Connecting the board members and internal/external stakeholders as a bridge between the both sides.
I am a member of the Secretary Team in the Corporate Support Department. It is my responsibility to support Ms. Ayano Senaha, our COO, and Mr. Rony Kahan, who is located outside of Japan. Many people might think of secretaries’ duties in general terms, such as managing schedules, responding to inquiries from various parties, responding to emails and handling documents, and doing preparatory research about the people outside the company who have appointments with us. In reality, a secretaries’ duties at the Company are not limited just to these tasks. For example, in order to actively promote each executive's participation in global events or initiatives, we work with the PR Department closely on the project. Recently, our CEO, Mr. Idekoba, participated in a session at the World Economic Forum (the Davos Annual Meeting). Through such events, we explore ways to establish Recruit Holdings as a brand and identify people with whom we can meet and network to contribute to our future business development. In this way, we are actively involved in the design and execution of strategic external communications.
On the other hand, we also serve as a bridge between the executives and the teams and individual team members under their control. In order to create an environment in which extremely busy executives can make better decisions, it is important to establish a system where information from the frontline can be delivered in real time, and it is also important to build a good relationship with their team members so that executives' ideas and messages are accurately conveyed. The executive secretary's job is to serve as a link between the executives and both internal and external stakeholders while maintaining high ethical standards and work quality.
Executives of global companies make decisions on a wide range of important matters while traveling around the world. In order to support their good decision-making, executive secretaries are required to sort out and prioritize various requests coming from many quarters and accurately provide necessary information, while managing executives’ schedules so that they can take time off as needed. To this end, it is essential to have a deep understanding of the thinking and interests of the executives you support. I try to communicate closely with them through regular meetings and chats to keep myself up-to-date on the latest developments. The board members openly talk about anything, so I try to look for tips and hints from our conversations to tell me what they are thinking and respond properly.
A unique corporate culture where executives ask even secretaries, “What do you think?”
I originally started my career as a salesperson, then unexpectedly took an opportunity to work as an executive secretary. I fell in love with this job as it allows me to interact with a variety of people, including the executives I support, and their team members and customers. Secretarial work is not directly related to business or services, and I rarely receive praise for what I do. However, it is highly rewarding because I can feel that I am helping the business grow and contributing to society as a member of a team, even if only in a small way.
Also, when I look at the entire business from the same perspective as an executive, I can see our service lines in a completely different way than when I was in a sales role, and naturally my understanding regarding the job of a secretary changed as well. Eventually, I want to become a "Chief of Staff," someone who can act as an executive's right hand. To achieve this, I have chosen companies and positions where I can be involved with management strategies and numbers, and experience project management. I decided to join the Company because I wanted to challenge myself to see if my past experience would be applicable in a larger organization and in a global environment. When I actually joined the Company, I found that each employee has an entrepreneurial spirit, which, I think, is really unique. It is a very attractive company where everyone, regardless of a job title or position, thinks and acts to “make the business better” or “contribute more to society.” Also, a positive attitude of “If you're going to do something, you might as well enjoy it” is deeply rooted in the culture. As an executive secretary, this feeling is particularly strong. In fact, our management is really enjoying their work more than anyone else. I think that’s why all the members also enjoy working here.
One of the things that surprises me the most is that the board members frequently ask me, “What do you think we should do?” to seek my opinion. Recruit is often characterized by the phrase “what do you want to do?” Secretaries are no exception. This culture necessitates that people have proactive attitudes instead of passively waiting for instructions. I always try to approach each job from my own perspective. It makes me nervous, of course, but it is very exciting to find that I am not just routinely doing what I am told to do, but that my ideas are reflected in the results and lead to the smooth running of the projects.
An open and flat team that supports management. Having experienced many secretarial jobs, I can say that this is a comfortable working environment.
I have had the opportunity to work with 12 executives from 5 countries in various companies, including Japanese companies, foreign companies, venture companies, and large corporations. At the Company, I am working under a completely different structure from the previous companies. Normally, secretaries work one-on-one with executives, but here, as the name “Secretary Team” suggests, secretaries work together and support each other as a team.
This approach is based on the idea that we should avoid total dependence on individual efforts to do particular jobs and ensure that the same level of support is provided to executives regardless of who takes charge. We are actively working to develop “team knowledge” by sharing information obtained through the work of each member of the team. Our organization is relatively flexible with respect to the responsibility of secretaries to allow them to support different officers depending on the situation. If my responsibilities change and I start to work for a new director, I then deal with a new team under his/her control. This allows me to establish connections with new departments and deepen my understanding of the company and its business. Also, through information sharing and various projects, I can learn how other secretaries are handling things, and if I have any problems, I can immediately consult with them. Our team has a great dynamic. We have an open and flat culture, and team members get along well with each other. It is a very comfortable place to work. Having worked as a secretary in several organizations, I feel very strongly about that.
Now that the businesses of the Recruit Group have expanded globally, the secretaries supporting the management of each business are also located all over the world. We currently hold general discussion sessions to share information with the secretary team of Recruit Co., Ltd. which conducts business mainly in Japan. In the future, I look forward to expanding this network globally by creating opportunities where secretaries from the entire Group gather to exchange information. Through our mutual efforts across borders, I hope we can support the management team’s decision-making for the entire group. Everyday, challenging works that will give us a variety of experiences await. There are tense moments and hardships. Nevertheless, we would be happy to work together with someone who can enjoy a constantly changing environment. I look forward to working with you to make our team even better.
This article is based on information available at the time of publication.
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