During a Q&A session at The 73rd Annual General Meeting of Shareholders, Nintendo President, Satoru Iwata, announced that he doesn’t believe in staff layoffs or downsizing during periods of economic difficulty. Particularly outside of Japan, it is not unusual for employees in the game industry to be faced with redundancies as part of business restructuring. However, while there are many possible reasons why a company may need to shed some weight, Mr. Iwata emphasised that he is strongly against such an approach.
Mr. Iwata commented that in a business such as the game industry, where there are clear loss and profit cycles, it is easy to believe that reducing staff will boost finances and steer a company towards economic growth. However, he then went on to add that while this may be true in the short-term, such measures only serve to reduce staff morale and increase feelings of long-term insecurity in the workplace. Mr. Iwata also comments that at Nintendo, each and every worker has his or her own special skill set, making Nintendo the thriving company it is.
Iwata said that he was skeptical about evaluating staff based on performance alone, suggesting that it would do little to strengthen the company in the long-term. In order to make software that really appeals to consumers, it is also important to consider the well-being of the workers. Of course, an enterprise as successful as Nintendo expects its staff to be creative as well as possess high levels of technical and specialist knowledge.
But what can’t be overlooked is the company’s strong focus on developing and realizing the potential of its workers. Thinking about how Nintendo has placed emphasis on entertaining the whole family with its video games for generations, it kind of makes sense that those who work at the company would also be looked after and nurtured as though they were part of a big family.