Musical Talent and Creativity Fuel Vibrant Company Culture at Yamaha

3/12/2010 [Corporate]

Employees Relieve Stress and Display Talent at Unique Musical Performance Events

BUENA PARK, Calif.—The company culture and morale at Yamaha Corporation of America continues to be strong despite the challenging economic climate that most companies are facing today. A key factor is the use of a unique, stress-busting wellness program, incorporating music into the work day. Leveraging the diverse musical talent of its employees, managers and employees alike reap valuable rewards.

"At a time of reduced job security, wellness and employee participative programs provide a spark of good will and foster the all-important message that they are valued," notes Carol Baker, Vice President of Human Resources at the world's largest musical instrument manufacturer.

To illustrate, all employees can sign up for one free hour per week for the class of their choice. Eight-week classes includes guitar and piano lessons (offered at different levels), drum circles, or if they wish, to sing. "We have a great choir," says Baker, adding that these initiatives are "a fun way of celebrating our culture, as a music and sound company." In addition, the wellness classes are held on-site in the state-of-the-art music room.

In an effort to bring employees together for some lunch time fun, the company recently upped the ante with some higher profile events that offer the workforce the opportunity to shine. In late 2009, the company premiered its own version of the American Idol Competition. Employees were invited to perform on the front steps of the company's Buena Park, California headquarters with a full sound system and band. The employees voted for their colleagues while enjoying box lunches. Winners received a perpetual trophy to be passed on to future winners, along with bragging rights.

"We have so many talented employees and this was a great way to see the talents showcased. Little things can go a long way and these events are inexpensive ways to show employees the organization is interested in them as complete individuals."

Further, in November 2009, Yamaha hosted a Big Band-themed event complemented by a company sponsored lunch and concluded the year with a holiday event for employees and their families. The gathering included a sing along, employee holiday trivia contest and employees serving as emcees, musicians and even one dressed as Santa Claus.

According to Baker, these types of activities are great and cost-effective ways of morale-building; enabling employees to feel challenged, recognized and appreciated. "By engaging employees," according to Baker, "rather than simply giving gifts away, it brings people together in a way that's more profound than just winning something."

Yamaha also nurtures its company culture and encourages service through a variety of initiatives sponsored through its charitable arm, Yamaha Cares. The program is active in fundraising efforts for many Southern California programs, including the Special Olympics, The Children's Hospital of Orange County, college music scholarships, The Boys and Girls Club, The Susan G. Komen Foundation, American Cancer Society, March of Dimes, Make a Wish Foundation, Families of Camp Pendelton, Orange County Food Bank and Toys For Tots, to name just a few.

View videos of the Yamaha Idol Competition and Big Band performances on the Yamaha Cares Facebook page.

For more information, visit www.yamaha.com/yamahacares, or write Yamaha Corporation of America, P.O. Box 6600, Buena Park, CA 90622; telephone (714) 522-9011; or e-mail infostation@yamaha.com.

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