Fostering Understanding and Collaboration Across Generations and Locations

May 26, 2020 | Case Study

Shinsanami develops energy infrastructure businesses, including electricity, renovation, design, construction and nursing care services, but with a focus on the gas business. Due to the nature of the industry, the company was troubled by a weakening sense of unity across the organisation caused by conflicts between divisions. But the introduction of Unipos has resolved this issue.

We spoke to Mr. Murata, the Managing Director, and two members of the Sales Promotion Planning Office about how the company uses Unipos to improve communication across business divisions and generations.

What challenges did your company face?

The work environment in the energy industry, such as gas and electricity, can be fairly conservative. Relationships between employees were very formal, there was little interaction and we were missing a sense of unity in the company.

Due to the nature of our business, we often have to respond promptly – sometimes even in the middle of the night. This is making it difficult for all employees to participate in company events.

What was your initial impression of Unipos?

We felt that it was a tool that could be used to bring just the right amount of “fun” into the company and business. At the same time, we thought it would be a great solution to the problems we were facing.

We wanted to create a culture in which employees could praise each other. However, with traditional “thank you” cards, it always comes down to one-on-one interactions. Unipos would allow us to easily communicate across locations.

Were there any concerns about introducing the platform across the organisation?

The average age of our employees is in the early 40s and, overall, IT literacy is fairly low. We were concerned whether people would actually use a platform like Unipos and how long they would continue to use it.

Have you taken any steps to address these concerns?

We received helpful documentation explaining the introduction of the platform. In addition to that, we held briefings for our employees, visited all our sales offices and helped people to get set up.

What kind of communication do you see on Unipos?

We’ve seen posts such as “Thank you for always giving accurate instructions, creating a pleasant working environment and making work more exciting”. There are also a lot of posts praising people for acquiring new skills and qualifications.

On top of that, intergenerational communication is becoming more active. One of our employees is 70 years old and an active user of Unipos, he regularly sends out points to other employees.

We also had some unexpected discoveries with the introduction of Unipos. One of our directors does not usually praise people much for others to see but he was using Unipos to do so. There are also a lot of other people who send a lot of posts, especially to welcome new joiners across the company. It’s a good means of communication.

Can you share some results of implementing Unipos?

One of the major changes we witnessed is the resolution of conflicts between business units.

Now, thanks to Unipos, effective communication across divisions has been established and mutual understanding has improved significantly.

Unipos fosters mutual understanding among employees and, therefore, helps to resolve potential business unit conflicts.

What is your outlook for the future?

For us, Unipos is a great tool for improving customer service and employee satisfaction. I feel that the spotlight is now shining on people who didn’t see the light before and employees are becoming more interested in the work of others.

In terms of work performance, until now, we’ve only received reports at monthly performance meetings. With Unipos, it’s nice to be able to see contributions in real time. 

Moving forward, we would like to encourage more usage at management and executive levels. There are also still a lot of business-related posts on Unipos but we would like to see more non-work-related stories as well. We would like to further drive the usage of the platform, for example by aggregating contributions and giving awards to employees.

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