Companies

Global Yamaha keen on tapping non-Japanese talent

Murali Gopalan Mumbai | Updated on January 11, 2018

File photo of Yamaha Motor two wheeler factory in Chennai.   -  BusinessLine

Countries like India will lead the way in local R&D and catering to Africa

As Yamaha Motor looks at increasing its global presence in core businesses like motorcycles, it is also keen on changing its employee profile to fit in with the changing times.

This vision is spelt out clearly in the company’s 2016 annual report which was released last week. “We are working to build an organisation that utilises global experience and knowledge. We will recruit superior management personnel regardless of their nationality or place of birth, and aim to have local managers fill 60 per cent of management positions at overseas subsidiaries by 2018,” states the report.

“Furthermore, we are striving to further diversify our workforce by hiring non-Japanese managers at headquarters, promoting employment of non-Japanese personnel, and expanding on alternative work styles,” it adds.

Countries like India are already important for Yamaha in terms of its overall two-wheeler potential where it is already in the third place after Indonesia and Vietnam. By the end of this decade, it is widely believed that India will be right on top in the Yamaha global map and it is here that local talent will be tapped to take on more responsibilities.

Yamaha’s President & CEO, Hiroyuki Yanagi, had told Business Line during one of his India visits that he was keen on seeing more local R&D hiring happen. After all, he reasoned, if Taiwan headed the company’s global R&D headcount with nearly 250 personnel, there was no reason why India had to lag behind. “Indian R&D should be bigger than them,” Yanagi had said.

Beyond boosting local talent, Yamaha is also keen on farming out more global responsibilities to its Indian arm. While sourcing components for its overseas two-wheeler operations is only one side of the story, the bigger task on hand is to steer the Africa motorcycle story. The plan is to have motorcycles shipped out from India which could eventually see managerial talent from here spearheading the African operations.

According to the annual report, Yamaha also intends to double the number of its female managers by 2020 (from the 2014 level) and triple this by 2025. Interestingly, fellow Japanese automaker, Nissan recently announced that the component of its female managers had touched 10 per cent recently. This growing trend is welcome in countries like Japan where workplaces have largely been dominated by men.

This is equally true for India where more and more women professionals are coming into their own across cities and small towns. Mobility has played a big role in transforming their lives and it is here that Honda has led the way with its Activa while Yamaha, likewise, has joined the scooter parade. Reaching out to women commuters goes a long way in building a strong bond with a brand.

Yamaha has reiterated that as its business becomes increasingly global in scale, it is important to step up efforts in areas such as human resources development. “Moreover, to maintain continuous growth, we believe it is important that our workforce incorporates diverse viewpoints and values, reflecting different experiences, skills, and attributes,” states the report.

It is in this context that Yamaha set up a global HRD division at its Japanese headquarters in late 2015. The idea was to develop and implement common management development programmes around the world with global HR systems to train and hire talented staff.

Published on May 15, 2017

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