Thankful: The State of the JHRS Community Report 2012

This article first published at The HR Agenda Magazine [January-March 2012 issue].

The year 2011 was indeed a truly unforgettable year for Japan and the rest of the world. It was a year marked by destructive earthquakes in Japan, Turkey and New Zealand; floods in Thailand; summer riots in England; the Arab Spring movement that has so far toppled dictatorial governments in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya; the European debt crisis; there cord-high value of the YEN, and much more.

In the midst of all the destruction, death and turmoil, one has to wonder: What was there about 2011 that we should be grateful for? From a micro-perspective, as HR professionals, what should we be proud of? What about JHRS… what do we have to be thankful for? My answer is: “There’s a lot!”

To start with, let me deliver this year’s State of the JHRS Community Report (a tradition that we have been doing since 2009) through the pages of this issue of The HR Agenda magazine. But this time I will not give you the usual figures and statistics that characterized our past community reports. Instead, let me enumerate the achievements that we should really be thankful for (i.e., our “Hits”) as well as our “Misses” and end the report with what lies before us in 2012.

Our “HITS”

The HR Agenda Magazine: A dream come true

We are thankful…that out of the destruction and uncertainty following the 3/11 earthquake in Japan, we still managed to make history with the publication of The HR Agenda magazine as the country’s first and only bilingual, Japan-focused HR publication, thereby effectively putting Japan on the global HR publication map.

As a community, publishing this magazine has been our greatest and boldest undertaking so far and I commend all the people who helped make this happen such as our advertisers, subscribers, partners, writers/contributors, editorial and production staff, and of course, the HR profession in general. We have received a number of accolades from many people about the magazine $ its quality, format, bilingual nature, uniqueness as a flip-type magazine, etc.

We likewise appreciate the sincere and well-meaning constructive criticisms that we have also received from our readers to better the magazine in terms of its editorial content and visual impact. We encourage you, our valued reader, to let us know how we are doing or how we can make this magazine valuable reading for you. Send your feedback to

JHRS@SHRM 2011 Annual Conference: Going Global

We are thankful…that in 2011, JHRS has continued to gain international recognition from other HR professional organizations such as the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) $ the world’s largest association for the HR profession. At SHRM’s annual event, attended by more than 18,000 participants, JHRS delivered the conference’s one and only Japan-focused concurrent session, titled: Japanese HR Management 101: Understanding the Japanese Way of People Management. Needless to say, it was a great honor and experience to represent the JHRS community at this conference and we hope that through this experience we were able to let the world know that there is a community of HR professionals in Japan that they can get in touch and partner with in the future.

Our big congratulations and kudos to the organizers and staff of the GOLD Symposium, the Global Leadership Conference 2011, and the SSO Summit Japan for successfully conducting these events (refer to centerfold to see these events in pictures and reviews in the following pages). Thank you for giving JHRS and The HR Agenda magazine an opportunity to partner with you and we look forward to continuing our partnerships in the future.

Knowledge@Wharton Partnership and JHRS HR Legal Clinic: Turning Information to Practical Use

We are thankful…that we made a strategic partnership with another Ivy League school, University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, to syndicate well-written, highly insightful HR and management articles into The HR Agenda magazine. This further strengthens the magazine’s editorial content and value.

We are also thankful that in addition to our existing AskHR Forum (, we have launched in 2011 the JHRS HR Legal Clinic ( Hosted by bilingual legal professionals in Japan, this “clinic” aims to provide guidance and help for HR professionals in addressing labor laws or compliance issues. After all, “ignorance of the law is no excuse.”


When we set out our strategic goals and objectives for 2011 we were very upbeat and optimistic. We believed that we could hit our targets easily. We had momentum. But after the 3/11 earthquake, everything came to a standstill and, in fact, JHRS began initiatives that we never planned for, in order to respond to the crisis at that time (e.g., JHRS Quake Center, HR Help Line, Message Board, and PersonFinder).

Unfortunately, we eventually had to cancel or delay planned JHRS events, surveys and institutional programs such as launching the JHRS HR Scholarship Fund to provide scholarships to Japan focused or Japan-based HR professionals to further their HR studies through the JHRS Academy x TUJ or the JHRS eAcademy x eCornell.

In terms of numbers, JHRS official membership in 2011 remained almost at the same level as that of 2010 but the good news is that we saw a little increase in the number of paid JHRS memberships such as associate and professional memberships. For us, this meant that members are beginning to appreciate the quality and value of their involvement to the JHRS Community as a paying member.

2012: What Lies Ahead