Diversity and inclusion in the workplace are essential components of any successful organization. However, hiring a global team is only the first step. Companies must also focus on retaining their diverse talent to reap the benefits of diversity.
Here are some retention strategies for a diverse workforce:
Build an inclusive culture
Creating an inclusive work environment is one of the most critical factors in retaining a diverse workforce. Building an inclusive workplace means fostering a culture where everyone feels valued and respected, regardless of background, ethnicity, or gender.
In many cases, foreign employees come to Japan without relatives or acquaintances. They rely on the company as their primary environment to build social connections. Therefore, companies should encourage open communication, celebrate diversity, and create a sense of belonging among employees.
Provide professional development opportunities
Offering professional development opportunities to employees can help them develop new skills and grow within the company. This can help them feel valued, engaged, and motivated in their career. It’s essential to ensure that these opportunities are available to all employees.
In the case of foreign employees, many of them come from a result-oriented working culture. It is very different from Japan, which tends to be less task-based. This leads to different priorities in career building. Employees from global markets may seek companies with more support to deliver impactful results in their career growth.
Having diverse leaders sends a powerful message that diversity is valued at all levels of the organization. The company shows its inclusivity by making the manager and other leadership roles available to all employees, regardless of their background.
Offer competitive compensation and benefits
Fair compensation is a critical component of retaining a diverse workforce. On top of great pay, benefits such as lunch, commuting fees, and flexible work arrangements can go a long way to make employees stay.
If you have employees that work in Japan for the first time, they may have different expectations regarding compensation and benefits. They may compare the Japanese standard with that they get in another country. Therefore, it’s better to discuss this matter beforehand.
A lot of employees looking for remote working benefit
Provide Support with Housing and Relocation
Foreign employees who need to move to Japan may require support with housing and relocation. Assisting with finding accommodation, transportation, and navigating the local area will significantly help.
Housing in Japan can be a little difficult for foreign employees. Not every landlord wants to rent their place to them because of the language barrier and cultural gap. If the company can help as a spokesperson or guarantor, the process will be much easier.
Provide business etiquette, language, and culture training
Just like hiring any other new employees, providing training and support is necessary to make foreign employees adapt quickly. There are some training companies can give, including business etiquette, language, and culture.
Bowing is important in Japanese business etiquette
Japan has a distinct business manner. Some etiquette, like seating protocols (kamiza and shimoza) and omiyage, can be a totally new experience for foreigners. Giving a Japanese business etiquette orientation will make them fit in easier and faster. Even if your company isn’t strict with these manners, it would still be useful when meeting clients or visiting partner companies.
Language barriers are a significant challenge for foreign employees. Providing language training can help them feel more comfortable and confident in their work environment. Language training can also help improve communication and collaboration among team members. For better results, companies can arrange Japanese classes in the office. The employees can quickly attend, which doesn’t add more commuting costs.
Foreign employees may experience culture shock when they first come to Japan. Offering cultural orientation programs can help them understand the company culture, work environment, and social norms. In addition, cultural orientation can include knowledge about lifestyles, manners, and living in Japan. This can help them feel more comfortable and integrated into the workplace and Japanese society.
Set up a Mentorship Program
Providing mentorship and support to employees can be particularly helpful for underrepresented employees who may face unique challenges in the workplace. Foreign employees are often too afraid to ask questions because everyone else seems to understand. Pairing employees with mentors who can help guide them through their adaptation process and provide support when needed can help them feel valued and supported. If you have enough resources, a 1-on-1 program would be the best option
Hold managers accountable
Managers are vital in creating an inclusive work environment and promoting team diversity and inclusion. Ensuring managers are accountable for these efforts through regular performance reviews, training, and mentoring is essential to retaining a diverse workforce.
The important duty of managers in global companies is to encourage feedback and listen to concerns. Actively listening to their feedback and taking action when necessary to address their concerns can help employees feel valued and supported.
Facilitate Networking and Social Activities
Foreign employees may feel isolated and disconnected from their colleagues, particularly working in a new country. Facilitating networking and social activities can help them build relationships with their colleagues, feel more engaged in their work, and reduce turnover. Morning meetings, or chorei, can be the right opportunity for employees to bond with each other. Try to include fun activities to engage everyone or take employees’ ideas regarding what activities they want to do together.
In conclusion, retaining foreign employees requires a range of strategies that go beyond traditional retention techniques. Providing language training, cultural orientation, support with housing and relocation, ensuring that compensation is competitive, facilitating networking and social activities, offering career development opportunities, and creating a diverse and inclusive workplace can all help retain foreign talent. By implementing these strategies, organizations can create a welcoming environment for foreign employees, improve retention rates, and ultimately reap the benefits of a diverse and skilled workforce.
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