lifestyle

Boot camps and desertion in the mountains among the ways Japanese companies train new recruits

10 Comments

There appears to be a generational shift in the workforce of Japan recently. New additions to companies labelled as “monster recruits” in the media, along with a reported 30% of new employees quitting in three years, are leading organizations to look into new ways to protect their human resource investments. Many of the following training methods have been carried out for decades but have been steadily growing in popularity among Japanese companies.

Boot Camp

Japan’s Self Defense Force plays host to around 100 organizations annually submitting a total of 2,000 members to all the fun and enjoyment that enlisting in the military can bring. You can bet there are plenty of push-ups, sit-ups, and 3-km runs over their two-night course.

However, in addition to the grueling physical pain inflicted on new office workers they can learn valuable skills such as CPR and applying a tourniquet. It’s exactly these kinds of skills that businesses like Hokuetsu Bank, The Bank of Saga, and many, many more are looking to hone in their freshest faces.

Dance Camp

Some other companies take a different track with training new recruits by making them sing and dance rather than cauterize wounds or hike 13 km. While sometimes this lively show is intended to simply promote team harmony some employers have deeper intentions.

This style of training does bring something interesting to the table: "yuru-kyara."

"Yuru-kyara" are the fascinating costumed mascots of districts all over Japan. For the few lucky employees of Tokushima City government, an annual dance class is held to learn the traditional Awa Odori (dance) alongside their own mascot Tokushii. The aim is for the city employees to become more familiar with the dance which is deeply connected to the prefecture they represent.

Pilgrimage Training

You might think joining baby goods maker Combi as a salesperson would be a cushy gig. At least you would until they confiscate your mobile phone and drop you deep in the mountains for three days with only a map.

Called pilgrimage training, it is meant to focus a new recruit’s mind on a single goal (getting out of the mountain) and achieve clarity of thinking. It’s also said that walking up steep mountain paths sharpens your “human power.”

Combi’s not alone in pilgrimage training either, with reportedly over 100 companies in Japan adopting the method. Some say it’s part of a larger trend in businesses who are looking more for real-life experience than theoretical knowledge. Good to know all that money spent on university was worth it.

Training by App

Some companies are attempting to “speak the language” of younger recruits by providing them with a helpful app that coaches them through the proper business etiquette. The details of the app probably varies from company to company, but next time a new employee isn’t sure whether to pick their nose and wipe it on a co-workers face, they can consult their handy app.

It’s a win-win situation as companies don’t have to waste time and money on training the basics of business behavior, and the employees don’t have to endure the shame of being lectured on it. It also incorporates challenges and staff rankings for motivation.

So far, employee response to the app has been positive with one commenting, “It’s great! I don’t feel like I have to do it.”

Tea Time

If you’re the type who thinks long walks in the mountains and dancing with people in animal costumes is beneath you, you may want to look into a position at the Sayama City Municipal Government. This city offers its workers training in their regional specialty Sayama Tea.

During the course, workers are taught proper pouring techniques to maximize flavor. For example, did you know when pouring two cups of tea, the water should be at a higher temperature than if you were only pouring one? That’s just one of the fascinating tea facts you can learn as a city employee here.

Those are just some of the tangential training techniques used by Japanese employers to deal with a changing generation of employees.

Source: Naver Matome

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- Does Japan really need company drinking parties? -- Best bosses in the world? Three company presidents adored by their employees -- Business Law of Nature: 20% of Employees Sink, 20% Swim, 60% Kinda Just Float Along

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10 Comments
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What a demeaning waste of time for all concerned.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Not necessarily. These are usually done as team building exercises, and for the non-cynical, when done correctly they can form a good team bond. The cynical will always think it's demeaning, and these types of activities can also help filter them out, keeping the poison out of a company. It ends up being a win-win situation for everyone... except the cynical.

0 ( +2 / -3 )

This sort of thing would not be legal outside of Japan. The companies in Japan have way too much encroachment on personal lives of the workers, way more than what companies in other countries can get away with. Not so different than forcing kids to clean school toilets, is there? Another proof that the Meiji and Showa era militarist practices still live on in Japan.

-11 ( +1 / -12 )

they confiscate your mobile phone and drop you deep in the mountains for three days with only a map

What could possibly go wrong? I do hope that, in addition to the map, they give them adequate food, clothing and a tent, although that would probably be seen as "soft" in Japan.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Strangerland One has to be careful about these. I'm not saying they can't be team-building exercises, but one has to be very careful of those "pilgrimages" and "boot camp" tactics. Still, if they are only for the initiation, I think I can accept them if after this I don't have to put up with BS like nomikai or unpaid overwork.

@Thomas Your views on cleaning the school aside, it is a very grey zone as to how far a company's power to 'order' a subordinate should be allowed to go.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

This sort of thing would not be legal outside of Japan.

Yes it would. Team building retreats are quite common overseas.

2 ( +3 / -2 )

Thomas AndersonApr. 19, 2014 - 10:45AM JST This sort of thing would not be legal outside of Japan. The companies in Japan have way too much encroachment on personal lives of the workers, way more than what companies in other countries can get away with. Not so different than forcing kids to clean school toilets, is there? Another proof that the Meiji and Showa era militarist practices still live on in Japan.

You should have seen our annual paintball game against the marketing department back home. Then we'd crack open a couple of beers, fire up the bbqs and talk business strategy late into the night.

I doubt the people stranded on the mountainside came back to the office on Monday with bruises all over their bodies.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Yes Paintball is awesome way for team building games, leadership games and it is also fun. I would recommend everybody

0 ( +1 / -1 )

One day, my kids and I were driving in the hills and came across a "pretty resort" complex. Curious, we drove in and saw pairs of people scattered around the grounds. To our surprise, the conversations were loud, shouting. I rolled down the windows to hear:

A: You are a stupid, sniveling, good-for-nothing loser and I am ashamed of you!! B: Yes, I am a stupid, sniveling, good-for-nothing loser and I am ashamed of myself!!

Needless to say, my two impressionable young'uns decided never to enter a Japanese company. Hope things have changed......

1 ( +1 / -0 )

and we wonder why bullying of some form or another is such a feature of Japanese life from cradle to grave.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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