Voice of Yamaha
Amplifying the power of colleagues: new growth and innovation through a fusion of inputs between employees across nationality, gender, generation, and beyond
In January 2021, Yamaha instated the “Sustainability Committee” to champion groupwide sustainability activities. Within this committee is the “Human Rights/DE&I Working Group,” which is tasked with promoting Yamaha Group’s DE&I initiatives across its group companies.
Mr. Yamahata, who leads the working group, sat down to discuss his vision and motivation for the subcommittee and articulate his message for Yamaha Group employees.
Why do you think that strengthening the group’s DE&I foundation is important in view of Yamaha’s business?
Our business is not only global, it should serve everyone: from kids to adults and beginners to professional musicians. Half of our customers are women. When considering the scale and the nature of our business activities and our customer base, it becomes obvious how important diversity is for our business.
But we must go deeper than surface-level diversity - seen in terms of nationality and gender, for example - since our ultimate goal is to spur our organization forward and drive new growth and innovation through a medley of contribution and communication from colleagues with different ideas. Diversity on this even more profound level may not be immediately visible. Diversity of ideas and values, too, can help us to establish a richer symphony of ideas, creativity, and value.
Can you discuss the long-term vision for bringing DE&I into fruition?
We introduced a new mid-term management plan, “Make Waves 2.0”, this quarter, with 3 key pillars. One of these pillars, is about amplifying the power of colleagues.
This is a ground-breaking initiative, and has sprung forth from discussion with many folks, including young employees and employees in our overseas group companies.
While our mid-term management plan traditionally focused on business activities, this time we have established 3 different key pillars: “further strengthening our business foundations,” “set sustainability as the source of value,” and “amplifying the power of colleagues.”
I think everyone can see from this pronouncement how important we believe it is to enhance the vitality of our organization.
Furthermore, the 3rd pillar about amplifying the power of colleagues is built around 3 core themes: “increase job satisfaction,” “promote respect for human rights and DE&I,” and “foster an open and egalitarian corporate climate that encourages challenges among employees.”
Regarding the promotion of DE&I, we have set specific KPIs, focusing on things such as the proportion of women in management positions.
These initiatives are undoubtedly important, but in terms of the long-term vision, we strive for the cultivation of new growth and innovation through a medley of contribution and communication from colleagues across nationality, gender, and generation. In other words, our ultimate goal is to maximize the vitality of our colleagues.
In order for us to achieve this goal, ensuring the psychological wellbeing of employees within our organization is crucial.
Make Waves 2.0 also articulates Yamaha’s aspiration to achieve a life of richness of the soul for people across the world through its business activities. How do the DE&I initiatives for Yamaha employees tie in to this?
At Yamaha, we use the term, “colleague” instead of employee. While “employees” refers to a person who belongs to a corporation, “colleague” connotes that the person is first and foremost an individual and a member of society, who also belongs to a corporation. I think that, certainly in Japan, the popular conception of someone who works as part of an organization has skewed heavily towards that of an “employee.” We feel that now is the time to reconsider the relationship among corporation, society, and individuals.
Just as we have established “sustainability as a fountain of value” as one of the 3 pillars of the new mid-term management plan, let’s shift our focus as a corporation from thinking solely about our own business or enhancing our corporate value, to contributing to society through our business activities – in other words, contributing to a life of “richness of the soul for people across the world”.
What is critical here is that enhancing corporate value and contributing to society are not conflicting pursuits, but that contribution to society through business activities would can certainly harmonize with corporate value.
We believe that many of you, our “colleagues,” are also thinking about how you can contribute not only to the corporation, but to the society at large.
Another important perspective here is how the growth of corporations can contribute to the growth of individuals. These also are not conflicting pursuits, and we believe that the growth of individuals can certainly harmonize with growth of the corporation.
It is important to maintain the balance of this relationship between corporation, society, and individuals in our implementation of our DE&I initiatives.
Reflecting on where Yamaha currently is in the journey, please tell us about the highlights and the message you would like to send to your “colleagues”.
We have only just embarked on our DE&I journey, and there are many plans and actions for us to activate.
Our highlight so far is establishing “amplifying the power of colleagues” as one of the 3 pillars of the new mid-term management plan, “Make Waves 2.0”, and including “respect for human rights and promoting DE&I” as one of the key themes under the pillar, championing its importance and our commitment towards its continuous reinforcement.
We, the management team, will implement various initiatives in accordance with this pillar, but we would like every one of you to make a conscious effort to engage in dialogue and contribute too. DE&I, in all its forms, is a critical factor in “amplifying the power of colleagues.”
Starting this year, we have also launched a global employee survey. In this survey are many ways to enhance meaningful working engagement and foster a collaborative environment. Of course, a DE&I component is included in the survey as well. We would like to ask everyone to review the survey results, engage in active dialogue, and craft initiatives towards “amplifying the power of colleagues.”
Voice of Yamaha
A future that connects us all through sound and music and where no one is left behind. Becoming a brand that creates heart-trembling, “Make Waves” moments
Voice of Yamaha
On the journey to create a workplace and brand where people feel they belong, our dream and commitment are never-ending