RESOURCES

Jun 11 2019 3 Signs of GENUINE DIVERSITY in a Japanese Company

“Diversity”, “Globalization”, “Multinational”- These are some of the most commonly used terms by companies to promote that they are open to accept foreign professionals into their pool of talents. But what does genuine diversity actually look like and what is the ideology behind it.

We got the opportunity to sit down and talk with Mr. Kazuhiro Ogura, the CEO/CTO of HENNGE which is Japan’s leading SaaS provider. The CEO who started coding at the age of 6 founded HENNGE, formerly known as HDE Inc.,  in 1996 when he was still a university student. It started out as a B2B software company and has evolved as a cloud-based security provider who owns over 74% of market share in Microsoft Office 365/Google G Suite targeted security service area in Japan. With their whole philosophy revolving around the liberation of technology and pursuing the early tech adopter style, their revenue has grown 5 times bigger since 2011 with around 160 employees and out of those, 28 are international professionals .

During the session, we discussed their company’s interesting take on diversity and the ideology behind it. Not too long ago they opened their doors into welcoming foreigners by starting their global internship program(GIP). This started when they received an application from a Singaporean student studying at National University of Singapore and wanting to be an intern at their company. Because of the positive result of this internship, the company saw the potential of opening their company to foreign talents all over the world. And thus their drive to go global and promote diversity grew stronger.

According to the session these are the 3 signs of a Japanese company that is ready to fully embrace genuine diversity at their workplace.

  1. The company should not expect YOU to strictly follow the Japanese work culture.

    Mr. Kazuhiro Ogura: “We do not expect foreigners to strictly practice the Japanese culture. We hired them because they are DIFFERENT and we expect them to stay different and unique.”

    It is of course common courtesy to be aware and respectful of a different country’s culture. However, Japanese companies should hire foreigners because they think, work, and bring something unique to their table. If they are asked to strictly follow the Japanese culture and are expected to think and act like locals then it defeats the purpose of diversity. A Japanese company that promotes genuine diversity expects you to shine because of your uniqueness.
  2. The company should know the importance and value of English as a medium of communication.

    Mr. Kazuhiro Ogura: “English is very important to catch up and be updated with the technological advancements and trends all over the world.”

    Information technology changes and develops so fast and it’s always crucial for companies to be up to date to the latest trends and technological development all over the world. Mr. Ogura explained that there was a time before wherein Japan had wiggle room for a couple of months and wait for the latest information or update to be translated into Japanese. Nowadays, the constant updates and developments in the industry changes so fast and Japanese companies have to adapt. Quick accumulation of information and adapting early is key to successful creation and developments of tech products and services. A Japanese company that truly values this fast changing evolution of information should also realize the importance of English as a medium of language at the workplace.
  3. The company’s main motivation to hire foreign talents should go beyond the need to fill a position, it should be about genuinely wanting diversity in the workplace.

    Mr. Kazuhiro Ogura: “A Company’s motivation to hire foreign professionals should go beyond the need to supply labour shortage. They should genuinely want diversity and globalization for their business.”

Over and over, we see news and articles about how Japan’s labour market is suffering and is in need of support and help from other countries. Although this is a valid reason to hire foreign professionals, Japanese companies should go beyond the desire to just fill in the position if they want to maintain a sustainable work environment for not only the local employees but for foreigners as well. Opening their companies because of this motivation attracts better quality candidates who will want to stay longer with the company and in return also positively impact the company’s business in the long run. Japanese companies whose motivation is diversity in hiring international talents are able to create and develop a well balanced working environment that leads to efficiency and productivity across all team members.

So whenever you are thinking about joining a Japanese company that “promotes diversity”, You should really spend time and effort in researching and educating yourself about the company’s background and past efforts to figure out if their actions and efforts mirror GENUINE DIVERSITY.

 

And for international talents who are interested to join HENNGE’s Global Internship Program which allows final-year students, fresh grads, and mid-career talents from all over the world to experience working in their Tokyo headquarters for 6-8 weeks, check out their website at www.hennge.com/global/gip.

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