New-Hire Training Event for Government-Related Financial Institution 

government finance institution

“Combining different points of view into common action”. This was the focus of a 1-day workshop put on by Invite Japan. In other words, how can teams pull their resources and skills together towards a common goal for the future when each member has their own way of thinking?

Invite Japan prides itself on its ability to create specific, tailor-made workshops that meet the needs of its client companies. In this case the client, a financial institution affiliated with the government, requested a team building workshop for its new hires. This workshop not only engaged with the question of how the organization can support and strengthen change in Japan, but also cultivated individual employees’ sense of initiative when it comes to giving support to the various areas they will be sent to. 

Overall, the feedback was that Invite Japan’s program was a great success on both these fronts.

Background

The client for this event is a government-related financial institution dealing with small and mid-sized companies in all 47 prefectures of Japan, with branches in four foreign locations as well. Since the early Showa era, this organization has helped small and mid-sized companies weather economic shocks and depressions, and has become an invaluable partner in keeping an eye out for their future prospects.

The client had 150 new hires, eager to start their work in different regions and areas. These hires had only been employed at the institution for one week. 

Request from the Client

The main theme of the workshop was “Forging Strong Relationships While Having Fun”. Additionally, another theme of the workshop surrounded experiencing deep learning. Along with these themes, the goal of the program was that employees would learn to trust and rely on each other in the future, after they had been sent to different areas of the country. By forming these strong bonds through the team building event, they would be able to create stronger networks of support later on and throughout their careers. 

Looking at the institution’s role in developing small and medium-sized businesses all over the country, Invite Japan proposed a workshop that would allow employees to gain perspective on business development in those different regions. 

Workshop: City Scavenger Hunt and Development Brainstorm in Asakusa, Tokyo 

The workshop that Invite Japan proposed took into account that the participants would be new hires. The team building company therefore wanted to inspire them to communicate and share ideas as much as possible at this early stage in their careers, so that when they were assigned to different locations, they wouldn’t be afraid to speak up, especially to their superiors.

The first part of the event consisted of a puzzle-based scavenger hunt where teams got to explore Askausa, Tokyo and discover different parts of this urban area that they maybe hadn’t noticed before. This also gave participants the chance to bond and get to know each other in a natural and fun environment.

Then, in the second part, teams discussed their experience during the scavenger hunt game. They also were tasked with making a development proposal for Asakusa, based on what they had seen and experienced. 

As a result, the event perfectly blended experiential and interactive learning with discussions and creative assignments related to their participants’ future work. 

Event Flow

1. Lecture (getting into the right mindset, etc.)

2. Main Activity: Puzzle-Based Scavenger Hunt

3. Group Discussion and Group Work

4. Presentation

5. Wrap-up

In the beginning of the event, Invite Japan staff gave an introductory lecture to set the mood and get participants to start entering the right mindset for the activities to come. This consisted of the following suggestions:

• Think and act on your own initiative.

• Form hypotheses, make observations, and come up with ideas based on what is consistent or different.

• Accept different ideas and combine diverse perspectives.  

With this in mind, teams set out to explore Asakusa on their own scavenger hunt adventures.

After the scavenger hunt, teams returned to discuss their experiences and observations, and use them as a basis for their Asakusa-based development proposals.

Teams shared their ideas with each other in a “World Cafe” format (participants move around to different tables to present their ideas and get feedback from other team members).

With 150 participants and 30 teams, one would think that a lot of similar ideas would emerge between teams. Surprisingly though, this wasn’t the case. The different teams really showed a diversity and originality of ideas in their proposals. 

Results

The new hires didn’t just have fun with each other and bond (although that did happen). They also learned to confidently and freely share their opinions and combine perspectives. By utilizing the diversity of opinion and creativity of their team members, teams were able to come up with some truly remarkable proposals.

The workshop that Invite Japan put on combined both learning and fun into a unique experience for the participants, one which they are likely never to forget. It was clear to Invite Japan’s facilitators that many of these new hires had never had an opportunity like this before – one where they were encouraged to think creatively and share opinions and in a free and open way.

Invite Japan is happy that they could give the new hires this space to let their ideas roam, and hopes that it contributes to their success as both individuals and within their critical financial institution.       

Feedback from Participants

• “I learned how to form hypotheses on my own and make observations to support or disprove them. I’d like to do this more from now on.”

• It was fun doing the puzzles [in the scavenger hunt] and walking around with my team. We had a lot of nice talks.”

• The discussion was really good, and it was fun hearing different teams’ ideas. I was so surprised that we all experienced the same exact area, but we came up with such different proposals.”

• “I think there’s real meaning to having different ideas on a team. It’s not about whether one idea is right or wrong from another, but rather it’s important to be able to draw the best points from as many different ideas as possible.”  

The event organizers from HR were extremely satisfied with the results of the event and how the new hires responded. One of them even said that they want to show their proposals to the person responsible for the Asakusa area!

Conclusion

Invite Japan is proud of the program it created for this financial institution’s new hires. Not only did it provide an interactive method of getting them to think creatively and collaboratively about their work, but it also forged strong relations through the activity and discussions that will be invaluable to participants for years, if not decades, to come. 

This was a big success as an event, but Invite Japan is not resting on its laurels. Rather, it’s already at work on the next challenge, and always looking out for more ways to level up teams.

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