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2008 Norman C.

Collins 123

By Norman C. Collins

increase the students’ lexicon of advanced

Statement of Problem  terminology. However, the demand for
these classes is difficult to meet due to the
China’s gross domestic product is lack of English-language teachers who are
growing at a rate of ten percent per year, proficient in English at the university
with increases of twelve percent for its level. There is also a need to retain those
gross national product. A large teachers who are currently working at the
component of China’s economic success is university setting; many of these teachers
that of economic expansion into world have been recruited from English-speaking
markets; China is desirous by many countries on limited work visas and will
countries as a “factory” setting in which return home after their time in China has
manufacture of raw materials and durable elapsed. As such, there is a need to attract
goods is cheaper than in the home country. qualified teachers and retain those persons
However, many businesspersons in China currently active as teachers.
do not simply want to be relegated to a
supplier of goods for the rest of the world, An  Effective  Recruitment  and 
and are actively cultivating unique Retention Program 
intellectual, artistic, and technological
properties that can be sold both within The recruitment and retention program
China and to international buyers. requires a number of factors that address
It is recognized that English has shortcomings in the university system or
become the standard language of address conditions that exacerbate teacher
international commerce; while this may attrition. When isolated separately, these
change at a later time, most transactions factors form specific steps within a
between countries in which two distinct sequential reform process that can be
languages are spoken will use English as implemented by the Human Resources
the preferred common language. Also, department.
China currently perceived the United
States, Canada, and the European Union as Working with the Government 
trade partners, and English is a dominant
language within these locations. As the foremost source of English-
As more Chinese students enter into the language teachers is from English-
university setting, there is an increased language countries, the first step in
demand for English language classes. The improving the quality of English-language
school systems in most Chinese territories classes at the university level is to work
offer English language classes to students, with the government. China’s government
but advanced language classes are has long maintained an unequal
advantageous as these aid in fluency and relationship with the West in terms of

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124 Business Intelligence Journal July

population movement; historically, finding permanent employment back in

scholars and professionals are allowed to their home countries.
leave China and work within the West, It is recommended that these programs
while very few persons were allowed to do and scholarships be improved in terms of
the same in China. However, this has offering incentives for qualified educators.
changed over the last decade, as the This has two core advantages. First, when
government has recognized specific the number of candidates increases, the
advantages associated with allowing University can be more selective in
working professionals to enter into the choosing those who are best suited to the
country and participate in the economy. needs of its students and faculty. Second,
English language teachers have already creating an incentive-based program can
been integrated into the professional entice the qualified teacher to remain
environment, so this stage in the reform active in the University for longer periods
process is focused on changing the limits of time; for instance, an incentives
of tenure instead of implementing new package can offer cumulative rewards
policy. This will likely make it easier to based upon the number of times that the
implement the required changes. teacher agreed to stay on for an additional
Unfortunately, it is not known how long semester’s labor (e.g.: one semester’s
this will take to achieve; with a strong work is equal to three thousand dollars, the
advocacy movement, this step could take next semester will result in six thousand
as little as six months, but without support dollars, the next will yield nine thousand
this may be bogged down in the dollars, and so on). This means that the
governmental bureaucracy indefinitely. recruitment and retention programs are
This step is fundamental and unavoidable synonymous when addressing teachers
for creating lasting change for the target from Western countries. It is
problem, and therefore it is recommended recommended that a cap be placed upon
that the University works to acquire the overall salary that a recruited teacher
support from politicians and prominent can acquire, but an additional incentives
figures within the community to affect balance needs to be struck to ensure that
policy reform within a six-month timeline. the teacher will be able to draw a desirable
salary and not see attaining the level of the
Recruitment  from  Western  salary cap as a reason to leave China and
Countries  return home.
This program has disadvantages. It will
There are multiple strategies in place be difficult to change the philosophy of
through which recruitment of English- recruitment from Western countries as a
language teachers can occur. These do not process that does not need significant
meet the current demand for qualified incentives. Currently, the attitude towards
educators. At the current time, programs recruiting teachers is that it provides
and scholarships are available for teaching younger professionals a desirable
English abroad; these tend to attract recent opportunity and that the work is inherently
university graduates who wish to take its own reward; after all, the West is
some time off and improve their world increasingly integrating Chinese into its
experiences and their resumes prior to own language pool as a means of
maintaining a competitive edge. Changing

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2008 Norman C. Collins 125

the attitude towards these young scholars persons are commodities and recognize
from helping foster a mutually beneficial that their skill sets are in short supply. In
learning environment to one where the order to retain workers of this caliber, it is
young scholars are viewed as a necessary necessary to create a work environment
element in developing China’s English- that meets their professional needs and
language repository will take time. This also provides rewards commiserate with
can be done while also cultivating funds their value. It is important to note that the
for scholarships and incentives program. rewards offered do not have to be financial
It is estimated that these processes will or material in nature; a common criticism
take a minimum of eighteen months from among teachers is that there is no
suggestion to widespread acceptance professional development within the
within the University and its financiers. workplace, meaning that advancement is
limited or non-existent. Typically, tenure
Retention  of  Existing  English­ is not offered to language teachers; it is
Language Teachers  recommended that a tenure program be put
into place to reward those educators who
Recruitment and retention strategies remain committed to the University.
may be synonymous for the Western Additionally, rewards for time spent on the
teacher, but native-born Chinese English- job and quality of work performance
language teachers are in great demand. should be reviewed on a routine basis
This is even more evident at the post- (e.g.: after every twenty four months of
secondary level where competition for employment, etc.).
qualified English-language teachers is This program has disadvantages similar
fierce. While an English-language speaker to all tenure programs; often, persons
who is native to a Western country is receive tenure who are nominally qualified
desirous in terms of facilitating but who do not consistently maintain high
appropriate pronunciation and developing levels of performance once they are
fluency, a Chinese native who has spent granted permanent protection of their jobs.
time in the West and who has returned This means that a caveat may need to be
home to teach English is a valuable added to the program, wherein the tenured
commodity. The teacher will be able to language teacher will be reviewed for poor
relate to the Chinese students and is more performance; it would be convenient to
likely to interact with the students in both integrate this into the aforementioned
Chinese and English; this helps the review process for incentives, where the
students build their existing vocabularies. University maintains the option to break
The native-born Chinese language speaker tenure if specific minimum performance
also relates to the staff and the faculty; this levels are not met. The time frame for
helps ensure that such teachers are these processes will be eighteen months,
members of the University team and are and can be done at the same time as the
more likely to share the same goals of their recruitment strategies.
However, the native-born Chinese
language speaker is also more likely to
move from one University to another
based upon these very criteria. Such

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126 Business Intelligence Journal July

Personnel  Involvement  and  clerical staff in order to make sure that

Recommendations  for  deadlines are met in a timely manner.
Implementation  In addition to facilitating
communication between the government
The implementation process will and the University, the liaison will also
require ongoing communications between need to be in charge of addressing the
many distinctive departments both within University’s needs for English-speaking
the University and within diverse teachers and filling these positions. It is
organizations including domestic and the responsibility of the Language
foreign governments. It is also likely that Department to identify the type of
service providers be consulted that will candidate that is required for a specific
help provide the necessary incentives used position (e.g.: whether a native-born or
to entice both foreign nationals and native- foreign-born speaker would best fill the
born English speakers to remain active at University’s requirements). The liaison
the University. To clarify, government would then have the responsibility of
interaction will be required in order to interviewing potential candidates, and
facilitate smooth transactions into China; recommending the three candidates who
government supervision will be needed as are best suited for the job to the Language
a means of documenting appropriate work Department, as the hiring decisions would
permits and determining a legitimate take place there.
length of stay based upon the contract The liaison would also have to engage
between the teacher and the University. in professional development strategies for
This may be necessary for native-born those persons hired as English teachers.
teachers as well as foreign-born teachers, Data suggests that teachers are more likely
as persons living outside of the urban to remain at a single institution when they
regions need to have work permits to receive rewards commiserate with their
maintain employment within a city. experience, but are also more likely to
Indeed, as city dwelling is difficult to leave a specific institution when they do
attain in many prominent Chinese cities, it not receive ongoing professional
is likely that offering work permits or development. This suggests that the
permanent residency may entice many liaison will need to consider teacher
native-born English teachers to remain enrichment strategies such as investment
active at the University. of graduate certification as a means of
Bureaucracy in China is difficult to promoting retention.
manage and requires a significant
Review of the Strategy  
investment of time. It is therefore
recommended that a liaison position be
In order to make certain that these steps
created that will manage these and similar
are proceeding as planned, consistent
aspects of the recruitment and retention
review is necessary. Human Resources
program. The Human Resources director
needs to maintain the language liaison’s
needs to appoint an employee to monitor
office within the scope of its own
these steps and also to act as a liaison for
department. The liaison will be required
persons who require clarity on any given
to provide documentation of progress on a
aspect of the program. This liaison will
monthly basis for the first twenty four
have an office that has a compliment of

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2008 Norman C. Collins 127

months of the program; it may be needed

to review progress every two weeks if References 
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to be made to detailing observed areas in
which problems have occurred or could Hansen, J. A., & Smith, E. M. (2002).
occur, and recommendations that could be A World of Teaching: Personal journeys
used to reduce or avoid these. through English-speaking classrooms.
Once the trial period for the program New York: Bergin & Garvey.
has been established, review can be on a Ingersoll, R. (2001). Teacher turnover
quarterly basis, with regular updates given and teacher shortages. American
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Collins,N.C. - Case Study 2: Strategic Management and Human Resources