Talent Management Framework

Project: Innovative Talent Management Framework for Swiss companies of MEM industry in China, Innosuisse Project No. 18560.1 PFES-ES

Executive Summary


The aim of this framework is to challenge and inspire existing talent management in Swiss com­panies operating in China by:

  • Giving an overview on the complexity of talent management;
  • Exploring the cultural influence of China on talent management;
  • Presenting guidelines on what to consider when doing talent management in China.


The content of this framework is based on interviews with 10 Swiss companies and an online survey with Georg Fischer AG, a Swiss company from the machine-, electrical- and metal (MEM) industry, which also has local production sites in China. Furthermore, relevant exist­ing scientific literature completes the framework.


  • To specifically address Chinese aspects in talent management, a well-structured HR depart­ment allows a cultural interface. For example, a Chinese talent manager who is familiar with both the Western and Asian perspectives can help integrate them both.
  • The conditions for talent management in China and in Switzerland differ. External factors, such as the labor market situation or political decisions, influence the talent management strategy and should be considered in the planning phase.
  • Generically formulated identification criteria are interpreted differently in the Chinese culture. Therefore, a specific description rather than generic terms is pivotal.
  • Global identification criteria, such as mobility, need to be specified for China.
  • From a Western perspective, an objective evaluation of performance and potential are pivotal, whereas in China, the focus is on maintaining harmony and mutual benefits among the guanxi network. Consequently, the importance of personal relationships, networks, and mobility con­straints must be considered when identifying talents.
  • To evaluate an organization’s talent management, key performance indicators (KPIs) that are specifically interesting for talent management in China must be developed and applied.
  • Cultural specificities, such as mianzi, lead to sensitive situations when discussing employee performance, potential, and talent status, which is why careful communication in China is piv­otal.
  • Due to cultural concepts, removing talent nominations has significant impact in China and thus must be kept to a minimum.

Evidence-based Guidelines for Swiss Companies Operating in China

Video TMF

Project leader: Dr. Lea Rutishauser
Phone: +41 41 229 58 63