Corporate Topics:Rakuten-specific competencies developed through 1-on-1 meetings

Corporate Topics
Rakuten-specific competencies developed
through 1-on-1 meetings

The 1-on-1 Meetings introduced throughout the
company in 2017 have become a leading part of the culture at Rakuten

1-on-1 meetings were introduced throughout Rakuten in 2017 as part of the Back to Basics Project aimed at “creating winning personnel and winning teams.” The meetings are now held at regular intervals mainly between managers and their team members.

1-on-1 meetings have now become a fixture of Rakuten’s corporate culture. Four employees were interviewed about how the meetings have been affecting employee work styles and yielding results.

*When the interviews were conducted, 1-on-1 meetings were being held entirely remotely due to the effects of COVID-19.

entered Rakuten as a mid-career hire in 2018
Works on marketing Super Point Screen at the
Ad & Marketing Company

The strengths you should demonstrate are made clear in 1-on-1 meetings

I entered Rakuten as a mid-career hire in 2018 after working as an HR data analyst. My first impression upon entering the company was that it is an exciting environment where professionals within their own fields of expertise gather. I often wondered how I could fully demonstrate my abilities in an environment where decisions are always being made quickly, and 1-on-1 meetings were the perfect way to find the answer to that question.

Because your direct manager directly shares his or her opinions with you during 1-on-1 meetings, you’re provided with an opportunity to learn about your abilities and strengths that you may not have noticed yourself. For example, although I could leverage my analysis skills, I had the feeling that I needed guidance on forming hypotheses based on broader perspectives such as sales strategy. But I often received positive feedback from my manager, worked on my own to gradually acquire logical thinking skills, and can now use them as part of my work.

1-on-1 meetings allow you to hear recommendations from a different perspective without boxing you into the scope of what you’re currently able to do, and so the meetings are very useful for your personal growth.

I received the Rakuten Award precisely because of the skills development provided by 1-on-1 meetings

As a result of planning and carrying out large-scale policies which leveraged the critical thinking skills I acquired through 1-on-1 meetings, I was able to achieve my goal for monthly active users (MAU) several months ahead of schedule. Receiving the Rakuten Award through the company award system was the culmination of my hard work. I believe I was able to achieve this thanks to the collaboration of my team members and the precise feedback I always received from my manager.

The service growth phase is in progress, and I am currently focusing on policies to extend lifetime value (LTV) for customers with a more long-term perspective.

I have experienced how you can gain new perspectives by challenging yourself beyond your usual areas of expertise, and I believe this is where 1-on-1 meetings play an important role. They are effective for maximizing our value as an organization because they provide periodic opportunities to think about things in the mid- to long-term.

entered Rakuten as a mid-career hire in 2019
Works as a Security Engineer
in the Technology Services Division

1-on-1 meetings were an opportunity to alleviate my concerns
and gain peace of mind in my first job in Japan

People discuss everything from business issues to personal concerns during 1-on-1 meetings. After getting married, I returned to Japan from Malaysia and started working at Rakuten. This is my first job in Japan, so I had many concerns about matters such as work culture and was frankly worried. So that is why, when I entered the company, I spoke frankly with my manager about these concerns during my 1-on-1 meetings. My manager’s clear guidance on the peculiarities of Japanese companies and Rakuten in particular really helped me get onboard quickly.

My core competencies also benefited from the relaxed, wide-ranging chats with my manager, and the direct feedback I received. Although I am not naturally an open type of person, I have experienced smoother progress at work and the rate of my personal growth has accelerated because I decided to keep an open mind during my 1-on-1 meetings. I am truly grateful to my manager for providing me with the sense of security to open up. Although I occasionally receive feedback about my weaknesses, we have a trust-based relationship, so I take the feedback proactively as an opportunity for growth.

Making the most of 1-on-1 meetings to achieve substantial improvements at work

Because I am a member of a newly-created team, I had to start from scratch in terms of establishing operation guidelines, workflow automation, resource management and other matters.

As I led the team while taking care of various tasks, 1-on-1 meetings were particularly helpful. I was able to incorporate my manager’s points of view and objectively grasp the current situation, which enabled me to reflect from a third-party perspective on my performance and the competencies I should aim for, and constantly clarified what aspects of my work would benefit from improvement.

As a result, I was able to complete all my projects ahead of schedule. My team’s improved results were recognized, and I received the Rakuten Award for new employees as part of the company award system.

I believe that the culture of having 1-on-1 meetings has greatly contributed to improving productivity.

entered Rakuten as a new graduate in 2016
Works in marketing
in the Travel & Mobility Division
of the Commerce Company

One benefit of 1-on-1 meetings is being able to clarify what actions you’ll need to take in order to meet your goals years from now

When I was a student, I majored in economics at a university outside Japan. I entered Rakuten because I liked that its variety of services and occupations allows for diverse career options. I wanted to shape a concrete idea of my career while working.

I think that 1-on-1 meetings are suited to thinking about your ideal career. You can sit down with your manager to focus together on what your ideal career will look like in a few years’ time, and how to enhance your competencies to ensure that you succeed.

I first focused on getting my work done quickly, aiming in particular to hold effective external meetings. I developed my target competencies by doing the prep work required to enable meeting attendees to participate with a shared level of understanding. I worked backwards from the original goal of arriving at conclusions within a certain timeframe, and continuously worked to improve my processes.

Also, because I was able to have leisurely talks with my manager, I could chat and ask for advice about personal matters. Since the introduction of 1-on-1 meetings, I’m less likely to feel worried while I’m at work.

Quick career advancement while staying motivated thanks to 1-on-1 meetings

I believe that continuously clarifying my objectives in regular 1-on-1 meetings has allowed me to stay satisfied with my current job while I work toward and achieve my goals for career advancement and promotion.

Although I often speak with my manager about what is expected of me in terms of how to do my job, recently I have also had more opportunities to talk about my team members’ HR development. The members of my team have a diverse range of experiences, and it has been a new challenge to devise ways for them to be able to achieve their own goals while focusing as a team in the same direction, all within the context of a remote work environment.

It is necessary to think about everything on a larger scale than before, but we're challenging ourselves to do this while making use of 1-on-1 meetings. For example, we are focusing on team-building to keep everyone motivated by setting up a team meeting every morning to share not only the team's KPIs, but also the progress of the entire business, feedback from managers and occasionally our own experiences.

entered Rakuten as a mid-career hire in 2006
Part of the Ad & Marketing Company.
Currently working as a Sales Group Manager
at the MIHA joint venture.

Enabling the kind of deep communication that words alone cannot capture

I have been working in sales roles at various Rakuten services since I joined the company, and I currently work on sales related to the YouTuber and influencer business.

Before the introduction of 1-on-1 meetings, I used to carefully consider the right timing to discuss personal issues and my career when the need arose. But since the introduction of the meetings, I feel relieved that I can connect with my manager. Time is set aside for us to catch up on a regular basis, no matter how busy we are. It is valuable time for me to gain awareness not only of recent goings-on but also my own career and competencies.

Although 1-on-1 meetings are currently being conducted remotely, I am reminded of how important it is to be able to see one another for face-to-face meetings, even if it is via video conference.
Information that cannot be communicated using words alone is easy to glean based on your counterpart’s facial expressions, so we are able to deepen our mutual understanding.

For example, if I delegate a task and sense a lack of satisfaction based on my team member’s facial expression, I can carefully explain why I want that person to do the job. You can forge a personal connection with each team member while being sensitive to his or her mental state.

Also, Rakuten has a 1-on-1 training program for managers which is helpful for learning to conduct more effective 1-on-1 meetings.

Timely catchups via 1-on-1 meetings are essential for rapid business growth

I am currently working on a new business venture which is growing rapidly, so it is essential to quickly grasp issues pertaining to resources and business activities as well as client needs. 1-on-1 meetings make it possible to accurately grasp such conditions, which lets us identify issues at an early stage, optimizing HR placement and allowing for the smoother application of the PDCA cycle to issues. I believe this has been productive and is connected to our current major sales growth.

I think 1-on-1 meetings are also extremely effective for making regular check-ins habitual. A format has more or less been established for the frequency and content of the meetings, and they are recorded. The meetings enable an objective understanding of what has been accomplished and what has not, which leads to improvement. I believe that the effectiveness of 1-on-1 meetings help us shape the culture that contributes to achieving Rakuten’s principle of “Get Things Done.”

Message from Rakuten’s Global Human Resources
The objectives of 1-on-1 meetings are to build mutual understanding and trust, and to support growth through periodic feedback. We believe that considerable skills are needed to provide suitable feedback to team members, so we focus on training for management and support for managers’ personal growth.

1-on-1 meetings have become part of the Rakuten Group’s corporate culture. We will continue to work toward facilitating systems and an environment that enables all of our diverse employees to demonstrate their abilities to the fullest.