In Japan, the working culture has clearly been changing because of globalization. It is challenging for companies in Japan to carry on with its traditional culture and attract the best talents. Thus, companies should research on the needs of global talents and modernised their traditional culture.
*This article was posted in August, 2020.
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The change in the talents’ preference on the companies in Japan
It is common for Japanese companies to value the seniority and loyalty, factors such as pay rise and benefits will be given in terms of employees commitment.
However, this trend has been changing considering globalisation. Globalisation brings about the phenomenon such as an increase of the foreign companies venturing into Japan as well as the increase of Japanese who are bilinguals. Many of these bilingual talents are looking for opportunities and foreign companies can take this advantage to set up businesses in Japan. Although there are opportunities for businesses it does not suggest that these talents will be attracted to join these businesses.
Even Though there is no such thing as absolute commonality, there are some criteria that the global talents look for when deciding on whether they want to work with the company. These competitive global talents are looking for companies that can evaluate them based on their performance instead of their loyalty to the company. Refer the below information on the elements of how to attract global talents to your company.
The elements of the company that can attract global talents in Japan
Whether the company provides a high salary or not depends on each
company and their size. There is indeed no remarkable difference between
Japanese companies and foreign companies regarding the amount of salary. But, foreign
companies tend to pay more to global talents than Japanese companies because of
the meritocracy they are based upon. Besides, global talents are often under
the impression that they would be paid more when working for foreign companies.
Hence, a high salary is one of the elements that can attract global talents.
Most of the Japanese companies values the opinions of the
employees from all division before making a decision. Though this practice is
fair and collaborative, global talents might have a negative view of this
practice as it can be quite time-consuming. Additionally, administration
matters such as approval of transportation fee to visit clients and Japanese
peculiar custom of seal called “Inkan” which is used for documents might result
in unnecessary time wasted. Most of the global talents are familiar with the
fast-paced environment of foreign companies so the consent-based corporate
culture might not be attractive to global talents.
Competent global talents in Japan have a preference for trying out
new tasks and utilise their skills and experiences. These global talents
appreciate companies who can provide discretion for their tasks. Certainly, it
also depends on the working style of these global talents, but many of them
will demonstrate the utmost performance when they are given the chance to take charge
of a project. This provides them not only with the sense of responsibility or
motivation but also the trust and loyalty. Therefore, companies should be more
acceptive and open to the suggestions given by global talents.
Fixed working hours and fair leave system
This can be the most important factor in attracting talents to
companies. According to the various questionnaires, with regards to working
hours and leave system, the employees working for foreign companies tend to
feel more satisfied with the company than those who are working for Japanese
companies. Although the working culture in Japan has been changing, there are
still many Japanese companies which put harmony first and frown upon the
employees who follow the beat of their drums. For instance, the employees will
be the last to leave if their boss is still working in the office. This is one
of the factors of the long working hours and low rate of the used paid leave
(50% compared to 70% for the USA). It is important to provide a work-life
balance for the employees to prevent burnout in the workplace.
Improvement of language and communication ability
Global talents in Japan are very upwardly mobile and open to many
ways of thinking and culture across the globe. Companies with global talents
have the advantage of understanding and exploring various cultural backgrounds
which improve the language skills of current employees as well as communication
ability. Hence, global talents can provide companies with a larger pool of
talents as well as new experiences.
The elements of the company that can discourage global talents in Japan
Insecure employment is one of the downsides for Japanese
companies. Japanese companies tend to incur the direct impact and continue to
operate in the market. This may result in the risk of employees having to
experience retrenchment. Whereas, foreign companies tend to be more inclined to
withdraw from the market to prevent such consequences. Even though there is a
current pandemic happening, companies should avoid showing the aspect of
instability and continue to secure more global talents by providing them with
2. Lesser welfare benefits
The welfare program is also the most important factor along with
working hours and paid leave system for attracting talents. The examples of
this are house allowance and retirement package. Taking retirement package, for
example, it is common for most Japanese companies to provide and it is to show
gratitude for the loyalty of the employees working for years. However, for foreign
companies, this practice can be uncommon. Although lifetime employment cannot
remain to be the permanent strength of the Japanese companies, it is still true
that many of the talents, regardless of nationalities, want to work for long-term
if they are satisfied with them.
The stability and generous welfare program are the elements to attract
and retain most of the talents which can motivate them to work.
3. Excessive Businesslike
Having a businesslike relationship can have its pros and cons. However,
the excessive businesslike atmosphere in the office can reduce rapport or
morale. Companies in Japan are encouraged to have a more open and friendly
Besides, in Japan companies (and in some Asian countries’
companies), although the employees are expected to be low-key or less assertive
in their offices (because consent or harmony is valued) most of the time, they
can be open to each other when they are out of the offices such as on the
occasion of drinking party.
Surprisingly, drinking occasion can sometimes lead to a good
evaluation or even promotion. For instance, being attentive to the bosses by
pouring beer into their glasses. Of course, this example is an extreme case.
This kind of activity can be meaningful as employees can bond and understand
each other better. Furthermore, it is also common for people who do not want to
participate in this activity as some might prefer to have their time with
themselves or family. Thus, attending various bonding activities can promote
team building in the company.
There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all attractive corporate culture for the companies as diversification also means that what the talents want and value have been varied. Japanese companies should consider tailoring their culture and operations to meet the needs of global talents. As a result, they are able to attract more global talents to stay competitive as well as gaining more brand awareness in the market.
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