世界の最大の社会人SNS, Linked In

Ms. Pernille Rudlin, European Representative of JIC, posts this about Linked In and Japanese. Linked In is all about networking. And it has fastly grown into a world-wide business forum that is connecting business men and women quickly and simply. But curiously, Japanese business people have been hesitant to join in, at least to the extent that Western business people have. 

ジャパン・インターカルチュラル・コンサルティング・ヨーロッパ代表・パニラ・ラドリン著

パニラ・ラドリン

パニラ・ラドリン

パナソニック、三菱地所レジデンス、楽天がソーシャル・ネットワーキング・サービス(SNS)のLinkedInをヨーロッパほか日本国外での人材採用に活用するという話を、日経新聞で読みました。LinkedInは、世界最大の社会人向けSNSです。本社はカリフォルニア州にあり、世界中で2億7,000万人以上のユーザーを有しています。人材を見つけて引き付けるうえで効果的な方法であることは間違いありません。

私自身は10年以上前からこのサイトを使っていますが、仕事を見つけるためではなく、在ヨーロッパの日系企業に勤める社員の連絡先を見つけたり調べたりするのが目的です。ただし、日本人社員や日系企業は概してLinkedInをあまりアクティブに使用していません。日本語バージョンも開設されていて、東京にも2011年以来オフィスが置かれているにもかかわらずです。

その理由は主にLinkedInが中途採用や転職のために使われていて、それ自体が日本ではまだあまり主流ではないからだろうと思います。実際、ヨーロッパでも、自分のスキルや経験を公開して、いかにも「就活中」のように見えてしまうことを嫌う人はたくさんいます。私が見たところでは、イギリス人とオランダ人はあまり抵抗感がないようですが、プライバシーを気にする(そしておそらくは英語でのコミュニケーションがあまり得意でない)ドイツ人とフランス人はやや消極的です。 

私の知り合いのドイツ人の多くは、ドイツのSNSのXingを使っています。とはいえ、ヨーロッパの人(さらにはトルコなどの新興市場にある多国籍企業に勤める人)はみんなLinkedInのことを知っていますので、転職を模索する際にはチェックするでしょう。

つまり、雇用主にしてみれば、スキルや経験に基づいて人材を探すだけでなく、魅力的な会社であると訴求するうえでも良いツールになるということです。 

LinkedInに自社のページを開設しようとする日系企業は、まず第一に「公式」ページであることをはっきりとさせる必要があります(個人が運営しているOB・OGのページなどと区別するためです)。そして、社員が自分のLinkedInのプロフィールを会社の公式ページにリンクするよう奨励します。 

ほとんどの場合、日系企業のページはすでに複数存在していることでしょう。これらを整理して、本社のページや各地にあるグループ会社のページなどをそれぞれ明確に示す必要があります。各地のグループ会社のページと本社のページを相互にリンクして、1つのグループであることを示すことができます。

これらの公式ページは、本社および各地の子会社のマーケティングまたは人事担当者が管理すべきです。会社の規模や事業内容などを含んだ紹介文を作成して、さらに自社のウェブサイトへのリンクも表示します。また、会社のイメージを反映した魅力的な視覚要素を使って「ブランド」を統一し、製品やサービスの説明、新着情報やニュースも追加して、使いやすく見せる必要があります。

会社のページが正しく運営されれば、「フォロー」する人が瞬く間に増え、新たな人材を引き付けるのに役立ちます。そればかりか、既存の社員も自分の会社がLinkedInで明確かつ魅力的なメッセージを訴求していることに共感して、今までよりもずっと満足度や忠誠度を高めてくれることでしょう。
 

I wrote this article in Japanese for the Teikoku Databank News and am about to deliver further seminars for Japanese expatriates in Europe, urging them to make better use of LinkedIn. It's invaluable not just as a recruitment tool, of course, but also for any B2B company, that wants to research its target customers and their executives. It's also worth encouraging customer facing employees to have professional profiles, not so that they can be lured away, but because clients may well check out the profiles of suppliers who are coming to pitch to them. As one Japanese bank executive recently confirmed, actually Facebook is more popular as a professional social network in Japan for professionals who are working multinationally.

WHY JAPANESE COMPANIES DON'T USE LINKEDIN (AND SHOULD)

By Pernille Rudlin, European Representative of Japan Intercultural Consulting 

I read in the Nikkei newspaper recently that Panasonic, Mitsubishi Estate and Rakuten are planning to make use of social networking site LinkedIn for recruitment outside Japan, including Europe. LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional networking site, based in California, with more than 270 million users worldwide, so it certainly represents an effective way to identify and attract new recruits.

I have been a member for more than 10 years, not to find a job, but to network with my European contacts in Japanese companies. It has been noticeable, however, that Japanese employees and Japanese companies in general are not very active on LinkedIn, even though LinkedIn launched a Japanese version and set up an office in Tokyo in 2011.

I assume this is primarily because LinkedIn is used for mid-career hiring and job seeking, which is still not a popular activity in Japan. Indeed, many Europeans dislike to display their skills and experience publicly, and signal thereby that they may be “for hire”. Based on my own analysis, the British and Dutch are not so cautious, whereas the privacy conscious (and possibly less comfortable in English) Germans and French hold back.

Many of my German contacts use Xing, a Germany based social networking site instead. However all Europeans (and people in multinationals in emerging markets such as Turkey) are aware of LinkedIn, and will take a look at it when they are considering moving to another company.

In other words, from an employer perspective, LinkedIn is a tool not just for searching for recruits based on skills and experience, but also for the company to present an attractive profile.

I recommend that any Japanese company reviewing their LinkedIn presence first of all ensure that the “official” company LinkedIn page is clearly labelled as official (to distinguish it from an alumnus site page run by an individual), and employees are encouraged to link their personal LinkedIn profiles to this official page. 

More often than not, there are several pages already existing for the Japanese company. This needs to be tidied up, so that there is a headquarters page (in English), and any regional company pages are clearly identified as such. It is possible to interlink the regional company pages to the headquarters page, to show they all belong to the same company family.

These official pages need to be managed by someone either in marketing or HR at the headquarters and regional subsidiaries. They need a description of the company, including size, activities and a link to the correct website. The pages also need to be “branded” to look visually appealing and reflect the company image. Use should be made of the facility to add descriptions of products and services and add news about the company.

If this is done correctly, then “followers” of company will swiftly increase, both from potential recruits and also current employees, who will feel much happier now their employer has a clear and attractive LinkedIn presence they can associate themselves with.

Japan Intercultural Consulting

Agile: What Japanese Companies Can Learn

agile.jpg

Agility.   It could be for your own internal corporate benefit of creating shorter development times, or,  to provide your customers with shorter lead times where they can hold onto their orders longer, thereby enabling them to read the market better. 

Developing internal capabilities to speed development are critical to establishing market share. 

Japanese companies, often thought of being able to refine and improve processes already in use, might be lagging in their ability to shorten initial development and lead times, and therefore risk not being able to compete with companies that are more agile, which are able to pass on to their customers the benefit of the company being quicker.

What Japanese companies can learn from Silicon Valley about speed and nimbleness

日本語版はHuffington Post「日本企業がシリコンバレーのスピードを身につける方」 

Rochelle Kopp
Oct 01, 2015

In my work as a consultant to the American operations of Japanese firms, one of the most frequent concerns I hear voiced by Americans employees is that the company acts too slowly. Decisions take a long time, and there is a lot of bureaucracy and busywork that gums things up. While multitudes of people are being consulted and thorough analysis is being done, windows of opportunity are closing and more nimble competitors get the edge. American employees, who often experienced more efficient ways of doing business in previous employees and are in vantage point to see close-up how differently local competitors are behaving, tend to feel particularly strongly about how their Japanese employers need to get more nimble. 

How to retain the good aspects of traditional Japanese management techniques while moving quickly and keeping up with today’s rapidly changing markets and instant flow of information I believe is one of the most important questions facing Japanese firms today. I hear about this dilemma from my clients across a wide variety of industries – from electronics companies to car manufacturers to pharmaceutical firms. It seems that Japanese firms are all wondering, how can we keep up and keep from being left behind, without sacrificing our souls? How can we respond to increasing demands from customers to bring out new models and designs quickly, while still retaining the approaches that made us successful in the first place? While trying to answer these questions, too many Japanese firms continue to muddle along doing things the same old, slow ways. 

From the standpoint of where I am in Silicon Valley, the contrast between how Japanese firms and their American competitors typically approach things is particularly stark. Firms here talk about “failing fast” and getting Minimum Viable Products out the door as quickly as possible even if they are not perfect. Rapid iteration is the name of the game and “blitzscaling” – the ability to grow a business at lightning speed – is the latest hot concept. Silicon Valley seems to have mastered the art of rapid innovation and change. 

Recently, I have come to believe that a potential source of salvation for Japanese firms lies in the very thing that threatens them most – the management techniques that enable Silicon Valley firms to move fast. Silicon Valley companies have become extremely adept at creating and building new products and getting them in the hands of customers quickly. And then rapidly gathering customer reactions and using it to improve the product. Firms using these techniques are disrupting markets, and if they don’t watch out Japanese companies are going to be among those that lose out. 

What most people don’t realize is that the techniques used by Silicon Valley firms – including scrum, kamban and The Lean Startup – have their roots in Japan. The difference is that Japanese firms don’t use these methods, or if they do it’s limited to manufacturing settings. What Silicon Valley firms have figured out is how to apply these productivity tools to the white collar knowledge work that is the key source of competitive advantage for most firms today – areas such as software development, product design, project management, and marketing. 

As I discussed in length in my book published in Japan earlier this year Creating Engaged Employees in Japan (coming out in English soon), Japanese firms are experiencing a crisis in productivity. I believe that Japanese firms can improve both their efficiency and their innovativeness by bringing things full circle and applying the approaches that Silicon Valley learned from Japan. Japanese firms desperately need to free their employees from the hierarchy and red tape that weigh them down, and enable them to apply their talents in a productive atmosphere. 

In trying to make changes, many Japanese companies are quick to look at American models, and often hire big American consulting firms to put in place “typical” American systems. But just adopting what many American companies do might not be the best choice for Japanese firms. Instead, it might make more sense for Japanese firms to look at America’s most competitive and cutting-edge firms, many of which are in Silicon Valley. These firms, which include Apple, Google, Facebook, and Netflix, demonstrate that it is possible to create organizational cultures and ways of working that are radically different from traditional American firms, and particularly different from traditional Japanese models. They show that progressive approaches, which tap into the power of motivation and engagement and effectively leverage the talents of white collar knowledge workers, lead to excellent corporate performance. I believe that these kinds of successful Silicon Valley firms are the ones that Japanese companies need to be looking to as models as they strive to revitalize the way they do business. 

As an analogy, consider the situation of many developing countries when they wanted to make phone services available to a wide population. Because they had never put in traditional wired telephone systems, they were able skip that stage to move directly to the most technically advanced mobile approach. This approach of skipping inferior, less efficient, or more expensive systems and moving directly to a more advanced one is referred to as leapfrogging, and that may indeed be the best approach for Japanese firms to take – rather than emulate the “typical” American firm, instead strive to incorporate elements learned from the very best examples. 

In an attempt to support Japanese companies in learning from Silicon Valley, in addition to my hands-on work as a human resource management and organizational consultant to Japanese firms doing business in Silicon Valley and throughout the U.S. as well as globally, I’m trying to help in other ways also. I’ve just published a book that explains the unique culture and business practices of Silicon Valley in Japanese. And this fall, collaborating with two other consultants I am presenting a seminar (both in Silicon Valley and Tokyo) for Japanese on how to apply Silicon Valley techniques like agile development and Lean Startup in the Japanese company context to achieve greater efficiency and swiftness. 

It’s been fascinating for me to talk with Japanese companies about how using Silicon Valley techniques can lead to changes in their organization. It’s not just about how the programmers write their code – it’s a whole different way of connecting with the customer and creating products that they will be delighted with. It’s about how co-workers communicate with each other (freely and openly), and how managers manage (lots of empowerment and no micromanagement). It’s about how different departments work together as one team. 

I’m excited to see what can happen when Japanese firms bring home techniques that had their start in Japan. Since the original concepts were Japanese, it stands to reason that Japanese firms should be able to apply them more effectively than anyone else. If so, in the hands of Japanese companies, the techniques of Silicon Valley could become very powerful competitive weapons indeed.