Business Implications

Questions to help guide strategy to navigate the 4 global realities of business today

Business implications

Embracing change: Japan’s core challenge is to intelligently evolve how to work

Corporate Japan has reached a pivotal moment. Business opportunities in Asian markets are expanding, while growth is slowing in European and US markets.

Challenges at home mount as the population ages and energy supply uncertainty grows. To survive in the fast-moving global currents, business leaders must be prepared to embrace change, as well as the risks that inevitably come with it.

Here are key questions Japanese corporations need to address to gain and sustain the competitive advantage.

Does your strategy recognise the changing domestic environment in Japan?
Your strategy and your product mix will need to match the realities of an ageing population and its dramatic effects on consumer needs and capital markets.

Is your organisation using capital efficiently?
If, as we project, the cost of capital starts to rise as Japan competes for foreign investment to buy its debt, operating conditions could change markedly in Japan. Moreover, if the company's cost of capital reflected an emerging markets base, you might think differently. And emerging markets are increasingly where you’ll be operating.

Japan: Export structure to China

Japan: Export structure to China

Source: Oxford Economics/OECN

Are you creating an environment where high-value people will want to stay and contribute? 
The opportunities for the best and the brightest to work where they want is growing, making competition for global talent fierce. Companies need to know what makes an employer attractive – be it compensation, risk-taking cultures or flexibility – to key segments of the workforce. Diversity is an important component of a world-class talent base. Bringing together employees from different backgrounds helps promote creativity and risk awareness.

What young professionals think

What young professionals think

Source: PwC, Millennials at Work: Rehaping the Workplace, 2011

What policies are effective in keeping highly qualified women in your workforce?
Women represent a great underutilised source of talent in Japan. But companies may need to change policies and cultures in order to hire, retain and motivate them. For example, greater flexibility in the workplace - ranging from hours worked to greater autonomy over tasks – are important to women, and increasingly, they are important to men too.

Japanese women represent a ready source of highly skilled talent.

Japanese women represent a ready source of highly skilled talent.

Source: Government survey, 2009; Catalyst; Sylvia Ann Hewlett et al., Off-ramps and On-ramps Japan, 2011
Note: Off-ramp is a leave from employment of six months or more

Do you have a clear view of pivotal roles within your business?
Understanding which roles that create (or destroy) disproportionate business value is a component of strategic workforce planning. Businesses can use engagement studies, for example, to identify barriers to high performance within specific groups of employees.