Cross Talk

Cross Talk

TALK 02
SoftBank’s “self-reporting culture” What is the SoftBank environment that encourages self-reporting
and challenging yourself?

A self-reporting culture that gives opportunities to those who seek them.
How do the employees feel about getting the job assignments that
they wanted by proactively making the request?

people
  • Kousuke Sekiguchi

    Technology Unit Technology Strategy Unit
    Global Business Strategy Division
    Technology Strategy Department Sharing Business Section
    [ 2014 New Hire ]

  • Gaku Hamada

    Business Development Unit
    Global Alliance & Investment Strategy Division
    Strategic Partnership Planning Division
    Business & Alliance Department Planning Section 2
    Chief Manager
    [ 2008 New Hire ]

  • Akihiro Sato

    SB Innoventure Corp.
    Chief Manager
    [ 2012 Experienced Hire ]

  • Tatsuro Kanbe

    Consumer Business Unit Product & Marketing Unit
    Product & Marketing Strategy Division
    Business Management Division
    Business Management Department 1 Business Strategy Section
    [ 2013 New Hire ]

  • Midori Araki

    Consumer Business Unit Product & Marketing Unit
    Communication Division Communication Division
    Creative Department Creative Section 1
    [ 2014 New Hire ]

CROSSTALK TALK 02

There are no set tracks.
Win your own career path.

SoftBank has established corporate culture that provides opportunities to those who proactively seek them. Whether it be attending trainings, transfer to another department, or proposal for new business, employees are encouraged to self-report. It’s up to you to capture that opportunity. The company will fully support employees who are serious about their career development. Five employees that actually used various programs to realize their dream gathered to exchange their stories on the “self-reporting culture.”

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A self-reporting culture that provides opportunities
—how does it make SoftBank unique?

We asked employees to gather round to a discussion who realized the career path they wanted through self-reporting. Gaku Hamada and Kousuke Sekiguchi applied to the job-posting system; Tatsuro Kanbe and Midori Araki utilized the free agent system; and Akihiro Sato used SoftBank InnoVenture, the new business proposal system.

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Which system did you use, and what career path did you realize?

Hamada
I used the job posting system to realize a transfer last year. Prior to that, I was working on marketing strategy for consumer business. Now, I work on alliance planning for overseas partners at Business Development Unit, such as finding investment targets for SoftBank Vision Fund.
Sekiguchi
I also used the job posting system. I had been responsible for customer experience analysis at Consumer Business, Customer Support since I joined as a new hire, and now I have transferred to the Global Business Strategy Division under the Technology Unit, working on launching new business utilizing the latest technologies, such as BLUU Smart Parking, a parking share service.
Sato
I was an experienced hire, and worked as a manager for Corporate Sales. I used SoftBank Group’s new business proposal system called SoftBank InnoVenture, and now I am working on a project for exporting Japanese food using IT platform.
Kanbe
I transferred from Kyushu Consumer Sales Business Unit using the free agent system in April. I belong to a department engaged in business management, competitor analysis, and preparation of materials for meeting bodies including Management Meeting, regarding new businesses mainly in the consumer area.
Araki
I also transferred using the free agent system in 2017. I worked on Consumer Business agency sales, sales crew training for SoftBank shops and mass sales shops, and SoftBank shop agency sales. Now I’ve transferred to Communications Division, and am responsible for production of promotions and advertisements for mobile business.
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What made you decide to use the self-reporting system?

Hamada
I had been transferred in the past, and worked for Service Planning, Management Planning and Marketing areas. It’s interesting to get involved in new and different areas, and you gain experience. I worked for the Marketing Business Unit for full five years prior to this transfer, and it seemed like a good timing to tackle a new area.
Sato
I had always wanted to work at the forefront of the IT revolution, and was wondering what that forefront might be. One of my sales clients, senior management of a food manufacturer, mentioned the difficulty of business development in Japan, and I also remembered how much I missed Japanese food when I lived abroad. So I thought perhaps the issue could be resolved with IT. My motivation is people, that there is someone I like, and want to help.
Sekiguchi
I’d wanted to start a new business ever since I joined. I felt confident that I’d done everything I could in the four years I worked for CS, so I wanted to work on developing a big business that redefines the industry, driven by technology.
Kanbe
Even before I joined SoftBank, I always wanted a job involved with information revolution and singularity. I believe current generation in their 20s will drive these areas. I’m not an engineer, so I wanted to become part of the information revolution by developing business planning skills and getting involved in the corporate decision-making. I asked for a transfer to the current department using the free agent system, and was accepted with my third application. Looking back, the first two applications were premature. Performance at the previous department and preparation for the new position had to be recognized to realize the transfer.
Araki
I also had interest in making advertisements and working in PR prior to joining SoftBank. I was initially appointed to the Sales Department, and figured that I should first get to know SoftBank. I enjoyed my work in sales and produced results, so I decided to apply for the free agent system. Sales provided me with understanding of how SoftBank looked to customers and agents, so it was probably a necessary experience for planning of marketing.
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What do you think of the system, having used it?

Kanbe
I had been consulting my supervisor on the issue at performance reviews, etc. I found out that various people from the head of business unit and HR personnel worked to coordinate my transfer without my knowledge, and I am very grateful.
Sekiguchi
There’s no sense of betrayal in the department you transfer from, you never hear such things.
Hamada
Business handover is necessary, so you do need to cooperate on the timing of the transfer. However, that is a practical issue, and everybody is supportive about the transfer itself.
Araki
I knew others that were seeking transfers through the free agent system. Some said that the fact that I was actually transferred proved that it was possible, and found it encouraging. I will note that I had to work hard to catch up on business after my transfer.
Sekiguchi
You certainly do start at the new department with less skills and knowledge. In addition to the catch-up in skills, I focused on quickly building the trust from my co-workers. I may have had less knowledge, but I took ownership of the tasks I volunteered for, and made sure I voiced my opinions.
Kanbe
Absolutely. After the transfer, you really have to work hard. But I believe that’s the same with regular transfers. You get used to your new position with support from many people including your superiors. I was frequently encouraged to state my opinions to establish my presence. SoftBank is a company that provides opportunities to those who actively seek them, but you need to be proactive.
Sato
It requires more independence, so it may be a difficult system for some. I think this group, including myself, enjoys the challenge. Job posting system, free agent system and SoftBank InnoVenture are all fantastic systems at SoftBank, and I hope to contribute to refining it further with our trial and error, and to resolve post-transfer issues.
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What are your thoughts on career development at SoftBank?

Araki
By transferring to a completely different department at my own initiative, I have gained better understanding of this massive corporation. Single campaign seen by the customers on a TV commercial or used for sales is a product of significant effort involving various opinions of people inside SoftBank. I learned that there are many trials and errors happening before the final product is created, and it changed my perception.
Sato
From the perspective of singularity, having a “set career path” is more of a high-risk approach. In the future, we will need the ability to identify and resolve issues independently, and be creative. It is important to view the present situation positively and work towards the dream. I sincerely believe that SoftBank has a wonderful culture that provides this.
Sekiguchi
I already know how great the self-reporting system is, so I’d like to encourage others to use it. To make sure this happens, I’d like to see the company further develop an environment where employees seeking opportunities will be given a chance to achieve results.
Kanbe
Students tend to imagine that if you work hard at the department where you are posted, somebody will appreciate your efforts and promotion will automatically follow. I was one of those students. But now I realize that opportunities will only be presented if you know what you want to do.
Hamada
I learned from my position as a manager that there really is such thing as right person for the right job. I had a team member transfer out of my department, and that person is performing extremely well at the new position. The system is not about transferring because you don’t like your current job; transfer is realized when you have achieved something at the current position. As a result, it creates a corporate culture that encourages voluntary career development.
Sato
That is a particular perspective from a manager.
Hamada
Personally, I’d like to enhance my ability to propose a good fit for transferring my team members. I think that could make the self-reporting culture even more robust.
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  • Information as of November 2018.

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