Japanese companies want to hire foreign workers for various reasons, such as expanding overseas sales channels and revitalizing communication within the company. Indeed, there are an increasing number of Japanese companies that want to hire foreign workers in the future. However, on the other hand, it is also true that various problems have arisen with regard to the employment of foreign workers. This time I would like to explain the advantages and disadvantages of Japanese companies using foreign workers.
Present situation and outlook of foreign recruitment by Japanese companies
Currently, about half of the Japanese companies employ foreigners, and about more than half of the Japanese companies are considering employment of foreign workers in the future.
What are the advantages of Japanese companies adopting foreigners?
There are three major advantages of Japanese companies adopting foreigners.
- Acquisition of information on target countries and expansion of sales channels
・ Possible to obtain information on the culture and customs of the country
・ Possible to analyze and examine local information from a multifaceted viewpoint with its own network
- Smooth communication with foreign countries
・ Possible to communicate smoothly with overseas business partners, overseas affiliates, foreign visitors to Japan by understanding high language ability and commercial practice
・ Possible to advance business development abroad overseas by utilizing personal networks and networks of recruited foreigners
- Activate company organization
・ Possible to activate the company organization by incorporating human resources with diverse backgrounds and cultures
・ Possible to stimulate employees of the same age and leadership skills to managers through foreign workers’ attitudes towards work and approach to work
・ Possible to create multinational value added to products and the like
Specific success cases
I will introduce you one success case of the manufacturer I used to work before. Our company adopted a foreigner from Southeast Asia as a part-time job, and then adopted him as a regular employee. He worked with a Japanese engineer, posted product information on the web in English, and strengthened public relations. Then, specific effects such as an increase in inquiries from overseas came out.
I will also introduce another successful case that I heard from a friend of mine engaged in the service industry. Her company hired a Chinese employee. The appearance of tackling the business in his mind through his participation full of hungry spirit stimulated young Japanese employees and the entire company was activated. In addition, by educating Japanese common sense to foreign employees with different cultures, growth of Japanese young employees was seen.
Business sides’ challenges in recruiting foreigners
While employment of foreign workers has shown concrete results, various issues are being seen.
- It takes time for foreign workers to get to the job category or department they desire.
- Foreign workers do not know what they were hired for. (i.e. They cannot make use of their skills and knowledge)
- Since personnel officials of companies receiving instructions for recruiting foreigners do not understand the purpose and role of foreign recruitment, they cannot arrange appropriate personnel assignments for them.
- Administrators of accepting departments of foreign workers do not understand the purpose or career of their recruitment.
- Even if excellent foreign workers are hired, it is difficult to settle them.
Challenges for foreign workers employed
In addition, Japanese companies also have various problems and challenges for foreign workers employed.
- There are no foreign workers who have the desired Japanese proficiency. (You may want to have Japanese language proficiency because Japanese companies still don’t have enough Japanese employees who can speak English.)
- It is difficult to determine Japanese ability at the time of employment (reading, writing, speaking, and listening).
- It is difficult to judge skills and careers of foreign workers.
As more and more foreign workers are increasing from now on, companies need immediate action in order to make better use of foreign workers.
Points for Japanese companies adopting foreigners
- Necessary to reconfirm how to adopt foreign talent for what purpose and what to ask for.
- Management, recruiters and accepting departments should share the purpose and role of recruiting foreigners inside the company.
- Foreign workers also need to share the purpose and role of recruitment with Japanese companies.
- Necessary to continue to transmit the purposes and roles of hiring foreigners to all employees from the top management.
- By clarifying purpose and role, decide the conditions of foreign workers employed (for example, asking for excellent talent or cooperating foreigner etc.)
- Since vague firms with career perspective are avoided, images of career perspective are made in advance before hiring.
- Japanese companies should understand that foreign workers tend to decide their careers themselves.
- If advanced Japanese language skills are required, it is necessary to utilize the ability judgment tool “BJT Business Japanese Proficiency Test”.
- If you are looking for talented personnel, it is also necessary to lower the conditions of Japanese proficiency at the time of recruitment so that you can focus on training after joining the company.
- Japanese companies should recognize that foreign workers won’t work forever in Japan (Japanese companies). When foreign workers get married in Japan, there are some cases where retention rates are high. In preparation for that case, it is necessary to consider support systems for marriage, childbirth, and childcare in the future.
Japanese companies should firmly understand that adopting foreigners is a means, not a purpose. It is also important to share the purpose and role to be adopted with management, employment department, assignee and job applicant.
In Japan, which is undergoing an aging society with fewer children, I think that promotion of foreign workers from now on will become more active. Japanese companies understand that employing foreign workers will get a variety of benefits.
In this way, I am aware that Japanese companies have to also change. I sincerely hope to solve these problems as soon as possible and to become a corporate culture that allows you to fully utilize the skills and knowledge of foreign workers.
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