The future of Japan's corporate culture

By Robert Half on 25 November 2014

As times change in Japan, nurturing a corporate culture of trust, learning and flexibility can help overcome the skills gap you face.

It can be challenging for employers in the Japan finance and accounting sector to find candidates with business qualifications from established local or overseas graduate schools, and the soft skills and confidence that traditional learning do not typically provide.

To identify outstanding people in the interview process, you must first need to establish what are the skills that are most relevant to your company in today’s business climate. You then need to find out whether your company is sufficiently attractive for younger candidates.

Times have changed in Japan

Candidates may not necessarily seek or expect life-long employment now. They might prefer to work for what they perceive as a dynamic company, a place where they can pursue their career goals. For example, younger Japanese employees may want more autonomy than veteran colleagues in pursuing personal goals.

Overly micromanaging can stifle morale when delegating and offering the right guidance would have suffice. If your company is not attractive enough in this and other aspects, now would be a good time to find out why and what you can do to make it so.

Go outside the box

Just focusing on candidates who have strong financial accounting skills and meticulous reporting skills is no longer enough. You will need to identify more creative ways to retain and cultivate talented people, particularly if you believe that they have leadership potential. Japanese nationals looking to work with foreign-owned entities will frequently ask about prospects for self-improvement beyond on-the-job training or even the semi-formal career development programmes that larger Japanese companies increasingly offer today.

To help keep staff engaged, many Japanese universities offer a full range of training solutions for employees of organisations whose working language is in English. These range from new hires and junior staff training to core staff and executive senior staff training, which help complement finance and accounting skills.

Think about your future leadership

One entity your human resources may want to consider for leadership grooming is an international leadership programme for people at foreign companies. These programmes typically encompass three critical stages. The first is corporate management. The second is global and regional leader development t o solidify the talent pool. And the third is succession planning.

Your corporate culture is more important than you realise

As times change, nurturing a corporate culture of trust, excellence and flexibility can help you overcome the current skills gap you face – because if you get your corporate culture right, you won’t need to seek out the best candidates, they will naturally come to you.

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