. The facility manufactures medical training, educational and therapeutic equipment, such as a family of resuscitation training dolls and the first rigid extrication collar. The company’s general manager has up until now not had too many problems with retaining employees, but the increasing turnover rate in the area has made him want to be pre-emptive in order to keep turnover rates low in the company. After an introductory chapter where the current situation and the research aim are presented, followed by a presentation of the company and its situation, this paper will provide an extensive review of theories relating to human resource management and motivation. Furthermore, this paper will analyze the empirical findings and offer strategic solutions for Laerdal Medical (Suzhou) Co., Ltd. Methodology The authors of this paper had little prior knowledge about what western companies in China offer as incentives to their employees. Consequently there was a need for the authors to develop a deeper understanding of motivational tools and theories as well as factors for organisational commitment. Exploring published data (secondary data) would be insufficient. Therefore a qualitative research method was employed to gather primary information.The qualitative method was chosen as it provides the researcher with more insight than can be achieved though quantitative data alone. A qualitative method will additionally enable the collecting of in-depth information from managers and employees internally and externally. The purpose of the qualitative research was to develop a deeper understanding of what companies in the Yangtze delta region do to motivate and retain their employees. Additionally, identifying who companies define as their keyemployees was necessary. The qualitative method employed in this research was in depth interviews of general managers, HR managers and employees at various companies in various industries operating in Shanghai and Suzhou. In total 18 interviews were conducted, including one expert interview and seven internal interviews. All of the interviews were conducted face-to-face with the interviewee. Time and availability restrictions prevented more interviews. (Summaries of each interview can be found in chapter 5 of this report). Findings The findings from the collected data suggest that motivating and retaining employees is a fragmented and complicated task. Individuals are motivated through different needs and are not necessarily retained using the same tools. Most companies have an idea of who their key-employees are, but few seem to have implemented clear strategies for identifying them. One way to do this is to identify those employees whose absence would cause a breach in the production chain and cause general business to slow down or even stop. It is argued that heads of department and highly qualified technical personnel are the most valuable resources to a company and are their key-personnel. The increasing salary level in the Yangtze delta area has caused companies to focus on alternative strategies for retaining their key-personnel. The findings indicate that salary can only partially be seen as a motivational factor and that employees are less motivated by financial remuneration, than what much current media attention argues. It is possible that media attention has been onemployees in general and not specifically towards high level, highly educated personnel. The findings indicate that employees are more motivated by opportunities for personal development and having a positive work environment. Employees state that they want to know that they have a future in a company and that there are career opportunities for them. If this is in place, a significant increase in salary is needed to draw the personnel to another position elsewhere. The empirical data does not suggest what kind of training employees require, but the options range from basic computer and language training, to all expenses paid MBA programs. Those with extra skills should be offered extra training. Visibility in the market is said to be important for attracting new personnel. The research revealed that Laerdal Medical (Suzhou) Co., Ltd is a well known company in the region. Potential employees are generally drawn to European companies and Laerdal Medical (Suzhou) Co., Ltd attracts additional attention as a medical company. Keeping a high profile as an ethical company with clear visions and slogans seems to be something that attracts new candidates. The findings from the interviews conducted internally at Laerdal Medical (Suzhou) Co., Ltd, suggest that the company should focus more on involving employees in decisions that concerns their specific job areas. Internal interviews also revealed that most employees were satisfied with their current salary level, but that they could be making more. The company must keep a fair salary level compared with similar companies in the region, but should focus on other motivational tools to retain employees.