Building a company that creates new value for society
Our unique corporate culture breathes life into Rakuten. It is a culture deeply rooted in the spirit of entrepreneurship, and it has driven us since founding. Rakuten has always placed importance on “empowering people and society” by pursuing “innovation” that creates new value for society. We provide opportunities for people of all ages, genders, and nationalities who want to create their own future. By uniting diverse human resources and businesses under a common corporate philosophy, we are fostering a unique, rich culture.
Diversity for nurturing the talents and motivation of each individual
At Rakuten, we believe that diversity is the driving force behind innovation. We place top priority on promoting diversity as a key corporate strategy.
We are a team of talented people with unique and diverse cultural backgrounds and values from 100 countries and regions around the world working together as “One Team” to empower people and society around the world every day.
Vegetarian and halal menus are available in the company cafeteria. We also have a prayer room. We actively support work-life balance and childcare, as well as employ and actively promote people with disabilities. Additionally, we promote company-wide awareness-raising activities in collaboration with LGBTQ+ *1 individuals and allies*2 within the company.
Anyone can work here while maximizing their self-expression. This is the ideal form of diversity that Rakuten strives for.
- *1 LGBTQ+
- The English acronym for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning or Queer. It is used here in the sense of respecting diverse identities, and is not limited to those identifying only as LGBTQ+.
- *2 allies
- The English word “ally” means “to cooperate and support” and is used to refer to people who clearly support LGBTQ+ and other sexual minority communities’ rights.
Rakuten Basic Principles for continued growth
Since founding, Rakuten has delivered new values and choices to the world by continuously creating new business models and services.
What has made this possible is a common set of values and action guidelines we call Rakuten Shugi (Rakuten Basic Principles*). Rakuten Shugi is a common language for motivating each of us to continue contributing to society with an entrepreneurial spirit.
Here, we will introduce various initiatives that embody Rakuten Shugi.
- *Rakuten Shugi
- A set of values and behavioral guidelines that all employees must understand and implement, as well as a clear statement of what the Rakuten Group should be. It consists of two parts: “brand concept” and “success concept.”
ASAKAI (Morning Meeting)
In order for each of us to fully demonstrate our abilities in the fields that Rakuten engages in and better contribute to society, we must stay on top of the company’s current situation and direction while also continuing to absorb global trends and the latest technologies.
Our weekly "Asakai" (morning meeting) is a mechanism for the entire organization to achieve this. The morning meeting is conducted once a week with all employees where management strategies and examples of “Yokoten” (horizontal development) best practices are shared, and also includes a question-and-answer session between employees and our founder, chairman and CEO, Mickey Mikitani.
The Rakuten Awards are a monthly incentive system that recognizes employees for their outstanding contributions to the company. Not only do we use it as an opportunity for all employees to celebrate the achievements of their colleagues, it is also an opportunity for each of us to reflect on and learn from the success stories of award winners and look for elements that we can incorporate into our own work. Our culture of generously sharing the secrets of our success supports the development of the company as a whole and the career growth of each individual.
Just like our morning meetings, Rakuten’s weekly desk cleaning time has been a part of the company’s culture since its establishment. The purpose of this cleaning is to foster a sense of ownership. We do this activity to remind ourselves that everything the company does is relevant to each and every one of us, to keep that sense of direct involvement top of mind. It is also an opportunity to reaffirm that the entire company is a team by having everyone, regardless of position, work together on the same task.
“Creating new businesses ourselves.” “Project 6” reflects this organization-building, entrepreneurial spirit of Rakuten’s founding. Derived from Rakuten’s history as a venture with only six employees in the early days of the company, we aim to develop and execute new services quickly with a small team of six people.
This experiment began in 2012, with us later reorganizing as a department responsible for incubating new businesses. At any given time, several teams are still working on developing and managing new services.
R-Pitch is a new business incubation program that we launched in December 2017 to stimulate entrepreneurship throughout the Rakuten Group. Employees involved with this program form teams and create plans to realize their business ideas.
After thorough reviews, an idea is pitched to the management team, and if approved, funding is provided to move forward with full-scale commercialization. In 2019, we launched “Rakuten Pasha,” a new service born out of R-Pitch.
“ENGLISHNIZATION” for achieving business success on a global scale
English is the common language of global business. We launched the Englishnization program — making English the official internal language of our company — with the aim of facilitating smooth information sharing among Rakuten Group employees in Japan and overseas, grasping the latest information from around the world at speed, and attracting talented people from across the globe to create a unified and competitive organization. In 2015, five years after we declared the start of this linguistic transition, we succeeded in raising the average TOEIC score of our employees company-wide to 800.
This initiative has been effective not only in deepening discussions our multinational employees have with each other within the company, but also in strengthening interactions between top engineers and business persons outside the company. It has become a major success story for the Rakuten Group’s global ambitions.
Currently, as a further initiative, we are offering the Englishnization Next program, which includes speaking and cross-cultural management training to strengthen our cultivation of global leaders.
Encouraging free communication among employees
The Rakuten Group promotes communication among employees through unique internal events and a highly flexible club activity system. Participation in events and club activities is entirely optional.
Even as the number of employees increases as our business expands, we want our employees to spend their days enjoying communication in an environment full of diversity, a culture that is unique to Rakuten.
Introduction of annual events
Here are some examples of events we’ve held in the past:
- Smile Summer Days
- “Yukata Day” is when employees are encouraged to wear traditional Japanese yukata to work.
- Rakuten Family Day
- Employees’ families, friends and loved ones are invited to our headquarters in Futako-Tamagawa, Tokyo. This event helps us express our gratitude to the extended Rakuten family while having fun with various activities, such as meals and company tours.
- Rakuten Halloween
- A day full of events where employees are encouraged to come to work in their favorite costumes. We also hold a global costume contest.
- Smile Winter “Thank You Week”
- An event designed to express our gratitude to our colleagues, bosses and team members for the year. In the past, we have exchanged message cards and held live performances with comedians.
- Rakuten Group Noukai
- A year-end party where Rakuten Group employees from all over Japan gather to enjoy various programs and celebrate the year’s work.
Rakuten Official Clubs (Club Activities)
Rakuten Official Clubs is an activity system that allows employees who share common interests and values to interact with each other. Clubs transcend the boundaries of individual companies, departments, positions, and employment status, allowing employees to form new connections in unique ways.
As of 2021, we have nearly 50 clubs ranging from sports, such as tennis, soccer, cricket, and cycling, to cultural clubs such as Japanese tea club, graphic records, street dance, and more current culture such as video games and esports. Each club also holds regular events to showcase their achievements and performances.