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Human resources in Central Asia Human resources in Central Asia
by Joseph Gatt
2019-08-26 10:57:36
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Sweeping generalizations on human resources in Central Asia, in no particular order.

-This is a job, not a coffee shop! That's what a lot of people like to say in Central Asia. Yes, Central Asians will get together for tea, a will chat for hours if you allow them to. When the boss shows up, they will act like they just started drinking tea and will go back to their cubicles. Boss disappears, bring back the tea. Some can even play cards or backgammon if you're not careful enough. But if you bring someone who will terrorize them into staying at their cubicles, they will quit.

centasi01_400-One thing a lot of Central Asians have trouble with is creativity. Now Africans and Middle Easterners tend not to be hyper creative, but are “street smart” and know how to improvise when needed. East Asians tend to know how to adapt to different circumstances. But Central Asians, when facing trouble, will tend to remain open-mouthed with absolutely no idea what to do. If you need ideas to bump sales up, chances are, no one's going to throw an idea for anything.

-So the idea in Central Asia is, look at what other companies are doing, and do the same thing. If you have creative ways of doing things, as in sales or retail, you will embarrass them, and they will quit.

-Final note before I move to hiring. Central Asians are good at catching liars. If you mention “someone” they will immediately shoot you with “what's his name?” and if you're telling a story they will shoot you with “when” and “where” and “how” and “and then what happened?” So try to be accurate when telling them stories, don't be vague.

-First of all, if good people are trying to network themselves to your company, and that you ask them for a “resume” they will feel very insulted. If you're with people trying to network themselves to the company, you want to have something of an informal interview, and if you decide not to hire them, you want to come up with an excellent excuse, something like “we decided to do away with the sales department” or something. During formal job interviews, applicants will be terrified. Brighten up the mood before you shoot questions at them. Otherwise they will freak out so much they won't even find words.

-Central Asian workers tend to dislike anything too formal. First, they will claim “the company is our home.” Second, they will rarely dress formally, perhaps they'll only wear a suit if there's a formal meeting. Third, they'll expect informal meetings, and will tend to dislike formal meetings. Finally, give them vague titles rather than formal ranks or titles, and give them general job descriptions. Because you'll find out that one person is helping the other, the other person is doing someone else's job, and they might even take turns for some tasks. Even offices and desks are shared, and you'll find different people sitting at the desk almost every day.

-Pay almost everyone in egalitarian fashion. Remember these were Communist states. If you give one person a lot of pay because “he has a Ph.D. and speaks 6 languages” you're going to have the other ones come up to you and ask for pay raises.

-College is a huge accomplishment that is the pride of their family and their village. Education tends to be highly valued. So you want to respect their education credentials.

-English or any other language is also a huge accomplishment, and a highly respected one. They tend not to brag about languages, but will expect to be respected for speaking foreign languages.

-Pairing up a man and a woman or mixed gender groups for projects is probably not the best idea. Men tend to be cold with women and women tend to be cold with men. Men tend to be warm with men and women tend to be warm with women. So the best teams are not mixed-gender.

-Finally, yelling at them will embarrass them a great deal. Women will cry and men will bite their nails. Same thing if they do mistakes. Many will even “confess” to all the mistakes they did in an attempt to gain mercy. Rather than hysterically yelling at them, you want to show to them that you are disappointed, and that you want them to do a better job next time.

-Finally, finally, they expect job security. Their job is not just a personal accomplishment, it's a family accomplishment. Their parents will brag a great deal about their son or daughter’s job. So you want to hire the best people from the start.

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