How a people-first approach to work is helping RingCentral China build a culture of success
- “996” work culture blurs the line between work and life
- RingCentral’s “Work Anywhere” technology benefits employees and company
China’s economy is growing at a dizzying pace. But that growth can come with a human cost. The nation’s notorious “996” work culture – working 12 hour days (9 am to 9 pm) six days a week – has begun to wear on the workforce. A Github group of Chinese software developers recently started a project called “996.icu”—so named because the grinding pace is actually landing workers in the intensive care unit. 996.icu is gaining widespread attention on social media, with Github users publishing a “blacklist” of 150+ companies known for demanding unpaid overtime and excessive hours. China’s state-run paper, the People’s Daily, somewhat surprisingly took the workers’ side in a recent editorial: “Employees who object to 996 cannot be labelled as ‘slackers’ or ‘not fighters’. Their real needs should be considered.”
Positioned to win
Not long ago, Chinese workers might have been glad for any job, at any wage – and the more hours the better. In 2000, just 4 % of China’s urban population earned between $9,000 and $34,000 per year. But that was then. By 2012, that figure had jumped to 70%, and that success is shifting attitudes. In 2021, Chinese workers want to know – what are we working for? Add in a pandemic that proved the case for the effectiveness of remote work, and there are legitimate questions modern workplaces have to answer.
RingCentral China Country Manager Marc Chan is intimately familiar with the Greater China talent market, and thinks RingCentral’s combination of work-anywhere technology and people-first culture makes the company uniquely positioned to win.
“We have a lot to offer. RingCentral China was named one of the Best Companies to Work For in Asia in both 2019 and 2020; we were named China’s Healthiest Workplace for 2020 and 2021, and we brought home a lot of other awards – all of which are increasing our visibility, not only in Xiamen, Hangzhou and Hong Kong, but nationwide, and across all of Asia. Now we want to leverage our reputation to let people know that you’re not just joining a company that delivers the best technologies in unified communications, but you are joining a place where you’ll enjoy your work, develop your career and—this is very important—discover work life balance.”
Building a competitive edge
Attracting talent in a hot jobs market like China is never easy. Employers must be competitive in terms of compensation, benefits, technical challenges, location, and of course, culture. All in a job market with no shortage of outstanding employers: Alibaba, Tencent, Microsoft, Apple…the list goes on. According to Chan, RingCentral’s employee-friendly culture is a difference-maker.
“Our technology is outstanding, and so are our opportunities. But our competitors could all say the same thing. So, what do we have that they don’t? For one thing, our flagship product. We literally make the tools that make it possible to work from anywhere, effectively. We have three physical locations in China, but we like to say the RingCentral platform is our “fourth location,” in that it allows people to work remotely so effectively.”
Taking the long view
“We don’t just look for a technical fit,” says Chan. “We look for a cultural fit – the kind of people who understand and are excited about our mission – to make it possible to communicate, collaborate and connect from anywhere – and want to build a career. People who want to build a career understand – work is about more than just money. If you want to build a career, you need time to balance your work with your life, you need time to grow with the job, you need to be able to learn. What we offer is a chance for people to work with the best – experts in unified communications from all over the world as well as a culture that gives them the time and resources and personal space they need to grow.”
Employee engagement is much more than a buzzword. Today’s business leaders know — a highly engaged workforce can increase innovation, productivity, and performance while reducing hiring costs and increasing retention. According to Mike Rickheim, vice president of talent management at Newell Rubbermaid, “(Employee engagement) is not just a warm, fuzzy thing. It’s about giving people the tools they need to succeed in their careers, which in turn drives the outcomes that we’re seeking in the marketplace. When people have the tools they need to succeed, feel good about their personal growth opportunities, and receive the appropriate rewards and recognition for their contributions, it’s a win-win proposition.”
For Chan, engagement begins with purpose. “When there is purpose in your work, you’re more willing to give, because it’s not just transactional. It’s about more than just selling another product for money. It’s about purpose. About providing a platform to help the world get through the pandemic faster, helping the world get back to normal and helping people connect. Whenever I interview someone, their understanding of our vision and their excitement about it are more critical to me than the list of skills on their resume. People who identify with our vision fit our culture. And the more work we put into strengthening our culture, the stronger the whole company becomes. The whole thing builds on itself.”
Originally published Jun 02, 2021, updated Dec 30, 2022