Corporate TopicsGroup Human Resources Supervisory Department

Corporate Topics
Group Human Resources Supervisory Department

What will be the state of individuals, organizations, and corporate culture in the future?
A newly established research center specializing in corporate culture and organizational development

Rakuten People & Culture LabRakuten aims to empower Japanese society for the future, and in 2018 established a new research institution, the "Rakuten People & Culture Lab," which specializes in corporate culture and organizational development. The Rakuten People & Culture Lab advances research on a variety of themes, including individuals, organizations, and corporate culture, in order to spread corporate philosophy to employees and to build new relationships between organizations and individuals.

Taking up the challenge of developing an organization that empowers society with the mission of "corporations that can advance and lead on problems"

The Rakuten Group currently employs more than 30,000 people and attracts a highly diverse workforce from more than 100 countries and regions. "Englishization," or making English the company's official internal language, accelerated the globalization of Rakuten's organizations and businesses. In addition, Rakuten has created a unique corporate culture by implementing a company-wide information sharing system and creating a work environment that is open and supports physical and mental health. In this process, Rakuten has also faced new challenges related to both people and organizations.

How do you build new relationships between organizations and individuals? How should you create innovative insights/discoveries and solutions that will influence the future of corporate culture? The Rakuten People & Culture Lab was newly established to solve these issues, and the Lab's advisory board is composed of experts from various fields including global strategic HR, people analytics, medicine, brain science, business administration, linguistics, and sports.

The Lab's activities include sessions with the advisory board, pioneering information collection and dissemination activities overseas, and demonstrations and experiments within the Group that combine precedents from advanced overseas companies and knowledge from specialized institutions in Japan and from abroad: through these activities, the Lab hopes to return to Rakuten and society the knowledge that they gain. Additionally, through the process of testing hypotheses on various themes, the Lab develops solutions that can be deployed horizontally through the Group.

Providing new insights to society with the aim of creating a unique and universal culture

The Rakuten People & Culture Lab works on a variety of themes, and one of the most important is the concept of "culture," which is also in the Lab's name. "Culture" is difficult to define in management problems, and often leads to ambiguous policy implementations. However, at the Lab we believe that the themes of "What is Culture?" and "How is Culture Fostered?" are questions that should be addressed over a long period of time. The Rakuten Group has employees of many nationalities, and it is essential to respect cultural backgrounds, such as one's place of origin, and to foster a "common global culture" that maximizes synergies while maintaining centripetal force. Initiatives that define a new culture for Rakuten will surely be one of the Lab's major challenges.

The Lab's multiple initiatives going forward will involve the more than 17,000 Rakuten employees, and it is assumed that the research results will be meaningful not only within the company, but also socially and in terms of actual proof of cutting-edge knowledge. Finding significance in the research and being able to increase the number of colleagues who can work together inside and outside the company should also bring about positive changes in the way that Japanese companies work. Without a doubt, the Rakuten People & Culture Lab is a base that gives new insights to society and empowers Japanese society.