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Onward and Upward! The State of the JHRS Community Report 2013

As in the past, allow me to highlight in this issue our hits and misses in 2012 as well as our plans and goals for 2013. (Download the complete "State of the JHRS Community Report" at for the usual details, stats, and more.)

Our Hits

Japan-focused HR Certification System via HRCI Undoubtedly, our biggest hit in 2012 is our strategic alliance with the HR Certification Institute (HRCI) in bringing to Japan an internationally-recognized HR credentialing system for Japan-focused HR professionals (see “Bringing HR Certification to Japan,” The HR Agenda, Oct-Dec 2012). In fact, five of your fellow JHRS members gained the distinction and honor of belonging to the first batch of Human Resource Management Professional (HRMP) or Human Resource Business Professional (HRBP)-certified HR professionals not only in Japan but in the world. (Read related story here: “JHRS congratulates Japan's first batch of HRMPs/HRBP,” The HR Agenda, Oct-Dec 2012)

We appreciate the trust and support extended to us by HRCI in helping us realize one of JHRS’ founding flagship programs to help advance the HR agenda in Japan. One small step for JHRS…a giant leap for Japan HR! (“Publisher’s Message,” The HR Agenda, Oct-Dec 2012). To learn more about our HR Certification program, visit

The HR Agenda Celebrated its 1st Birthday Against all odds, The HR Agenda is now 1 year-old and growing stronger (The HR Agenda, Jul-Sep 2012). Born out of the silence and uncertainty that followed the 3/11 earthquake, The HR Agenda has continued to improve its editorial content and visual design to reflect our members’ and readers’ feedback. In the past year we featured Japan’s foremost HR thought leaders, role models, HR practitioners and experts in a truly bilingual platform to facilitate the exchange of ideas and information both ways. To date, The HR Agenda remains Japan’s undisputed first and only bilingual and truly world-class HR magazine.

Of course, our continued success is thanks to our advertisers, contributors, members, readers as well as to the very talented, dedicated and professional HRA Editorial Team (see our masthead for their names) who toiled on each issue of The HR Agenda to give you the very best of HR journalism in Japan. Personally, I’m very proud to be working with this A-Team!

Domestic and International Recognition for JHRS and The HR Agenda As the old adage says: "Good deeds never go unnoticed." The HR Agenda and JHRS have continued to gain local and international recognition as evidenced by participation in domestic and international HR conferences as a media partner and supporting organization. In 2012, we continued to participate in the SHRM Annual Conference and Expo, held in Atlanta, Georgia; the 2nd Annual Shared Services, Outsourcing & Offshoring Summit Japan, held in Tokyo; and for the first time ever the recently-concluded Global HR Excellence Conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, organized by world-renowned event producer marcusevans. This is not to mention the many domestic joint events and cross promotions we did with other organizations in Japan, providing our members with various opportunities to learn and network.

Our Misses We have two: first, we were not able to physically expand The HR Agenda’s print distribution capabilities outside of Japan through a network of international distributors. Secondly, we failed to achieve our 2012 BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) of launching the JHRS HR Scholarship Foundation.

Regarding our first miss, although we did discuss with magazine publishers and distributors in the APAC region, we learned that the costs involved in establishing and maintaining international distributors far outweigh the marginal economic benefits gained. For this reason, we dropped the idea (at least for now) and chose to concentrate on developing media partnerships with HR conference organizers so that The HR Agenda would still get regional visibility. Furthermore, we hope that our move towards enhancing our digital delivery formats will fulfill this need to expand regionally and even globally.

For the second miss, setting the question of cost aside, we decided to prioritize our alliance with HRCI. Our participation in the aforementioned SHRM conference resulted in a rare opportunity to partner with HRCI to bring HR certification to Japan. Since advancing certification has been a major JHRS program since our founding, we felt we had to seize the opportunity.

2013: Onward and Upward! In contrast to last year’s incremental and cautious outlook, we dare everyone to make 2013 their best year ever! Onward and Upward! will be our guiding motto for the year ahead as we try to leverage the momentum of our successes in 2012.

Creating, Leading and Managing Change As you may know already, The HR Agenda is going hybrid starting with this issue. Truth be told, the JHRS community was almost equally split on this issue, but in the end we need to walk the talk and practice what we preach in our Green HR Advocacy.

Instead of simply waiting for change, we decided to proactively create change and align ourselves with our goals and principles. After all, publications such as Newsweek and Smart Money (owned by Dow Jones) are going digital-only, while HR Magazine and HR Executive also have both print and digital versions.

To help manage this change, JHRS and The HR Agenda are working to create a customized application (or app) across various mobile platforms such as iOS (iPhone/iPad/iPod), Android, and HTML5 (mobile web) in addition to our standard web and PDF formats. You may be reading this article in one of these formats already!

Also, with the support of our advertisers and friends, The HR Agenda is being made publicly available across all these delivery platforms. We are quite thrilled with the possibilities offered by making the magazine public.

Increase the Number of Certified HR Professionals in Japan

With the help and support of HRCI, we would like to at least double the number of HRCI-certified HR professionals [Professional in Human Resources (PHR®), Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR®), Global Professional in Human Resources (GPHR®), Human Resources Management Professionals (HRMP), or Human Resources Business Professionals (HRBP)] based in Japan from our current estimates of 15 to 30. To do this, JHRS and HRCI are going to do a number of joint activities such as info-seminars (live and webinars) and marketing campaigns in addition to providing certification and re-certification courses. Visit for announcements and updates.

Our BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal):

The 1st JHRS HR Conference and Shin Nen Kai 新年会 in 2014 Yes, you read it right! We are aiming to finally hold our long overdue HR conference not only for the JHRS community but also open to both Japan and foreign HR professionals.

For this initial run, we are planning on a day-long event with plenary sessions and panel discussions in the morning, concurrent sessions in the afternoon, and capped by our traditional Shin Nen Kai 新年会 in the evening. It will be a day where HR professionals can share, learn and have fun! There will also be an exhibition space to give opportunities for HR service providers to showcase their products and services.

So save the date (January 30, 2014) and stay tuned for future announcements regarding calls for speakers/presentations, sponsorship opportunities, and event registration.

Needless to say, all of our plans and goals remain unaccomplished without your active involvement and support. If you make any New Year resolutions this January, please include even more involvement with the JHRS community. There are many ways you can help and make a difference. Join our community of unique, mission-based and progressive HR professionals in Japan! Send me an email ( and we can go from there.

Onward and upward, Japan HR pros in 2013!

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