In this paper, we’ll discuss several human resource strategies and issues implemented by Lenovo in the personal computer making industry. Theses human resource issues include the employee recruitment strategy, training and developing strategy, diversity workforce management as well as business ethics management, which also become the determinants for the success of Lenovo company not only in the market of China but also in the international market.
Lenovo is a Chinese owned personal computer manufacturer, which is founded in 1988. With the fast development of so many years, Lenovo begins to expand its business into a wider scope in recent years. For instance besides producing personal computers, Lenovo is also engaged in the computer related business such as producing softwares, servers, cell phones, printers, GPS and other kinds of products (Lenovo 2011).
With reference to the history of Lenovo, it is also fabulous. For instance, Lenovo has experience the storm of changing names at the beginning of its first entering the global market. While, thanks to the well management and cooperation from all the members in Lenovo, today the business of Lenovo has expanded to so many regions including the Asia regions in countries such as Malaysia, Singapore and so on and the western countries (Lenovo 2011).
Besides, due to the well development in these years, Lenovo brand has become of one the top personal computer brand in the global market. The think pad series computer products for instance are the star products of Lenovo Brand which is developed and manufactured under the cooperation between Lenovo and IBM. At the same time, the cost saving strategy, outstanding human resource strategy such as the direct product delivering strategy and diversity workforce management and so on, have further strengthened its position and finance status in the global market.
● How can Lenovo compete for staff when its labor markets are tightening and its environment is increasingly resource-constrained?
In both the global market and international market, one of the success factors for a company lies in whether the people in this organization can compete with talents from other competitors (Farrell 2005). In the meantime, there is a dilemma faced by both international market and China’s domestic market that is the relatively tight labor market and resource limited in the world region, which gives Lenovo a lot of challenge.
Therefore, to meet this kind of challenge, Lenovo has carried out a series of human resource strategy to make up the regret.
I) Strategic talent recruitment and selection strategy
There are six principles for Lenovo to meet the challenges of talent competition in today’s world in the strategy of talent recruitment and selection.
Principle one: the stable and high quality talent recruitment policy
Lenovo always obey the talent recruitment and selection to pick up the most suitable talents rather than the most outstanding ones. At the same time, in talent selection aspect, Lenovo emphasizes the loyalty of these talents, which is aimed to make full use of their sense of loyalty and corporate values in Lenovo to nurture them to become the qualified employees so as to meet the cultural and organizational requirement of Lenovo (Sina.com.cn 2004).
Furthermore, another important point emphasized by Lenovo during talents recruiting and selecting is to restrict employee turnover rate to less than 2% (Sina.com.cn 2004).
Principle two: Making thorough analysis on whether it is necessary to carry out recruitment from external sources based on the following evaluation process (Xinhua 2006).
Figure 1.0 Evaluation on the needs of external recruitment
Source: Xinhua 2006, Nokia, Lenovo, Air China rank among top 10 executive brands in China: survey, People’s Daily,
Principle three: restrict each process and issues involved in both internal recruitment and external recruitment, which we’ll use the example of external recruitment of Lenovo for instance with reference to the research of Chen on Lenovo (2008).
When making up the decision to carry out the external recruitment, thorough action plan often is prepared by Lenovo including the well preparation of job description and specification, written examinations based on the posts’ related requirements to examine the professional knowledge and contingency ability based on professional ability tests, IQ tests and EQ tests and so on (Ready & Hill 2008).
Secondly, when candidates have passed the written tests offered by Lenovo, they will enter the face to face interview charged by senior professionals of Lenovo to examine and evaluate their capacity further. And based on requirement of different posts in Lenovo, the job interview in Lenovo are designed with three difficulty level namely the basic level, medium level and advanced level supported by question banks of basic level questions, management level questions as well as professional level questions (Ready & Hill 2008).
Thirdly, the interviewers of Lenovo will also receive strict training to make them hold the objective attitude and professional criteria to choose talents for Lenovo with no discrimination (Ready & Hill 2008).
Furthermore, the major manners employed by Lenovo to carry out external recruitment are campus recruitment aimed to attract young talents, daily recruitment to attract talents with rich working experience as well as cooperation with these headhunters to assist Lenovo to attract top talents (Ready & Hill 2008).
II) Strategic human resource training and development strategy
Besides the strategic measures of talent recruitment and selection, Lenovo also spends a lot to enhance the quality of employee training and developing programs to meet the challenge of tight labor market and constrained resources.
The outstanding strategy adopted by Lenovo to improve the quality of its employee via training and developing is named Lenovo Management College founded by the CEO of Lenovo and guided by the core value of Lenovo (Lenovo 2011).
To actually improve the quality as well as the competitiveness of employees in Lenovo compared that of competitors, Lenovo Management College has innovated different types of training and developing models (Deng 2011).
First, referring to the training and developing programs for new employees, Lenovo has carried out suitable and practical training programs which are held every month last for one week. This training and developing programs for new employees in Lenovo started from the year of 1993, which have been well maintained till now. while the 65 days trainings for new employees, Lenovo strengthens the quality of these new recruited employees to a certain extent via injecting corporate values and culture in these new employees’ minds. (Deng 2011)
Secondly, there are two batches of management training programs offered for managerial level employees in Lenovo every year, based on the current needs with different training and developing contexts to ensure the competitiveness of the management or senior talents to keep up with the developing requirements of global markets in personal computer and related industry. (Deng 2011)
Thirdly, Lenovo Management College offers employees a platform to be actually integrated into its corporate culture. Via the training programs focusing on developing the corporate culture and spirits, the corporate culture of Lenovo has been well fostered in the working environment which contributes to high degree of sense of belonging and working morale. (Deng 2011)
Furthermore, Lenovo Management College also emphasizes the importance of general skills training for its employees, which requires the full involvement of employees for all level to ensure these talents in Lenovo possess high level of flexibility to not merely work for live. (Deng 2011)
Thanks for the high quality of talent recruitment and selection strategy as well as training strategy innovated by Lenovo, during the time of labor intensive as well as resources constraints, Lenovo has nurtured so many talents with high level of competitiveness for assist it to go on its globalization process, which we speak highly of.
On the one hand, the strategic talent recruitment and selection strategy assist Lenovo to reach the target candidate directly and correctly. And then these deliberately designed recruiting and selection process facilitate Lenovo to pick up the most suitable talents rather than these outstanding but arrogant people to join the family of Lenovo successfully compared to other competitors. That is also why this Chinese enterprise is able to successfully acquire the personal computer bureau of IBM, which is once the world No. 1 personal computer manufacturer (Jay, Lau & Macbeth 2012). This can be resulted from full support from the talents in Lenovo.
On the other hand, the creation of Lenovo Management College offers employees in Lenovo with suitable platform to further develop themselves to meet international advanced level and then assist Lenovo to develop great comprehensive ability when fighting with these strong competitors for the market share and customers ( Lenovo 2011).
By and large, the two kinds of strategies employed by Lenovo to compete for staff in relatively downturn period of both labor force and market resources are regarded as outstanding.
● How can Lenovo become more flexible and responsive to change while also successfully recruiting, retaining and motivating committee employees.
According to Daft ( 2010), it is so important for all the organizations to take the issue of diversity workforce management serious in today’s environment. For Lenovo we all regard diversity workforce management as an important and effective ways to enhance its flexibility as well as competitiveness when meet changes while recruiting, retaining and motivating its employees successfully.
I) importance of diversity workforce management
To begin with, there is an increasing rate in the economy of today, especially the service industry to promote a more deeper and effective communication and interaction with customers all over the world. Although as a personal computer manufacturer, it has to face the diversified requirements from customers all around the world. As the requirements of customers on personal computer products and the related services may differ due to their difference on culture, education background, financial capacity, gender, religion and so on, Lenovo has to well deal with the diversity management issue to take advantage of the diversity workforce to assist it to fulfill the different needs of customers as much as possible (McQueen 2007).
Secondly, under the umbrella of globalization, customers in the global market possess much larger and wider market, in which they have a wider range of choices on either producers or services of they need. For Lenovo which is engaged in international business, one of its essential tasks is to meet the different needs of customers (Guest 2001). That is to say, employing diversity workforce may facilitate Lenovo to be more flexible to manage the needs of different customers.
With reference to the work effectiveness of staffs in an organization, great diversity workforce management strategy will enable the organization to improve the productivity and performance of teams which are supported by diversity workforce (Guest 2001). For instance, due to their different personality, innovative and creative perspectives, education background, and capability and so on, well developed diversity workforce for any organization is great treasure, because they may offer more competitive, effective and qualified ideas and performance for organization to meet the challenges from the environment (Guest 2001). Therefore, Lenovo should also attract more competitive diversity workforce to strengthen its entire competitiveness.
Furthermore, the positive attitude on diversity workforce such as no discrimination on the talents about their religion, educational background, and sex orientation and so on may help Lenovo to build a good image as a charming employer, which may further facilitate this organization to attract, retain and motivate talents at a high degree under the fierce competition from other competitors (McQueen 2007).
By and large, it is the inevitable trend for Lenovo to employ diversity workforce management strategy in today’s situation to be both flexible and responsive to change or recruit, retain as well as motivate talents successfully.
II) Practices carried by Lenovo on diversity workforce management
Primarily speaking, based on the research from Dow Jones & Company (2006), Lenovo has been delivering great attention to diversity management. Lenovo’s policy on diversity workforce management is aimed to attract and retain talents people to its big family so as to motivate these talents to contribute high level of creativity and innovation to promote Lenovo to gain more customers and market shares in the global market. Under the support of well developed managerial skills such as the conceptual skill, the management of Lenovo stand on a comprehensive height to lead this young organization to speed up it globalization pace in a relatively steady and high quality way (Hu 2007).
Secondly, for one thing, female leadership strategy has been carried out by Lenovo to affirm the importance of female talents for Lenovo. The strategy and program of emphasis the contribution of female management talents is assisted by Lenovo’s human resource department to enhance the balance between work and life for women employees in all the branches of Lenovo all over the world (Dow Jones & Company, Inc 2006). Due to the full support from Lenovo for female talents via the effective communication, negotiation, motivation and so on, a great number of female managerial talents turn up. At the same time, the value systems for these women talents have been upgraded by the assistance from Lenovo. For instance, many female managerial employees show that they begin to actually realize the importance of not only as a mother and wife but also a successful office lady as well as how to make an effective balance between the two roles. Let’s take the women leader named Ladousse of Lenovo for instance. When she attended the world forum for women in the field of Economy and Society, she won the reward as a charming female leader, which further proves the wisdom of Lenovo in the diversity workforce management. (Hu 2007)
For the other, in the Thailand market, Lenovo’s diversity workforce management strategy also produced great consequences (Dow Jones & Company, Inc 2006). Due to the requirements of customers in Thailand differ from that of China, the marketing management of Lenovo in Thailand has developed an effective team which both include the local talents and talents from other countries to work together to spark more innovations and creativity to assist this team to accomplish the promoting tasks.
For instance, members in the marketing team made up of diversity workforce had put forward some effective and suitable promotion strategies for Lenovo to win high market awareness and share in the market of Thailand from the research of Hu (2007). In this campaign, management of the marketing department has offered the marketing team a competition aimed to improve the team cohesion and creativity, which divided the marketing teams into two groups to offer their own promotion strategy for Lenovo. And with the full cooperation of each group members in the two groups, two promotion ideas were offered. One is to deliberately package the computer products of Lenovo with the gifts of a teddy with no eyes. The other is to tie the sales of the computer products with toys of Disney. In the end, the first promotion strategy won more customers than the second one for Lenovo, which is due to the high cohesion and level of trust built among each group members in the first group to make full use of the strong points of both the local marketing staffs and oversea staffs to stand based on the local requirement and the international fashion trend to come up with the most suitable promoting strategy for Lenovo products. Thanks to the well management of the diversity workforce, members in the team have developed better understanding of team work and cooperation although they possess different background, which often works as an indispensable element for their success.
By and large, both the theoretical research and the practices of Lenovo all indicate the importance of diversity workforce management strategy for this organization to improve its inflexibility to meet changes and improve the success for talents recruitment, retaining as well as motivation.
● How can Lenovo to compete effectively in issue of both ethics and legal compliance for employees.
I) relationship between human resource function and ethics
Business ethics is an important issue for any business organization and these managements (Trevino & Nelson 2007). Trevino and Nelson (2007) also pointed out that there is close relationship between the function of human resource and business ethics. For instance, there are numerous of ethical challenges for human resource function to deal with, or else it may produce negative consequences for a business to even impact its reputation as well as economic sustainability. Therefore, for Lenovo, the issue of business ethics is also an important part for its human resource function to well deal with.
Concerning with the legal issue, we may find that once a business breach the business ethics in the field of human resource, the organization may be involved into a world of legal problems including the civil problems as well as criminal problems (Pinnington, Macklin & Campbell 2005). Hence, it is necessary and important for Lenovo to carry out comprehensive ethics programs and practices to avoid legal troubles such as discrimination issue, hostile working environment problem and so on. Generally speaking, business ethics enables Lenovo to avoid legal problems and maintain good fame among employees.
In the area of business, legal problems often result in many unexpected and additional troubles or challenges to business owners which may further effect the reputation of the organization as qualified employers in the heart of employees as well as the labor market.
As Johnson (2003) mentioned these ethical issues such as discrimination, unequal policies about employment as well as sexual harassment issues and so on may make the organization in the front page of customers or business related medium, which may damage the reputation of this organization not only in the mind of customers and potential business partners but also in the mind of potential employees.
Additionally, gaining the fame as an ethical employer for Lenovo may enable it to attract more top talents in the personal manufacturer industry of the global market (Johnson 2003). And when employees or job applicants regard Lenovo as a responsible and ethical employer, these top talents with rich working experience, skills, creativity as well as productivity may prefer to work in Lenovo, which may further strengthen the competitiveness of its labor force compared to other competitors (Johnson 2003).
Brown (2003) pointed out that well treating ethical issues may support the organization to garner the trust and loyalty from employees in the long term, because it may produce a wider range of employee benefits. And if employees possess high level of loyalty to their company, they may gain more working experience and chance to develop themselves, which may enhance their productivity as well as working efficiency with low cost on employee recruitment and development. At the same time, under the support of loyal employees, the reputation of Lenovo can be well spread and built positively in the word of mouth, which even owns stronger magic than advertisements to give good impression to customers on Lenovo brand in the world market (Brown 2003).
Greenwood (2002) advocated that the good reputation as an ethical employer can be built in one day, which requires the support from comprehensive ethical programs including the commitment to ethics in every corner of the organization’s business with full assistance of human resource practices including the awareness of discrimination issue, sexual harassment issue as well as other ethical related issues.
Most importantly, it is so crucial for organizations to foster a corporate culture to support the mutual respect and dignity between employees and employers with the cherishing on ethical decisions (Greenwood 2002).
II) Practices made by Lenovo
For Lenovo to facilitate itself to compete more effectively, it has been concentrated to promote business ethics from the very beginning to the end in dealing with the employment issue, which we will introduce in the following.
Business ethics and employees
At Lenovo, it always value for these employees who work so hard for Lenovo under the support of continuous learning, growing and cooperating with each other. As the developing and expanding process for Lenovo have been smoothened by the efforts from its people, Lenovo is often responsible for encouragement of new opinions and high quality work, promoting career development chances and the development of entrepreneurial spirit via the building of respectfully and ethically mutual relationships (Lenovo 2011).
In coping with ethics issue involved in employment aspect, Lenovo often requires itself to act with high level of integrity, dignity, fairness as well as honesty under the guidance of the law such as the practices to offer employees with fair treatment, harassment free workplace, guarantee on working place safety and health, respect on employee privacy and so on. Thanks to these ethical practices carried out by Lenovo for its employees, the position as a top personal computer manufacturer has been further strengthened for Lenovo. (Lenovo 2011)
Secondly, the ethics and compliance programs towards employees in Lenovo have also been deliberately designed and carried out under the guidance of the Office of Ethics and Compliance including the programs to promote corporate culture so as to strengthen the high standard of ethical behaviors as well as the legal compliance.
Thirdly, Lenovo has been making commitment to equal and fair treatment for all of its employees. For instance, in evaluating the performance or capability of job applicants or employees, Lenovo often obey the criteria strictly such as the qualifications, skills, knowledge level as well as achievement rather than the focus on their religion, age, sexual orientation, marital status, gender and so on. (Lenovo 2011)
Fourthly, Lenovo advocates the fostering of harassment free workplace so much to promote it Lenovo has done a lot. For instance, Lenovo states clearly that it will never tolerate the discrimination or harassment in its workplace for its people, which including the discrimination or harassment on the race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age and so on. (Lenovo 2011)
Fifthly, Lenovo also promote the diversity in its labor force actively to actually advocate the healthy development of business ethics. For instance, Lenovo often shows its respect to the individual employees on their diverse backgrounds as well as perspectives. Depending on the diversity workforce, continuous innovation has been enhanced which further promotes the competitiveness of Lenovo and the level of correctness in decision making to meet the diverse needs of the customers and environment in global market. (Lenovo 2011)
At last, concerning with the issue of working place health, safety and security, Lenovo has also done good jobs (Lenovo 2011).
By and large, these practices related to business ethics have been demonstrated by Lenovo in a relatively good level, which enables this organization to promote its competitiveness effectively in the global market.
In this paper we have developed a discussion on the human resource related issue by the using of practical example of a Chinese personal computer manufacturer named Lenovo.
With investigation on the three areas including strategic talent recruitment and selection strategy and strategic human resource training and development strategy, diversity workforce management as well as HR related business ethics on employment supported by the business practices of Lenovo, we find out these issues play import roles for these organizations to enhance their competitiveness when attract talents, improving their flexibility when meeting changes as well as improving their capability in a effective degree when interact with employees in the global market.
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