What are the keys to globalisation? Increasing opportunities to gain knowledge
Globalisation is uncharted territory for many Japanese companies. It is 'something that is essential for overseas expansion, but they are not sure how to do it'.
In my seven years of providing global human resource development solutions to Japanese companies, I have seen common challenges related to globalisation.
Even if management has set globalisation as a management goal, if the definition and role models are not clear, managers do not know how to implement and evaluate it on a practical level.
In this issue, we would like to introduce the results of interviews with the people in charge at two Japanese companies that are working on global human resources development. We hope you will find some hints on the globalisation of human resources in Japanese companies.
NOK, a comprehensive automotive parts manufacturer (respondent: Hirofumi Fukuma, General Manager, Human Resources Planning Department, Operations Division)
Mitsubishi UFJ Lease & Finance (respondent: Tsutomu Hisakasa, Executive Officer and General Manager, International Department)
1)When asked about the qualities they look for in global personnel, both companies gave the same answer.
They pointed out that 'logical thinking', 'visualisation' and 'professional practical skills' were essential for business skills, while 'open-mindedness', 'flexibility' and 'proactivity' were essential for mind-set (framework of thinking).
English conversation skills are "obviously necessary, but they are only one of the tools used in the workplace".
2) The following are some of the ways in which global human resources can be utilised within the organisation.
Mid-career personnel who have received intensive training in global mindset will serve as role models in their departments and spread that mindset throughout the company" (NOK).
'Global mindset is instilled through practical work and training at all levels'
'Participate in regular global projects (as in the case of mid-level and managerial staff dedicated to domestic operations)'
'Training and overseas business study abroad (for example, for young employees in their third year with the company)' (Mitsubishi UFJ Lease & Finance).
3) The following comments were made by both companies in relation to the evaluation of measures to develop global human resources.
'A clear definition of global human resources has not been established.
'Practitioners with extensive global experience have established a training system based on their knowledge'
'Many of the measures have failed.'
'Global human resources development is a long-term investment plan with no right answer, and it continues on a trial-and-error basis.'
After all, increasing opportunities to gain knowledge about foreign countries seems to be at the heart of the measures.
In addition, although solutions exist on the ground, they often do not reach the management level and are overlooked.
For example, the following measures would be effective when employing a large number of foreign staff and aiming for effective collaboration with Japanese staff.
Creating an atmosphere on site where people can express their opinions to deepen globalisation. and building a mechanism to provide clear feedback on recommendations.
Clarifying the roles of both supervisors and subordinates through job descriptions.
If any discrepancies arise in the way work is carried out or treatment is given, supervisors should inform their subordinates without deceit and show that they are willing to work together to improve the situation.
Unfortunately, there is no universal solution, so I think it is important for the management team to patiently continue their efforts through repeated trial and error, with the pioneering spirit that they have demonstrated during the period of foundation and important changes.