Networking and networks are among the strengths of Murata and Murata Finland. Utilizing Murata’s extensive network provides business and country units with opportunities to have a business-related and financial advantage with the help of an enormous knowledge warehouse, competence pools and support organizations. For an individual employee, a large business that stretches across several continents provides opportunities to achieve personal result and career goals, for example, as well as increased work enjoyment, competence and mental growth, as the doors are open to units on several continents and encountering the staff of those units.

My first work day at Murata was in April 2017. I believe that Murata Finland’s networks were quite limited back then. As our strategic challenges have required us to extend our focus beyond Vantaa, our teams have been increasingly identifying and utilizing global co-operation opportunities that support our strategic priorities over the years while also building and growing a global network. Constant communication and support from upper management have successfully facilitated this.

It has been a joy to see what kind of significant advancements Murata Finland’s different departments have made in terms of global co-operation in recent years. I feel inspired when I think about the possibilities offered by our international co-operation in the future, not only to Murata Finland as a business, but to its employees as well.

While working at Murata Finland, I have found it important to the results of my work to get to know as many employees as possible in order to hear their voices as extensively as possible, in accordance with the Japanese genba mindset. I have had opportunities to do so not only at meetings focusing on shared goals, but on other occasions as well, such as on lunches and at the gym. Over the years, I have enjoyed these encounters and building new relationships without exception. I hope that my newly met colleagues have felt the same way.

In a new environment

As I began my assignment at our headquarters in Kyoto, Japan, in late fall 2020, I was faced with a new networking challenge. One of my goals on the assignment was to learn to understand the group’s HR practices and identify opportunities for more extensive co-operation between the group and Murata Finland. I found it important to remind myself that I could not achieve this goal by sitting at a computer.

In Japan, my manager and my team helped me get started by getting me acquainted with the experts of my area and giving me a tour of the organization. After that, I began the challenging phase of expanding my network at the headquarters. Having increased my understanding of the roles of my new acquaintances at the company, I have systematically been asking whether I could have small familiarization sessions. I have also taken heed of a pearl of wisdom that I once heard: “When familiarizing yourself with a new organization, ask everyone you meet who they think you should get to know next.”

There is no network until information is shared

I feel that from the perspective of a business, networking does not have any intrinsic value in itself. Other things are needed in order for new acquaintances to be beneficial to the organization. Curiosity, asking plenty of precise questions and active listening are among my most important tools when I attempt to obtain information that is valuable to the organization. However, few new pieces of information lead to results for the company if they are not shared. That is why the importance of communication cannot be overstated. Proactive and carefully targeted communication that anticipates the needs of the organization and people has been the guideline for my personal communication behavior during my assignment as I have strived toward optimal benefits from my networking. After numerous meetings, I have shared information about my new acquaintances and their thoughts and lessons as much as possible, yet in accordance with other employees’ needs.

The crucial safety practices necessitated by the coronavirus situation have posed challenges to the growing of my network. For example, I have not been able to talk with anyone in the canteen, which has prevented me from utilizing what is perhaps the easiest networking opportunity. After the Prime Minister of Japan declared a state of emergency in the area, we switched to remote working, which reduced informal meetings even further for several weeks. Luckily for me, this situation did not occur right at the start of my assignment, which could have significantly hindered my networking during the assignment.

I believe that interest, appreciation and respect toward other people are the key requirements for networking. Speaking of interest, I cannot help but mention the following adage, which I came across and became fond of while relaxing at a library: “Asking questions is the most important tool of interaction.” In addition to that, networking requires a suitable degree of humility and a dash of courage to initiate conversations, which often takes place outside your comfort zone. I have strived to practice all of the aforementioned over the years, and I can still easily identify development needs of my own in that field.

Tuomas Nurmi,
Human Resources Development Manager