Junior Employee Overseas Training Program Participant Interview
Did your thinking or actions change after returning to Japan?
Before I went on the program, I couldn’t figure out why the overseas staff seemed so slow at their jobs. After going on the program, I understood that they have their own pace, and that they will deliver if I am patient, because we have a trust relationship. I also learned that overseas manufacturers make so many requests because of the uniquely harsh demands placed on cars in their country or area, such as heat, cold, and bumpy unpaved roads. I had heard about this from senior employees, but it’s hard to understand until you’ve experienced it.
Now, I think about how to communicate to staff to encourage them to act, with an understanding of the local situation. And I make sure to advise my Japanese colleagues on overseas negotiations based on my experiences.
My biggest gain was learning that local companies each have their own approaches and situations. What seems obvious at Aisin may not be obvious at a local company. I make sure to communicate this to my supervisor and colleagues, and offer suggestions that lead to improvements in workflow and building trust relationships with local staff.
Previously, I thought communication was mainly performed using words. Going on this program made me realize that words aren’t enough to get a point across. While I was there, I made presentations, drew pictures, and used any way I could find to communicate. That gave me a sense of what communication really is, and I now feel that this effort is also needed for full communication between Japanese people as well.
I worked with staff of all different nationalities while I was there. In that environment, I felt that everyone was conscious of how to create a comfortable workplace. After returning to Japan, I’m taking action to make a workplace everyone can enjoy.
After I returned to Japan, I actually changed departments, and now I’m doing overseas work, which was my dream. My main duties are designing specifications for a global production management system and deploying it to overseas locations. I think about how work should be performed in countries with a different approach to work than Japan. Everything I gained from my overseas training has been helpful. I’m so glad I went.
Mr. Suzuki went to a new workplace, but I returned to my original department. But because I’ve been on this program, I’ve made a special effort to take on international work. Our department had not had any international transactions up until then, but now we have business partners in India and the USA.
One change for me was that now I can give advice to junior colleagues in a way that helps them have their own realizations, rather than just teaching them in a one-sided way. Also, my supervisor told me I’ve developed my patience, possibly because it was tested overseas (laughs). I also feel that I’ve gained the ability to lead a variety of people involved in my work.
What do you think Aisin’s strengths are?
Aisin has created an environment where employees can grow, including this overseas training program. Also, our working hours are strictly controlled (laughs).
I think Aisin’s strength is its encouragement of taking on new endeavors. If you have a clear goal and speak up about it, the company will respond. Also, the environment nurtures a spirit of challenge, with the Junior Employee Overseas Training Program, but also the Job Rotation System and more.
You’re exactly right. The company culture is very generous toward new initiatives. For example, say you have a vision of working abroad. At Aisin, we have the Junior Employee Overseas Training Program, but we also have a short-term business trip course. You can take advantage of these programs to build up your experiences and track record and bring you closer to a chance of being posted abroad.
Along with this challenge-focused company culture, Aisin also puts individuals in charge of their own work from a young age. While it is a lot of responsibility, it feels worthwhile because I can think and act for myself, and growth is guaranteed. People who find this environment enjoyable will be a good fit at Aisin.