Happeo helps Kikokushijo Academy embrace digital communications

Happeo helps Kikokushijo Academy embrace digital communications

“Our company has two sides: a teacher-side and a staff-side, and our old internal website was mostly for teachers. And staff were getting a lot of emails, both internal emails and those from clients and parents. We needed an internal platform that both reduced emails and brought our entire company together. With Happeo, important information can be shared via Announcements, and that significantly reduced the number of internal emails.”

- Chris Colucci, Information Technology Manager at Kikokushijo Academy

Adopting modern technology to welcome distance learning

Kikokushijo Academy is an English school dedicated to the personal growth and academic success of returnee and bicultural students in Japan. They were at the forefront of distance learning after the pandemic hit, and grew tremendously in terms of students and in terms of staff. 

Chris Colucci from Kikokushijo Academy kindly walked us through their journey in connecting their workforce during remote times. 

Bringing schools together

Kikokushijo Academy has multiple schools in Japan, and is growing fast with three new schools opened just in 2020. Chris tells us “before using Happeo, we were using an Apple server. We were putting files on there. If you wanted to work on an excel file together, someone at the other school couldn’t open and edit it. I joined the company and wanted to change all that. I transitioned the whole company into using Google Workspace, and the next step was finding an intranet that perfectly integrated with Google Workspace. Happeo did just that.”

Kikokushijo Academy had a few requirements, namely:  

  • Strong integration with Google Workspace

  • Reduction of emails

  • A collaboration tool for their many departments and teams

  • A sharable database

  • An easy to use intranet, accessible to all regardless of tech knowledge

  • A platform that supports multiple languages

Efficient launch with Devoteam

“Launching Happeo was an extremely smooth process thanks to Devoteam. They’re really good with project management and communication. It was nice to see they held us accountable to push the project forward, which helped us make the tough decisions. We were able to implement Happeo quickly, fitting with the speed at which we had to change everything from in person to remotely. Before we launched we knew who the influencers in our team were, and we got them on board before anyone else. They easily acclimated to Happeo, and the other quickly followed suit.”

“Change management is key to the successful adoption of new tools and ways of working. Kikokushijo Academy’s key users were willing to challenge the status quo and became Happeo champions early on in the transformation process. This made for an effortless rollout for the rest of the organization.”

- Jimmy Jigmo, APAC Area Director, Devoteam

Maintaining their values

“We’re in education, we’re child-centric. When you’re thinking about kids, you’re not thinking about sales or how to beat the competition. You’re thinking about what’s best for kids. That gives you a very caring culture. We’re kind, generous and understanding. We wanted a platform to embody our values and perpetuate them. Happeo’s Channels feature is the perfect instrument to share not just information, but our various accomplishments and celebrate together. And the physical view of our Channels helps us see what’s relevant and important. People have information they need to share, and we want to encourage that.”

Bring their collaborative culture online

“We’re very proud of the culture we have because we’ve worked hard on it. It’s not something that just happened. We have college assistants that help us in the lounge, they’re 18. Our oldest teachers and staff members are in their 60s. We have people from 12 different countries — we’re multigenerational and international, and we use both Japanese and English during the working day in different contexts. We value everyone’s opinions and make decisions together: ‘What kind of meeting culture do we want?’ ‘What is good communication to us?’ Happeo is accessible to our entire team because of how easy it is to use. That means everyone can participate, post, comment and work together. We have a lot of different departments and teams and they need to coordinate with one another to get things done. 

Someone asked a question in a Channel about a student having an allergy. We were able to create a procedure around that thread of conversation. Another person asked if someone had training in something specific. A new teacher did – jumped in and said ‘yes and we can do this together’. True collaboration is happening.” 

A solution for working during a pandemic

“Our culture was very dependent on seeing each other in a physical space. After COVID, we realized the nature of our work changed, so the nature of our communication had to change. We needed a new intranet to suit that. We needed to stay connected, and Happeo was just the collaborative intranet to keep us united.”

The features that changed the game for Kikokushijo Academy:

  • Google Workspace integration

  • Editing rights

  • Announcements

  • User-friendly Channels 

“Before Happeo we were running back and forth between technical operations and Internal Communications. We were the only messengers and that wasn’t sustainable. We needed an organized means of communication that allowed everyone to deliver and find the information needed to do their job. A place where teams could not just work together, but interact and socialize. And we needed to give editing access and rights to specific people and empower them to communicate. Happeo did all of that and more, and thanks to Happeo we’re no longer the bottleneck.”