Introducing the Manager Peer Learning Session, a Mercari-style program for managers

Hi, I’m @Liz from the JP HRBP Team. Last year, we held a Manager Peer Learning Session online, and I’m here today to tell you all about it!

“What should I do as a manager in this situation…?”

HRBP stands for Human Resource Business Partner. I’m part of the JP HRBP Team, which has the mission of helping the business succeed by working with the organization and people within it. To do so, we frequently work with leaders in the organization.

In our 1-on-1 meetings with leaders, one question we get a lot is “what should I do as a manager in this situation?” A manager’s role is to maximize the team’s performance. Issues that individual team members have are also issues for the manager, and on top of that, managers have to solve issues between members, issues between teams, issues between leadership and employees, and more. As HRBP, we support many different managers, and understand just how difficult it can be. Managers have so many issues to handle, but sometimes they involve personal information, so HRBP members are the only ones they can turn to. Unfortunately, successful experiences and stories of failure tend not to get shared with other managers, and only remain in the minds of those who actually experience them.

・ Managers all have their own knowledge and experiences; can we share that with other managers?
・ Can we create a support network between managers?

With those thoughts in mind, we planned the Manager Peer Learning Session.

What is the Manager Peer Learning Session?

The Manager Peer Learning Session is a place for managers to find learning buddies, share their knowledge and experiences, and help each other grow. The participants each act as a teacher to the others, and give the session meaning. To facilitate this, HR took the role of providing a platform for managers to learn from each other and creating a friendly and welcoming environment for this session.

Rebuilding trust with a team member after conflict

There were a number of topics we wanted to try, but for the first session, we chose one that any manager has experienced at least once: rebuilding trust with a team member after conflict. Even if the goal is the same, there are times when different priorities and different methods can cause temporary conflict with team members. Conflict is not necessarily a bad thing; what’s important is to rebuild trust at an early stage and move forward.

How did the session go?

We wanted this session to be a space where participants can feel comfortable sharing their feelings, so we decided to limit the session to 10 members. We received applications to join from 10 Japanese speakers and 4 English speakers, so we held one session for each language.

On the day of the session, we started off by explaining the ground rules. Then, to break the ice and make it easier for participants to talk about themselves, we invited guest @cournape, EM of the AI Team, to share his experiences after joining Mercari. For privacy reasons, I won’t go into detail about the actual content of his talk, but trust me, it was really good!

Discussion time in the English session

After that, we split the participants up into groups, and gave them time to talk about their own experiences and share any tips they had with their group members. All of the participants were eager to chat and learn, so the discussions were very lively. We even heard comments like “I have a meeting soon, but I want to keep talking!”

Here’s a slide summarizing the points raised by participants and HRBP:

After the session, we received some feedback from the participants.

・ “The conflicts I heard about in other people’s stories were even harder than I imagined. It made me realize that what I thought of as conflicts were small in comparison.”
・ “I don’t have opportunities to talk directly with managers in other divisions, so this session was really helpful. Even though we’re in different divisions, our struggles and worries as managers are the same. I learned that since we’re all human in the end, facing our issues and each other is most important.”

To grow into a nurturing organization, we need commitment from everyone

I often hear people say that being a manager is lonely, so I’m glad we were able to help managers come together and share their struggles with this session.

Also, learning sessions are generally run with one person as the lecturer teaching the participants, but through this session we realized that having all participants be lecturers and teach each other is also an effective method.

I hope that by promoting this method of teaching and learning from each other, Mercari can evolve into an even more nurturing organization. HR will keep working to create more opportunities for members to share their knowledge and help each other grow!

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