How we boosted employee engagement and gained confidence through objective visualization and taking prompt corrective actions

Thai Takenaka International Ltd.

Senior Manager, Regional
HR Manager
Yutaka Kajikawa
Business As the Bangkok branch of Takenaka Corporation, we provide design and construction services similar to those in Japan. Our services encompass land acquisition, feasibility studies, preparation of construction documents, and construction management.
type of industry Construction-Real Estate
Number of employees(consolidated) more than 2000 employees

Number of employees(non-consolidated)


Scale of utilization



  • We wanted to quickly and objectively collect employee feedback to gain an accurate understanding of the current state of our organization. 

  • We wanted to identify organizational issues to get our executives and managers involved in working to raise employee engagement. 


  • Through surveys, we were able to gain a clear understanding of the actual status of employees and the organization. 

  • Through the sharing of survey results and careful communication, we were able to generate momentum for positive change among our executive and management teams. 

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Promoting the development of the construction business in Thailand as a Takenaka Group company

Business and department overview  

Mr. Kajikawa: 
As a Takenaka Group company, Thai Takenaka International Ltd. is active in the construction business in Thailand. We mainly help Japanese companies expand their business in Thailand, but in recent years a growing number of our customers have been Thai and foreign-owned companies. 

For those of us working in human resources, our main mission is the recruitment and cultivation of talent and organizational improvement. With recent changes in the market, strategies that worked in the past are becoming less effective. That’s why we need to recruit talent who can respond to these market changes and cultivate talent that can adapt to the market. 

We weren’t able to get an objective picture of our employees and the organization

Issues before the introduction of Motivation Cloud and the background of its adoption 

Ms. Bulan: 
Before, HR would conduct 1-on-1 interviews with all the employees to grasp how things were going in our organization, but most of the information we got through this approach wasn’t very reliable. A lot of the employees just seemed to say the things that they thought we wanted to hear, like, “There aren’t any problems,” or “I’m satisfied with the company.” But what we needed to hear was how things really were. Unfortunately, it was hard to get truthful responses through 1-on-1 interviews and on a few occasions the employees got upset during the process. 

Mr. Kajikawa: 
HR needs to listen to employees, identify issues, and take action to resolve them. That’s why we asked employees for their feedback and reported to senior management to address problems related to salaries or facilities. But the executives would ask, “Who’s saying this?” We’d say, “Everyone,” and they’d ask, “How many people is ‘everyone’?” When we told them it was around five people, they’d say, “In that case, no,” and that would be the end of the conversation. 

Against this backdrop, we wanted to get a clear picture of what was really going on in the company in the form of comprehensive, highly objective data and raise employee engagement to address the issues we faced. Engagement is one of the key factors in determining the success or failure of a company’s business plans and strategies. The first step in improving engagement is to obtain accurate data through an engagement survey. This was one of the main reasons why we introduced Motivation Cloud. 

We first wanted HR to review and understand the survey results

The introduction of Motivation Cloud 

Ms. Bulan: 
When we adopted Motivation Cloud and conducted our initial survey, the consultant helped us prepare the explanation we’d need to give to the employees, which we shared to let everyone know we’d be carrying out the engagement survey. We stressed that we wanted everyone to be truthful, not to lie or to try to make a good impression on us. We said, “We won’t be able to identify the things we need to improve in our organization unless you all provide us with accurate information.” 

That was how we conducted the first survey, and the results were very interesting. It was especially beneficial to learn we had some common weaknesses and issues. 

Mr. Kajikawa: 
The scores weren’t particularly good and reading employees’ comments was a real shock for me. I found some of the comments quite surprising, but they were all true. I thought, “So that’s what they’re thinking.” We were left with no other choice than to accept them and take action. 

After taking the survey, I thought some of the employees might react negatively, questioning what the point of the survey was or not wanting to deal with the hassle of taking similar surveys in the future. To avoid this, we made it clear to everyone before they took the survey that we would carefully take their feedback to heart and properly share the results. 

At first, we held a workshop just for the HR team to interpret the survey results. If HR didn’t have an in-depth understanding of the results, there was a risk that we might lead management in the wrong direction. 

In addition, we held workshops for the managers. When we did, we promised that we wouldn’t use the survey results to evaluate them and told them not to worry about whether they scored high or low, but rather that they should really look at the content. We then communicated with the managers, discussing what improvements could be made to boost engagement in such areas as management and the work environment. 

Thanks to these workshops and our communication efforts, we were able to avoid things moving in a negative direction as we had initially feared. 

An important tool for visualizing employees’ true feelings, leading to prompt decision-making

The value of Motivation Cloud

Mr. Kajikawa: 
The good thing about introducing Motivation Cloud was that senior management took the survey results seriously. Various issues were identified and the executives paid attention to them. 

Specifically, we were able to visualize the issues affecting the working environment and facilities, and upon seeing these results, senior management promptly decided to renovate the office. From the perspective of the employees who responded to the survey, I think it was a measure that was extremely clear and made an impact. There were also some issues related to IT equipment, which were relatively easy to address, and we started making improvements right away. With regard to issues that would be difficult to remedy in the short term, such as the lack of transparency in our evaluation system, we decided to make incremental improvements. 

Basically, we started with the areas that we could easily improve, and as for the more challenging issues, like evaluations and the personnel system, we told employees that, while it would take some time, we’d like them to work with us to make things better. 

We have around 300 employees working at the company. If you ask 300 people to respond to a survey, then you need to provide feedback on the results to those 300 people. So, I think it was important for senior management and HR to be committed to the survey results. I feel that Motivation Cloud was a very effective tool in terms of motivating management.  

Ms. Bulan: 
We got a lot of comments from the employees in the survey. Summarizing them occasionally posed a challenge, but we were soon able to access the numbers and graphs to clarify the issues and key points for improvement. Motivation Cloud measures engagement on two axes, expectation and satisfaction, which allowed us to clarify which issues we needed to prioritize, such as those where expectations were high but satisfaction was low. Conversely, because we were also able to recognize the company’s strengths, we could continue managing the organization with confidence in the things we were good at. 

Also, by conducting the survey and working to make improvements, the employees were able to sense that the company was actually thinking about them. I think you could say this was another one of the benefits of Motivation Cloud.

Mr. Kajikawa: 
There was also some very interesting data. 

For example, when we compared the survey results of Japanese employees on assignment in Thailand with the results of Thai employees, although the points of satisfaction were similar, the points of expectation were completely different. When Japanese employees are asked what they most seek from their work, many will say they want a job that is “rewarding,” but Thai employees aren’t particularly interested in rewarding work. Rather, they value teamwork and want to get along with everyone, working with good relationships with their colleagues. 

Note: Takenaka Corporation has been conducting engagement surveys since 2019, while Takenaka affiliated companies have been doing so since 2021. Employees dispatched from Takenaka (expatriates) have been taking part in the surveys since 2019.  

Therefore, when Japanese expatriates in Thailand who value rewarding work try to communicate with their Thai colleagues, thinking that they feel the same way about work, things usually don’t go well. If a Japanese employee were to ask a Thai employee, “Wouldn’t you be happy to be entrusted with such a challenging job?” the Thai employee would think, “Why?” I think this was the kind of gap we were dealing with on a daily basis. 

But when we compared the survey results, we realized, “Oh, that’s why that was happening!” So many things began making sense. Differences in national character and culture are clearly reflected in the survey results. In order for Japanese expatriates and Thai employees to comfortably work together, it’s important that they recognize each other’s differences. Based on these realizations, I think it would be a good idea to introduce Motivation Cloud at our other Asian offices as well. 

I don’t know if it’s due to the culture or the national character, but a lot of Thai people aren’t good at expressing their true feelings. That Motivation Cloud enables us to draw out and grasp such true feelings is of great value. By analyzing the survey data, you can understand what employees are thinking and can accurately determine the areas within the organization that are in need of improvement. 

Since we weren’t that familiar with Motivation Cloud, we started operating it with the advice of the consultant in charge of the project. Without that guidance, we probably would’ve looked at the initial survey results and thought, “We’re in serious trouble,” and that would’ve been the end of it. But thanks to that support, we were able to get things off to a good start. 

For more details, please contact us.

Improving our score and boosting confidence by promoting communication

Initiatives for organizational improvement 

Ms. Bulan: 
We were able to identify our company’s strengths and weaknesses through the survey and met with the managers to discuss how we could improve our scores in the next survey. We then took action to realize those improvements, and one of the areas in particular we focused on was promoting communication. 

As a result, we saw dramatic changes in the second survey with improved engagement scores. We realized that we were taking the correct approach and connecting with our employees in the right way. 

Going forward, we’d like to make better use of the focus surveys. I think it would be very effective for us to focus on the items we decided to work on based on the results of the full survey and then ask employees how much things have improved. Since the focus surveys would only have one or two questions and take a minute or so to complete, it wouldn’t be much of a burden on the employees. It would be great if we could boost engagement through frequent focus surveys. 

Toward an organization where people constantly communicate and share their ideas with each other

What we hope to achieve through Motivation Cloud in the future 

Mr. Kajikawa: 
Our vision of an ideal organization is one where our people can constantly communicate and share their thoughts and feelings with one another. In such an organization, everyone would understand the company’s strategies, organizational issues, and HR initiatives. That’s why we must strive to share information and communicate with each other, regardless of circumstances. 

Our company policy comprises the four elements of Integrity, Professionalism, Teamwork, and Innovation. At Group companies in Japan, these four elements are deeply ingrained and a source of strength. This policy can be put into practice worldwide, regardless of language, and lead to competitiveness in each market. I would like for all our Asian offices, starting with Thailand, to embody these four elements.  

Also, my concept of the ideal organization is one in which senior management and employees can create a vision together and grow together. There’s no point in an organization where management touts its vision, but the employees feel they’re not a part of it. We’re not a family, but we can work together as a team. We can create a shared vision and work together to become stronger. I’d like for us to leverage Motivation Cloud to realize such an organization.

*Information such as titles, figures, proper nouns, and locations in this case study are current at the time of the interview.


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