The Fruits of our New College Graduate Training Program
■Our hiring process in taking in five new college graduates
November 2020. During a management meeting, we decided to begin hiring new college grads.
COVID-19 has been spreading since January 2020, and sales in April to May dropped by 50% compared to the previous year, but the number of car exports was gradually going back to our previous numbers.
During the management meeting, there were comments such as“How are they going to be trained?” and “It’s more helpful to us if we hire people who can get to work immediately.”I thought of two things as we began the new college grad hiring process.
The first was revitalizing the company. About ten years have passed since our company was established. Our employees then were mainly my school friends, relatives, and mid-career hires made through major recruiting companies. We were in our 20s to 40s then, but the age groups have since shifted to those in their 30s to 50s.
While I believe it is good to have many employees who will work for the long-term, I felt our organization was in a bit of a rut. I thought that bringing in new college grads who will grow during a short period of time will greatly revitalize the company and help in its continued, significant growth.
My second idea was securing young and international human resources living in Japan. Our industry easily overlaps with the aviation and travel industries in terms of language skills and cross-cultural adaptability. As you may know, both industries have limited their hiring because of travel restrictions worldwide in 2020. We decided to hire such people because hiring those who are very interested in overseas travel is a win-win for them and for us.
■A 300-page training manual prepared by the company president for new college grads
In hiring new college grads, the company exerted the most effort in the training program. The five new grads who joined the company on April 1 underwent a two-week (80-hour) training program. The curriculum included business etiquette, logical thinking, explanations of the company departments, basic knowledge, and a port tour in cooperation with a transport company in Hakata and the Port Authority.
It may have been hard for the new grads to absorb all of that new information at once, but I am thankful to our employees who prepared training materials while doing their usual tasks, and I think it was a good experience for them.
Of course I also played a part in the new graduate training program. It took about 30 hours, and I made 300 slides. Specifically, I clearly conveyed what kind of company I wanted our company to become, based on questions such as “Why do I have this company?,” “Why did I choose this name for the company?,” and “What kind of company do I want to turn it into?”
Out of about 3.6 million companies in Japan, I want the people who joined our company to be highly motivated for work, and it was necessary for me to share my philosophy and goals with them as “fellow passengers in the same boat.”
At this point, I believe in their success more than anyone else, and I hope in three years they will have grown into different people and will be working as key members of our company.
We also covered technicalities such as the value our current business is providing, the approach we are using (theory of constraints) in creating services, and how to create business (services). On my part, organizing my thoughts and philosophy was meaningful. In the future, we will also adopt a similar training program for our current employees.
■The effects of bringing in new college grads
As I intended, I feel that hiring new grads has had a certain effect in revitalizing the company.
Having been full-fledged working members of society longer, there are now employees who raise their eyes to look at the person they are speaking to while conversing. Because of the training program, the company has also made progress in verbalizing and systemizing aspects of the company that have been merely intuitive.
For example, the definitions of the words we use within the company have been standardized, and we have also made progress in eliminating lapses and duplicates in the company’s operations.
Moreover, with this hiring of new college grads, a new human resources department responsible for recruitment, training and revitalization has been formed, which has led to the establishment of a personnel assessment system and the adoption of an intra-company training system.
Up until now, only some employees who have performed very well are recognized, and self-improvement was left to each employee.
By establishing an assessment system for gradual success, and by offering a qualification program in line with company policy, some employees have changed the way they tackle work because it is now clear how they could work harder.
While there may have been employees who reacted adversely to the adoption of such systems, and having new hires joining our company in a chaotic state, I am truly grateful to our human resources team for persistently implementing all kinds of measures.
We will continue to overhaul our organization, and we will make our human resources team one of our strengths. There are only a few companies in the used car export industry that have a specialized human resources department, and one of my goals is to share our know-how in making our HR team into a successful case study.
Thank you for your time.