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Good Workplace, Good Business | 良い職場、良い仕事
Yoshiharu Matsui, Ed.D., MBA | 松井義治(ヨシ) Ed.D., MBA

Good workplaces allow employees to do their best work. | 良い職場は、社員の良いパフォーマンスを引き出す。

Translated from Japanese original

What are the characteristics that make a company “good”? How do you assess your company’s level of “goodness”?

This issue of The HR Agenda covers the theme “Building better workplaces,” which is in line with the theme for the 2019 SHRM Annual Conference & Exposition: “Creating Better Workplaces for a Better World.” Seeing the conference theme (and attending the conference itself) made me realize once again that transforming work and the workplace is one of the important roles for the human resource function, inspiring me to continue the conversation through our magazine.

With the Japanese government making “Work-Style Reforms” one of its priority objectives, an increasing number of companies in Japan have been taking initiatives such as reducing work hours and overtime work and encouraging paid vacations to support the work-life balance of employees. This is a very good trend. Nevertheless, we need to realize that the real issue in Japan is the low level of employee engagement, rather than overwork and unhealthy work style. Gallup has been doing research on the level of engagement among working-age individuals worldwide since 2000. The first round of research result indicates that only 6 percent of workers are highly engaged in Japan, and this number hasn’t changed significantly since then.

If you think about it: what is a good workplace? Just like how the definition of “happiness” is different from person to person, we will all define “good workplace” differently. However, it may be fair to say that good workplaces will meet core human needs, as outlined in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs: physiological, safety, love and belonging, esteem and self-actualization. Our physiological needs are mostly met in modern society. Safety needs might not be met at companies where bullying and harassment exist. Love and belonging needs are not met if your organization failed to establish a trusting relationship among its members. Our needs for esteem are met when feel we are respected, doing meaningful work, and that this work is recognized and valued. Meanwhile, self-actualization happens when we reach our true and full potential, a level that Maslow estimates only two percent of people can reach.

It thus makes sense for the quality of a company to not be measured merely by its revenue and productivity, but also by its employees’ sense of achievement and growth as well as their physical, psychological and mental health. The bottom three layers of Maslow’s model are human needs that are fundamental for survival, while its top two layers are important for us to feel motivated, fulfilled and a sense of achievement. Therefore, from an HR standpoint, I’d like to define a good workplace as an organization where members can work enthusiastically, productively, autonomously and healthily while feeling a sense of accomplishment, growth and safety. What kind of benefits can we get from this type of workplaces?

The Gallup survey identified that an organization’s level of engagement correlates with productivity. When the engagement level goes up, productivity will increase, and vice versa. If we can take on meaningful or challenging work without feeling insecure, we can fully focus on our task at hand and as a result perform at our best and make fewer mistakes. In contrast, if we feel insecure and untrusted, we feel stressed and depleted and thus cannot perform as we wish.

As you think about your organization’s engagement level and patterns, may this issue of The HR Agenda introduce you to valuable insights and cases that will be useful for you as you build better workplaces.


Yoshiharu Matsui specializes in leadership and organization development leveraging his more than 12 years of marketing experience and 12 years of HR/OD experience. He provides executive coaching, leadership development, organizational change and marketing and sales development to help clients strengthen their business performance, organizational health and employee engagement.


    皆さんにとって素晴らしい会社とはどのような会社でしょうか? 皆さんの会社の「素晴らしい度」は10点満点で何点でしょうか?

    本号のテーマは「より良い職場を創ろう」です。今回のテーマは、今年の米国SHRM(人材マネジメント協会)の年次カンファレンスのテーマ「職場をよりよくして、世界をより良くしよう!」に連動させています。今年のSHRMの大会に参加して、「これはまさしくHRの最重要な役割のつだ!」と再認識し、The HR Agenda でもこれを次のテーマにすることを決めました。  


     良い職場とはどのような職場でしょうか? 幸せの定義が人によって異なるように、良い会社の定義も異なると思います。人間という観点から考えると、マズローの人間の5段階の欲求を満たす職場が望ましい職場ではないでしょうか? 下から、生存の欲求、安全の欲求、所属の欲求、自尊心を満たす欲求、自己実現の欲求です。現代社会では、生存欲求はほとんどの職場で満たされているでしょう。ところが、パワハラやいじめなどで安全の欲求が満たされていない組織も出てきています。所属の欲求とは、信頼関係や気配りのあることですが、これが満たされていない組織がまだ多くあります。自尊心は意義のある仕事をしたり、人から認められたり、自由裁量で仕事を成し遂げたりしたときに高まるものです。そして、自己実現は人生で本当に達成したかったことを達成できたときに感じれるものですが、マズローはこれを感じれる人は2%程度しかいないと述べています。



    皆さんの組織の職場では、社員の何割くらいの方が、毎日、元気でイキイキと仕事をされていますでしょうか? エンゲージメントレベルは、10点満点で何点くらいでしょうか? 本号では、良い職場を創るためのいろいろな知見や事例をご紹介したいと思います。皆様の組織をより良いものにするヒントやアクション計画を作るための一助となれれば、本当に嬉しく思います。


松井義治(ヨシ)Ed.D., MBA 12年間のマーケティング経験と12年間の人事と組織開発の経験をもとに、リーダーシップ開発と組織開発を専門とする。エグゼクティブコーチング、リーダーシップ開発、組織変革、マーケティング及び営業力強化などを通して、顧客企業のビジネス成果・組織の健康・社員の能力と士気の強化を支援。


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