Japan firms aim to motivate staff, reduce turnover

Retailers and restaurants in Japan are adopting new methods to motivate their workers and reduce turnover amid a severe labor shortage.

Major convenience-store chain Seven-Eleven Japan started an in-house contest on customer-service skills in 2023.

This year, selected workers from outlets across the country competed to show how well they can improvise to serve customers using appropriate language.

The company evaluated their performance and gave awards. The aim is to make employees key to running the stores feel more motivated. It is also to train young staff better, so they do not leave to go and work elsewhere.

Iguchi Shinichi of Seven-Eleven Japan said, "If we can increase the number of employees from a particular store taking part in the competition, it could lead to more people wanting to work there."

Meanwhile, noodle chain, Marugame Udon, is offering workers the chance to gain certification.

Applicants take a written exam on what they know about noodle making. They are also tested on 100 practical skills.

Company officials say the job turnover among certified staff is only about one-tenth the rate for those without certification.