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After “996”, Chinese big techs to take more actions in caring for their employees

Following an open-access spreadsheet that collected information from various companies like base salaries and work schedules, another spreadsheet was recently created to expose bad employment experiences in Chinese tech companies, such as a PUA leader, an evolutionary working style, and a lack of development. The document had almost 250 contents regarding 30 companies before it was reported and made inaccessible.

These open-access spreadsheets reveal workers paying more attention to their employment experiences, such as working intensity, atmosphere, and benefits, while also seeking to bridge the information gap between employee and employer. Nowadays, it’s more of significance for employers to provide employees with a sense of belonging and identity at work.

Recently Tencent has upgraded its organizational reward. According to the new plan, Tencent’s organizational reward system will be upgraded, adding the 5-year and 15-year marks, and each mark employee can enjoy different physical gifts or special rights. The 15-year reward includes the option for employees to exercise an early retirement package but is voluntary. The retirement package includes lifetime health insurance, a six-month salary, and a choice between 50% of locked stock options or bonuses based on years of service.

It’s a positive sign that Chinese big techs show their respect for their employees’ contributions and their social responsibility through these step-by-step staff-caring actions.

Work-life balance

At the beginning of November, Bytedance implemented new rules to limit staff from working overtime, discouraging the industry’s punishing work culture known as “996”. For a long time, people have complained about the non-compliant and extended working hours in Chinese tech companies, arguing that they have been consuming youth and time for money. Employees in North American companies appear to have more freedom in comparison, and work-life balance is always a topic of discussion. Chinese workers even call Microsoft Salesforce and LinkedIn as Senior-caring companies for their high ratio of working salary to intensity, and employees of these companies have a common schedule: they arrive at 9 a.m. and leave at 5 or 6 p.m. Although working overtime does exist in North American companies, the situation is often better than in China.

During the autumn recruitment period, the open-access spreadsheet sharing information on employees’ base salary, position, and work schedule from various companies gained a lot of attention. As of October 15, the document has garnered 30 million views on Weibo. Nowadays, as the number of post-95 Chinese office workers is growing, the attack on China’s grueling work culture is stronger. Companies also made some adjustments to this working schedule in response to workers’ sounds. ByteDance has begun to implement a “1075” working schedule with work after 7:00 p.m. calculated as overtime working hours. Tencent was also rumored to implement a “965” workweek.

Work-life balance is a factor of employees’ satisfaction. People will wonder if a company has enough work-life balance or if employees and their contributions are respected sufficiently now that they are concerning more about their ROI. Companies’ responses like shortening working hours can benefit themselves in employees’ retention and humanized reputation.

Retirement benefits, more than 401(k) plan

Tencent is currently the first major Internet company to introduce employee retirement benefits in China, which is a further step on recognition of employees’ commitment and contribution and makes Tencent appear to be more humanized.

The retirement package Tencent released this time includes lifetime health insurance, a six-month salary, and a choice between 50% of locked stock options or bonuses based on years of service. It’s quite envy-sparking that this company offers retired employees such a grant bonus apart from the endowment insurance.

The second level of endowment insurance is supplementary endowment insurance for enterprises, which refers to the supplementary endowment insurance system established by enterprises and their employees based on legally participating in basic endowment insurance. Pension insurance premiums are jointly paid by the enterprise and the insured according to different payment proportions

It’s like the American 401(k) plan as a private pension for the second pillar. The 401(k) plan was launched by the American government in 1981 as a source of old-age living expenses and medical expenses after workers are retired. But in a situation where companies are facing a competitive labor market, they also made changes to their 401(k) plans that grant them additional power to hold on to employees.

“Companies are absolutely thinking about how their retirement plan can promote retention, which is a huge concern right now,” says Elbert, a partner at Aon, the insurance broker and human resources consultant.

“This red-hot labor market and the burnout we’ve all experienced in everyday life has meant ... we need to try to invest more in our employees,” says Knopp, KPMG’s chair and CEO.

“We’re not immune from the turnover issues that are facing the global business climate today and we certainly are trying to reduce that attrition with some of these changes.”

Apple LinkedIn and Microsoft all offer Employee Stock Purchase Program (ESPP), allowing contributions up to a part of base salary, a discount on the purchase price of the stock. Google and Salesforce offer Student Loan Repayment Plan. Google will match 100% of your student loan contributions up to a $2,500 annual cap, with those contributions applying towards the principal of your student loan.

Companies adjust the benefits of retired employees in order to retain talent for the company, which, in another aspect, reflects the corporate social responsibility of caring individuals more.

For workers, the mid-life crisis ushered in after depletion of youth is insecure. Aging is unavoidable, and labor avoiding risk and self-protection are universal needs. To some extent, retirement funds can ensure social stability and economic progress, and the three sides' sharing of retirement expenses is an expression of social mutual aid.

As China's population is aging faster and employees are concerning more about self-interest, there is a need for Chinese big techs to take more actions in caring for their employees.

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