Firing and hiring versus rotating
In March 2009, we had 15 employees. In March 2019, we will have 80 employees. That is about five times growth in 10 years. In the same period, our revenues have grown about six times, so our revenue and workforce balance has been sound from a business standpoint.
A workplace in a growing business is exciting, but it hides a common issue human beings have. One of the unique things about our administration is that we have never fired any employee since we founded the company. We have been able to grow in a good pace, so everyone here also has enjoyed their personal growth. However, if you were at the same position and at the same group for a long time, you would get bored and your motivation might gradually go down. Getting stuck in a rut is the human beings' common issue that I mentioned above.
Keeping everyone's motivation up became one of our major challenges. We split the groups into smaller units and added positions such as unit leaders below group leaders. However, that was a creation of hierarchy; an easy solution to get out of a rut. However, hierarchy cannot be added endlessly since that would remove efficiency from our operation. On the other hand, we don't want to abandon employees just because they got into a rut. Therefore, we adopted the concept of "job rotation."
In the past few years, we have purposefully asked some employees to change their working place or group. Some were simply moved to another group. Some were swapped between Osaka and Tokyo. Some groups traded employees. Most of the changes had positive feedback. Not only their motivation went up, but also the changes stimulated the rest of the members in the groups and made them re-think their tasks.
Job rotation enables us to hold the well-known employees and to develop their capabilities in a mutually beneficial manner. On top of that, the company's attitude towards employees' job security also creates mutual trust. However, based on our experience, the company had to exceed a certain size. When we were smaller in size, less than 50, we couldn't afford the loss of key talent in certain groups occurring from job rotations. Once over 50 employees, we started to make job rotations, and by now, they are getting more effective. So, I conclude job rotation to be more suitable to our culture than firing and hiring.