The article that we publish today has been written by our partner Giorgia Madonno, managing partner of Marco Polo Consulting. She talks about topics which are very important also for Peoplerise: social media and digital. Which is the possible application of social media and digital in hr processes in China?

Marco Polo Consulting is a Peoplerise’s partner in China, it is our bridge to Far East market. The aim of our partnership is the healthy and continuous sharing of innovation e the co-creation of stimulating collaboration projects in the HR field, in order to offer to our Clients services in step with current international trends.


“Social and digital” are two trendy concepts in the business community today. They have a huge and world wide impact on marketing and sales, but how are they impacting a more traditional field like Human Resources management?
In China, where the usage of social media has exploded in the last years, they start to be used also to improve some of the most important HR processes and the more innovative companies are approaching it in a systematic way.
Our company, Marco Polo consulting, is more and more intrigued by the opportunities offered by digital and we are introducing them in our scope of HR consulting services .
Based on our experience in Asia, social media and digital are used mainly for employer branding and recruitment, for internal communication, knowledge sharing and learning. They may be integrated with gamification approach. Let’s see them one by one.


Employer branding and recruitment:

  • Some years ago we have supported one of our clients, a big multinational firm, to design a Management Trainee Program in China. All the employer branding phase has been managed using social media. We designed together with a partner company a logo and banner for the campaign and this have been posted on the main social medias and websites in China, like Wechat, Weibuo, Ren Ren, Linkedin and others. We used key words and criteria to do a pre-screening of applications and we published on line a mini-website dedicated to the Program.
  • Other applications of course are in the recruitment of more senior people. Recruitment managers publish regularly their search on their own social profile or on the company social profile and this is very effective. Linkedin is an amazing social media for internationalized profiles in China. It is less commonly used for lower level positions where people are only Chinese speakers, in this case there are more powerful local social media options.
  • We are recently exploring a new options: an application which make possible to digitalize the traditional job referral and get connected with the social network of internal employees  interested in the program. The application, using key words, matches the profile of your contacts with the profile of the job search and if one of your connections is hired you may receive an award.
  • A Head Hunting company decided to gamify their CV database update: they stimulate the people to update they resume’ proposing points achievement and awards.


Internal communication & knowledge sharing

    • One of our clients extensively uses Wechat for internal communication with employees and they have also built a internet/blog and wiki page where employees and company can post documents, have interaction, advert company activities, give room to people for information and knowledge sharing. The system is user friendly, has the possibility to define sub groups of interest. At the beginning people had to be motivated to use it, managers organized small awards for pioneers in using it and sponsored it extensively, but now it has become a common end very effective practice. What we suggested in this case is to add in the engagement and performance survey (we helped them to develop it), some questions regarding the effectiveness of the channel.
    • The usage of company Wechat or intranet is more and more popular in the companies in China. They become forum of exchange or channels of “care” of employees well-being. I heard that in one company HR informs the employees about the forecasted weather for the day and suggests taking the umbrella in case of rain 🙂



    • Currently we are developing a training project where we plan to have a Cross-cultural workshop and create a Wechat group for the participants where they can interact together. The facilitator and the participants can offer reciprocal mentoring in challenging cross-cultural situations. They will have also the possibility to upload relevant documents, videos, pictures and we will gamify the system in order to engage them in posting materials. We are exploring also the possibility to use algorithms to identify which are the more interesting posting for each of them and make an automatic selection (similar to what Amazon does when pre-selects for us some book titles and makes recommendations).
    • Another example is the digitalization of a learning system. For another client we have designed a simple leadership learning system and learning path. We have upload it in their intranet and than used the internal blogging and wiki system to launch thematic discussions (consistent with the training program sequence) on line and off-line. The participants received documents and videos about the topic, could share ideas and then discuss in a physical leadership coffee conversation with top leaders and selected employees in order to co-create the leadership model of the company. The next step will be the gamification of participant posting and participation to the forum, blog and wiki.


Retention: Another amazing opportunity is given by big dat. Imagine being able to connect all your available data about people who resigned this year and being able to predict who you have in the company which could leave because having a similar profile. This possibility is given by the analysis of big data. The are already big company able to give this information but we are waiting for easy tech solution (our company “mantra”), for sure they will come.

Social Network China Map s

Social and digital media are powerful because the younger generation  in China is very familiar with it; it may happen that they are even more open using these channels than face to face.

For sure there is a reflection to do about gamification. It is an eterodirect engagement method, the risk is that people are not engaged because they are really interested about the topic (i.e. Leadership) but because of the funny approach. In my opinion this kind of approach has always to be combined with a more deep inside kind of involvement, but for sure it helps to give a momentum and move the machine, and this is a very good help.

My opinion about social in HR? we will not be able to do without it soon. Better to be ready and take advantage of it as soon as possible.

One of the problem to make this happen is that the decision makers (top management) may not be so familiar with this language and the may be not so open to explore and invest money on it. Luckily in China the age of top managers is younger that in other countries and this facilitate a lot the diffusion of these channels. Our role in HR will be also to educate the older generation to appreciate and use these new methods.

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