Will You Feel “unacclimatized” when leaving a Foreign Enterprise?

Alan Li July 7, 2016 3 mins read

Recently, China has been affected by economic fluctuations, making it difficult for foreign companies to thrive and survive in China. When this occurs, the internal structure of many companies will change. Most employees in foreign companies feel that these unstable factors will have a big impact on their career development. Many candidates express to us that they are willing to consider other domestic companies, or experience a career change to work in internet start-ups with strong growth momentum. This has given us some insight and has brought us a lot of new ideas for career development. At the same time, we have received some feedback from people who have had a career change, and that they would feel “unacclimatized” more or less when working in a new company. What are the main issues? We have summarized the following three points:

  • The process used to be mature and perfect, and cannot be seen in the new environment. It is difficult to infuse the thinking mindset of foreign companies. Especially for people who have worked for more than ten years and become high level personnel in foreign enterprises, if they want to build process system in private enterprises, they would find that the results are disappointing because of the different “soil environment”.
  • Private enterprises have more emotional feelings, while foreign enterprises consistently use systems to manage the employees. The cultural differences between the two platforms make people from foreign enterprises feel that “the boss makes the decision on his own”, but in reality the decisions can be changed casually. However, the people in private enterprises will think that the people from foreign enterprises are too inhibited and inflexible.
  • The promotion system for foreign enterprises is relatively transparent, and there is always unified KPI serving as the assessment criterion. However, it’s often reflected that promotions are always limited in private companies and start-ups, with a lot of “interpersonal relationships” factors. Although any company with any culture will have this phenomenon, private companies or state-owned companies are more vulnerable to this problem.


Then, how to avoid the “unacclimatized” phenomenon? The trick is to actually know yourself. According to our experience of helping private companies or networking platforms to recruit talents, they prefer employees who dare to innovate, have their own opinions, and can ponder the problem from the perspective of masters and partners. The senior managers in foreign enterprises are mostly "executives" with a range powerful abilities. As many big foreign enterprises have a foundation of decades or even centuries, their process system is still relatively mature. The actions on a strategic level are all subject to foreign headquarters. China branch companies do not have much speaking rights. How to implement the strategies given by the upper level with highest efficiency is the strength of staff in foreign enterprises.

For many private companies and start-ups, they are still finding ways that are suitable for their own development in the volatile market environment. They need staff with strong autonomy of thinking, who can take charge of the department alone with strong determination, an adaptable individual that can identify with the company’s development philosophy, and is also willing to experience and grow together with the company. Some people cannot stand the rules and regulations of foreign companies, and others cannot stand the too casual “ruled by man” in private enterprises. By synthetic judgment, what kind of person are you? After judging and acknowledging the type of talent inherent, you can find a company and a boss with consistent values in the job interview (a two-way selection). There is no good or bad between the cultures of foreign companies and private companies. Different environment needs talents with different characteristics. You’d better find a cultural environment suitable for yourself and never follow the suit blindly. 

Alan Li's picture
Operations Director | Financial Services, Industrial & Life Science Recruitment