Toyota held a ceremony welcoming new employees at Toyota Motor Corporation’s headquarters in Toyota City, Aichi Prefecture on April 1 st . This kind of ceremony is a custom in Japan on the first business day of April, when new employees first join their new employer after graduating from high school or university in March.
This year, more than 1,000 new employees gathered at the venue* for the ceremony. Naturally, there were COVID-19 infection preventive measures in place.*Due to limited capacity at the venue, mid-career recruits who joined the company before April participated remotely
This year, the pandemic meant that some of the new hires had had no opportunity for face-to-face meetings with not only senior employees, but even HR recruiters.
Over the past two years, people have adapted to digital and remote communication, but they have also realized the importance of meeting and sharing experiences in person. With that in mind, this year’s ceremony included as many new employees in one place as was possible.
At the ceremony, President Akio Toyoda shared his thoughts on gathering and how important it is when working at Toyota. The following is his message to Toyota’s new members, who have joined the 5.5 million others working in the Japanese automotive industry.
Make Toyota a place where people gather together
To all our new employees, welcome and congratulations!
We are entering the third year of living in a pandemic. Over these past two years, I am sure you have looked forward to having offline experiences and meeting people face-to-face.
After all you have been through, I wanted as many of you as possible to have the experience of gathering together in person for this year's entrance ceremony.
While it was not possible to have everyone gather under one roof, I hope that those joining us online will feel that you are here with us.
This is the birthplace of Toyota Motor Corporation, Toyota’s starting point.
I would like this place to also serve as a starting point for each of you. That is the idea behind today's entrance ceremony.
The pandemic has made human contact something to be avoided.
Instead, we’ve used digital technology to find different ways to connect.
Here I would like to share with you something I once came across—the “Nine Reasons that People Gather.”
For example, “People gather where they can dream” and “People gather in search of spirit” Even in this digital age, I believe these nine reasons remain exactly the same.
I want to make Toyota a place where people gather.
This is because Japan’s automotive industry is built of 5.5 million peers where we are all in it together, including the people who make, sell, and use cars for work.
When our company founder Kiichiro Toyoda took on the challenge of creating an automobile business, these were his words:
This was an age when people said, “The Japanese can’t make cars” because neither Toyota nor the country as a whole were financially or technologically advanced. Undaunted, Kiichiro was committed to domestic production and searched for like-minded peers who could make parts for his cars.
This is what he said to those partner companies.
That was the beginning of car production at Toyota.
Today, as many as 60,000 suppliers work together to make Toyota vehicles.
“We are all in this together.” That was our starting point at Toyota. I believe that is why we need to be a place where people gather as one.
“People gather where joy abounds.”
As we work to create a carbon-neutral society, cars are currently undergoing a great transformation.
I’m sure you’ve heard some people say that all vehicles must become battery electric vehicles. I do not think that is quite right.
Toyota’s cars are used by customers all over the world.
In deserts. In sub-zero temperatures. Even in such harsh environments, Toyota’s cars sustain people’s lives and livelihoods.
Toyota is a global company with a full lineup of products. We need to achieve carbon neutrality while keeping as many options as possible open for our customers around the world.
That’s why, whether in battery electric vehicles, hybrid electric vehicles, or hydrogen-powered cars, we are putting our best efforts into all options.
Since last year, we've been taking on the Super Taikyu endurance races with a hydrogen-powered Corolla. I’m involved in that development as Master Driver and as “Morizo.”
Please watch this video.
Let’s just try it. That’s how the challenge began, gradually becoming an endeavor around which people gather. We could never have imagined it when first starting out.
Why is it that more like-minded partners wanted to work with us?
Of course, they have embraced our ambition of creating a carbon-neutral society through hydrogen. But even more so, I believe it was the way we enjoy ourselves while earnestly tackling serious problems.
If I were to add a tenth “Reason that People Gather,” it would be this: “People gather where joy abounds.”
Find enjoyment in all that you do. That may sound obvious, but when it comes to working at a company, I consider it very important.
Three requests from Akio
There are three things I would like to ask of you all. First, develop a love for cars.
Cars sustain the lives of our customers around the world. I believe it takes a passion for cars to create vehicles that customers can entrust with their lives.
Soon, you will all head to your various workplaces. Some of you will develop cars and technologies; others will build them in our plants. Some will work in administration areas such as HR and accounting; others will work in hospitals to save lives and ensure employees’ health.
Despite your different roles, all this work contributes to making ever-better cars.
That is why the first step to enjoying your job is to develop a love for cars.
Secondly, for the first three years, throw yourself into your work and try to enjoy all that comes your way.
If three years is too long, it can be three months—or even three weeks. You should sense something by observing the people you meet through work.
I believe that will be the spark that makes you passionate about cars and Toyota and enjoy your job!
And finally, do not be afraid of failure.
In your new workplaces, you will likely experience more setbacks than successes. You may even struggle to handle the pressure of your work or get along with your colleagues. I was the same.
Upon joining Toyota mid-career, I not only struggled with some unreasonable situations but time and again felt frustrated with my own inadequacies.
What helped me make it through was my unwavering love for Toyota and my love for cars, as well as the supervisors, coworkers, and friends who were there for me through the tough times.
When you find yourself hitting a wall and losing heart, I ask you all to cast your gaze outside the company.
Beyond this little society inside a big company, Toyota, you exist as a regular person, with friends and family who treat you like a regular person.
I am sure that your existing friendships and diverse experiences will serve as great sources of strength. Have confidence in the life you have lived.
When I look back, all the things that felt like hardship or detours at the time have helped me to grow as a person.
Realizing that may take 10 years or 20. Nonetheless, I can tell you this much. In life, there is no such thing as a worthless experience.
I believe that every setback you experience, every hardship you overcome, helps you grow into a stronger, kinder person.
You are not alone. At Toyota, “We are all in this together.”
I hope you will carry that thought as you start your life at Toyota.
Let us work as one, with fun, energy, and positivity, to help make Toyota a company where many people gather together.
Once again, congratulations and welcome to Toyota!