Under normal circumstances, British companies would be welcoming their new graduate recruits in September. This year, many big employers have cancelled or delayed their recruitment schemes and internships because of the coronavirus pandemic. More than a quarter of British companies will be hiring fewer graduates, according to a survey in March 2020 by the Institute of Student Employers.
Nonetheless, some companies are still hiring or making plans on how to welcome new staff. There is a high likelihood many of the new employees will have to work from home, so companies are having to think creatively about how to make them feel like a member of the team.
A new employee at a British law firm was delighted that her employer sent her not only a laptop and other equipment for working from home, but also a welcome pack that contained items such as a company branded water bottle and backpack. She said it made her feel part of the team when she saw other employees drinking from the same bottle or pulling files out of the same backpack on a conference call Another company sent a new recruit branded face masks, a home baking kit and a pot plant.
Companies are also being creative about the content of the induction for new staff. They show videos of the office or send employees lunch vouchers so they can have an informal lunch with their new boss over a video call.
This could be a great opportunity to make employees across the world feel part of their Japanese company. Japanese headquarters could show new hires videos of their offices in Japan or aspects of Japanese culture.
The lunch with colleagues could be bought with a voucher for a delivery bento box. Maybe there could be some global virtual karaoke sessions – although with the different time zones this could be an uncomfortable experience if some are joining in early in the morning and others late at night after a few drinks.
It’s also a business opportunity for Japanese manufacturers. Some of the best designed and made pens, diaries and notebooks I have owned during my career have been Japanese corporate ones. Japanese mascots and plushies are loved worldwide – so this could be the time to design a friendly company mascot that employees can place on top of their desk. Some employees might even welcome company uniform items like shirts, T shirts, ties and scarves. It could help them draw a clearer boundary between their work lives and their private lives, even when they are working from home.
Virtual designs for use on the computer would be good too – not just screensavers and wallpaper but also virtual backgrounds for conference calls. However, this means the technology welcome kit will also have to include a green screen for placing behind the head, otherwise employees’ hairstyles will merge into the corporate branding, which might be going a step too far in making new recruits feel part of the company.
This article was originally published in Japanese in the Teikoku Databank News on 9th September 2020
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