Bright! FRONTEO Official Blog

Bright! FRONTEO Official Blog

Create a society that visualizes data connections and maximizes human resource capital

December 2023, 3
SmartHR was established in 2013 with the corporate mission of "eliminating social issues related to labor and creating a society where everyone can work in their own way." I am aiming forWhile streamlining operations related to human resources and labor with the power of technology, we continue to evolve by expanding our business to talent management services that utilize accumulated data to bring out the abilities and potential of individuals and support human resource placement. I'm here.
In this dialogue, Takafumi Kurahashi, COO of SmartHR and Masahiro Morimoto, President and CEO of FRONTEO, exchanged opinions on the challenges they had overcome during startup, the current situation, and the future prospects realized with technology.

Aiming to maximize human resource capital

―― Please introduce the philosophy and business contents.

Kurahashi:SmartHR aims to achieve two goals: "employees first" and "well-working", both of which have the same goal: to create a society where people can maximize their potential.
In Japan, where the working population is declining, people are scarce capital.We want to help them efficiently and maximize their human capital, and this is a big part of SmartHR's value proposition.We have contributed to improving the productivity of employees and personnel managers by improving the operational efficiency of personnel and labor affairs.Derived from that, we are also taking on the challenge of talent management, which utilizes personnel data accumulated on the "SmartHR" system to further utilize human resources and create a better workplace.


Morimoto:What exactly is talent management?

Kurahashi:We are deploying tools that can visualize the vast amount of data accumulated through the operations of "SmartHR" and analyze the age/gender distribution, turnover rate, etc. for each position.In addition, we developed an employee survey to collect employee opinions.By collecting a large amount of employee information and cross-tabulating the attribute information registered in our system, such as age, gender, department, and year of employment, we make it easier to grasp the trends of the company organization.
Evaluation management is also popular.The necessary information is centrally managed on the cloud, and based on that, we use the personnel allocation simulation function to consider the optimal personnel allocation.

Morimoto:How do you determine the placement of the right person in the right place?

Kurahashi:At the moment, people make decisions based on various data.While looking at information such as past evaluations, questionnaire results, and length of stay in the department, for example, highly rated personnel have been in the same position for a long time and are at high risk of retirement, so why not propose the next challenge? We are considering

Morimoto:I think it's difficult to distinguish between people who can play an active role in urgent work or when troubles occur, and people who can demonstrate their abilities in normal times when there are no problems. do you

Kurahashi:Such functions have not yet been systematized, but we would like to work on visualizing the situation, abilities, and skills that human resources are good at, which will provide hints for placing the right person in the right place.


Talent management and AI go well together

―― What is the biggest feature of SmartHR compared to other companies?

Kurahashi:It is the high degree of completion of the personnel and labor efficiency service that has been continuing since the founding.We pride ourselves on being a leader in the industry.It has been on sale for a long time, has a large number of customers, and is expanding its market share.We have a history and a track record.The best feature is that it is easy to use and has built a service that can be reached even in itchy places.The talent management field is a latecomer for our company, but it was easy to start because we had data accumulated over many years.

Morimoto:FRONTEO started its business by supporting information disclosure in lawsuits.Despite the fact that society is based on the idea that all people are equal under the law, there are cases where wrong judgments occur due to lack of evidence, resulting in unfair judgments, which is not good. I started my dream business.This idea also applies to the business in the medical field that we started later.For example, in situations where there is a difference in the possibility of treatment depending on whether or not there is an opportunity to receive an appropriate diagnosis from a specialist, technical support will enable equal access to appropriate treatment.In particular, we are engaged in a business that uses AI to support the judgment of experts in highly specialized fields.
Earlier, you mentioned that in talent management, we use data to predict where human resources will demonstrate their strengths. there is a point.The onset of dementia is believed to be influenced by the environment in which a person lives.However, in one study, a survey of people in a monastery found that some people developed dementia and others did not, even after living together in the same environment for decades.And it turns out that the difference can be read from the diary that the nuns wrote when they were in their twenties.By analyzing sentences written long ago, it is possible to predict whether people will develop dementia decades later.The modality of language created by humans contains an amazing variety of information, and when analyzed by FRONTEO's AI, it is possible to obtain a large amount of information with high accuracy.

Kurahashi:Being able to predict with a high probability and take preventive measures at a stage that even experts don't understand will lead to more equal happiness for many people.We also think that the field of talent management is compatible with AI, and we feel the potential.

Morimoto:In HR work, do you have tacit knowledge such as ``this person will be evaluated by colleagues and the company if there is something like this''?

Kurahashi:I think there is.Interviewers at job interviews have a common understanding that applicants who think in this way are likely to succeed at our company.If AI can present it, it will be possible to judge hit feeling with high accuracy and uniform quality.


Delegation of authority is the shortest route for people and companies to grow

―― I think that the situation in the company has changed considerably since you joined the company and now. How have you been working on it?

Kurahashi:When I joined the company, there were about 25 people, and it was just like a startup.Although each of us had a role to play, we all stretched out our hands to pick up the falling balls and worked in harmony.In order to be able to respond flexibly to changes in personnel structure and business content, we took care not to create too many systems and operations.Gradually, the scale has grown, and now it has grown to an organization of over 700 people, and the number of customers is increasing.When it comes to work that involves a large number of people, the style has changed to one in which the responsibilities, objectives, and goals of each group are decided in advance, and the results are achieved through teamwork.
What is interesting is that there is zero to one within the organization.We have seen a pattern of success in streamlining personnel and labor affairs to some extent.At the same time, there are still challenges in talent management, early startup situations, and even smaller businesses.It is very unique to have a mixture of established businesses and startups in an organization.

Morimoto:As the organization grows, delegation of authority becomes necessary, but has anything gone wrong?

Kurahashi:there was.However, I think it can't be helped.If there is a person who continues to hold authority, it is more scary that that person becomes a bottleneck of the organization and a cap that determines the growth limit of the organization. Not everything will go well 100% of the time, but even if it's a little early, you can delegate authority and have them experience failures, which will increase the power of the entire organization.Regardless of the short-term, we believe that it will be the shortest route in the medium- to long-term, and we are steadily delegating authority. SmartHR is a company with a strong culture of delegation.

Morimoto:I think the timing of the delegation of authority was very good.There are times when you want to expand your business to various businesses, but I think you stopped and first established a solid foundation for one business.How was the timing around that?

Kurahashi:that's right.Spreading too quickly or too little is not good.Management and managers are trying to strike a good balance.
Delegating authority to employees who are closer to the front line will be an unacceptable failure if you overdo it, and if you do too little, it will become more difficult to hand over authority later, and eventually you may end up in a situation where you are forced to hand it over. yeah.Everyone is always concerned about that balance, because no matter which side you choose, you'll only have a nightmare.


does not cause organizational collapse

―― When the organization was small, what was the hardest thing?

Kurahashi:Thankfully, "SmartHR" was highly evaluated from the beginning, and the team was highly motivated, so we were able to move positively with good teamwork.
The hardest part was when it reached a scale where I could no longer breathe.In the past, everyone knew everyone and knew who was doing what.Realizing this, I tried to maintain communication by holding exchange meetings to introduce each other's work. I'm in the same situation again.After experiencing such a repetition, I realized that Aun's breath will disappear as the organization grows.After that, we made the division of roles clearer, built an organizational structure, and switched to strengthening team play.

Morimoto:How did you come up with the concept of "organizational system construction"?

Kurahashi:Even now, it is not complete, and we are working on it while discussing and thinking with everyone.There are various who, such as managers and members of the field.The strength of our company is our culture of free thinking.Determining the best division of roles and team structure is difficult.Even if you think you've figured it out, the situation will change if the business changes.It is a constantly changing, never-ending issue that we must continue to deal with, but all employees think and share ideas.

Morimoto:We have been in business for 20 years.Since the United States is the home of international litigation, we first entered the United States overseas, but one business was divided between Japan and the United States.Furthermore, when our business expanded, our core technology, the AI ​​engine “KIBIT,” was developed, so we thought we should not let this opportunity slip away, so we expanded our business into other areas.As a result, the number of management has become insufficient, and this is still one of the challenges.Currently, there are four startup companies in FRONTEO, and we are creating a system for them as one company.Recently, it has become possible to optimize teams for each organization and interact with each other.

Kurahashi:It's a very exciting situation that the company continues to take on challenges even after 20 years since its founding. Lack of management is always a problem for SmartHR.As the number of management positions increases, the number of concurrent positions also increases.This is common during expansion.We are asking our internal members to take on more and more management challenges.

Morimoto:Speaking of hiring line managers, your company's method of not including the title of the position when hiring is epoch-making.

Kurahashi:There are also disadvantages without a title, for example, it is true that the acceptance rate of employment offers decreases.On the other hand, the reason why I am particular about it is because the positive side is also large.
There is no guarantee that leaders and managers who were active in the previous environment will be able to work in the same way when they change jobs to a different environment.I'm afraid that a manager who happens to have different values ​​and ideas will join the team and the team will collapse.For that reason, you first enter the company as a manager candidate, prove your ability, and when you are evaluated by those around you, you are finally assigned to a management position.We focus on avoiding organizational collapse.
I am proud that SmartHR has never stagnated or declined in the number of employees, and continues to grow.There is also the aspect that the business is going well, but I think it is important that the organization does not collapse, and I would like to continue to cherish it in the future.


Continue to innovate by instilling corporate culture

―― After the startup period, what are your current challenges?

Kurahashi:There are two. The first is to expand the management layer, which has many concurrent posts and is understaffed.The other is that our company is still in the process of evolving, so we have to evolve the division of roles once solidified while constantly searching for optimization.It's relatively easy when we're small, but now with 1 employees, we need more energy to make big changes.We want to increase the number of leaders who can drive change to make it a reality.Another challenge for the management team is to create an environment that makes it easy to take on challenges.

Morimoto:I think it's much harder than putting it into words, but what kind of ingenuity do you have?

Kurahashi:One of our values ​​is "Let's walk on the wild side."
Instead of landing on a safe and conservative plan, we value the value of pushing wildly even though there may be risks, which is also one of the evaluation items.When an organization grows, it is of course important to initiate change on your own, and supporting those who are trying to bring about change is also a wild side.We share this idea with all employees and adjust the culture so that innovation will continue to occur so that innovation dilemmas do not occur.

Morimoto:We have to take on the challenge of creating culture, and it's difficult to support everyone who takes on the challenge.We have to think about various aspects, such as whether the content of the challenge is in line with the company's philosophy and strategy, and when to do something that was not in the original plan.If you make a mistake, employees may do it on their own.There are good sides and dangerous sides, so it's difficult to make adjustments while keeping an eye on things so that they don't go in the wrong direction as the company is aiming for.

Kurahashi:Proving it through action is important.As the organization grows and the number of layers increases, the sense of the site fades.I have an interview called Skip 1 on 1.I try to maintain a sense of the workplace while asking employees how they see the company today.However, I don't really have a sense of the field, so I recognized that myself, and asked about decision-making on the site!I'm trying to leave it to you.


"Visualization" of data helps to realize a better society.

―― Please tell us about the vision of the society you want to realize by promoting DX.

Kurahashi:There are two good things about DX progressing.
First, it increases productivity per person.It is an aspect that maximizes the potential of human resources by using technology to promote efficiency and encourage employees to focus on high-value work and play an active role.
The other is that everything is converted into data and accumulated, so through analysis and visualization, we can realize things that were impossible until now.It is also very valuable to be able to see the connection of data in chronological order. In terms of SmartHR, if you connect "highly rated people" and "retired people", you may be able to see organizational issues.Furthermore, by visualizing trends and forecasts, we will be able to notice things that we have not noticed before, recognize issues, and take countermeasures.For example, it will be possible to take measures to improve the organization according to the results of placement simulations and employee questionnaires, which will help realize a better society.

Morimoto:Being aware is very important.In the business of discovery (disclosure of evidence in litigation), rather than simply finding evidence, new findings and hypotheses are born from the collection of several pieces of evidence.We believe that only AI can generate hypotheses that no one knows about and create new things that have not yet been seen.I expect that the power of AI will increase the scope and processing speed of things that could only be done by people called geniuses, and accelerate the creation of a better society.


―― Please tell us about your future prospects.

Kurahashi:We will do our best to create a better society.We aim to improve the productivity and satisfaction of workers.By visualizing the connections in data, we will be able to gain more realizations, and we may even be able to borrow the power of AI in the future.I would like to use the power of technology to help with personnel system work.

Morimoto:We have in mind the realization of a fair society.I would like to show that the Japanese AI that realizes this is a technology that can be used around the world.Our AI engine "KIBIT" has high technology in terms of natural language processing.In particular, we believe that the life science field and AI drug discovery will be useful in elucidating incurable diseases around the world.We want to contribute to the equitable health and well-being of all.


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