MILAN, March 5 (Class Editori) -- How have managers of Chinese companies reacted to the emergency caused by the coronavirus epidemic? This difficult research has been conducted by Korn Ferry, the American multinational company specialized in research of high-level human resources and organizational consultancy; during the period between 3 and 13 February it has interviewed 300 managers of Chinese companies: one third of them are private, one fourth relies on more than 5,000 employees and half of them is located in Eastern China.
According to 90 percent of the participants in the survey, the emergency will have a negative impact on the turnover 2020; in fact, 36 percent of the interviewed entrepreneurs are even considering to change their performance targets. Moreover, one company out of four has declared that it is aiming at introducing wage adjustments to cope with the crisis. In this scenario, however, a limited number of companies active in the life science sector are forecasting that coronavirus can have a positive effect on their business.
Many multinational companies which own branches in China are coping with the epidemic as if they would face a recession moment. Big companies, of course, have already implemented balance policies, which take activities' interruption into account; in this moment, most organizations are focusing on granting salary continuity", as Maurizio Villa, responsible of the business of Korn Ferry in Italy, has explained. "The after-crisis topic will be, instead, if and how companies should manage performance targets in terms of compensation".
Among the measures needed to face the epidemic, 53 percent of the managers of the interviewed companies are considering remote working as the first one to be adopted; 56 percent of the enterprises have further decided to postpone their recruitment plans, in order to focus on the emergency management. According to the survey, in fact, HR activities in the medium-term will be more focused on the management of the immediate practical aspects than on long-term strategic issues.
"For example, coronavirus is forcing companies to implement or improve remote working and smart working programs. 66 percent of those interviewed in China have declared, in fact, that even after the emergency the extension of smart-working solutions for their employees should be increased, even though it must be considered that smart working and teleworking percentages are less meaningful in strongly manufacturing fields", as Villa has explained.
The data collected have outlined that the crisis due to coronavirus epidemic is mainly affecting small-sized companies: for 22 percent of these, a slowdown in business by 30 percent has been expected, meanwhile, for 66 percent of medium-sized groups a drop by 15 percent has been projected.
As shown by the survey, 51 percent of the interviewed are confident about a recovery of the market; this is a positive signal, also underlined by the enterprises of the service sector, such as hospitality, culture, B2B, which have mostly been affected by the epidemic but are expecting a market recovery by the next six months. More negative esteems regarding the industrial and manufacturing fields have been recorded.
Moreover, 70 percent of the panel is satisfied by the implemented measures and by how the management has dealt with the business during the epidemic. Inside this 70 percent - which has grouped those companies that have assigned a score between 5 and 3.5 for the emergency management - the companies which have proved to be more confident own a satisfaction level between 5 and 4. There is, in fact, a direct correlation between a good emergency management and the confidence of a short-time recovery of the business.
"Coronavirus is testing the business leadership, as any crisis situation. The emergency has generated a feeling of community and sharing, even if enterprises have been damaged. A very similar behaviour to the one recorded in the USA after the attacks of September 11", as Maurizia Villa has concluded, "the management should carefully plan the strategies addressed to every worker and the most useful talents, in order to manage the post-crisis phase".
The geographical distribution of the enterprises interviewed by Korn Ferry is the following: 54 percent are located in Eastern China; 21 percent in Southern China; 21 percent in Northern China and the remaining 4 percent in Southwestern China, in Central China, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan.
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