• Alternative form of staff development
• Free seats available at most functions
• Chance to apply skills with diverse crowds
As a member of the BCCJ Executive Committee with a focus on organisational efficiency and development, I believe many of our member companies and individuals may not be reaping the full benefits of their membership in the British Chamber of Commerce in Japan.
Many BCCJ partners may already know that free seats are available at BCCJ events for Entrepreneur, Corporate, Corporate Plus and Platinum members. Are you and your company taking advantage of this?
I would like to take this opportunity to discuss the additional advantages of this membership benefit. In particular, having staff attend chamber events is a great way to offer and promote employee development.
Exposure to many cultures
Global talent development, or gurobaru jinzai, continues to be a hot topic in Japan. The concept has been recognised by government, business and higher education leaders as one of the key challenges facing Japanese businesses, whether it applies to plans for expanding abroad or for building international partnerships on a domestic level.
The announcement of Tokyo’s selection as the host of the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games has also put the issue in focus. There is now a great deal of pressure on firms to speed up workforce development to enable staff to work more effectively in multicultural situations.
With this increased need for staff who can effectively function in multicultural teams, it is more important than ever to expose staff to situations in which they can mix with people of different nationalities and backgrounds.
Participation in multicultural networking events, such as those provided by the BCCJ, is one way to provide this type of exposure opportunity.
Often overlooked training tool
Talent development is not just about teaching new skills or imparting knowledge. It’s about developing a workforce that is better able to adapt to a future that promises increasingly rapid and unpredictable changes.
Classroom training has traditionally been seen as the standard for developing staff. However, more firms are now expanding their menu of growth opportunities to include coaching, mentoring, on-the-job-training, action learning and online learning, among other methods.
Among the training tools employed, peer networking or networking with other organisations are often overlooked.
Providing opportunities for staff to network and meet other individuals in either the same or different industries can expose them to new perspectives and ideas, which they can take back to the workplace to approach problem-solving in a more innovative manner.
A break from the normal working environment can also enable people to view business issues with fresh eyes and explore ways to address issues that might not have been apparent before.
Perhaps most importantly, networking is worthwhile because it allows staff to interact with, and learn from, a diverse group of individuals.
Such interaction helps people develop the skills to more readily adapt to an unpredictable future, thereby better positioning your business for long-term growth and success.
Applying skills in real time
The field of personnel development used to rely heavily on teaching new technical knowledge or soft skills.
However, personnel development goes beyond such traditional measures; it is also about providing opportunities for real-world practice of newly acquired skills or knowledge.
In addition, a core function of individual development relates to increasing self-awareness, or insight into one’s own strengths and weaknesses.
A healthy level of self-awareness enables people to take control of their own development and be more proactive about finding new learning avenues, rather than simply waiting for direction from their bosses or human resources.
Networking is valuable in that it allows staff to apply new competencies, such as communication strategies, with different types of people. It also is an opportunity to refine self-awareness, because individuals can observe how people from a wide variety of backgrounds respond to their personal communication style.
Last but not least, networking can lead to higher motivation among staff who attend events such as those organised by the BCCJ, as attendees feel more valued when their company provides opportunities for new experiences above and beyond the daily tasks at the office.
BCCJ members receive regular updates on upcoming events through various communication mediums, including our Weekly Round Up (WRU) sent via e-mail and notices on social media channels.
Try forwarding the WRU to your human resources or training and development department, and encourage them to consider BCCJ free seats as a new type of development opportunity that can complement the current training offerings for high-potential staff.