Creating an Amazing Employee General Meeting - 2020 JCS CAMP
JCS considers its Employee General Meeting a platform to showcase “proposing value to customers.” Every year, we take on new challenges by proactively incorporating cutting-edge production and technology. All our employees from eight locations nationwide come together to share innovative ideas and projects. In this article, we provide an easy-to-understand explanation of the concept and planning structure of the 2020 JCS CAMP - the Employee General Meeting organized mainly by young and mid-level employees.
Three Measures Implemented at the Employee General Meeting
The concept of the 2020 Employee General Meeting was “Voice Wanted!” The goal was to create a corporate culture where every employee could say, “I want to do it!” Here, we introduce three of the measures that we took to achieve that goal.
No to Formal! Come to work in plain clothes
About two months ago, the event was designated as a “Casual Day” and employees were informed in advance that they would come to work in plain clothes. The “fashion manual” that was circulated to inform employees that plain clothes “did not mean business casual!” was effective. From the morning, as unusually dressed colleagues appeared in the office one after another, everyone felt much more relaxed. In the afternoon, we decided to walk to the venue in consideration of the sustainable development goals (SDGs). As we walked for about 30 minutes with chatting, our expectations and excitement about the event grew steadily.
Is the venue a campsite? Employees were not informed
The venue for the Employee General Meeting was Tokyo International Forum—well-known for conventions and large events. However, the theme for the space production and decoration was a campsite. Camping chairs, tables, and equipment were prepared. The employees themselves had to assemble the chairs and we tried to break down their preconceptions of what an event venue should be like. Telling employees to come to work in plain clothes was actually a "sign" that was leading to this space.
As employees enjoyed chatting with colleagues in a casual atmosphere, the exciting event plan kept the participants guessing. It included a talk given by a celebrity who surprised everyone and an activity where all employees took on a challenge together. As a professional event organizer, we tried out some plans that we would want our customers to experience in the future and assessed the level of excitement and satisfaction!
Get in the loop with the app! Check on colleagues you are interested in
Buddy up! is a smartphone app that was specially customized for this Employee General Meeting (developed by FUJITSU LABORATORIES LTD.). It really helped to raise the excitement level at the event. Employees registered their photos and profiles in advance and were asked a few questions at the venue. Based on this, an artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm grouped employees independently. Employees who were meeting each other for the first time could see information about each other on their smartphones, which helped them to start up conversations.
It’s OK Even If It’s Your First Time! Preparing for the Employee General Meeting
Launch of the Organizing Committee
The first step was to launch the “Employee General Meeting Organizing Committee.” For JCS, three enthusiastic employees who had an attitude of “I want to do something new and interesting!” were selected as the representatives of the committee. Committee members were recruited from the whole company, and a total of ten people were chosen. Through brainstorming with other employees who did not normally meet in their everyday jobs, many fresh ideas were generated. The important point is that the employees who raised their hands voluntarily rather than being forced were appointed as members of the committee. Having enthusiasm for fun and agreeing with and feeling connected to the purpose was the key to the success of the event.
Deciding on the purpose and theme
First, the committee members clarified the “core target” and developed guidelines to address new challenges. Learning from the failures and successes of previous Employee General Meetings, the members discussed “elements to be changed” and “elements to be protected” in depth. After deciding what they wanted to achieve (purpose and theme) from the Employee General Meeting, they moved on to building a concept that would strengthen the motivation of all employees.
The Committee has created a philosophy called “Create the Future SHANAI Communication.” This means, “Employees want to take on challenges, speak independently, and practice positive acceptance.” All members of the Organizing Committee discussed proposals that would lead to this purpose. From this process, the concept for the Employee General Meeting to achieve the goal was born—“Voice Wanted!” However, there is a caveat here. There is a difference in the level of commitment between the people who come up with a plan and those who simply participate! Given this experience, the committee members did not publish the details of the plan in advance, but rather released a teaser movie about six months in advance and kept subsequent announcements to a minimum.
Since this was a new challenge, the committee contacted more than 20 companies that JCS had not done business with before. Some of the plans could be realized, thanks to working together with the companies that agreed with the purpose of the event and became sponsors. For example, one of the case studies of the SDGs is WASARA, a vessel made of a mixture of bamboo and sugarcane. WASARA is used at social meals and other occasions, and when disposed of after the event, it can decompose in the soil in just 90 days, compared with general plastic, which takes several decades to decompose. The SDGs initiatives were implemented because it was important to “disseminate and deepen the awareness of the SDGs” rather than emphasizing the actual activities undertaken.
Employee Motivation Improved! The Secret to Success
The sub theme - "Employees first,” not the company
At this Employee General Meeting, the emphasis was placed on the element of “employees enjoying themselves to the fullest while simultaneously being stimulated, learning, and being moved,” rather than “communicating messages from the company and the management.” The event planning considered how to achieve this and came up with a “Guest lecture tailored to the core target of the employees,” “A featured project involving all employees,” and “A fun plan where the Organizing Committee takes the lead.” As a result, the excitement was higher than ever, thus contributing to the creation of a warm atmosphere.
Pursuit of “playfulness” that goes beyond employees’ voice
Since the venue was a campsite, moderators and announcements were avoided at the venue as much as possible. Instead, a number of mechanisms that stimulated the employees’ spirit of exploration were prepared to make them think, “What’s that over there? Let’s go!” For example, in the photo booth that was prepared at the back of the venue, following the concept “Voice Wanted!” employees wrote their own messages on balloon panels and could freely take pictures holding them. The lighting production that brought color to the walls of the venue was programmed to change from day to night as the day progressed so that at the reception, an atmosphere of a nighttime campfire was reproduced. The planning team was conscious of recreating the “nighttime atmosphere” that is unique to campsites, where people open up and talk frankly.
Create Excitement at Your Employee General Meeting. Leave It to the Event Professionals!
Some companies hold a general meeting every year, while others are growing and are thinking about starting to hold events. Each one has a different purpose, concept, and sense of the issues and we know that the goals you have for your events are diverse.
The JCS Employee General Meeting “2020 JCS CAMP” that we have introduced here is just one example. Every company approaches its general meeting in its own way and we are convinced that there are endless correct answers. We can help you with the initial concept-making phase of your general meeting. If you are interested, please contact us!