2019.1.17
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Recruitment & HR Development

Local Staff not being Nurtured is also a problem of the Head Offices 

(BOKEH STOCK/Shutterstock.com)
(BOKEH STOCK/Shutterstock.com)
In businesses that have offices overseas, there should be management ranks that are responsible for nurturing local staff. Among these businesses, many are having problems with personnel or training, but the causes are varied. This article will introduce 3 problems caused by local staff not being nurtured, citing problems not only in the overseas offices, but also in Japanese head offices.

Problem 1 : Human resource development failing due to Japanese residents' lack of skills/experience

When executing tasks at overseas offices, on top of communication skills and task execution abilities, there are also cases where the guidance/training of local staff is required. Because of that, an understanding of foreign cultures is essential, and experience in working together with or managing people of diverse values is also required.

For example, if a business dispatches personnel whose skills or management experience is not enough, even if their TOEIC score is good, far from offering guidance/training to local staff, they will breed mistrust among workers who doubt their incapable superiors and ultimately leave their jobs as a result.

Often these problems are not seen and addressed because it is difficult for the Japanese head offices to see the local state of affairs. If the head office side hears reports that says "local staff quit immediately", and they did not get to the bottom of why, no matter how much time passes, the situation will not change.

Problem 2 : Loss of opportunity to retain/acquire personnel due to the lack of language skills on the head office side

If the local staff are promoted to management level, there are opportunities for them to interact with the executives or people in charge at the Japanese head office. On those occasions, in case the person in charge on the Japanese head office side cannot speak anything but Japanese, they cannot have a direct conversation with the local staff. As a result, they will contact Japanese residents in Japanese and local staff will not be granted the opportunity to participate in decision-making. This will mean that they cannot hope to upgrade their skills as management.

In order to resolve such problems, businesses tend to think that recruiting local staff who can speak Japanese as managerial candidates will be fine, but this gives rise to its own problems. The pool of potential candidates is much more limited than say if one was looking to hire a manager who could speak English.

If a busisness thinks that it wants to secure better personnel, making the pie small with the condition of "being able to speak Japanese" is not wise. Even at the head office side, in order to be able to communicate directly with local staff, it is important to assign personnel who can speak English. As a result, fast responses or decision-making will become possible at overseas offices, and it will also help to prevent the loss of talented employees.

Problem 3 : Mid-term human resource development is difficult due to short tenure of top management in local corporations

Even if Japanese residents assume office as the top management of local corporations, there are also cases of there being a fast turnover in top management roles. If the top management changes, management policies or HR evaluations change, and local staff must adapt each time. It is important to respond with flexibility, but if management policies change, it may make workers feel that they "do not match the company",  and there is also the risk that mid-term training becomes undoable.

To avoid this, there is a need to construct a sound, stable environment for human resource development, controlling the tenure of top management or top-brass human resource, promoting local personnel to top management or delegating the authority of personnel.

Local staff not being nurtured due to a problem with the head office's decisions

In this way, the causes of so many of the problems that overseas offices have lie in the Japanese head office's decisions. Because of that, before dispatching employees to overseas offices, it is very important to have trainings such as gaining experience in environments with a foreign culture. To ensure fast decision-making, it is also an idea to place personnel who can communicate directly with overseas offices at the head office. In addition to that, even for mid-term human resource development, one must appoint local personnel to top management jobs. This could also be important to go forward with preparations for the transfer of authority.

Conveying the overseas offices' problems to executives is important

At the time of support requests from overseas offices, it is important that the people in charge at the head offices raise the voices of the overseas offices with the executives. If they are able to understand what the problems of the overseas offices are in the head offices and improve, it will promote healthy development of the overseas offices.
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