Top 10 complaints people have about new employees in Japanese companies

March 3, 2008

Generally in Japan, kids graduate from college in early Spring and then start working on April first. They generally need a lot of training in order to learn the right way to work. It’s not as crazy as people see on tv (like the scene in the first season of Heroes in which Hiro is seen being forced to do calisthenics on the roof of his company’s building). I hope people don’t believe it’s like that in reality. Anyway, Nikkei did a poll so I’ll translate the results. My commentary is in italics.

  1. They don’t do proper greetings. (It’s important to greet people when you see them or pass them… especially senior members of the company.) (519 votes)
  2. They don’t take notes and ask the same things over and over again. (432 votes)
  3. They can’t use respectful language properly. (It’s pretty hard but also a sign of good education if you can speak well.  Rather than think of it as this formal and strict language, think of it as taking the proper tone and  watching you wording  when talking to a superior or in a job interview.) (409 votes)
  4. They don’t properly take it upon themselves to do the little things that need doing around the office without being explicitly told to.. (Things like taking out the trash or making a fresh pot of coffee.) (300 votes)
  5. They can’t do “spinach” or “horenso” which is HOkoku – RENraku – SOdan. (In other words “report or comunicate” – “correspond” – “consult”… basically it’s a kind of Japanese way of talking about inter-office communication skills.) (297 votes)
  6. They repeat the same mistakes.
  7. They don’t respond properly. (This one is kind of non-specific but I think they are talking about young employees not understanding or responding properly to inquiries.) (267)
  8. They don’t apologize for their mistakes. (If you work in a Japanese business sometimes it’s best just to apologize and skip the “explanation” which ends up sounding like an excuse.) (257 votes)
  9. They don’t do anything unless they’re told explicitly. (I think this one also encompasses the idea that they are unable to work independently.) (220 votes)
  10. They are too proud and act like they know it all. (219 votes)

Here’s the story in Japanese if anyone’s interested. I paraphrase the title as “Say goodbye to thatstudent feeling – Freshman employees beware”