The ChapmanCG Tokyo team held its first HR workshop style roundtable mid-July at the offices of LVMH where 19 senior HR professionals from a variety of industry and cultural backgrounds came together to exchange ideas about ‘Employee Wellness and Work-Life Balance’—a topic that has had some controversial press across Japan in the past few months. The interest levels in this particular topic seem to have resonated within the Japan HR community, bringing together companies like, BASF, Bloomberg, CBRE, Merck and L’Oreal to name a few. The workshop style allowed all to share ideas, experiences and perspectives on how the HR Leaders of Japan can improve the health and well-being of the Japan workforce via smart and effective HR policies. We were able to generate and share multiple ideas that could be easily implemented and ultimately help shape company culture away from the current cultural norm of overworking.

Our host, Stephane Voyer, Senior Vice President HR of LVMH Japan has been in the role for less than a year now and wanted to share his thoughts on Employee Wellness, while at the same time gauge ideas from the local HR leaders on how to become more innovative in this space. Japan has been a country where government policies, such as ‘Premium Friday’ or stricter overtime policies, have driven corporate policies. Both are meant to prevent and breakdown the culture of overwork for which Japan is famous.

The discussion quickly became focused on improving the wellness of the employees via key work-life balance policies that were designed to reduce overwork and promote a more stress-free culture by encouraging employees use their holidays. If the ‘Employee Wellness’ discussion can continue we feel that foreign companies, together in collaboration with government initiatives, can help shape workforce culture in Japan and help alleviate some of the existing stresses on employees today.

Overall, there were many ideas shared that were simplistic in nature yet could be highly effective and smoothly implemented. Everyone agreed that the aim is to achieve a shift in culture for Japan where work and life are more balanced.

ChapmanCG plans to co-host another roundtable, workshop-style discussion in early September where we will compile, more formally, some of the more interesting ideas and key learnings to share with our HR community.

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