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How We Bolstered All-Employee Meetings

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Introduction

Hello, I am Aritome from the Development Support Division at KINTO Technologies Corporation.
I am currently working mainly in the areas of organizational development, and education and training in order to address what is necessary for the company in a quick and agile manner.

<The Topic of This Article>

KTC holds a monthly Development and Organization Headquarters Meeting in which all employees (employees, contract employees, and temporary employees) participate. Today, I will talk about the twists and turns of the meeting.
Some of you may be thinking, 'Hey, this is a Tech Blog, but this content isn't technical at all!' However, I want to assure you that I'm writing this article from our Osaka Tech Lab. So, even if the content might not seem technical, the place where I'm writing it is definitely tech-related!
Also, I talk with various companies because of my work, and I feel that every company is worried about people and team building, including topics like building an organizational culture and retaining employees. I believe that making products means making people!
I hope this will be a reference for those who are also struggling to build their organization.

<What is a Development and Organization Headquarters Meeting?>

KINTO Technologies Corporation's Development and Organization Headquarters Meetings started in July 2021, before I joined the company, with three departments announcing their respective initiatives in something similar to an in-house LT meeting. According to the minutes of the meeting at the time, there were about 160 participants... (We have grown considerably as a company and now have more than 330 employees.)
The meeting has been held once a month since then. Each month, Kageyama, our Executive Vice President, gives a presentation, and two or three divisions talk about their activities in a LT (Lightning Talk) format. After that, one of the divisions gets a Kageyama Award. Kageyama gives a complimentary prize.

<Why is the Development and Organization Headquarters Meeting Held in the First Place?>

  • At first, we had a rigid culture in which the departments had a vertical structure and did not share information much,
  • As we were in the business launch phase, we were very busy with practical work that we had to prioritize, and we put building a corporate culture on the back burner
  • As the number of employees increased, so did the distance from Vice President Kageyama and the rest of employees.
    Due to the launch of the business during the COVID-19 pandemic, there were few chances to meet offline, and the company wanted everyone to communicate with each other at least once a month.
    Originally, the manager (Currently Mr. K, General Manager of the Development Support Division) was in charge of planning and managing, but when I joined the company, we started reviewing the meetings.
    We took over the operations of the Headquarters Meeting around April 2022, and have been improving it through trial and error for a year and a half.

<Task Settings: Things To Be Careful About in Order To Review the Content>

To prepare for the renovation, we identified the following three challenges and worked on them.

(1) Improving communication

We started entirely online using an LT meeting format, so at first, employees just listened to presentations one-sidedly instead of actively communicating with each other.
I remember being surprised when a lot of employees attended halfheartedly, and I thought it felt like a management meeting.

(2) Improving the Kageyama Award

Also, I felt that it was a burden for employees in the workplace to make a 5-minute LT presentation while they were being busy.
As the organization expanded, the number of managers other than Kageyama increased, so we thought, "We need to create a system that lets the board show the efforts of the members to more people."

(3) Understanding other departments' work and sharing activities

We received comments in the past such as “I don’t know what other departments are doing” in our questionnaires, so we wanted to use the Headquarters Meeting and other events to better understand what work and activities other departments were doing.

<Measures We Worked On>

(1) Improving communication

We implemented a tool called Comment Screen, that displays emojis and comments on a screen in real time, and it encouraged more two-way communication.
There were some who liked it because it was in real time, while some thought that it felt cheap, or that the presentations were hard to read. We kept experimenting, and now we communicate through Slack.
All employees join the Headquarters Meeting Communication Channel when they join the company and use Slack to communicate in real time during the meeting every month.
On each session, we added a friendly poll with questions such as, "What did you eat today for lunch?" By the way, there are a lot of restaurants with delicious food near our office, and a lot of members report going to lunch, but a there is also a handful who sadly say "Red Bull" or "I didn't eat..." lol
But, just to be clear, our company is a place where everyone can take breaks easily! (Honestly, our company culture makes it easy to take breaks, and I think that is one of our company's good points)

(2) Improving the Kageyama Award

The purpose of the program was redefined as "managers should not miss the daily efforts of their members," and the style was changed so that managers recommend candidates, give the reason for their recommendation, and write an award speech.
Before, Vice President Kageyama decided the winners, but they are now decided in a meeting with the managers in advance.
With this system, team members no longer have to make tedious materials for the sake of being nominated and getting awards, and the managers were more motivated to pay attention to the members' daily efforts. I hope that the corporate culture changes so that people's daily efforts are assessed naturally.

(3) Understanding other departments' work and sharing activities

We made changes so that every month, the managers of each group take turns sharing information on projects that are being focused on and their activities. Kageyama also gives additional comments when necessary.
Thanks to managers sharing information on activities and Kageyama's additional notes, the company's activities felt more concrete to employees, and they were more motivated to be informed.
We also shake things up so that it’s not always the same announcements, and during the New Year period for example we introduce things such as the kanji of the year or the goals for next year.
In addition, we post information on events from Twitter, announced activities related to the Tech Blog, and try to make the Headquarters Meeting an event where people can understand the company's activities.
In addition to the above, the results of the previous month's questionnaire are announced at the start of each meeting, and we try to make communication during the meeting as open as possible.

<The Results of Our Activities>

We are still making improvements, but the attendance rate of the Headquarters Meeting is gradually increasing. We have almost every employee (close to 300) attend every month, even as more employees join the company.
The number of people participating online with their webcam on and making comments on Slack is also increasing gradually! We also get more happy comments through our questionnaires with each meeting.

[Some Questionnaire Responses from our Employees (Examples)]

  • It is really interesting to learn what each department is doing. It is also helpful to hear Mr. Kageyama's thoughts on each department!
  • I like how the meeting is packed with information. Generally speaking, this kind of meeting tends to be light on content, or you can just read the materials afterward to get the information, but I think KTC's company-wide meetings have been different recently (in a good way).
  • I can find out the status of departments that I normally don't have any connection with. I find that helpful.

Conclusion

What do you think?
We will start taking on challenges such as announcing the 2024 kanji of the year and holding in-person events (holding the Headquarters Meeting offline).
I think one of the good things about our company is that we are open to new initiatives and challenges. We can implement initiatives that are difficult for conventional large organizations and start them in a relatively quick and agile manner.
Even if they fail, for better or for worse, they serve as precedents (and we don't get too mad?), and we can use the experience for our next actions. And of course, if you succeed, people will praise you (lol)
Also, we have many employees who say, "I want to do it!" and lend us their strength.
Please let us know about your company's initiatives when we meet at events! We will challenge ourselves so we won't lose!

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【部長・部長候補】/プラットフォーム開発部/東京

プラットフォーム開発部 について共通サービス開発GWebサービスやモバイルアプリの開発において、必要となる共通機能=会員プラットフォームや決済プラットフォームの開発を手がけるグループです。KINTOの名前が付くサービスやTFS関連のサービスをひとつのアカウントで利用できるよう、様々な共通機能を構築することを目的としています。

【部長・部長候補】/KINTO ONE開発部/東京

KINTO ONE開発部 について下記3つのグループにて編成しております。 新車サブスク開発G TOYOTAのクルマのサブスクリプションサービスである『 KINTO ONE 』のWebサイトの開発、運用をしています。