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Reliving The Kizuna絆 Spirit: A Challenge for Japan HR Professionals?

Last month, Japan commemorated the first-year anniversary of the 3/11 earthquake that changed this country (and the world) forever. As “survivors” of this tragedy and as HR professionals, we definitely have stories to tell about how this event changed for the better (or for the worse) some of the fundamentals of traditional Japanese working life such as long working hours, job security, compensation, and work-life balance issues.

If there’s one positive effect of this tragedy, it is the rekindling of the Kizuna絆 spirit or feeling of bonds among people and the realization that life is indeed short, precious and even sacred. Out of this tragedy we have been witness to the re emergence of the Japanese brand of camaraderie and volunteerism in helping, directly and indirectly, the people who have been affected by the earthquake, tsunami, and the Fukushima nuclear incident triple disaster. This made me realize that the desire to be part of a community is an innate characteristic of the Japanese people. It’s just waiting to be tapped and put to good use. The challenge is: Can Japanese HR professionals build a community to strengthen the profession and better respond to the needs of their organizations to be competitive, to have a global mindset, and to be world-class? As a Japan HR professional, can you revive the Kizuna絆 spirit in your own way? If your answer is yes, then we invite you to join the JHRS community and become part of the process in advancing the HR agenda in Japan. If you are already a JHRS member, get involved. Don’t just be a bystander. Otherwise, you’ll be left behind.

JHRS has been serving the HR community in Japan for some time now (we’ll be celebrating our fifth anniversary in June 2012!) and throughout this time we have experienced (and are still experiencing) growth pains. We’ve begun to develop and structure a number of initiatives designed to move the practice of the HR profession in Japan forward, one of which is The HR Agenda magazine you are reading now. We take a lot of pride in publishing Japan’s first and only bilingual HR focused publication. The good news is that we are getting noticed by our foreign counterparts. In fact, the start of 2012 has been a busy one for the JHRS community not only because we held the fourth annual JHRS Shin-Nen Kai新年会 in January (see JHRS Community article on “Leaders and Leadership” related to this annual new year event) but we have been presented with different opportunities to partner and collaborate with other international HR organizations such as the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), HR Certification Institute (HRCI), and Australian HR Institute (AHRI). We also have approached the UK’s Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and the Asia Pacific Federation of Human Resource Management (APFHRM) for possible alliances.

I am glad to let you know that we are progressing well with our discussions with these organizations and hope to be able to make official announcements of these partnerships and collaborations soon.

However, we cannot do this alone. To make this work, we need you, yes, you, to be actively involved in our community and tap into our collective Kizuna絆 spirit. Specifically:

  • We need “warm bodies” to lead our programs, advocacies and projects.

  • We need your expertise to reach out to help other HR professionals with HR problems they are facing. • We need HR professionals like you to care about your own HR career and the HR profession in Japan as a whole.

  • We need your financial support in terms of membership dues, magazine subscriptions, advertisements, and even donations, if you are willing and able.

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