What is the new normal in organisational management post-COVID-19?
In light of unprecedented times, companies have been experiencing unforeseen challenges and have been trying their best to adapt to new ways of working. While organisations try to ensure that there is minimum impact on its business, it is inevitable that the pandemic has affected many companies in shaping their future organisational management strategy.
As recruitment specialists within Science, Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), we know that there is no better time to strategise about return-to-office plans after this state of emergency is lifted in all areas of Japan. Are we going back to business as usual pre-pandemic? Or are we looking at the current new normal where flexible ways of working are further adopted?
Virtual round-table with key leaders within STEM industries in Japan
Held on the 27th of May 2020, SThree Japan hosted a virtual round-table, inviting Kenji Tsunoda, Country Manager of Talend, Akiko Murakami, Director HR APAC of TECAN, and Shohei Ichisaka, HR Manager of Microsoft Japan, who shared their thoughts on their respective people strategy post-COVID 19 that they will be considering for their company. Please see the detailed bio of the panelist from here.
Below is a summary of some of the key points discussed during the webinar. You may also choose to watch the recording of the webinar here:
What were the main changes that occurred in your organisation to adapt to the COVID-19 situation? Were there any unforeseen challenges?
Tsunoda highlighted that one of the biggest challenge for a tech company like Talend is the commercial aspect to every business – sales. With more clients working from home, it has been challenging and difficult to reach them though digital means and contacting them via phone. Another unforeseen challenge includes customers reducing their budgets for technological innovation.
On another note, Murakami shared that their challenge was more on embracing new mindsets. She highlighted that people also tend to work in a survival mode – which involved asking questions like ‘how can we do it’. What business should focus on is to change this way of thinking, and understand instead on how we can change to make things work and be productive.
There are four phases to natural reaction – React, Respond, Reconnect, Reimagine – in which Murakami shared examples to each in the recording. At the end of the day, businesses will need to innovate to understand how they can continue to thrive post-COVID-19. Leaders will also need to continuously take the initiative to prioritise employees’ well-being too.
Is the push by the Japanese Government the main factor to go completely remote? Will more companies adopt or continue with a “remote offering and onboarding” approach post-COVID?
With the preparation of Tokyo Olympics in Japan, remote working and digital offerings have always been the forefront for businesses to adopt and adapt. Nonetheless, the speakers agreed on the notion that they are individually driven to promote remote work in their own ways.
Murakami made a point that as a working mother herself, flexible work offerings gave her the opportunity to balance her work and responsibilities at home and she hopes that every woman out there is given this flexibility as well.
“Japan is behind especially in embracing women within the workforce compared to western counterparts. I want to open the doors for women like me to have flexibility whilst bringing value to the company. Now is the perfect time for Japan to adapt to change. If not now, when?” – Murakami
Ichisaka highlighted that there needs to be a refocus on productivity with a diverse and inclusive culture in mind. Companies need to be open in providing flexible workstyles not just for parents, but for everyone in order to embrace diversity and inclusivity in a large organisation. In terms of onboarding, managers however are having difficulties in making the final decision to hire a candidate.
On the flipside, as Talend only houses 25 employees, it was easier for them to enforce and manage remote working internally. In terms of onboarding, Tsunoda highlighted that remote interviews and remote working is going to be a new standard. Local Japanese companies may not be in the position to do this, but they should be encouraged to adapt or they will end up being a laggard in the industry.
Will micro-management of employees limit or enhance the productivity of your staff?
In Japan, organisations tend to be more hierarchal compared to American or European counterparts in terms of management structure and the speakers covered the double-edged sword of micro-managing employees today.
On one end of the spectrum, Murakami understands that micro-management limits productivity of staff, and more autonomy should be given. She mentioned that we need to build a community of self-starters by allowing them to make their own decisions. However, she notes that this comes with huge responsibilities and that trust will be key.
On the same note, while micro-management tend to sound negative, Tsunoda stated that it is a new process which can help sales employees work efficiently. It gives people a guideline to follow, especially when it comes to tracking and forecasting sales results.
Ichisaka neatly wrapped up both points and concluded that there are two tales of truth – and Microsoft implements both hierarchy and autonomy. It depends on the type of management and evaluation of performances in a team – be it performance-based or result-based.
Ultimately, people who cannot adapt to change will have a more difficult career progression in the new normal. Management should not only focus on results, but the overall growth of individuals. Businesses will also need to be aware of the culture that they are building in the long run.
Does your organization require support for business continuity?
What are your organisations return to work plans? What traditional company practices will be made obsolete post-covid-19? Watch the recording to find out how and what will SThree, TECAN, Talend and Microsoft be implementing.
If your organisation requires any recruitment support, feel free to contact us via the contact form below. If you are looking for the next step in your career, then keep an eye on our live roles or upload your CV to ensure you’re considered for your next suitable role.