The Adecco Group signed strategic cooperation framework agreement with Xi'an Government, to further promote the development of human resources service industry

XI'AN, China, Dec. 6, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- On November 30, 2017, Xi'an Municipal Government hosted a meeting with the Swiss Adecco Group and Beijing FESCO Group. Wang Yongkang, member of the Standing Committee of the Provincial Party Committee and Secretary of the CPC Xi'an Committee, Dr. Rolf Dorig, Chairman of the Swiss Adecco Group, and Mr. Frank Wang, Chairman of the Beijing FESCO Group attended and made speeches at the meeting. 

Signing of the strategic cooperation framework agreement
Signing of the strategic cooperation framework agreement


Mr. Stephan Howeg, Chief Marketing & Communications Officer of the Swiss Adecco Group
Mr. Stephan Howeg, Chief Marketing & Communications Officer of the Swiss Adecco Group

Mr. Stephan Howeg, Chief Marketing & Communications Officer of the Swiss Adecco Group, signed a strategic cooperation framework agreement with Xi'an government during the meeting to further promote the development of human resources service industry. During the visit, Mr. Stephan Howeg was interviewed by news medias, talking about the collaboration with the Xi'an government regarding future human resources strategies, business opportunities in China, globalization trend in the HR industry, how government can help the HR service sector and shared his opinion on multi-national management and cross-culture communication. The following are edited excerpts from the interview:

Question: We understand you are here to sign a memorandum of understanding with the Xi'an government regarding future human resource strategies. Could you please expand on that, in so far as confidentiality or business interests permit?

Mr. Stephan Howeg: First of all, I would like to say that we met Party Secretary Wang in Bern courtesy of an invitation from Ambassador Geng, and so we were very happy to be invited here to Xi'an. We have been listening to and discussing Party Secretary Wang's plans for Xi'an to expand and become the talent hub for the north and northeast region of China. For a record, I can say we have discussed how to cooperate in terms of talent development, talent recruiting and sourcing nationally and internationally. And we believe that we can add our expertise as a Fortune 500 company to local enterprises, while at the same time learning from the innovation we saw yesterday within the increasing pool of talent that is planning to make Xi'an a talent hub. There is a great mutually beneficial exchange with our colleagues from FESCO Adecco which has been enjoying a successful joint venture here in China for the last seven years.

Question: Does this trip relate to or suggest further strategies that FESCO Adecco has for business in China?

Mr. Stephan Howeg: What we have seen in the last seven years is that China is very much growing, just as our joint venture FESCO Adecco has grown. We are very optimistic about China, and as we believe that the visionary strategy of One Belt, One Road is an initiative which benefits not only China, but also many countries alongside the Silk Road.

Question: Globalization is now a critical trend that influences a country's development in many ways, and Human Resources is part of this trend for sure. As a key leader in the HR industry, would you share with us from your perspective what you believe are the key competencies or skillsets needed to create highly qualified global talent?

Mr. Stephan Howeg: I think if we look at globalization, we see that one of the keys to staying competitive is going to be talent. In order to stay competitive with talent, we believe that companies and also countries need to be able to attract and develop future talent. If we look at shifts in growth, we can see this particularly comes from digitalization, artificial intelligence, big data, etc, and we believe that's where the focus should be in terms of the talent pool of the future and where the upskilling and reskilling of talents will be absolutely key - not only in China but in the rest of the world. Every year, we have a Global Talent Competitiveness Index which we release at the eve of the World Economic Forum, in which we measure not only the competitiveness of countries, but increasingly of cities. This year we'll assess more than 90 major cities in terms of how well they attract, develop and retain talent with the skills needed for the future.

Question: How can a government reform its own policy so as to handle the structure and help the HR service sector to maintain its competitiveness?

Mr. Stephan Howeg: If you look at Europe, France for example, you see that France has traditionally had very complex labour regulations. Now under the leadership of President Emmanuel Macron, there have been three main initiatives to make the labour market and the HR industry less rigid. First, there is a balance between HR and labour market regulation that provides more flexibility for companies in terms of wider talent alignment, while at the same time providing security for workers so that you have social benefits and social security. The second relates to upskilling and reskilling, which, as I said before, is crucial in our fast-changing environment. We really need to see how we can upskill the workforce, equipping them with the soft skill required for successful business operation and be in line with local regulation. And the last part is what we call mobility, which means that talent needs be able to move between countries in order to follow their passion and join projects that entice them to stay, while enhancing their employment prospects going forward.

Question: There are many Chinese companies entering the global market and becoming more and more powerful. Have some of these companies or brands caught your attention? Also, is there any advice or best practice that you could share regarding multi-national management, cross-culture communication, etc.?

Mr. Stephan Howeg: I think that in an increasingly globalized world, we see that the number one obstacle to foreign companies entering markets is language and cultural barriers. This is not unique to Chinese as a language. We see it, for example, when we offer workers from Spain the chance to come to Germany, and the biggest obstacle is the language. What we do to attract talent from foreign markets, for example, is that when we recruit from Eastern Europe, say doctors or nurses from Poland to go to Norway or Sweden, we provide cultural and language training in Poland when we recruit, and then make continue with this training when the staff are in Norway or Sweden.

Question: Is this your first visit to Xi'an? What has impressed you the most?

Mr. Stephan Howeg: It is my first visit to Xi'an but my third time to China this year. I have been to Shanghai, Guangzhou and Beijing, as well as attended the regional World Economic Forum in Dalian, and now I am privileged to come to Xi'an. My first impression is what I saw yesterday during all the meetings we had, where I experienced great warmth and a lot of great talents, as well as a sense of tradition which goes back to even before modern Europe. And what impressed me the most so far is the combination of the tradition of knowing where you come from and innovation which takes you where you need to go. That's what impressed me the most. And I am very much looking forward to today and tomorrow, when we get to see some more of your heritage and history the tradition, like the Ancient City Wall and Terracotta Army. I'm really, really excited about seeing that. When I read a bit about that Xi'an, I learned that you have some 150 million visitors a year coming to Xi'an, which is an enormous number and almost 20 times the whole population of Switzerland where I come from. That is very impressive.

About FESCO Adecco

FESCO Adecco is a joint-venture HR services company combining the strengths of FESCO, China's state-owned and most successful HR business, with the Adecco Group, the global leader in HR solutions. FESCO Adecco provides clients and individuals outsourcing, dispatching, recruitment, employee welfare and related HR solutions.

FESCO Adecco commits itself to be the leading provider of HR solutions in China, and your reliable partner.

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