The London-based subsidiary of one of Japan’s largest banks has regular cross-border contact with colleagues, clients and regulators in Japan and needs these interactions to work as effectively and smoothly as possible. This requires high levels of cultural fluency and understanding across the entire multi-cultural team based in the UK.
The company sees cultural understanding and fluency as such a key skills for employees that it has made this topic a mandatory element within its first-year induction programme. It recognises the fact that cultural misunderstandings can be one of the biggest causes of internal and external inefficiencies and is determined to ensure employees always have this topic on their radar screen.
All employees are expected to attend a ‘Working with Japan’ training session which is an introduction to some key Japanese concepts which will help them navigate their cross-border relationships more successfully. The programme also focuses on communication challenges and ways to overcome these when interfacing with Japan.
The bank becomes more successful across its international operations every year and continues to develop a workforce which respects and acknowledges the cultural differences within the global organisation. The bank also runs reverse programmes for Japanese expats who are sent to work in London.