Musical Talent and Creativity Fuel Vibrant Company Culture at Yamaha

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Employees Relieve Stress and Display Talent at Unique Musical Performance Events

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.

Company culture and morale at Yamaha Corporation of America continues to be strong despite the challenging economic climate that most companies face today. The secret? It’s a unique, stress-relieving wellness program that incorporates music into the workday and capitalizes on the diverse musical talent of its employees -- allowing them to be creative with some lunchtime fun.

“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 employees are valued,” said Tracy Bargielski, General Manager of Human Resources at the world’s largest musical instrument manufacturer.

For example, all employees can sign up for one free hour per week for the music class of their choice. Eight-week classes include guitar and piano lessons (offered at different levels), drum circles, or if they wish, voice. “We have a great choir,” says Bargielski, adding that these initiatives are “a fun way of celebrating our culture as a music and sound company.” The wellness classes are held on-site in a state-of-the-art music room.

In an effort to bring employees together during lunchtime, the company recently upped the ante with some higher profile events that offer them the opportunity to shine. In late 2009, the company premiered its own talent competition that it dubbed Yamaha Idol. Employees were invited to perform on the front steps of the company’s Buena Park, California headquarters with a full sound system and band. Non-participants 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 showcase their talents.” Added Bargielski, “Little things go a long way and these events are inexpensive ways to show employees the organization is interested in them as total persons.”

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

According to Bargielski, these types of activities are great and cost-effective ways to build morale, enabling employees to feel challenged, recognized and appreciated. “By engaging employees,” said Bargielski, “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 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 Facebook page.

For more information, write Yamaha Corporation of America, write P.O. Box 6600, Buena Park, CA 90622; telephone (714) 522-9011; email infostation(at)yamaha(dot)com or visit http://www.yamaha.com/press .

About Yamaha
Yamaha Corporation of America is the largest subsidiary of Yamaha Corporation, Japan and offers a full line of musical instruments and sound reinforcement products to the U.S. market. Products include: acoustic and digital pianos, portable keyboards, guitars, acoustic and electronic drums, band and orchestral instruments, marching percussion products, synthesizers, professional digital and analog audio products, and innovative technology products targeted to the hobbyist, education, worship, professional music, and installation markets.

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Tracy Bargielski

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