In Japan, companies are inundated with new recruits in April, at the beginning of each fiscal year. Dressed in their uniforms of white shirts and black suits, these “freshers” as they’re known in Japan, have had six months to settle into their jobs so far this year, and with that in mind, Japanese cross-marketing group D&M decided to take a look at how they’re integrating into the workplace with an online survey.
The survey asked 9,000 men and women over the age of 20 nationwide to answer the following question: “What are some of the things new recruits do that you’ve found astonishing or shocking?”
Let’s take a look at the results below.
8. They make company equipment their own private property
While taking a paper clip or a pencil home with you is one thing, according to the results of the survey, some new hires feel no shame in laying claim to more significant stockpiles, wiht several people commenting on the fact that they’ve seen new workers go up to the copy machine and take piles of paper home with them.
7. They nod off
In Japanese workplaces, employees slot into hierarchical kohai (“junior”) and senpai (“senior”) roles, which are vitally important in maintaining good working relationships. Given that it’s easy to get sleepy after lunch or in a hot office, it’s not unusual to see some senior employees nodding off at their desk during the day, but for a new employee, who’s at the very bottom of the hierarchy, nodding off during the day is a big no-no. One respondent recalled the moment he and his colleagues had to go searching for a new hire who went to the toilet and didn’t return for two hours. Sure enough, when they found him, he was fast asleep on the toilet in the restroom on another floor.
6. Instead of using the phone they use apps like Line to communicate
Sure, technology has progressed rapidly over the years, but that doesn’t mean you can use a messaging app like Line to communicate in the workplace. Some respondents say they’ve been shocked when new workers text messages via Line to let their superiors know they won’t be coming in to work. According to workplace etiquette, messages like this need to be conveyed over the phone, leaving Line for use amongst friends only.
5. Their actions are puzzling
Young employees are said to do some weird things in the workplace, including things that are so taboo you’d think they should know better. One respondent said he totally lost it when he was giving advice to a newbie and they started eating a pack of candy right in front of him. Another gripe is the fact that a lot of new recruits act nonchalant when they’re late, saying things like “The train was delayed, but I left home on time so I wasn’t late, the train was late.”
4. Their excuses for things are mind-boggling
While many people appreciate honesty, when it comes to explaining reasons for being late or taking the day off, sometimes honesty isn’t always the best policy. One new hire told her superior she wouldn’t be able to come in to work because she broke up with her boyfriend, while another said he couldn’t meet his deadline because he had to spend more time out at lunch after it it took a while for him to receive his lunch order.
3. They’re late or absent from work without notice
This is one that is likely to enrage people, no matter what country you’re from. In Japan, where people usually don’t take all their annual leave out of politeness and concern for the rest of the group, tardiness and absenteeism is not easily forgiven, especially when it’s accompanied by a lack of notice or concern.
2. They don’t do greetings
Another thing that’s incredibly important in Japanese culture is the act of greeting one another, particularly when you’re in the kohai position. Drilled into them from a very young age, students are instructed to give a loud and lively Ohayoo gozaimasu (“Good morning”) or Konnichi wa (“Good day”) to teachers and superiors. In the workplace, this type of behaviour is also expected, and will always put you in the good books with your colleagues, but many new recruits seem to forget their manners, which gets on everyone’s nerves.
1. Their expressions
At number one on the list of astonishing behaviours of new recruits is the types of expressions they use. While it might be okay to shorten words like arigato gozaimasu (“Thank you”) to zamaasu while out with your friends in a causal setting, some new employees shock everyone at work by using this slang to their superiors and section heads. No matter how easygoing your senpai is, in a Japanese work environment, respect and formalities like a nice, polite “thank you” are of paramount importance.
So there you have it, the top 8 astonishing things that new recruits do in the workplace. Have you ever done any of these things while working in Japan? Or have you been the one rolling your eyes at your kohai’s behaviour? Let us know in the comments section below.
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