Voice of Yamaha
On the journey to create a workplace and brand where people feel they belong, our dream and commitment are never-ending
Yamaha Group has approximately 20,000 employees in more than 30 countries around the world, across various entities including factories, sales offices, stores and artist services. To grow sustainably as a global company, we strive to maximize the potential of our diverse workforce by fostering a working environment and culture where people respect each other and can take on challenges together.
Towards this goal, Yamaha Group HR members around the world are leading changes at the global and local level, and one of these changes focuses on embedding diversity, equity & inclusion deeply into the organization. In these interviews, they share their journeys, and their vision for the future.
Ankita Batra, Yamaha Music Gulf FZE
Yamaha Music Gulf, where Ankita works, offers musical instruments and audio equipment and operates music schools in a vast region spanning the Middle East Gulf region and Africa. The team there is committed to the development of music culture, and their achievements have included the 2021 establishment of the first authorized music education facility in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Dubai, where the office is located, is an international city that attracts a diverse array of people. “For me, working in a such a multicultural environment is a very fulfilling experience,” Ankita said. She focuses on creating an inclusive culture to maximize the synergy of her team, made up of members from different backgrounds, and this includes organizing various team-building activities.
“One of the most impactful initiatives was an internal event which encouraged groups across the business from various cultural backgrounds to make music together, either by playing an instrument or singing. I received lots of positive feedback about the cooperation between teams and positive energy created, which fostered an openness to others, improved communication and synergy.”
It embodies how Yamaha, as a sound and music company, puts into practice its corporate philosophy of Sharing Passion and Performance with our employees and enables Make Waves moments where music brings people together beyond their differences.
Her vision is to share this multicultural approach with the wider Yamaha Group, and to help enable colleagues around the world to connect, inspire, and grow together.
Alexander Weckler, Yamaha Music Europe GmbH
Alexander also works in a highly diverse and international company across a wide range of markets. It has long been a link between Yamaha Group companies in Europe and encourages exchanges across countries and cultures. Having consolidated in 2010 and reborn as Yamaha Music Europe with a regional headquarters and branches in nine countries, international exchange has increased even more, along with the diversity and internationality of staff members working at each location.
“In this environment, Yamaha has always been a company open to all, regardless of ethnicity, nationality, age, gender, sexual orientation or culture. Respect for the diversity of people has always been the foundation, and providing opportunities for everyone to take on challenges is an important mission for me.”
This includes support for employees who changed lifestyle due to the pandemic, and the restructuring of job roles such as offering part-time management positions or sharing/splitting positions between part-time workers. German employee representative organisation The Works Council has formed a DE&I working group to promote DE&I among colleagues. At the same time, Alexander and his team nominate one staff member in each major branch to be a diversity & inclusion officer, who works closely together with HR to take proactive action at a local level. This comprehensive structure has been built into the Yamaha Music Europe HR medium-term plan and has gained the support of employees, and positive feedback that Yamaha is moving in the right direction.
By tapping the potential of talented employees even more, Alexander aims to contribute to the growth of the company as well as to supporting the personal and private development of each individual.
Ayako Ohta, Yamaha Corporation
In Japan, home to the headquarters of Yamaha Corporation, corporate DE&I has often meant complying with the laws governing the employment of women, the elderly, and people with disabilities. Despite this, Yamaha has always gone above and beyond for its employees, and our initiatives have increased and been enhanced as social awareness has changed.
Even before the pandemic, Ayako was leading development such as the establishment of an in-house nursery for working parents, proactive support for LGBTQ+ employees, and introduction of a work from home system. These efforts mirror Yamaha's strong belief that diversity is a source of value creation and corporate competitiveness, as stated in the Yamaha Group DE&I Policy.
“Making such changes is not always easy. In approaching established systems and organizational structures, I have sometimes faced conservative opinions and difficult debates about who should be prioritized.”
In such a challenging context, what motivated Ayako was the belief that everyone can be a majority and a minority, and that the most important thing in creating a better society is for everyone to make the most of their intelligence and imagination.
“If people can feel that Yamaha supports and embraces all, then the impact of even small steps can be a driving force to enable bigger changes. I would describe this process as creative.”
Ultimately, in an ideal world, Ayako hopes that what she is now working on will no longer be needed. Her mission is to impact the way people see the world, and in a future where that has been accomplished, DE&I will be natural.
Tracy Bargielski, Yamaha Corporation of America
Yamaha Corporation of America had been focused on the diversity of its workforce for many years prior to the topic becoming a priority more widely in 2020. In the US, where diversity in the workplace has been a topic of conversation for a long time, the value of these efforts are proven by the fact that whenever Tracy and her team ask employees what the best part of working for the company is, they say “the people”.
According to the employee DE&I survey in 2021, the overall score was 4.04 out of 5, and the highest-rated question (with a score of 4.27) was "I believe the company values me as an individual regardless of my social background." To achieve further employee fulfilment and organizational development through diversity, she is working with an employee-led DE&I Committee.
“What we have learned is that diversity without inclusion does not have a lasting impact. For this reason, we are focusing our efforts on embedding Inclusion into daily action. One of the ways we have done this is through the Core Behaviour Competencies. These are expected behaviours and employees are rated on them 90 days after joining Yamaha as well as annually. These are aligned with an inclusive behaviour model and are also part of the company's promotion and success planning processes.”
Tracy is convinced that proper DE&I is the result of myriad small actions and changes to our daily behavior. As a journey of continuous improvement, these mini impacts together create real change.
Thais Oliveira, Yamaha Musical do Brasil Ltda.
Yamaha Musical do Brasil (YMDB), where Thais works, is a relatively small company but is recognized for its strong ties to the wider community. Many initiatives led by Thais and her team have had a positive impact on employees and their families, customers, dealers and the local music community. One such initiative is the creation of music videos with employees and local musicians, to celebrate many types of diversity. A widely appreciated music video titled "Music is for Everyone" mirrors Yamaha's values of embracing the diversity and uniqueness of all people and empowering them - whoever they are, wherever they are - to Make Waves. Through such activities, Thais is successfully communicating to employees that we have the power to impact people around the world.
Realizing that “we are moving in the right direction as a brand and I am part of this change” is strongly motivating and engaging to her colleagues. To create a more organized approach, Thais made an annual DE&I calendar and took action together with an internal DE&I committee composed of diverse volunteers from all departments.
“Through these bottom-up initiatives, I feel that the company and its DE&I vision have changed. For example, I was the first female manager in Brazil 6 years ago, but now more than 30% of the leadership here is composed of women, and more are following. Next March, we will launch a local DE&I Journey - called "Equalize" - tied to the Yamaha Philosophy, to have all employees onboarded from the moment they join the team. Growing the awareness of our team is a key part of the YMDB Mid-Term Plan and we believe these initiatives strengthen our commitment as employees and as a company to ensure that respect and embracing of others are valued as essential.”
Her goal is to see Yamaha recognized as a brand that embraces everyone internally and externally, by sustaining and strengthening this virtuous cycle of engagement for employees and customers.
Yukiko Ohara, Yamaha Corporation
When Yukiko joined the Brand Marketing Group to work on the enhancement of Yamaha brand value at a global level, DE&I initiatives at Yamaha Group were already varied, but there was a lack of common understanding or an organized approach. When she moved to the Global HR Group, she observed the same situation with DE&I in the workplace. So her main focus was on how to make local actions global, and strengthen DE&I at the group level.
Cross-border collaboration has since been strengthened across brand and HR, and has led to the first global campaigns to celebrate diversity in music on International Women's Day, Pride Month etc., in addition to each group company’s DE&I Action Plan.
“By leading these initiatives, I have found that a number of my colleagues were intensifying their commitment to this topic around the world. Some are taking action for empowerment and equality in the music industry, and others are taking action to maximize the potential of their Yamaha colleagues. I am always inspired by and appreciate that passion.”
At the same time, DE&I became recognized by top management as an important mission for Yamaha Group, and highlighted in the new medium-term management plan ‘Make Waves 2.0’. This is testament that the company hears the voice of people. She takes the fact that DE&I has been given a continued place in her assignments across brand and HR as a credible sign that the company is committed to change.
“My dream is to drive this positive change further with a global team and make Yamaha an even better place to empower colleagues, customers, artists, music makers, sound engineers and all people around the world to Make Waves.”
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
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
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