It is often said that a company is only as good as its staff and if you are planning to start a business in Thailand it is essential to hire a solid team that can present your company in the best possible light. However, finding fully trained and experienced staff in Thailand can be tricky, while holding on to efficient staff members can be even more difficult. Here are a few essential tips on finding the right staff when you are starting a business in Thailand.
Communication Skills are Key
Although you may wish to hire a few foreign team members, it is important to realise that you will have to provide work permits and very attractive salaries for any foreigners you employ and the number of non-Thai staff that can work in a company in Thailand is limited. Therefore, the majority of your staff will naturally be Thai, which can lead to communication issues if you are not careful. You need to make sure that your Thai staff members have a good level of written and spoken English so that they will be able to understand any memos that you send them, follow information in meetings and make a valuable contribution and also be able to conduct business on a professional level with international clients. If you are planning to do business with clients in other countries such as Japan and China, you will also need to make sure that at least some of you key staff members have those language skills.
Be Clear About What You Are Looking For
When advertising the different roles in your company, it is important to take the time to work out exactly what types of skills your staff members need to have. If you find that you have a long list of skills that are needed, it is perhaps a good idea to list these skills in order of preference and work out which skills are absolutely necessary and which skills are a bonus. You may well find that they perfect candidate does not tick all of the boxes, but as long as they have the most important skills and are willing to learn the others they could still be a good fit for your company. Being clear about exactly what you are looking for and what you are not looking for will also make it easier for potential employees to know whether or not they should apply for the job, which can help to cut down the number of unsuitable applications that you receive.
Find Employees who Match the Company’s Core Values
One of the first steps to opening a company in Thailand is establishing the identity of the company and its core values that customers can relate to and learn to depend on. Any staff member who is going to be representing the company should also share these core values so that they can represent the company in the best possible light. One of the first indications that you have found staff who are suitable for the job and are sure to be enthusiastic is testing them to discover whether they already have an understanding of the company’s core values. It is a reasonable expectation that anyone who applies to work for your company would have done their research in advance and they should be able to provide details on the steps that they will take in their day to day working life to uphold the company’s core values and help the company to achieve them.
Nothing Beats Experience
It goes without saying that any new staff you employ to work in your company will need to be trained so that they understand the specifics of the job and what is expected of them so that they can excel. However, individuals that already have a certain amount of experience in related fields are likely to require much less training, meaning that they will be able to get to grips with the job more quickly. The other main advantage of hiring experienced staff is that they may be able to offer successions on ways of doing business in Thailand that you might not have even considered and will help to give you the edge. Experienced staff may also already have made connections with people in other industries that could prove to be very important when you come to doing business with these industries.
Selecting Proactive and Passionate Staff
However, it is also essential to make sure that your new staff members are passionate about doing business in your field and have the potential to develop their skills and grow along with the company. Staff members that are passionate and enthusiastic are much more likely to go the distance and stick with you during the tough times while you are opening a branch office and finding your feet. While any successful company needs staff that can follow instructions to the letter and get the job done perfectly, staff members also need to be able to think on their feet and work independently without being guided every step of the way. One good way to test your potential staff members’ problem solving skills is to pose them certain types of situational problems that may arise during the course of the daily job and ask them how they would solve those problems if there was nobody around to ask for advice on instructions.
Are They Flexible?
One of the main challenges of doing business in Thailand for new companies is that they might not know exactly what to expect and the company may have to change its approach and focus at least once before it hits of a successful format. Therefore, it is absolutely essential that the staff you hire are also flexible and are able to change and develop right alongside the company. They may need to work long hours from time to time and even be willing to work on weekends occasionally to complete demanding and time sensitive projects. Staff members who find change difficult or uncomfortable and sit looking at the clock rather than staying in the office until their work is finished may not be able to keep up with the growing demands of the company and may quickly find that they are no longer able to perform their roles to the full.
Offer Attractive Salaries and Other Rewards
While it is true that the minimum wage in Thailand is relatively low and companies are able to get away with paying staff much less than they would in their own countries, the old adage that you get what you pay for still rings true today. Staff members who are fully qualified and experienced are sure to expect salaries that match their skills and people who are willing to settle for less are probably not worth employing in the first place. It is important to do a little research to check the market and come up with an attractive salary package. In addition to the base salary, it is a good idea to offer other types of benefits and bonuses to help motivate staff to go above and beyond the call of duty. These can be in the form of benefits like medical care and bonuses for regularly meeting and exceeding targets. It is also important to set out a clear promotional plan so that staff who are able to really excel in the role are motivated to strive to move up in the company because they know they will be well rewarded for their efforts. This in turn helps to foster loyalty in staff members and make it more likely that they will choose to stay with you for many years to come. Rewarding staff for completing important projects and working long hours is also a good way to show appreciation for their efforts and make sure that they are more likely to work hard in the future.
Develop Your Interviewing Technique
The interview stage is an essential process to finding the right staff for your company and in many cases you may have dozens or even hundreds of candidates apply for just a handful of positions. In this case you may need to adapt the interview process to accommodate all of the promising candidates and perhaps start with a series of group interviews until you are left with around a dozen of the top candidates that you can interview one by one. Although you may already be very busy setting up your new business in Thailand, it is important not to try and rush the interview stag as finding the perfect employees the first time around can save you a lot of time and trouble in the long run.
Asking the Right Questions
During the main interview it is essential to come up with a series of questions that will help you to get to the heart of your interviewee’s personality and working style to discover whether or not they will be a good match for your company. Try to avoid cliché interview questions, as it is likely that candidates will have prepared for these in advance. the questions should be a good mixture of habit based and skill based questions and should give you an insight into the candidate’s thought process. Try to make the questions open ended to leave room for long and thought out answers and do not try and rush the candidate to give the first answer that comes into their head.
Provide Opportunities for Potential Staff to Ask Questions
It is important to note that in the Thai culture it is traditionally considered rude to ask questions of superiors, which can lead to serious problems when it comes to doing business. Many Thai employees have the tendency of not speaking up when they do not understand something or refraining from asking important questions that will provide them with the information that they need to do their jobs to the best of their ability. The interview stage is a good opportunity for employers to gain an insight into whether their potential employers are willing to ask insightful questions or not. Provide plenty of opportunities during the interview staff for interviewees to ask questions about the job and deliberately leave some aspects of the job description unexplained at first to determine whether or not the interviewee will ask for the information that they need.
Provide a Test
Some people perform very well in interviews and seem to know exactly what to say in order to make potential employers sit up and take notice. While they may have the right words at their disposal, this is not a clear indication that they actually have the required skills to do the job. If possible, provide interviewees with a short test that matches the types of skills they will need during their job such as answering the phone and sending emails if they are needed for office work, driving a forklift truck or filling out purchasing orders. In this way you will be able to see you potential staff in action and gain a real insight into their actual working method.
Choosing Team Players
Your staff members need to be able to work together well without conflicts and issues arising on a day to day basis. Therefore, you should have a good understanding of the personality and thought process of your candidate as well as their working style. try to imagine them working alongside your existing employees to work out if they would be a good fit for the working environment or if elements of their personality are likely to cause conflicts. Whenever possible, it is a good idea to schedule team building exercises when new employees join your team so that they will have the opportunity to interact and bond with your existing members of staff.
Get Input from the Team
As it is essential that your staff works well together, interviews should consider asking their existing staff for input. There are lots of different ways of doing this so that it is less intimidating for the interviewees and the other staff members are able to gain a clear and fair impression of them. One way of doing this could be to video the interview, with the candidate’s permission of course, and play the videos for the other staff members so that they can offer their opinions on which interviewees they like best. You could also take interviewees on a tour of the office so that they can meet the other staff members, who will offer their opinions in a later meeting. Key existing staff members could also be asked to sit in on interviews so that they can provide their insights after the interviewee has left the office. Of course, you will still have the final decision about which candidates to employ, but hearing input from your team can help a lot and also act as an indication as to whether your new staff will be able to fit well with your existing staff.
Do Thorough Background Checks
Background checks are essential in order to make sure that the information your employees has provided you with is accurate. Potential employees should be willing to submit themselves to a criminal record check and other types of checks on request and if certain candidates are unwilling to do this it could be an indication that they have something to hide. Whenever possible, it is also a good idea to check the qualifications of your candidates by asking to see the original copies of their university degrees and any other relevant qualification certificates. Checking out the social media profiles of your potential staff is another good way to gain an insight into the personalities and how they present themselves to the world.
Ask for References
Receiving references from candidates is another good way to make sure that they are going to be an asset to your company. Once you have obtained references, don’t just assume that they are legitimate. It is relatively easy for interviewees to create their own references and supply the phone numbers or email addresses of friends and relatives. If references appear to be a bit too good, be prepared to put in a little extra effort to call the number supplied. By actually talking to the person who supplied the reference you may be able to learn other important information that could be key to your decision making process.
Make a Firm Offer
The best employees that are both experienced and proactive are likely to be in high demand, so it is important to make sure that you let them know as quickly as possible if you are interested in hiring them. Interviewees who are proactively seeking work are likely to have gone on several other interviews and may have applied to work for companies that are already better established. Make sure you notify successful candidates as quickly as possible and do not forget to notify the unsuccessful candidates. It may turn out that interviewees that do not make the grade this time around can prove to be useful in the future, so keep their contact details on record and try to stay on good terms with them.
Go to the Pros
There are several staff recruitment companies in Thailand that specialises in supplying staff for various different types of roles in companies. A sourcing agent in Thailand will usually have a large number of different candidates that they can recommend for the role and one of the huge benefits of these agents is that they will have already vetted the potential staff members for you and provide you with full details of their qualifications and key personality traits. A professional startup company such as Start Up in Thailand will also be able to supply you with the staff that you need as well as providing you with important information and advice to help make sure that the recruitment process and other aspects of starting up your business go smoothly.