HENNGE's response to COVID-19


Since September, HENNGE has been conducting an in-house vaccination support campaign to promote vaccination within the company in an effort to help end the spread of COVID-19 while respecting the decision of each and every member of the company.
We interviewed Kawano-san and Sugiyama-san of the People Division, who are working as members of the campaign team.

Hello! It's unfortunate we haven't actually met in person because I've been working remotely due to COVID-19... Could you tell me about the "Vaccination Support Campaign"?
It's a campaign in which the company, although not mandatory, expresses to members that HENNGE strongly recommends getting vaccinated and provides various benefits and support related to vaccination in order to increase the vaccination rate!
I see. Individuals have the right to decide whether or not to get vaccinated. What was the background behind the company's decision to strengthen its stance to "strongly recommend" vaccination?
Of course, we will continue to respect the individual's decision whether or not to get vaccinated. However, our CEO Ogura-san and the rest of the team have a common desire: "We don't want to lose any of our members to COVID-19," and "while maintaining the new normal way of working, we want to be able to hold events and work together at the office."
We also wanted to take action as a company instead of just passively enduring COVID-19 situation. Realizing that the new strain of COVID-19 won't just disappear had a big part in this decision as well.
After discussing what we could do as a company, we decided that the first thing we should do is to try and increase the vaccination rate within the company. So, we strengthened our stance towards vaccination and started this campaign.
Speaking of face-to-face events, before COVID-19, I know HENNGE used to invite a catering service to the office for "communication lunches". It would be great if we could do that again.
What is the structure of your campaign?
In September, we released a video message from Ogura-san explaining about the campaign and the mechanism of the vaccine to encourage people to get vaccinated. We also provide six different types of support to our members.
The video message conveyed Ogura-san's strong desire not to lose anyone to COVID-19. It also explained the mechanism of the vaccine in detail.
There is so much information about vaccines out there. Ogura-san delivered this video message because he wants members to make the decision on whether or not to get vaccinated after they have the correct understanding of how vaccines work.
Can you tell us more about the other supports?
The six kinds of support consist of "three benefits, two supports, and one survey.
The company will make a donation to a medical instituion based on the number of members who got vaccinated within the company. HENNGE will also provide an incentive of 5,000 yen for those who got fully vaccinated. There are other supports such as a special two-day vaccination leave after getting vaccinated.
We also conduct anonymous surveys every month to share the status of vaccination of our members.
That's a lot! Other companies are also making efforts to encourage vaccination, but is there anything unique about HENNGE's support campaign?
The most important feature is support for language barriers. More than 20% of HENNGE members are from abroad, and it is difficult for them to get information about vaccines. So we provide information and language support as a way of helping them.
We hope to ease their concern by sharing information about the mass vaccination and information from the government in both Japanese and English via slack and supporting appointments that have to be made by phone call in Japanese.
Even before the campaign team was formed, various members of the company were sharing vaccine-related information via slack as well. One of the members made a slide presentation explaining how to make reservations for large-scale vaccination centers in English too.
The culture of HENNGE to proactively share useful information is apparent there.
By the way, you didn't conduct workplace vaccination?
Of course, we considered that. But it was very difficult for a multinational company like HENNGE with about 200 employees to set up group vaccination in the office.
I see. Could you tell us more about the donation, which is one of the benefits?
In order to support the medical professionals who are working hard under this situation with COVID-19, we will donate 10,000 yen for each member who gets vaccinated twice to the National Center for Global Health and Medicine. In estimate, we are planning to donate 2-3 million yen in January 2022.
It's nice to be able to support the medical field by getting vaccinated! What was the deciding factor for your donation?
We considered several organizations, but the National Center for Global Health and Medicine made it clear that the donation would be used for improving the medical field.
Also, the fact that there was no specific regional focus and the organization was doing international cooperation in the medical field was a good fit for HENNGE, which has multiple branch offices in Japan and overseas and has multinational members.
Right! In your campaign, you give original stickers to members who have been vaccinated twice. Tell us about the designs!
We asked the HENNGE design team to create a sticker that would make people around us understand and feel reassured that they had already been vaccinated twice. The sticker also features a ninja version of the company's well-known character "Kimono Guy," who is based on the image of the CEO, Ogura-san.
Incidentally, members who have been vaccinated twice can receive a thank you message (movie) from Ogura-san as a "un-official benefit" of the campaign. In the movie, Ogura-san introduces the names of the members who have agreed to go public, and expresses his gratitude.

(The names are blurred in the movie)

The stickers are cute, and the video of Ogura-san punching the COVID-19 is very addictive.
Returning to the overall topic, what was the reaction within the company after you started the campaign?
Sharing information via slack has been well-received getting many likes, and quite a number of members have used the vaccination leave.
There was even a case where a person who had decided not to get vaccinated recognized the necessity of vaccination after watching the video message and went to get vaccinated.
It seems that the campaign is having an effect! On the other hand, how do you take care of those who do not wish to get vaccinated?
First of all, we use a video message from Ogura-san to firmly convey the message that vaccination is not compulsory.
We also deliberately share vaccine-related information in a dedicated channel on slack, so that people who decided not to get vaccinated won't feel alienated by the slack posts.
I think this is a campaign that requires a lot of consideration, but are there any difficulties you face in your activities?
We try to actively listen to the opinions of the members so we don't become intrusive. Also, the information required from members will change depending on the situation, so we have to consider what information to send out regularly.
Even for just a survey, since whether or not to get vaccinated will depend on the individual's thoughts and beliefs, we had to carefully consider what data to collect from our members. In the end, we decided to use an anonymous survey that asks only about the vaccination status, which will be necessary as a basis for decision-making when we gather together in the future.
How are the results of the survey?
As of October 7, 173 out of 226 directly hired employees responded. More than 60% of them had already been vaccinated twice.
We don't have a specific target, but we would like to continue to support as many members as possible who want to get vaccinated or are considering it, so that they can be vaccinated!
Any final words?
HENNGE will continue this campaign and hopes to make a small contribution in improving the vaccination rate in society as well! Yoroshiku onegai simasu!
Thank you very much for your time today!