Complaints of Employees

■In every Japanese companies there are usually some employees who have some complaints about the organizational aspects of the company. As I have never been working in foreign countries, I would like to focus on Japanese companies here. In many cases we can divide the complaints of such employees into three categories: overload, insufficient skill and miscommunication. Overload means that there are not enough employees to fulfill the assigned tasks. Insufficient skill means that employees don’t have enough skill or knowledge to fulfill them. Miscommunication can be still divided into two categories: horizontal miscommunication and vertical miscommunication. Horizontal miscommunication is the miscommunication between different sections or departments, i.e. so called sectionalism. Vertical miscommunication is the miscommunication between boss and staff. When we would like to cope with these three sorts of complaints, the most important thing is that we must not try to cope with them directly. We must not immediately start thinking about countermeasures to each category of complaints. If we consider these complaints themselves as problems, it is simply wrong. The real problem is neither overload nor insufficient skill nor miscommunication. Every Japanese company has been struggling with these sorts of complaints for a long time. However, the companies didn’t have enough money to eliminate overload or educate every employee and increasing information prevented them from avoiding all miscommunication. They failed to eliminate such complaints. But they could survive in spite of employees’ complaints because they did not need to deal with such complaints. Why didn’t they have to cope with complaints? That’s because such complaints never grew into serious problem. Why didn’t such complaints about organizational aspects grow into serious issue? That’s because high motivation of employees prevent them from becoming serious problem. If the employees are highly motivated, the performance of employees still remains good even with some complaints. On the contrary, if they are demotivated, they can’t put up with small uneasiness and keep complaining about it until it is dealt with as a serious issue. So it is simply wrong to cope with the employees’ complaints by immediately planning countermeasures as long as they are demotivated. Such direct countermeasures can even do harm to their motivation because the employees feel controlled like a puppet. As long as Japanese employees feel controlled and are prohibited exercising their own creativity, their performance remains low in accordance with their complaints.