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INSIDES: Supporting Managers Using Psychology and Technology

Holistically understanding employees so that managers can take appropriate measures to improve performance

"Organizations can produce something greater by embracing the potential and unique skills of each individual."

Recruit Management Solutions Co., Ltd. (RMS) is a professional service firm that provides solutions to the various challenges that today's management teams face, placing special emphasis on promoting the growth of individuals and organizations. RMS uses assessments, training programs, consultations, and human resources (HR) analytics to support client companies that need help resolving issues in recruitment, HR development, organization development, and HR systems. INSIDES is a newly developed RMS HR tech service that targets busy "frontline managers" to help them effectively manage their team members. We interviewed Yasushi Aragane, who is in charge of the development of INSIDES and the winner of the Japan HR Challenge Awards 2020 (in the HR Management Service Category), to discuss user feedback and future plans for INSIDES.

Providing Individual-Focused Solutions

Today, employers are embracing the unique skills and capabilities of every employee in order to differentiate their company from other businesses. Recognizing this emphasis on individuality, Yasushi realized that the processes HR teams use to diagnose organizational issues should take a similar approach. Rather than assessing if an organization as a whole had a problem, Yashushi saw potential in refining managerial approaches to determine how to bring out the best in every employee. That's why he decided to initiate the INSIDES project.

INSIDES is a cloud-based service that provides managers with advice on how to enhance their relationships with employees. Employees take a 30-question survey to measure their psychological well-being and personality traits, all of which are delivered in a confidential report to managers. If a manager is having trouble with any of their team members, they can then consult one of INSIDES' experts online and receive effective management advice tailored to their report. The service is the combination of the HR measurement methodology and management know-how that RMS has developed over the past 50 years, and IT technology that provides frontline managers with direct access to those resources.

"I think one of the reasons why INSIDES is highly valued by our client companies is because it offers speedy, detailed, and customized managerial advice," said Yasushi. "The idea of lifetime employment is deeply ingrained in Japanese culture. Companies are sensitive to employee motivation. I was inspired to incorporate this Japanese quality with HR technologies from the U.S. to create a HR service unlike any other."

INSIDES stores data in the cloud and enables managers to monitor interannual changes and track internal transfers. The more it is used, the more data it accumulates and the better it is able to identify and analyze trends.

An image of report using INSIDES, showing the posions of each member

Image: The report classifies each employee's work mentality into five levels, determining the individual's psychological state by the degree of "engagement" and "psychological well-being" they exhibit.

Solving Problems at the Micro-Level

RMS has received feedback from some of the client companies that have used INSIDES.

"It really helps me predict what my team members are likely to say or think. I can communicate with them from a new point of view, which was difficult for me to do before using INSIDES," one manager told us.

"Managers have changed a lot. More of them are willing to talk with and try to understand their employees, which has resulted in a higher retention rate and higher productivity," said another reviewer.

Since remote work is on the rise amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more managers want to know how their employees are doing psychologically. INSIDES provides value for many companies, including RMS clients, that are required to have a system in place to promptly help employees who are experiencing work problems, such as those who feel isolated and have no one to confide in.

"If the turnover rate for an entire company is within an acceptable range, HR teams typically don't care much if one employee leaves," said Yasushi. "However, the reality is that the departure of just one team member can burden the other members and cause a team's performance to deteriorate. I want INSIDES to be a tool that addresses this kind of issue."

Boosting Organizational Performance by Improving Team Members' Mental Health

"Looking ahead, we would like to focus more on helping people improve as managers," said Yasushi. "For example, it would be great if managers could use the analyses to determine if there are similar issues in other departments. I'd like to create a system where managers can learn from each other and from past experiences to address current workplace issues. I believe this accumulation of knowledge is the key to mastering people management."

Currently, INSIDES is in the process of applying machine learning, introducing new methods of data analysis, developing tools to more easily extract quantitative metrics, and finding additional applications for the data. RMS is also planning to release an English version of the service.

A man speaking, Yasushi Aragane at Recruit Management Solutions Co., Ltd.

"The purpose of this service is to help managers and HR teams empathize with their employees," said Yasushi. When managers and their employees come to understand each other through open dialogue, their perspectives about working together toward a goal may shift and even become more aligned. This will surely have a positive impact on the performance of the organization. Through INSIDES, I hope more employees will find enjoyment in their work and more managers will find fulfillment in creating a work environment that helps their employees grow. If INSIDES can increase the number of people who enjoy working and feel their growth through work, we cannot be happer."

Yasushi Aragane

Manager, Assessment Service Development Department, HR Assessment Solutions Division at Recruit Management Solutions Co., Ltd.

Yasushi has been engaged in assessment services since joining Recruit Management Solutions in 2008. In addition to his involvement in RMS's product planning, sales, and consulting strategies, Yasushi has conducted empirical research on both data and software to address corporate HR issues. He is an expert in early employee turnover, mental health advocacy, engagement improvement, and organizational development. He is responsible for the development of INSIDES, an HR technology service that aims to improve the leadership skills of frontline managers.