HR Executives: From Foreign Companies to Private Enterprises

May 24, 2017 5 mins read
HR Executives: From Foreign Companies to Private Enterprises

In the era of knowledge economy, human resource management has gradually gone a step further. Today, we had the pleasure to interview Xu Jinsong, Vice President of CPHR (China) Shanghai Branch and Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) of Wison Engineering who has more than a decade of experience in human resource management and surpasses the traditional HR boundaries to help his organization establish a sustainable competitive advantage.

During our interview, Mr. Xu presented his unique perspective on human resource management. Below is the interview transcript:

  • As an experienced HR executive who has worked in state-owned enterprises, foreign companies and private firms, could you tell us the differences between foreign companies and private enterprises in the respect of human resource management? And what is the focus of HR work in private enterprises?


After working in different corporate environments, I find that there are far more similarities than differences. As far as I am concerned, to be a qualified contributor, HR has to attach importance to two aspects. On the one hand, they have to define the HR work based on customers. Enterprises are faced with different problems and challenges in different development phases and market standing. In this regard, if HR succeeds to address the problems and challenges his organization faces, he seizes the focal point of value contribution. On the other hand, they have to work with an attitude of continuous learning. Although the HR work might seem similar in different companies, the fact is that there are significant differences in terms of philosophy and implementation. Therefore, HR has to treat the familiar work as a new task. In fact, everyone might be constrained by the success of the past. If he takes it for granted and ignores the specific conditions, he might make the mistake of "neither fish nor fowl".

In my opinion, the difference between foreign and private enterprises mainly lies in the decision-making. In private enterprises, HR generally has to pay attention to a lot of headquarters management, such as human resource strategy and incentive mechanism, as well as the construction of various systems. In contrast, foreign companies have developed a sound system and process at the enterprise group level and HR is usually required to take better consideration of the needs of local business in the course of implementation of these systems.

  • As more and more private enterprises take part in the international competition, what kind of HR executives can meet the needs of private enterprises (or the big boss)?


Human resource manager plays an essential role in promoting the international business of an enterprise. For one thing, the biggest challenge an enterprise faces in the international business is the shortage of organizational capacity, which requires the HR to go beyond the day-to-day business and propose forward-looking layout based on the big picture of the long-term business strategy. Only desirable internal capacity and responding ability can ensure an enterprise to conquer global markets and effectively mitigate the ubiquitous risk. For another, the enterprise is faced with shortage of talents in the course of development, which demands the HR to have a spirit of working in earnest and create an environment to achieve the goal with limited resources. They have to be open-minded and look for talents both home and abroad, hire external consultants, carry out technical cooperation, employ overseas local talents and cultivate overseas management trainees to meet the requirement of the organization to talents.

The above examples show that the enterprises wish their HR to have a vision of overall situation and a spirit of working in earnest. More importantly, they desire the HR to have a mind that resonates with the entrepreneur. Enterprises will inevitably encounter various issues in the course of development, some of which may exert an important influence on individuals or even lead to injustice, such as status and salary package. Outstanding entrepreneur is generally far-sighted and thus desire the professional manager to be a partner rather than a mercenary. Faced with the spiral development of an organization, human resources manager shall have a long-term vision to serve his organization and manage from the perspective of an entrepreneur rather than being concerned for the temporary personal interests.

  • Are there any interesting HR dynamic information? What books have you read recently and make you think?


Currently, I am studying the innovative practice of talent management in China. Talent management is essentially an experimental work without a cure-all, but rather relying on the exploration of the experimenter itself as well as the practice reference of peer and other enterprises. In addition to focusing on the achievements of talent management, I am more concerned about how the talent management paradigm and ideas applied by enterprises in specific situations help enterprises address the challenges encountered and reach the other side. From this point of view, the process of talent management is far more important than the results. More specifically, I am interested in the innovative scheme, value contribution and cutting-edge theories of talent management.

I have been focusing on research in positive psychology. Studies have reported that psychological capital can generate return of value beyond human capital and social capital, suggesting a new perspective on the source of competitive advantage. From my practical experience, psychological capital can stimulate individual potential through the construction of positive psychological advantage and plays a significantly positive role in employee behavior and work performance while promoting entrepreneurial and innovation performance. Psychological capital is the internal driving force transforming people's potential into results. If the manager takes the initiative to identify the mechanism of psychological capital and take appropriate measures, he will be able to maximize the value of talent.

Marlon Mai's picture
Marlon Mai
Managing Director, Greater China