At Rakuten, we consider ourselves marathon runners. We are in our business and our communities for the long haul. That’s one of the reasons we think very seriously about diversity. Diversity at Rakuten is not just important because it is the right thing to do, right now. It is a strategy for our long-term success.
Why is diversity so important to our long game?
We know that to be successful we need to hire and retain the best talent from all over the world – not just from Japan. We need to see the global community as our recruiting pool. Already, more than 80% of new recruits to our engineering team come from a myriad of countries outside Japan. When we open up our recruiting to the global marketplace, we have the opportunity to attract the best and the brightest talent.
When talent comes together from around the globe, they bring with them their unique perspectives. When these perspectives are gathered in one place, a company experiences a tremendous advantage. Our company perspective is informed by ideas from all over the world. It helps us to be creative, spot trends and stay close to changes in consumer behavior.
The internet is the platform of the future – and it is a global network. The internet knows no national borders. It is a platform that draws from all places and connects us all. Knowing that our business now and in the future will depend on this global platform, it only makes sense to ensure that the people we employ represent that global mindset.
An open workplace where people and ideas thrive
At Rakuten, we are also committed to diversity in terms of gender. Today, our domestic customer base is largely women, but that is not yet reflected in our staff and management ranks. We know that we will certainly benefit from diverse female perspectives – those perspectives will help us better understand our customers and create the products and services they need. When we moved our corporate headquarters last year we adopted many new initiatives to make it easier for parents to come back to work after taking time off to be with their children. We opened a day care center where children are cared for and educated in a Japanese/English bilingual environment. We also try to support the personal lives of our employees and help them make the most of their private time by providing an on-site dry-cleaner, a fitness center and a cafeteria that provides breakfast, lunch and dinner free of charge. Rakuten also hosts events for employees and their families, such as a summer fireworks viewing event and Rakuten Group Day at Tokyo Dome featuring the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles.
Companies that win in the global marketplace will be those that take workforce diversity seriously and understand why it’s not just the right thing to do; it’s also the smart thing to do. The company that draws its talent from around the world and across the spectrum of experience will be the company best positioned to create the diverse and unique products and services that will advance humanity.