According to a survey conducted by Management Research Institute, Sanno Management Institute in 2012, 77.7% of companies think they do not have “global leader” and 80.8% think they do not have “global manager.”
Globalization became an important challenge for all the Japanese companies regardless their size or nature of business after Lehman Shock in 2008. As a result, recruiting and development of global talent who can conduct successful business globally is now a critical challenge in executing companies’ global strategy.
More companies are making foreign language skills as one of selection criteria these days.
If average TOEIC score of employees goes up by 100 at one company, does it mean that company is global? Quite many business people would answer “No”, which indicates definition of globalization has been unified and more companies recognize globalization as a critical success factor compared to a few years ago.
Having said that, I often feel utilization of global talent at medium and small-size Japanese companies are still not enough even now when they recognize importance of global recruiting. This view is based on my own experience of managing bilingual job search website.
Let’s define what global talent is and list up requirements.
- Talent who can communicate in foreign languages
- Talent who are broad-minded, self-initiated, proactive, cooperative, flexible and responsible
- Talent who can understand and respect different cultures without losing their own identities
Needless to say, having the above three requirements does not mean one can conduct business successfully as global talent.
All the companies in the world are trying to roll out country-specific strategies to capture market share given global competition. The true globalization means talent can understand borderless market strategy and execute it by leveraging strengths of their and their companies.
Recruiting talent with the above-mentioned three requirements is never enough. What is imperative is to create a company’s own global strategy, which provides a work environment where talent with the requirements can conduct business successfully as global talent.
Unless a company can utilize global talent, recruiting talent with the three requirements does not make the company truly global.
Suppose there is a company which has been expanding its business only in Japan. Now it is planning to conduct business in China as it cannot expect huge increase in domestic demand.
What type of talent is sought after in this case?
Most of the Japanese companies would hire Japanese with fluent Chinese first followed by bilingual Chinese and let them join existing projects. Foreign-national companies would hire talent who already have experience of market penetration in China and assign the person to leader of a new strategic project.
The main difference of selection method comes from how companies think global strategy, in another
word, how they think work environment where global talent can be successful.
In short, Japanese companies assign Japanese with a combination of foreign language skills and
domestic business experience to team leader of global strategic project while foreign-capital companies
execute global strategy by utilizing talent who is familiar with a targeted overseas market.
I am not saying Japanese companies are wrong and foreign-national companies are correct.
All the companies need to have a sense of crisis that utilization of the best global talent is the critical
competitive edge for survival and this urgency is required more from Japanese companies.
It is true most of the Japanese companies are recruiting new college graduates globally and more Japanese companies are recruiting Japanese with overseas education as well as foreign students who studied in Japan. However, only few Japanese companies are successfully utilizing global talent. They are still developing potential global talent to make them fit in Japanese corporate culture rather than to make them grow to be a true global talent. The current issue is it is far easier to understand and accept foreign national employees with Japanese mind-setting or employees dedicated to interpretation/translation jobs.
Though quite many Japanese companies are conducting business internationally, only few have foreigners with global strategic experience in business leader positions. That few companies do not have career paths for Japanese with overseas education as well as locally hired foreign nationals. Employment system does not even exist for the latter.
Recruiting and utilizing global talent is a prerequisite of global companies.
Japanese companies used to underestimate Japanese with overseas education as they do not know social manners and foreign national employees as they avoid overtime work and stick to job description. That bias is changing to the awareness that they are persistent to attain a goal, think positively and communicate ideas clearly. Different nationalities and cultural background create diversity of culture and thinking style. Both Japanese and foreign-capital companies have their own culture in the same way each person has a different cultural view based on his/her background. It is all about differences, not about what the correct one is.
Japanese companies need to modify their talent management strategy of recruiting only new college graduates and developing them to fit their corporate culture. Foreign-capital companies need to change mid-career recruiting, which just focuses on their immediate business contribution.
Needless to say, globalization of companies does not mean obtaining high TOEIC score or introducing standardization.
Companies can maintain their good identities and corporate culture by providing internal training and still can absorb good cultural aspects of other countries. After dropping current rigid recruiting criteria and selection method based on who fits existing corporate culture, companies are required to create criteria and system for recruiting, development and employment with the aim of understanding diversity and maximizing each talent’s strength.
Respecting and accepting diverse values is possible though it is not easy.
I hope all the companies create their global identities, understand and respect them and start recruiting global talent and developing them for full utilization.
Final Report “Survey of development and utilization of global talent”
“Survey of development and utilization of global talent” project by Management Research Institute, Sanno Institute of Management, April, 2012
Executive Officer in charge of Global Recruiting Website Business at Human International Co., Ltd.
He continues to provide consulting advice to companies on planning recruiting strategy and talent development as a recruiting expert with more than 12-year experience. Currently, he is responsible for job search website “Daijob.com”, which specializes in recruiting of bilingual talents. His clients cover both Japanese and foreign-capital companies.
Daijob.com – The biggest job search website for global and bilingual talent
Daijob.com has been the biggest job information website for bilingual talent since 1998 when it was the only information provider for bilingual talent. The site constantly carries more than 10,000 vacancy information of foreign capital companies or worldly-known Japanese companies. It is the most sought after recruiting tool for bilingual talent with more than 390,000 bilingual talent registered and more than three million monthly page views.