Embracing Well-being: WILL GROUP’s Past and Future

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人材開発部 ウィルグループ 人事本部 人材開発部の個性豊かなメンバーがお届けするBIG SMILE=人開スマイルです!人材開発部の人や取り組みについて色々と書いていきたいと思います! ーーー We’re the HR Development division of WILL GROUP’s HR Department! We share Big Smile articles talking about our unique members and the various things that we do—Our “HRDev Smile”!

In this article, I want to share how WILL GROUP has incorporated well-being into its mission, a surprisingly long and detailed journey. I will be focusing on exactly what kind of processes led to our decision to make well-being a cornerstone of our operation and how it affects our current direction. We hope that through sharing what our company has done, we can assist others trying to accomplish similar goals.


Table of Contents
・How WILL GROUP Came to Embrace Well-Being (2006-2018)
・Studying Positive Psychology (4/2019-3/2021)
・What Do Businesspeople Think About Well-Being Research?
・The Way Coaching Led Me to a Life of Well-Being
・Learning and Implementing Coaching and Dialogue (4/2021-Present)

How WILL GROUP Came to Embrace Well-Being (2006-2018)

While WILL GROUP adopted well-being as a part of its mission in April of 2019, the journey leading to this decision starts much earlier, in 2006.

So, what do I mean when I say this? Well, if we take a look at our president’s message on our corporate site, we can trace the history back.

  • As our company grew larger, it became time for us to really refine our strategy and corporate vision. At that time, I just happened to be reading Flourish, a book written about positive psychology by Martin Seligman, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania.

Our president, Ryosuke Ikeda, really resonated with the values that Dr. Seligman laid out in his book. He pulled the concept of positivity from Dr. Seligman’s work, and used that to create our company mission—to bring positive change to individuals and organizations.

Twelve years later, in July 2017, we invited Dr. Seligman—the progenitor of both positive psychology, and (indirectly) our mission, himself—to give a seminar. There, Dr. Seligman told us that a major goal of positive psychology is to increase well-being. Researchers studying positive psychology aim to deliver a lasting happiness—well-being—to people and to the world more generally.

This seminar served as an opportunity for us to slightly revise our company mission. We aimed to “bring positive change” through our services and increase the well-being of society at large. And so, WILL GROUP came to incorporate well-being into its corporate philosophy.

Studying Positive Psychology (4/2019-3/2021)

When we decided to integrate well-being into our company mission, it became vital that our employees understand the relevant positive psychology research. We used Dr. Seligman’s PERMA theory as the basis for workshops on positive psychology, aiming to teach our employees the fundamentals of research on well-being. PERMA is an acronym representing the five elements of well-being, which are as follows:


Pleasant Emotions: feeling healthy and having positive experiences/emotions
Engagement: feeling motivation and a drive to dive deeply into a topic, flow
Relationships: improving your relationships with those around you
Meaning & Purpose: feeling like your life has meaning and a goal, feeling like you’re contributing to something greater than yourself
Accomplishment: putting in effort to accomplish goals and the subsequent feeling of satisfaction.


The reason why we centered relationships was because we envisioned human relationships as being particularly important in the context of the workplace. If you get along well with coworkers, your motivation rises, and if you can apply the principles to your personal life, that too results in a benefit to you.

In addition, we also felt that meaning and purpose was key to becoming a self-sufficient business person. We conceptualized engagement and accomplishment as stemming from high feelings of meaning and purpose.

From 2019 to 2021, we taught positive psychology to nearly 1000 employees. I feel like we were really able to increase our employees’ knowledge of the fundamentals of well-being. (Although the seminars on PERMA have been online since March 2021 due to the coronavirus.)

However, we shifted in a different direction in April of this year.

What Do Businesspeople Think About Well-Being Research?

So why did we change our direction? I found that there were some doubts as to the effectiveness of our initiatives’ impact on well-being. Although it’s possible that I might have gotten results continuing with the original direction, I ultimately decided to change my approach.

The reason why I felt this was necessary was because it was difficult to connect academic knowledge to actually changing individuals and organizations. While it was painful to admit to myself that my endeavor was unsuccessful, I also knew it was important to be realistic.

At the same time, though, I felt, though this may sound contradictory, how valuable this same academic knowledge was. Positive psychology was still very important to me.

Essentially, what I found was that while learning things for learning’s sake is good, in business, application is more important. In other words, if employees knew how to utilize the principles of psychology in a business context, they would be able to more easily link the research to their own lives, and be able to meaningfully increase their well-being. So, when I thought about how I could tie research to business, I remembered a certain experience that I had…

The Way Coaching Led Me to a Life of Well-Being

…And that was coaching. Ever since I started my journey to become a professional coach in 2012, I have received a lot of benefits in my own life, both professional and private. The reason why is because coaching is a method of communicating what you need to do to make meaningful change in your life. In other words, coaching led me to my own personal well-being.

Thus, I thought it might be useful to approach well-being related research from the viewpoint of coaching. That might not be an intuitive connection to make, but I was thinking that it might be possible to aim to increase employees’ well-being and understanding of well-being through coaching. Furthermore, coaching is something you can use in a variety of other business contexts—it’s useful for employee development and providing solutions to clients.

Basically, I could spin it as coaching is something useful to the businessperson, who tends to think of how they can apply skills to achieve their goals. And that’s how I started to implement an in-company coaching program. I also became interested and researching and implementing dialogue in a coaching context. I plan to continue inserting positive psychology into my coaching, as positive psychology has given me a new framework to understand my coaching.

Learning and Implementing Coaching and Dialogue (4/2021-Present)

While it remains to be seen how effective this new venture will be, early feedback seems to indicate that it is working well.

A list of the workshops I conduct is listed below for your reference. I mainly teach executives and upper management.


Coaching Initiatives:
1)Well-Being & Coaching Training (for managers)
2)Well-Being & Coaching Training (for general employees)
3)Coaching Training (with versions for both managers and general employees)
4)Specialized Coaching Class (with versions for both managers and general employees)
5)Coaching Study Group(for managers and department heads)
6)Personal Coaching (for managers and directors)


Dialogue and Discussion Initiatives:
7)Cross-Departmental Well-Being Dialogue (for upper management)
8)Executive Dialogs


Well-being Initiatives:
9)SPIRE Workshops (for all employees)
10)Well-Being Journey(for executives)


Of these workshops I facilitate, I have found the Cross-Departmental Well-being Dialog and Well-Being Journey seminars particularly interesting.

In the former, executives who are interested participate in four person discussions. The goal, rather than utilitarian exchange of information, is more for the participants to explain their viewpoints and expand their horizons through listening to others. Right now, I facilitate for three of these teams.

The latter is composed of 11 managers, presidents, and other executive officers from our group companies. Together we gather twice a month to discuss what it means to make increasing well-being the center of company policy. It’s a journey of discovering the best ways to incorporate well-being into each respective company’s operations.

While I would like to talk at some point about all of the seminars I operate in more detail at some point, I believe the thing that they all share is that they demonstrate how human relationships are key to well-being. Moreover, through coaching and discussion, I hope that the participants and I will grow closer to our optimal well-being.

We hope that through both research and implementation, we will be able to raise the well-being of both WILL GROUP and the world at large.


Past posts:









  • 会社が大きくなり、“企業理念”が必要になった。その時、なんとなく読んでいたセリグマンの「ポジティブ心理学」という本に、大体、こんなことが書いてあった。













Pleasant Emotions 健全でポジティブな経験と感情
Engagement やりがいを感じ追求に値する活動に没頭する、フロー状態
Relationship 他者とよりよい関係を築くこと
Meaning & Purpose 人生の目的と意義、より高い目的に貢献する在り方
Accomplishment 意義ある目標と達成のための努力、達成感



一方、Meaning & Purposeにフォーカスしたのは、自律したビジネスパーソンであるためにそれは大変重要だと考えたからです。さらには、それがEngagementやAccomplishmentにも通じていくだろうと考えたからです。
























1)Well-Being & Coaching トレーニング(マネージャー向け)
2)Well-Being & Coaching トレーニング(メンバー向け)


7)部門越境型 Well-Being Dialog(役員・部長・マネージャー向け)


10)Well-Being Journey(役員・部長向け)


特にこの中で運営とファシリテーションをしていて「おもしろい」と感じているのは、下期から新設した「部門越境型 Well-Being Dialog」と「Well-Being Journey」です。







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ウィルグループ 人事本部 人材開発部の個性豊かなメンバーがお届けするBIG SMILE=人開スマイルです!人材開発部の人や取り組みについて色々と書いていきたいと思います! ーーー We’re the HR Development division of WILL GROUP’s HR Department! We share Big Smile articles talking about our unique members and the various things that we do—Our “HRDev Smile”!