Friday, October 25, 2013

Japan Part 2 - Work Life

During our tour of Japan, we were fortunate to spend a day in Tokyo with some local business owners. This was a great opportunity to learn more about employee culture, work ethics, and happiness at work. 
A highlight of the day ( other than the fantastic lunch) was each business made a presentation about their culture at work and how employees are motivated. Some interesting stories arose on the topic of "social drinking " as part of the company culture. What we learned was many employees started work as early as 6am and finish work at 6-8pm. Then they go out after hours several times a week with coworkers and managers for social drinking time and karaoke. This practice was considered part of the job and the workers who didn't participate didn't grow with the company. Wow, that really is dedication to the company and limits work life balance by our standards but seems to work for them. 
Another story was about hiring sales people. One company would send new sales people out to call on businesses and bring back 70 business cards per day. If the sales person couldn't bring back 70 cards, the sales person would just not return to the office, they would quit out of honor. 
There seemed to be an extremely strong sense of honor and pride for not disappointing the company they work for and as a result there were interesting dynamics that we just would not usually see in North America.