Foreign owned companies in Japan dominate the 2014 ranking of Great Places to Work in companies with over 1000 employees, with Microsoft Japan taking the top spot, American Express at #3, Prudential Life Insurance at #5, Eli Lilly at #6, DHL at #8, and Morgan Stanley at #10. (Report in Japanese, subscription only, here)
The Japanese companies in the top 10 were more of the “non-traditional”, start up type – Works Applications (a software company) at #2, Cyber Agent (internet advertising, globally active but not in Europe) at #4, Disco (recruitment) at #7 and Nikken Sekkei (architectural firm, established 1900, so the granddaddy of the group)
You could argue that Western companies and non-traditional Japanese companies are bound to do best against a set of criteria developed by a Western company like the Great Place to Work Institute. The criteria include whether the employees trust the management of the company, are proud of the work they do and feel a sense of unity with their colleagues, as well as various questions about male/female diversity, benefits, and corporate culture.
There’s also an element of self-selection – this survey is relatively new to Japan (indeed, we often have problems trying to explain the concept of “employee engagement” to Japanese managers) so only 209 companies actually applied to be rated. Those companies confident of doing well, or who have already been through the process in other countries, would be more likely to apply it seems to me.
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