A focus on global internship activities
Roland DG conducted a 6-week internship program for international students from June 19 to July 28, 2017. The global program provides students from countries outside Japan the opportunity of participating in a fixed period of work experience at an actual company to help maximize the student’s career path and future job prospects.
Increasing employee motivation while maximizing their capabilities
We believe that internships are one way of bringing about innovation and creating new added value within Roland DG. One of the mainstays of our human resources strategy is “creating a resilient organization by maximizing diversity” and we currently have three initiatives in place: hiring additional female employees; employing disabled persons; and catering to diverse working styles.
One of the key programs in place for catering to diverse working styles is moving the entire company toward globalization. We currently have employees in a broad range of countries and regions and we conduct our business activities on a global scale. Overseas sales make up some 90% of our total group sales, and almost half of our employees live and work overseas. Our workplaces are becoming increasingly global, and there is a growing emphasis on diversity.
The global internship program is one activity aimed at creating a workplace environment where employees from a kaleidoscope of nationalities, languages, cultures and values are able to work together toward a common goal while fostering understanding and respect for each other’s differences.
Joining us on internships were first year students Anika Dholakia and Davis White from the University of Michigan who were assigned to the Human Resources Department and Information Service Department respectively. There they had the task of coming up with and testing a range of solutions for the various issues given to them.
Anika Dholakia (Major: Business; Assigned to: Human Resources Department)
I did not have a clear idea of what type of work I want to do in the future. When I heard about the internship at Roland DG, I knew that the experience would give me the opportunity to explore HR/Consulting and learn about the specific roles and tasks that members of this department take on. I would be exposed to a corporate setting which cannot be learned in a classroom, as well as the very unique and distinct Japanese culture, which appealed to me a lot.
The HR Department presented me with both external and internal challenges within the company. I conducted interviews and analyses to come up with possible solutions, and worked with related departments in order to accomplish tasks. In the end, I can see how much I learned and grew simply based on the transition from my ideas to actual solutions.
At Roland DG, I learned the importance of coming up with ideas and sharing them with others so that they could understand the reasons behind them. I also saw how important teamwork is considered in Japan. In America, teamwork means each person doing their part to finish a project or achieve a goal. I was surprised by the different approach in Japan where teamwork is viewed as a more collective action – working together and coming up with ideas with others to accomplish a goal.
During the internship, I was forced to be independent, to take the initiative to either get help or figure it out myself. This principle applied to both work as well as outside activities, like ordering meals or getting on buses. Sometimes I made the wrong choice, but got through things with the help of others. Ultimately, I felt that these opportunities helped me learn and grow from those experiences to make the right decision the next time.
Anika consulting with members of her team.
Davis White (Major: Computer Science; Assigned to Information Service Department)
Since I was young, I have had a deep interest in Japan, particularly the history and culture, and, since high school, I have taken Japanese language classes as well. Over the past few years, I also developed a strong interest in computer programming. When I heard about this internship, I saw it as an excellent opportunity to combine and explore these two interests together.
I was assigned to the IS Department, where I focused primarily on networking and developing plans for implementing new forms of IS systems for other departments. I approached my assignments from a range of different angles, including methods for planning work and how to communicate and coordinate with my colleagues which made me realize just how critical high-quality communications really are. If a problem did arise, I learnt the importance of effective communications for the sake of clarification and developing a solution, instead of trying to figure out what I was supposed to do by myself.
Members of the IS Department were very easy to communicate with, and they also taught me many different things. I tried to use the Japanese that I did know wherever I could. However, there were times when I had trouble coming up with the right phrases or had difficulty understanding what others were saying. I realized that I still have a long way to go with language study.
Before arriving, I was worried that spending so much time in Japan would in some way demystify the land that has for so long held my fascination, but I think that fear has been put to rest. Japan has in no way proven itself to be a passing fancy, and I could not be happier about what I experienced there.
Davis presenting his findings during the internship.