The main communication venue was online, and there was a sense that discrepancies and misalignments in perception were inevitable. To prevent members using oVice from getting lost as much as possible, the environment was prepared by assigning seats and naming the areas.oVice was used as a place to introduce the product to customers The platform helped foster culture.
Below is the translated version of the article published on the oVice website in Japanese.Tools and practices described in the article apply only to Money Forward located in Japan and may be different from those at other branch offices.
Mr. Kubo | General Manager
Money Forward, a fintech service provider, adopted remote work a few years ago. Approximately 60 engineers work at the company’s development site in Fukuoka. While the company is using several communication platforms, when working remotely, they were facing the challenge of “not being able to communicate easily.Since introducing oVice, Money Forward was able to solve communication challenges and hold better internal events, crucial to the company’s focus on fostering culture. We spoke with them about the changes that have been created by the introduction of oVice.
Kubo: I am Kubo from the HR Solutions Department at the Sales Planning department at MoneyForward. I usually run a task team specializing in supporting sales members. I am also in charge of onboarding new employees.
At the moment I am working at the Fukuoka office to meet the wishes of my family. The HR Solutions department I manage is spread across the world: from Hokkaido, Tokyo, Osaka, Fukuoka, and Vietnam.
Kubo: Since we have offices in a lot of places, it might seem that the remote environment is already organized and we were working with no issues – that was decidedly not the case.
When online became our primary environment, communication misalignments and gaps arose. Also, in our department, there are periods when 5-6 new employees join the company every month. These members start working remotely from day two.
It looked like new members often had worries like: “Who and how should I approach to ask a question?” so I was always worried about onboarding not going smoothly.
Kubo: At every location, we were experiencing similar communication issues so each team tested various tools. As the result, the members of the development team were using a voice chat tool while the business team was using video conferencing. We had a situation where teams used two different tools.
In this environment, we maintained a high frequency of communication but since teams were using different platforms, it was hard to connect. As we were thinking about a solution strategy, learned about oVice.
Kubo: We were able to experience the feeling of the office because there was a sensation of physical presence. Additionally, the platform was exceptionally resource-efficient and felt like a tool that doesn’t interfere with work.
From the cost perspective, the fee system was really clear making it easier to pass a request for approval. At that point, we decided to move forward with a trial.
MoneyForward oVice layout. Source: oVice Japan
Kubo: At the start of the trial, the team was already used to voice chat and video conferencing platforms – also, when it came to adopting a new tool, people said “So there will be a need to do more”. We had a lot of negative comments.
Still, I was confident we should introduce oVice. So I wrote a 7000-character document on the challenges we were facing and the way oVice would solve them, as well as the worldview we would have after adopting the platform.
Also, during the trial, I wanted to make sure that members using the platform don’t get lost to the best of my ability. That’s why I decided on the seat arrangement in advance, put names next to each area, and properly organized the environment.
As the result, the feelings of worry and dissatisfaction started gradually disappearing. Even the members who were opposed at first started perceiving oVice as something they can use. Eventually, the team genuinely decided to adopt the platform.
Kubo: The most important one was that new members were able to communicate with others easily. We are using chat tools as well but the ease of using oVice is different.
Before introducing oVice, at the post-employment interview for new hires, we often heard worries about communication. Since we started using oVice, it seemed that the voices of anxiety started disappearing.
Aside from employment, we started holding onboarding and support meetings for customers using cloud services at oVice. At the moment, the level of satisfaction is quite high.
We had positive feedback like “It was easy to understand the explanation with screen sharing”, “the voices were easily heard” and so on.
Did internal communication change?
Kubo: it sure did. Being able to see what people are doing in oVice made it easier to talk to them. We have more conversations outside of work that we didn’t have since working remotely.
The ease with which we were able to communicate with the members of the Hokkaido development team was particularly impressive. Although there was the physical distance, when people were sitting next to each other in oVice, I believe it started to shrink.
Fujita: I am the vice manager of the HR Solutions department in the marketing division. As part of keeping up with marketing tasks, I drive the project of fostering culture among employees out of their own will.
In one of the parts of the project, over 100 company employees gather once a month. We hold meetings to praise people who embody the culture and use oVice as the event location.
Fujita: Before then we were using a different conferencing platform. That way, we could see the presenters but it was hard to get a feeling of presence for other participants.
In the case of oVice, since avatars are all gathered on the screen, the unity was easily felt. Besides, the listeners of the presentation could clap or leave comments. There was a strong feeling of “being gathered together in the same space” which is useful for fostering culture.
Fujita: from now on we plan to grow the number of people. We believe that the number of people who are part of the organization will increase. As it does and locations become more spread out, there’s a risk of unity breaking down so fostering culture will become more important.
From now on, I want to brush up on the way we use oVice. For example, commenting as much as possible and using the reaction feature more. I’d like to create a process that makes gathering at oVice more exciting.
Kubo: Now, four offices out of the company have introduced oVice, but I’d like to establish and stimulate using the platform a lot more. If I do that, adoption in other teams will advance and communication across the company will be stimulated.
Since introducing oVice, I learned that no matter where you work, you can have the same feeling as that going to the office in person. If we continue to develop that communication that surpasses the borders of the organization and countries will be born.
Through communication and combining ideas and being able to do activities we didn’t think of before, we might be able to build something that pushes both Japan and the entire world. To make such a future, from now on as well we will gradually use oVice.