In this article, we introduce tips for successfully recruiting global talent to join a Japanese company. These tips are perfect for companies in Japan that have decided to invest in recruiting foreign talent, but unsure how to begin or mitigate risks.
Tip 1: Set up a system for onboarding foreign employees
Create an environment where foreigners don’t feel isolated
The first step in accepting foreign employees is to minimize the language barrier.
For example, what would happen if a foreign employee with poor Japanese (for example, N3 level) comes on board only to find that her coworkers can only communicate in Japanese? Most likely, communication will be stymied, stress will build up, and the employee will soon leave the company.
So, when accepting non-Japanese employees into a company, the first step is to modify the corporate culture from one based entirely on the way that traditional Japanese companies operate to one that takes in non-Japanese ways of interaction.
Even if you will recruit Japanese-speaking foreigners, it is essential to create an environment where foreigners do not feel alienated when they arrive and are given a chance to feel like they belong.
Encourage understanding of different cultures
In addition to the language barrier, it is also important to promote cross-cultural education.
Japanese employees should learn what it is like to work with foreigners in different contexts, not just through cultural courses but through case studies and other means.
It’s enough, as a first step, to raise awareness that there are people who do not see the world through a Japanese perspective.
Likewise, be sure to encourage Japanese coworkers to try and include foreign staff in everyday work life, including office parties or after-hours drinking and socializing.
Tip 2: Embrace changes in the culture of the company
Acknowledging changes to the culture of the company is a key point in hiring foreign employees, as important as the hiring process itself.
Even if you hire people with sufficient ability, if you do not have a system in place to reward them or create professional satisfaction, they will leave the company.
It is necessary to create an organization that is inclusive towards diverse ways of thinking while introducing a merit-based culture.
While it’s easier said than done, corporate culture needs to change from one where only Japanese people feel comfortable to one that is inclusive of diversity and global thinking, and allows different ideas to enter.
A good example of an inappropriate corporate culture is an environment that lacks diversity and where peer pressure is always present. Foreign employees do not like to be denied their individuality or to be forced to conform to the corporate culture. To prevent this from happening, change the corporate culture to one that recognizes diverse ways of thinking or at least gives outlets for their expression and expectations.
Tip 3: Present attractive terms and conditions
Perhaps even more than Japanese employees, foreign employees will look at the conditions of employment very carefully.
Even if a job offer is made, a foreign job candidate may move onto another company if the hiring conditions are not good enough. In many cultures a company is a means-to-an-end in building up their personal career. So you ought to be aware of work conditions in other countries as well.
The key to success in hiring foreign nationals begins with understanding what they are looking for when they are evaluating a job offer. Foreign job seekers value high benefits and the ability to have discretion in their jobs, more so than Japanese employees. Partly because they do not have the same local family structure to rely on. In Japan, they are likely all by themselves with no support.
In contrast, Japanese people tend to value “work that is worth doing” and “overwhelming growth prospects.” Foreign employees do not tend to find these things as important.
Instead, as an employer, you need to state clearly how much discretion you will give them in their role and how much it will benefit their career.
In addition to offering attractive benefits, it is also important to make sure that foreign employees are hired with benefits that are commensurate with those for existing employees. We encourage companies not to think of foreign employees as “cheap labor”.
A shortcut to globalizing your company and getting the best global talent
Even using these broad generalizations, it may feel like the hurdles are so high that it’s impossible to even get started towards these goals.
In fact, the above-mentioned tips should be kept in mind as “essential things to keep in mind” prior to actually even starting.
However, implementing this advice would be a huge commitment in time and resources for most companies. If a changes in management or policy occurs without success, all the hard work would also go to waste.
Is there a way to avoid or minimize these difficulties?
One of the shortcuts is to first hire a foreign employee who is immersed in Japanese culture and language and who has lived in Japan already for a long time.
This person can be hired initially as a “proof-of-concept” that this goal is possible. Because they are a foreigner already established in Japan, they become a bridge between cultures. Perhaps initially working in an established role, but to be eventually promoted as a team leader who can help lead globalization for the company culture and to manage other new foreign employees.
Recruiting foreign personnel who are knowledgeable about Japanese culture and language that have lived in Japan for a long time already.
It is sometimes said that Japanese culture and the Japanese language are unique and more difficult for foreigners to understand than vice versa.
However, because it is so unique, there are many foreigners who have lived in Japan for a long time and feel more attached to it, even more than many Japanese people.
It is important to create an environment in which these “cultural ambassadors” can use the Japanese language skills they have acquired to facilitate communication within the company. Despite the need for multilingual resources, many foreigners will also want to utilize their Japanese language skills, which they have invested years into learning.
In addition, they are already used to working with Japanese people, so they will not feel isolated and will help your colleagues gradually shift your company structure towards globalization.
Furthermore, these highly-skilled, early-hire employees can act as a liaison between newly hired foreign employees and existing staff, which may make it easier to increase your total headcount when the company is expanding.
They can also help with team building, employee education and training, and relationship building. But these things will also happen naturally, so unless they are hired as a language teacher, it is best to allow them to focus on their core duties, just like any other employee.
Following this method, your company will be able to build up a system for intaking foreign employees.
It is also important that the company provides appropriate evaluation and career paths to employees who have taken on these roles.
The individuality and diverse perspectives of each employee will contribute to and contribute positively to business operations.
It will also lead to a virtuous circle that goes beyond just recruitment.
For companies considering hiring global human resources
What are your thoughts on the above?
In this article, we introduced the points that should be avoided when hiring foreign talent and shortcuts to solve the problem.
When it comes to hiring foreigners, the “perfect” talent is very highly valued by every company, so the competition for hiring is overwhelmingly fierce.
It is also difficult to know the best channel for hiring foreign employees.
At GaijinPot we have built the largest community of foreigners in Japan, and our consultants have specialized knowledge in this niche. We will support you in solving your problems so that you can directly approach the global talent you desire.
If you are thinking of hiring foreigners, please contact GaijinPot Jobs!
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