Step right up, folks! This year’s carnival-themed Cybozu Days conference in Tokyo entertained the idea of “fun is justice” with an insightful array of keynotes and sessions on workplace and digital transformation trends.
Jugglers, cotton candy and game booths welcomed attendees under the big top where presenters on six stages and at over 60 partner booths demonstrated how Cybozu products like Kintone can be souped up with powerful customization to improve efficiency of business operations.
Since it began selling groupware solutions 20 years ago, Cybozu—Kintone’s parent company publicly traded on the Tokyo Stock Exchange—set out on a mission to create a society full of teamwork. Flaunting a rainbow bridge and 8-foot-plush giraffe in its office, and now a colorful carnival theme for its 7th annual conference, the company embraces fun while challenging traditional ways of working.
Cybozu President Yoshihisa Aono touched on this concept in his "fun is justice” keynote about the importance of celebrating individual ways of working by empowering employees to focus on teamwork and company vision—not when or where they must work. By giving employees the flexibility to choose their work style, Cybozu has maintained high retention rates, reduced overtime and increased engagement from purpose-driven employees working toward a common vision.
This is particular noteworthy in Japan, a country where companies are notorious for pushing long, exhausting work days in high-pressure environments. More often than not, this results in the exclusion of many highly-capable employees, particularly new mothers wanting to return to work.
But it’s not just a problem in Japan. Strict company policies limiting flexible work styles continues to be a global issue that hinders long-term company and quality of living for employees.
“It’s important to recognize the diversity of each employee in order to strengthen teamwork,” Aono said in his keynote. “Fairness does not lead to happiness.”
Cybozu championed its "100 types of work styles for 100 people" human resources system over a decade ago. Today, the company continues to evolve the idea and preach the benefits that come with adapting to an individual's work style needs, rather than conforming to the one way, place and time of working. That can mean having a choice in working from home, remotely or outside the traditional 9-5 hours. This policy also supports not only employees in the midst of maternity and childcare, but all employees needing greater flexibility.
While money and benefits are important, studies show in the long run the work environment is more important in retaining and motivating people. If you cannot attract and keep your workforce then something must change if you expect your organization to survive.
“We have to team up and work together for everyone," Aono said, reinforcing the importance of groupware products like Kintone to enable information sharing for strengthening teamwork and enabling employees to realize their individual work style needs. "The happiness degree of employees will increase if they can work according to their own needs."
Check out more highlights and quotes from the conference:
"Important data comes from customer engagement.
Kintone allows my team to think as a business owner."
-- Yanai Petroleum, Kintone Hive Runner-Up
"Foolish people are actually more successful running a business.
Perfectionists that manages everyone in detail is not a sustainable organization."
-- Takeshi Maeno, Professor at Keio University
"There is no such thing as losing if you love what you do at work."
-- Ken Kusunoki, Professor at Hitotsubashi Business School
"I try to make my negative emotions make me drive into a positive way.
For example, I may be strongly jealous at someone,
which makes me accomplish something quicker."
—Yamasato Ryouta, Comedian
“When conflicts occur, think from the vision.”
—Yoshihisa Aono, Cybozu President
“We improve our operation by not adding more things to do but doing less.”
—Yanai Petroleu, Kintone Hive Runner-Up
"Before using Kintone, although we identified issues,
no staff took action to resolve them. After using Kintone,
the staff acknowledged the issues registered in Kintone and
became cooperative to resolve the issues. Our staff were
communicating with each other more and bonded,
which resulted in a more smiles and laughter at my hair salon."
—GARO hail salon, Kintone Hive Runner-Up
“Give up— giving up has a negative image but it’s actually
focusing on what is important— give up on doing so many things.”
—Yanai Petroleum, Kintone Hive Runner-Up
"It's ok to be foolish but not a liar."
—Yoshihisa Aono, Cybozu President
“In economic downturns, companies that are optimistic and
believe that it will work out end up surviving in the long run.”
—Takeshi Maeno, Professor at Keio University
About the Author
Nicole is Director of Marketing at Kintone, with 10+ years experience in content strategy, campaign management, lead acquisition and building positive work cultures of empowered, purpose-driven team members. She spent seven years as a journalist, previously serving as a CBS San Francisco digital producer, NPR contributor, Patagon Journal deputy editor and reporter for several publications, including the Chicago Tribune. She's passionate about the tech for good space, social entrepreneurship and women leadership. On the weekends, you’ll likely find her putting her Master Gardener skills to use in at community gardens in Oakland.