YKK Stories

2019-11-26 Issue 78 Fundamental Behavior 23 Give Back

February 19, 2019
Author: YKK
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“No one prospers without rendering benefit to others.” Our founder Tadao Yoshida put it best when he established our corporate philosophy, the CYCLE OF GOODNESS. Mr. Yoshida was dedicated to this way of thinking, and over the years I have experienced first-hand the positive energy of this philosophy as it has continued to permeate our culture.

I believe that this week’s Fundamental Behavior, “Give Back,” also has a deep connection to the YKK Management Principle introduced by our founder’s son, Tadahiro Yoshida. It states that we must “seek corporate value of greater significance,” a powerful premise that allows for numerous interpretations, all of which would lead us to a higher purpose whose measure of success extends beyond corporate profits.

I have been particularly humbled over the past few years and born witness to an ever increasing culture of service and giving back across our NCA region operating companies. We see an incredible number of acts of true kindness and gratitude initiated not only by the company in an official capacity but also on a grassroots basis by employees. These efforts to give back and recognize those who have helped each other exemplify the meaning of this week’s Fundamental Behavior. I wanted to share just a couple of examples in the hope that they will inspire you as they have inspired me.

Addressing urgent needs; Last year when Hurricane Maria devastated the island of Puerto Rico, it affected people all over the world whose friends and families called the island home. Two of our own employees at YKK AP America’s Austell, GA headquarters, Angel Baez and Veronica Acosta’s families were impacted by the storm. Their colleagues wasted no time in taking the initiative to come together in an effort to help. The Wellness Committee took the lead and raised funds from colleagues to donate to relief efforts and also gathered to organize, label, and package donations for delivery to families in Puerto Rico.

Addressing on-going needs; This past year the employee-led Wellness Committee in Austell, GA held a workshop to brainstorm new initiatives to add fun and fitness to employees’ daily lives. The initiative resulted in office participation in the Keep Cobb Beautiful Adopt-A-Mile Program, whose mission is to assist in improving the county’s environmental and waste management processes. Through periodic clean ups, employees are rendering benefit to the company’s surrounding environment. Activities such as employees who on an regular basis donate their time to the Ronald McDonald house, mentor student robotics teams, and participate in annual river clean ups and tree plantings show that our collective culture of giving back is deeply rooted and has many tentacles.

Inspiring generations; What started out as a YKK AP marketing campaign, the award-winning “I am an Architect” community Facebook page, has turned in to a movement that is engaging adults already in the architecture and building industry and inspiring students and youth across the country to use their creativity and dream big! The initiative has blossomed into further activities, including high school design competitions, and the “I am an Architect” videos have been shown by faculty in K-12 as well as universities to get students excited about the architecture, building, and construction industries.

As we can see from some of these examples, giving back comes in all shapes and sizes. A very meaningful and impactful way to give back is to express gratitude for help you have been given. This can be done in any number of ways. For example, a modern age phenomenon includes recognizing someone with a #kudos post on LinkedIn. (I have seen many of these peer-to-peer recognition posts about our employees and it is wonderful!) If you’re not into social media, there is nothing like a good old, heartfelt thank you.

As I write my last Fundamental Behavior message of the year, I would like to appeal to those of you in the United States to contribute to the Employee Assistance Fund (EAF). Whether or not you participate in any other “give back” activities, by donating to the EAF on a weekly payroll deduction basis, you can help make a difference in the lives of your peers by giving back when they need it the most. Since the EAF was released earlier this year, twelve grant applications have been received by fellow employees in need. Although payroll deduction donations have increased for the 2019 enrollment cycle versus last year (we will now have 684 employees participating!), there is plenty of room to expand the giving potential of the EAF. You can log onto ykk.hrintouch.com at any time to enroll in to EAF payroll deduction.

You can and do make a difference, and I look forward to seeing the contributions that you all continue to make here at YKK and YKK AP, for our industries and for our world.



Oliver Stepe
President, YKK AP America