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RD SUPPORT: Being the role model for diverse work styles as an HR service provider

RD SUPPORT Co,.LTD. provides industry-specific human resource services in food, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and biotech/healthcare. They implemented remote work and full-flex systems in 2016 as one of the leading companies in its industry to adopt advanced work styles in the early days. We interviewed Sudo-san and Shimizu-san from the Administration Department about the company’s purpose in promoting advanced and diverse work styles in their company and the background behind the implementation of our Acall.

As a human resource service provider, we become the one for people who are struggling with their diverse work styles for our consultation.

  • Your company implemented remote work at a very early stage.

We started a free address system in 2016, and soon after that, we implemented a remote work system and a full flextime system. There are two reasons for this.

First reason is that we are doing business in the human resource service field, and we also introduce people who work remotely or in multiple jobs to our clients, so we felt that our company itself had to be a leading model for them first. At the time, remote work and parallel work were new ways of working, so we were often asked by job seekers and companies. Around that time, if we were not the company that adopted new ways of working, we could not be their consultant. At the time, no other company in the same industry had adopted such a way of working. Therefore, we thought it would be a great advantage for our business strategy as well. Even now, we are often asked by clients, “How do you do it?” We think we are a good consultant for them.

The second one is that the average age of our employees has risen. Originally, many of our employees were in their 20s, but gradually, as their age rose and they started to have their own families, we began to see some limitations of the work style that required them to come to the office. We have created an environment where our employees can work with us for a long time.

Interview with RD SUPPORT admin

Creating an office that fits the new way of working through COVID-19.

  • Please tell us about the background of the implementation of Acall.

With COVID-19 beginning around 2020, group companies started to share the same offices, and there were not enough seats for everyone. When employees came to work with no seats available, they could not work, so we started looking for a hoteling (seat reservation) service to solve this problem.

Another reason is the renewal of our office. With COVID-19, all meetings changed from face-to-face to online, and web meetings have increased tremendously. When they were doing web meetings at their seat, other employees would walk behind them, and voices from around would come in during the meeting. Employees voiced their concerns that this was interfering with their sales activities, so we decided to renovate the office, including the installation of personal space for their work. We set up personal spaces in addition to the concentration and communication areas, so we got the necessary employees to reserve seats so they could choose seats according to their work needs.

  • What did you care most about your office renewal?

We focused on a spacious and comfortable environment, including the installation of a concentration area, communication area, and personal space. In addition to an open layout and chairs that are comfortable even after long hours of sitting, we also installed many external monitors. We think this is helpful from a health standpoint as well, since using only a laptop computer causes poor posture. External monitors are particularly popular because they make work productive.

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Seasonal decoration for the office
Designated areas for concentration

We were looking for a hoteling (seat reservation) system that could integrate with the reception system.
The ease of implementation was also a deciding factor.

  • What were the deciding factors for the introduction of Acall?

We had already installed a receptionist system, so we were looking for something that could link with it. We looked at several other services, but products from Acall Inc. was the only one that could link the reception system with hoteling (seat reservations) for us. The fact that we only needed to prepare a few devices and could easily introduce the system was also significant.

WorkstyleOS allows you to work in a way that suits you
Easier communication with other departments

  • What changes have you seen in the company since the implementation of Acall?

The most significant change is that we can now come to the office on our own schedule by pre-reserving a seat. Simultaneously, communication within the company has become easier. Since we are now in the same office as a group company, we sometimes don’t know who is sitting next to us, but with Acall, we can see the face and name of the person sitting next to us and talk to them. We find it very convenient to register a picture of a person’s face so that I can see their face, name, and department all in one place. It is also convenient to know who is working where because I can see the seats of the entire company on my PC.

As for the reception desk, before we implemented products from Acall Inc., we were not able to answer the phone when it rang because I was in the middle of a business meeting or a business negotiation. Our company is in the human resource service industry, and we had a lot of visitors from job seekers and companies before COVID-19, which was a real problem for us. We also value face-to-face communication among our employees, so the system has been helpful in terms of lowering the hurdles for coming to our office and not placing an extra burden on those who do come to the office.

  • What did you care most about in terms of internal penetration?

The internal penetration of the system was smooth. In the first month after the implementation of the system, we had a problem where a person who made a seat reservation forgot to check in, and the reservation was automatically canceled, which caused another person to make a reservation thinking the seat was available. We had been saying, “Please check in”. It is now a habit for me to check in because I myself get into small trouble with reservations if I actually forget to check in.

The UI itself is simple, so it was easy to use from the beginning without any sense of “getting used to it”. When we had a visitor, we used to receive an SMS on our cell phone, but halfway through the operation, we shifted to a chat tool, Chatwork, which receives a visitor notification. Now, we are running a test in the Administration Department to see what it would be like if we linked it with FaceTime. The transition from SMS notifications to Chatwork notifications was easy, and we like the fact that the test operation can be done easily.

Sharing about the concerns of admin team

Implemented multiple systems to promote our communication.

  • What else is your company working on in terms of work style?
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We are making three major efforts to promote our communication.

The first one is that we regularly set a month to encourage employees to come to work in our office. Although it is possible to communicate remotely, face-to-face communication has its own advantages, so we think it is important for employees to feel the benefits of coming to the office. This month, we are working on this initiative, and 60–70% of our employees are coming to the office for their work. We still think that the advantage of face-to-face meetings is that you can talk comfortably with people nearby at a moment when you need it.

The second one is the hobby circle system, which aims to promote communication across departments. The company provides a certain amount of subsidy for circle activities, and at present, we have six circles, including sports and gourmet food circle clubs. Many employees say that through the circles’ activities, they have more opportunities to talk with people from other departments, which makes it easier to cooperate with them for work.

Lastly, in order to foster a culture of praise, we have set up a voting award system that takes place once every six months. This is an opportunity to inform everyone about initiatives that we all have thought about considering and implementing, each person enters the awards, and everyone votes on them. We decide the ranking, but we are conscious of creating an atmosphere of “share culture for good initiatives,” rather than aiming just for high ranking only.

Turnover rate dropped significantly after implementing the system.
Recruitment opportunities expanded on the premise of the full remote style

  • Has there been any impact on hiring?

We used to limit remote work to a maximum of three days per week, but after COVID-19, we eliminated the condition. Currently, we are still operating under the conditions after COVID-19, and we are also hiring in rural areas for full-time remote work. Recently, we were able to hire an excellent person who lives in a rural area. We are glad that we are promoting a diverse work style from the perspective of recruitment because it opens up more opportunities for people who could be restricted by their location.

  • Has there been any impact on employee retention?

Since starting the system, the turnover rate has dropped from 25% to 5%. No matter how attractive the company is, if the employees are not compatible with the daily work, they will leave. Therefore, in addition to the office environment and the utilization of tools, we emphasize the comfort level of employees when starting various systems. As a result, we are happy when people become more attached to the company.

RD SUPPORT sees significant drop in turnover rate

Individual’s work styles for achieving the best performance are different. Various systems have given culture more autonomy.

  • How have your working style and lifestyle changed since starting the various systems in your company?

Many people say that small daily stresses have improved, such as being able to finish hospital visits and errands to the city office during the day with the flex and telework systems. When the system was first started, we were puzzled by the new way of working, but I began to think, “I want to concentrate more today, so I will work at home,” or “I want to communicate with others, so I will come to work,” and I started to decide how to use my time and act on my own way.

Since the company ultimately evaluates employees based on their performance, there is no problem for the company as long as they achieve results throughout the year, even if they make extensive use of telework and flextime systems. We feel that the work style is very different from the way in the past, which is we do work in a way set by the company, but rather decide our own hours and achieve results from our work.

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We think the way of working that leads to high performance is different for each person. For example, if a night person comes to work early in the morning, they may not be able to concentrate and may be in a daze, or he or she may be chatting with someone all the time. If this is the case, we think that if we establish that a night person starts to work in the afternoon, they will be able to perform better, and people around them will be able to work more easily if they know that they will be coming in late. We would like to create an environment where people can demonstrate their personalities and capabilities by working in their own way.

The atmosphere in the company has become more tolerant with the direction for believing in the best in our people.

  • That is a big change. Hasn’t the company’s culture changed as well?

The atmosphere within the company has become more tolerant. With full-flex, there is no concept of tardiness or being late, so you can just start your work when you arrive at the office, and we think people don’t care about other people’s short breaks anymore. It is really a small thing, but for example, if we all start at 9:30 a.m., some people might be concerned about others eating breakfast while working. Now that this is no longer the case, we have become much more tolerant. We think it is great that the culture has changed to one where people can make their own decisions about their own rhythms based on the premise of achieving results since the change to full-flexible work hours.

We think that if we see the bad side in our people fundamentally, the atmosphere of the company will deteriorate, and if we use a system to monitor the employees, they will feel that they are not trusted and will develop negative feelings toward the company. Therefore, the company’s policy is to see the best in our people, and the representative of the company communicates that we trust you all for employees periodically.

Creating an organization that evolves with the color of each individual.

More diverse working styles in the future

  • What kind of work style do you aim for in the future?

We feel that we are moving away from a work style based on hours, such as a full-time job, to a job description model. Since our company allows employees to work multiple jobs, it would be interesting to see employees who work three days a week at our company and do multiple jobs for the rest of their time. I hope that we will be able to recognize such work styles without denying them. By doing so, we would ideally create an organization that evolves by incorporating a variety of colors and leveraging connections and knowledge, rather than having everyone work in the same color.

We believe that the efforts and changes made within RD SUPPORT Co,.LTD. to adapt diverse work styles will serve as a guideline for the future of work styles for all of us. Thank you very much for your precious remarks today!

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