Every August since 2017 and until 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic struck, Tokyo Century held a Family Day in which employees’ children are invited to visit the workplace. The event was held for the first time with new content since being suspended for four years during the pandemic.
Family Day is not only an event for children to create summer memories, but it also contributes to developing a more comfortable working environment for employees. Let’s take a look back at the event held this year by sharing memories from the day and interview two families who participated. For the latter half of the article, we interviewed Ms. Miyazawa, who has been in charge of planning Family Day as a diversity officer in the Personnel Division since the event’s launch.
Company-wide Event to Welcome Young Guests
On Family Day, children join their parents in coming to work in the afternoon. The first, special experience of course, is the routine of commuting.
A total of 20 families (46 people) participated in the event.
After President Baba gave an opening greeting, he exchanged business cards with each child, one at a time.
They looked nervous but really didn’t need to worry that much about the formality!
After getting a general sense of the company by watching videos and reading materials, the children exchanged business cards with each other and with the employees. It was a good opportunity for employees to meet other staff who are also raising children.
The visit to the president’s office left a particularly strong impression on many participants this time. After seeing the boardroom, they were taken to the president’s office, where they looked around the room and then took turns sitting in the chair. Thanks to President Baba’s consideration, other employees and family members were allowed to sit in the president’s chair, too!
At the end of the tour, the children visited their parents’ divisions. They were warmly welcomed at the workplaces, went on a tour, exchanged business cards, participated in workshops, and received gifts.
After the tour, the parents left the office along with their children so that the trip home created a nice memory for the employees as well.
How did the children and employees feel after participating in Family Day? Two families share their comments.
Enabling Family Members to Learn about Their Parents’ Workplace, and Workplace Staff to Meet Other Families
■ Aoto Family’s Experience
—What was your most memorable moment today?
Sitting in the president’s chair in his office and exchanging business cards. I exchanged business cards with many people. I was able to exchange almost all of the 100 cards in my business card case.
—How did you feel when you saw your father in his workplace? Did he seem different from how he seems at home?
He was different. At home, he plays games with me, but when he was working, I felt he looked sharp and trusted.
—Why did you participate in the event?
I had known about Family Day for a while, and we’d talked about participating in the event after the COVID-19 pandemic. Whenever my child asked about the kind of work I’m doing, I had difficulty explaining.
He is now in the third grade and has field trips in social studies class. So I was thinking about what I would tell him if he asks me about the job.
—How did you feel when you participated?
I thought coming from home to the company and seeing the workplace first hand was the best plan, so I think it was a good experience for him.
A college classmate of mine who became a work colleague following a company merger also happened to be participating in the event, and we decided to go out with his family. It looks like our families will become closer.
—What was your most memorable experience at the event?
I was impressed and surprised by my son’s active participation. The people at the workplace warmly welcomed and talked to us about a lot of things. I had heard lots about people in the company, so it was a great opportunity to meet them in person.
■ Saito Family Experience
—What was your most memorable moment today?
I had the most fun sitting in the chair in the president’s office and taking pictures. His office was gorgeous, and the chair was high. I also enjoyed talking on Zoom and asking questions about summer food on ChatGPT.
—Why did you participate in the event?
My older child (her brother) had previously participated in Family Day, so I wanted my younger daughter to experience it as well. Although her elementary school has a work experience class where parents talk about their jobs, I thought it would be difficult for her to understand what I do at Tokyo Century just by trying to explain it, so I wanted her to come and at least experience the workplace atmosphere.
—Oh, her brother was here before.
Yes, he seems to remember it quite well. I was in the Corporate Planning Division at the time, and he remembers exchanging business cards with President Baba, then the head of the division, and he still has the business card he received.
—How did you feel after participating this time?
I don’t typically get a chance to go into the president’s office or the boardroom, so it was nice to visit with my daughter. It was also good to have colleagues I work with every day get to know her, even just a little bit. After my older child participated in a previous event, colleagues sometimes asked me how he was doing.
Employee Motivation Boosted by Understanding of Family Members
—Ms. Miyazawa, why did you first plan Family Day?
Miyazawa: I have been engaged in new graduate recruitment and training in the Personnel Division since joining the company. In 2016, I was also assigned to the Diversity Promotion Office. Back then, I thought that in addition to the training and support provided for employees, I might be able to do something for the families who support them. To raise employee awareness of work-life balance, for example, I planned Family Day based on what other companies had done, tried things out, and held the first event in 2017.
—What kind of impact do you expect from inviting family members to the event?
Miyazawa: I believe that employees may experience a greater peace of mind when their families understand what they are doing. They can talk with their family about their work and career perspectives, and gaining the understanding of those closest to an employee can provide a personal boost. I have felt that it was difficult to explain our business of B to B services to families.
—Looking at this most recent event, many participants seemed to be very impressed with the visit to the president’s office.
Miyazawa: Yes. President Baba leaned over to speak with them at eye level, and during the visit to his office, families and employees as well as the children were allowed to sit in his chair. He demonstrated deep consideration for employees and their families throughout the day.
—In the latter half of the event, the children visited their parents’ divisions. How did they prepare for these young people?
Miyazawa: While the Personnel Division asked the other divisions to warmly welcome the children, each division decided what exactly they would do. I’m thankful that they welcomed the children in creative ways.
—How was the reaction of the participants?
Miyazawa: I have often received similar comments from participants—not just this time—about having had the opportunity to talk about work with their children at home. This provided the first experience for these young people to visit their parent’s workplace and commute together, so it appears to have been a good opportunity for them to become aware of work and develop an interest in working.
It has also encouraged interaction among participating employees. I hope that it will ultimately establish connections among working mothers and fathers.
Creating a System and Community Where Employees Feel Comfortable and Fulfilled in Their Workplaces
—How do you feel about this event in retrospect, Ms. Miyazawa?
Miyazawa: It had been four years since we held the last Family Day before the COVID-19 pandemic, so I was concerned over how many people would attend. As we began accepting applications, however, I was relieved to be receiving so many. After announcing the event to the company, I was even approached by members of divisions that were not going to participate, saying they were looking forward to it as well. I felt that the company has established an atmosphere that encourages employees to be proactively involved in this kind of communication.
—Do you plan to hold Family Days in the coming years?
Miyazawa: I’m absolutely considering it. I would like more people to be able to take part, based on the recent questionnaire survey.
—What kind of people would you like to see participate?
Miyazawa: It would be great if those who have participated could be joined by those whose children have just entered elementary school as well as mid-career hires with children in elementary school*. I think there are few opportunities to make child-rearing buddies in the workplace, so I hope that you will take advantage of this opportunity to build relationships within the company.
*In principle, children of elementary school age are eligible.
—What other initiatives is the Diversity Promotion Office working on?
Miyazawa: We hold a Papa-Mama Lunch Community for employees who are raising children. Women who have returned to work after childcare leave and men whose children were born after 2020 (as of this fiscal year) are invited to join a small group of people to exchange information on childcare over lunch. Recently, the number of men taking long-term childcare leave has been gradually rising, so we would like to actively introduce them as well.
—Finally, do you have anything you would like to focus on in the future?
Miyazawa: To make the company a more comfortable and satisfying place to work, we will continue to be proactive about aligning our systems and creating a sense of community within the organization.
Joined the company in 2009. She has been in charge of new graduate recruitment and training in the Personnel Division. Since 2016, she has concurrently served in the Diversity Promotion Office. She took childcare leave in 2021 and returned to work in April 2022. She is currently in charge of diversity-related operations, including childcare, as well as mid-career recruitment administration and health management.
Nov 29, 2023
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